Search Engine Optimization is very important on any website. Joomla comes with very good search engine optimization tools right out of the box, but sometimes you need more.
Joomla can automatically create Search Engine Friendly URLs, it allows you to add unique meta description and meta keywords for every article, and you can customize the Title tag for every menu link. Usually, this is more than enough to optimize your site. But if you use an extension such as an image gallery or calendar or event, for example, it becomes difficult or impossible to customize the meta description, meta keywords, title tag, and the URL for each page generated by these extensions. For these situations, you might want to use sh404sef, the Joomla extension that allows you to edit all of the previously mentioned SEO items.
sh404sef is a commercial Joomla extension ($35) that gives you the ability to customize every url on your site. What’s more, you can customize every title tag and every meta description and keyword for every url on your site. This gives you control over hard-to-optimize extensions like jCalPro, jEvents, Phoca Gallery, and any other Joomla extension that automatically generates pages.
- But when you start adding extensions to Joomla, it’s very likely that they will not work correctly with sh404sef. I was VERY disappointed to discover this. For example, I tried to configure sh404sef to work with jEvents, a popular Joomla Events tool and I spent 5-8 hours trying to get it to work correctly with sh404sef. Since the default Joomla SEO works very well with almost all extensions, you’d expect that a $35 SEO Joomla extension would work with most other Joomla extensions. Unless the extension developer has built a custom plugin to work with sh404sef, there’s a good chance it will not work very well.
- In addition to se404sef’s limited extension support, it is VERY difficult to set up and configure. In every case where I installed it, it broke several extensions; for example, the linking to these extensions worked perfectly with Joomla SEF but did not work with sh404sef. After hours of changing configuration settings and reading forums, I managed to figure out some of the issues. If you plan on using this tool, plan on many hours of troubleshooting to make it work correctly.
- sh404sef slows down page load speed considerably. Since Google now figures page speed into its SEO ranking, you should consider whether the advantages you can gain using sh404sef outweigh the penalty you pay for slow pages loads.
Bottom Line: Unless you have a very special need to use sh404sef, stick with Joomla’s default SEF and SEO tools: They are fast and reliable.
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