Remository and SEO

Not every web site is concerned with its ratings in search engines. Some sites work for a specific group of people who know about the site and it doesn't matter too much whether the pages are highly rated by search engines.

The Remository site receives traffic from the Joomla! Extensions Directory and other CMS related sites. It also receives search engine traffic, although the searches nearly always contain the word "Remository" so it is likely that people would find the site anyway.

But some sites depend on traffic generated by the search engines, with Google uppermost in many people's minds. Remository has some features that are highly relevant to search engine optimization (SEO). There is scope for more SEO support in Remository, and that will be considered for future releases. If you are serious about SEO, you can tackle it yourself, or you can call on the expertise of a specialist.

Titles have always been thought important, and are currently viewed as a leading factor by most people involved with SEO. It used to be the home page title that mattered most, but now every page will ideally have a unique title. Remository will automatically generate a title for its pages.

The key Remository pages and the pages that lists files or folders within one particular folder (or at the very top of the repository) and the detailed information pages for individual files. The very first entry into Remository will typically not have a title by default, but you should set one. Look at the very first item of the first tab of the admin side Remository configuration, and you will see that it is "Home_Page_Title". Set this with the name of your repository, or whatever you think the best heading from your Remository installation, and your text will appear as the page title.

Moving down, the title for a folder page will always be the name of the folder. This can create a problem for uniqueness. At present, Remository shows only the individual folder name - mainly because putting the whole hierarchy of folder names could generate too long a title (some people have deep nesting of folders). Therefore, it is possible that a site may choose to place in different folders a subfolder with the same name. This is not ideal for SEO.

Likewise, Remository will set the title for detailed information about a file to the file's title. There is no rule that insists that files must all have different titles. For that matter, depending on how Remository is configured, it is possible to store the same file more than once - in different folders. Again, this works against SEO, and so far as possible, you should aim to ensure that file titles are unique. One way to do this is likely to see further development, and that is the use of tagging in Remository. A file can have multiple tags, although it is only stored once and will have only a single information page.

Note that for both files and folders, you can override the title manually, by filling in the title in the metadata group of fields that is provided in the Remository administrator file/folder management. You can also specify keywords, although these are not considered particularly important for SEO.

Ideally, items also have a description, and at present Remository is not generating HTML metadata for a description. The main reason for this is the difficulty of extracting plain text from the descriptions used with folders and files.

Although search engines can now undoubtedly cope with query strings, it is still considered desirable to use "friendly" URLs in preference. Remository provides support for the Joomla! built in SEF mechanism, and the implementation of this is in a sef_ext.php file which is compatible with some third party SEF products, such as SEF Advance.

Note that there are a couple of detailed parameters in the file ../components/com_remository/com_remository_constants.php that affect SEF. They are:

// Options for the operation of SEF
DEFINE ('_REMOSITORY_SEF_LOWER_CASE', false);
DEFINE ('_REMOSITORY_SEF_UNIQUE_ID', false);

The first can be set to true if URLs are to be converted to lower case. The second can be set to true if URLs should have a unique file ID added when they point to a file.

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