RSSEO! is a very impressive SEO extension that I can highly recommend, built by RSJoomla! It is relatively easy to use, but also contains power-tools for advanced users. And contrary to some of the SEF extensions, the risk of messing up your site is low. This extension is a paid extension, you need a subscription (starting from €29), but it's worth the money.
So, after you got an account at the RSJoomla! folks, download the extension and install it as any other Joomla extension. In your account you will find a subscription key that you should enter in your configuration: this will ensure automatic updates through the Joomla update system.
During the installation, all necessary plugins will be installed and activated, so you can head straight to the component view. Initially, this may seem a bit empty, but this is because the extension may not yet have discovered all URL's. To do so, it is advised to first issue to crawl all pages, which is a section you will recognize straight from the dashboard. Then hit the Crawl button and the extension will simply try to access all your URL's, you will see the progress:
Ones it is finished, your dashboard already shows some more data probably. Let's explore the different sections. First of all, you will see a few buttons pointing to some prominent SEO issues to fix:
But on the right you will see the section you will need most, the navigation area:
You already see some of the possibilities here, but I will discuss the items in this article. First the other sections in the dashboard. These are mainly some quick statistics about your domain, your most visited pages and the last crawled pages:
Before going over the various options in the navigation panel, you should review and configure the RSSEO! Configuration (click the Options button in the top right). It is quite an exhaustive list:
Besides your update key, you can set many configuration options here, most very useful:
- SEO Performance: set which parameters you want to see in the statistics part of the dashboard
- Google Analytics: unless set elsewhere, set your Google Analytics ID here
- Crawler: set the timing parameters of the crawler
- Sitemap: some very useful parameters for the sitemap, like the option to skip NOINDEX pages
- Keywords: set keyword and keyword-density parameters
- Subdomains and cURL proxy are pretty technical
- Images: set whether any set alt-texts should be overridden by RSSEO! or not.
After having set this, it's time to discover the various options in the navigation panel.
In the SEO Performance section you can follow many SEO parameters of your configured competitors. You can enter as many as you want and the list will look something like this:
This is where most probably you and your users will spend most of their time. Here, you will find and all your URL's as the crawler found them. Note this is not a list of articles, but actual URL's, which will usually correspond with how you have set your menu-items and articles:
What is very striking is, of course the Page grade. This is an attempt to see how well every page is optimized from an SEO perspective. If you check the details for any one of these pages you will see 2 things: on the right hand side, you will see how the page grade is calculated with all SEO elements. On the left side you see the current settings for the page:
You see the current settings, but some, like the Page Title and the Page Meta Description can be modified right here, very useful! What is also very clever is that you can set a Canonical Page here: especially if you have multiple URL's for the same article, you can set the preferred version for these here.
As for the page grade, multiple parameters are checked: Page title, meta description are checked for correct length, headings are checked, images and presence of an alt-tag, existence of internal links, etcetera. These metrics are very easy to understand and can also be used by relatively inexperienced users.
This section lets you create a sitemap, both XML and HTML. Also quicklinks to both are shown. The XML sitemap is very conveniently created at the default location /sitemap.xml, where search engines routinely search for it.
Note that in the Pages overview you can include or exclude pages on an individual level too.
Here you can very conveniently directly edit the live robots.txt file.
If your own template does not have a correcly working 404 page, this section comes in very handy. If you want to use it, first go to the RSSEO! global options and set the option Custom error pages to Yes. This ensures the site will be using the configuration you create here.
To set one, use the new button and fill the appropriate values and text for your custom 404-page:
This is where you will find any URL's that resulted in error responses, usually 404's. You can see it as an alternative for the Joomla core Redirect manager:
In some cases, you will see a View option in the Referrals column. This will show you which pages are linking internally to this non-existing URL, very useful. Then with the Create redirect button, you can create a new destination for the 404-URL's, also setting a custom redirect code if necessary, though usually, a 301-code is the best response.
All redirects you create will show up in the next section: Redirects, no need to further explain this section.
Here, you can set your most important keywords. First, you will see a list of already created keywords, like this:
Something very nice is the column Position. This actually tracks the Google rank of the keyword or keyword-combination you entered. Make sure to set a Google region in your global settings, as by default it will check Google.com and in my example, I need the Google.nl rankings of course. But there is more you can do with your keywords. You can see the possibilities if you create a new keyword:
Besides the actual keyword you can enter:
- Importance: ranging from Low to Critical, indicating how important you think this keyword is for you
- Bold / Underline: if you want, you can let RSSEO! make the keyword bold or underlined wherever it appears in your text so it stands out more
- Limit: if your keyword is found very often, it may be too much, so you can limit the number of replacements
- Link: you can link the keyword to a specific URL so you get some nice internal links
On the frontend of the site, your keyword now stands out, something like this (depending on your CSS of course):
Final navigation options
Some options that may also be useful for you are the last ones in the row:
- Backup / Restore let's you either save or restore your RSSEO configuration data
- Google Analytics and Visitors allow you to see your statistics right in your Joomla backend. To see them, make sure you set your Google Analytics keys in the global settings.
RSSEO! system plugin
Finally, some very nice features are hidden in the RSSEO! System plugin, make sure to check them out. Some of the useful options are the following ones:
- Decide whether or not metadata can be edited in the frontend of the site
- Show a cookie message to your visitors
- Enable canonicalization: this allows you to indicate whether the www- or the non-www version of your site should be accessed exclusively
- Site verification: in this tab, you can fill in your Google Search Console ID so that you can verify your site, very useful! You can do the same for Bing and Yandex
So, after all, RSSEO! is definitely a great choice for your Joomla SEO set up and I can definitely recommend it. Also, the guys at RSJoomla! are constantly working on new features. Something they are currently working on is SEF and Google Search Console data in RSSEO!
So, if you think this sounds good, check out the extension at the RSJoomla! website.