This tutorial is part 1 in a 3 part series which will provide you with some basic guidelines during the development and search engine optimization of your Joomla web site. The article is purely based on experience using Joomla over the past 2 years. The items covered in this topic are also only suggestions you may know of a better SEO approach and if so then please share your knowledge by submitting an article to the web site and we will be happy to publish it.

What not to do ? 

I would strongly suggest you do not introduce the following for your CMS web site.

1) Do not include hidden text within your web site.
Some web masters have being known to include hidden text or targeting keyword to move up the rankings. Basically they hide the text from the real user IE ( white text on a white background ) and so on. Google can spot this and will penalize your web site.

2) Loading pages with keywords.
Avoid spamming the search engines by including lots of keywords which have little relevance to the content of you web site or make no sense if a real user was to visit and read the content on your web site.

3) Avoid Doorway pages
Do not use doorway pages IE - individually optimization pages for specific search engines.

4) Avoid cloaking 
Cloaking involves dynamically generating thousands of keyword rich web page's using server side scripts which only the search engine Bots can see but the end user can not. Some Webmasters have introduced this approach to gain a high ranking  which may work in the short term but in the long term it will fail and your site ( domain ) will be banned or removed from the index.

5) Avoid automated submission web sites.
You may have seen many SEO sites selling services which include submitting your Joomla web site to hundreds of search engines, FFA link farms and directories. If you do decide to use this service you could get banned for " spamming the search engines " I would strongly advise you avoid using such sites but instead manually submit your site to the relevant search engines Google, Yahoo, MSN and so on. Another approach is not to submit your site directly to the search engine but let them find you. This involves creating a linking strategy based on exchanging links with sites who are both established and have a good PageRank. The Bot will then index the high ranking site and follow your link therefore indexing your web site.

What to do ?

1) Create high quality keyword rich content 
When writing content for your Joomla web site create it for users not search engines. Focus on creating content which is relevant to your web site (IE) if you run a Joomla template site then focus on writing content for joomla templates. Also Make use of your targeted keywords within the content and use H1 and H2 "bold" to highlight and reference keyword phrases. Use hyperlinks to reference the relevant web sites and also use anchor text.

2) linking strategy 
Think about who your target audience and web sites who have a similar interest to the service or content your are offering via your web site. Do your research, Search Google, Yahoo, MSN or visit the communities and build up a list of sites with similar interests. For example if you run a Joomla web site dedicated to Joomla open source then build up a relationship with other sites based on exchanging web links with them or news articles. Also when submitting your web link to a web site make sure the title and keywords relating to the web site are referenced in the web link, news article.

3) Title, description and Metatags
Joomla incorporates some very useful functionality which compliments your content to ensure the title, description and metatags are relevant to each specific document. Make sure you make use of the functionality available within Joomla. 

For example once you have written your news item complete the following.

A) Associate the news item with the relevant news category.
B) click on the Meta Info tab. 
C) In the description field enter a relevant, clear and concise meta description which clearly reflects the content of the news item.
D) In the keywords field click on the Add/sect/Title which will automatically assign the news category, keywords to your news item. You may need add additional keywords.

5) Site Title Tag
The site Title Tag play's one of the most important role's in achieving a high ranking web site. Search engines including Google, Yahoo, MSN and AltaVista place alot of focus on the site title tag. 
From the Global configuration option via the Joomla Administrator you can change the site name, Global Site Meta Description, Global Site Meta Keywords.

Think about the following when creating your site title.
A) Ensure the site title is specific and relevant to the content of your web site.
B) Your site title ideally should be between 64 and 66 characters which makes it Google friendly. 
   Yahoo will accept up to 120 characters as per the W3 standards 
C) Add one or more of your targeted keywords in the site title.

6) Global Site Meta Description
a) Write a brief description which clearly reflects the content of your web site
b) The Meta description should be between 170 characters or 200 characters
c) Include one or more of your targeted keywords which are included in your site title and keywords.

7) Keywords 
Some Search engines do not give as much weight to The keyword metatag as the site title or site description but it is recommended that you make use of it.
a) Avoid keyword stuffing ( IE ) repeating your keywords.
b) Add your one or more targeted keywords contained in your site title, site content within your Global Site Meta Keywords.
c) Place your targeted ( most important ) keywords at the start of your Global Site Meta Keywords which gives the keyword more weight
d) Separate keywords with a comma and no spaces.