I have been running a test-site installation of the new Joomla 1.5 RC 1 to see what improvements there have been made for SEF and SEO.
There is a difference between SEF and SEO, you can read more about that on Search Engine Friendly or already Search Engine Optimized but I will not go into that much more here, as the point of the exercise was the see what changed / improved.
First thing you notice is that the Basic URL without the SEO Option set is still the same as before.
Next you go into your Global configuration and look up the Seo Settings…
That has changed a little, and has a new option, which is really great!
Did you see it? There is an option that says “Use mod_rewrite” ! and the best part is that is works!
So now if you don't know how to, or can not use a .htaccess file because of provider restrictions, you can still have SEF URLs like this one..
You see there is now an index.php between your domain name and the SEF URL.
Full SEO Options
You can set both settings and use an .htaccess file to get ride of the index.php so that the full (SEF) URL looks like:
Hmm.. maybe they should call it SEF Settings? But it is a great improvement that you can use the SEF URLs without a special component.
Does that mean that we don't have to use a SEF Component anymore?
No, they are still very valuable for several functions like URL rewrites… yes those still apply, because you want more control over the how the URL is formed.
The SEF function of RC 1 uses the Title Alias for the URL, so you can play a little with that, but that takes away a possible use of the alias for HTML Title rewrites…
Also you want to control the 404 Sef function and landing page, with Joomla 1.5 RC 1 there is good basic 404 page with the right headers, so old URLs will be removed form the search engines.
Also SEF component is able to prevent Rewriting URLs if a Components doesn't support them and breaks with te standard URLs.
The Duplicate Metatag problem
What you would see with the “Old” Joomla was that the Global Metadata was inserted into the HTML code together with the Article Metatags like description and keywords.
The problem seems now to be resolved, so if you now fill an article with The Metatags Description and Keywords (and you know you should) than ONLY those tags are in the source code!
From a Search Engine Optimization view, this is a very good thing… problem is that you still get the Global description on every page you don't fill the parameters, so pleas leave the Globals empty and let the search Engines pick there own excerpts.
You see, there is still a need for a nice Metatag generator if you have lots off pages or multiple editors.
Overall SEO conclusion for Joomla 1.5 RC 1
You have a better Content Management System than before from a Search Engine Friendly and Optimization point of view.
The basics are in Place to get any new website based on this Joomla 1.5 version to get better results, just by activating the SEO Settings on a bare minimum of SEF URLs.
Its a very big improvement that it can work without the .htaccess files that so many people are struggling with, so that every website can have nice URLs to work with, so set that configuration option to ON.
As I will do some more testing, expect more post on these and other items, but please be patient, as I want to Inform you based on experiences, and time is limited..
So if you want to be up-to-date, and you liked the post, use the RSS Feed to keep up..