How to make your Joomla content socially engaging and improve SEO

In our last post we described the growing importance of social sharing on Joomla SEO, search engine result rankings and the positive effects available by creating a social feedback loop for your content.

To facilitate social SEO, you need to include sharing icons such as these to your web site:

Social icon buttons - preview

In this post we will detail how to implement the full suite of social SEO tools in sh404SEF® for use with articles in Joomla 1.7 (Joomla 1.5 can be configured in an identical fashion).

Install or upgrade sh404SEF®

The social SEO features of sh404SEF® were first released for Joomla 1.7 in version 3.4 (version 2.4 for Joomla 1.5). Ensure that you download this version or later before proceeding.

Existing users can simply install this version over their current one without the need to first uninstall. New users should install sh404SEF® and test their site to ensure that everything is working as expected.

Full details on installing and upgrading can be found in the sh404SEF® User Manual.

Activate Analytics and Social Sharing

If you have not already done so, ensure that you’ve activated the Google Analytics features in the sh404SEF® parameters. This consists primarily of entering your Web Property ID and Google Analytics credentials.

sh404SEF® Analytics Config

You can see full details on setting this up, including a video tutorial, in the sh404SEF® User Manual.

The social sharing tools are configured similar to analytics. In the extension parameters select Enable on all pages. Importantly, use the additional tabs to add more information about your web site and services. The location and contact information are very important for social SEO and localized search result placement.

sh404SEF® Social SEO Config

Also be sure to check the parameters in the sh404SEF® core - Social buttons plugin found in the Joomla plugins manager. Ensure that the plugin is enabled and the button location is set to Before content or After content.

You can also individually customize the Facebook, Twitter and Google+ options in the plugin parameters.

sh404SEF® Social Icons Plugin Config

Detailed instructions are available in the sh404SEF® User Manual.

View and test your social button

If everything has gone well, the social buttons are now automatically displayed either above or below every standard Joomla article (i.e. com_content) and tracking information is being sent to Google Analytics.

As your site visitors begin to share your content using these buttons, you’ll be able to view a summary of the social engagement on your site in the Anaytics Manager of sh404SEF®.

To drill down and get critical data such as Average Time on Site and Pages/Visit, view the Social Engagement area of Google Analytics (see top image).

Beyond Joomla content

Like millions of Joomla users it is very likely that, in addition to Joomla content, you have additional extensions installed on your web site that generates content suitable for sharing.

For example, you might have a an E-commerce site filled with products, a dedicated publishing component used to create blog post or an event calendar and bulletin board for your local church.

In each of these cases, allowing visitors to share and recommend your products, services and events on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ can be very beneficial for enhancing search result placement.

In our next post we’ll show you how to use the exact same suite of social icons for all the content on your site.

Last modified on Jul032012
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