Joomla 1.6 is stable and very good to start a new website on, but for Search Engine Optimization you have to set some basic parameters for optimal results.
So here is a short overview of basic Joomla 1.6 Do'and Don't for Search Engine Optimization. Let's start with the Do's…
Global Configuration SEO Settings
Like the SEO Setting that you can reach via -> Global Configuration -> SEO Settings.
For Search Engene Friendly URLs should always be active to convert your article title to a clean URL.
The big difference with previous versions is that this will work even without .htaccess by adding /index.php/ into the URL!
If you don't want that you should activate the second option Use URL Rewriting and follow the advice given in the Exclamation mark! That means you have to change some settings on server level or start using .htaccess on an Apache Based hosting program (Most of the hosting providers use Apache)
Adds Suffix to URL means that the extension .html is added to the URL. So instead of http://www.example.org/using-joomla you get http://www.example.org/using-joomla.html
This is a small change but it gives you the benefit that people will see that this is a content page and not a category directory, so it creates a real clear endpoint.
In the Global Configuration you can also set some basic Metadescription and Keywords, but I never use that option. But keep the last two options active!
As I mentioned you have to keep the last two options active because you want to see the following options in you articles writing panel.
Use the Metadescription on every page for the best results, just write a short excerpt of the page with the keywords you want to target and make it like a small advertisment for you page. Google and other search engines can use these text just under the Title of your page and it can give you a better click through rate from the search page.
Keywords is debated because Google and Yahoo won't use them. I do put in some main keywords, but never more than five, you don't want to stuff that field! Stuffing will get you worse rankings…
Joomla 1.6. SEO Don'ts
With Joomla 1.6 you don't have the previous unclear function's like Section's and Categories in those sections. Instead you can now have nested categories.
And although it is a good thing to have a better user experience and people can create content a lot easier, there is also a drawback.
You can now have a category in a category in a category in a category… and that can make the URL for you article very, very long as every category name will be in that URL.
Don't go overboard with this feature! Just do like you did before, make a small number of main categories with only one level deep extra categories so your URLs stay short! Also keep the naming off this categories short..
Keep these thing in mind and your basic is set for SEO, all that is left now is for you to create Quality Content that Google and your visitors will like :-)