To SEF ot not to SEF - is this a question?

I'm joking, of course, but this is a real issue - from SEO perspective is a "to be, or not to be" type of question. To have some humanly readable URL's is key for your SEO success these days. And if Google and/or Bing does not loves you.... you are on the "not to be" side.

Joomla comes with a built-in SEO function, but it's not activated by default. Thus, you'll get long, non-optimized URLs that mean little or nothing to both visitors and search engines. They will most likely not help you getting better rankings in the search engines. Most websites that use these kinds of URLs are either built by someone who has no knowledge of SEO, or are to be used as Intranet solutions etc.

The article you are reading it right now, without having SEF turned on - and an extra component kicked in, looks like:

It's ugly, and far to be humanly readable, I think we can agree on this. Let's see which are the steps to get something more optimized - and readable, like the one which you have right now on your browser's URL bar:

First step:

Go to Joomla's global Configuration, Site tab, and set "Search Engine Friendly URL's" to Yes. You instantly get a far better URL:

The url is built by using the category aliases, the article ID and the Article title alias. So, tweaking these aliases help you create a better, more descriptive URL, but the result is still is far from being perfect, and have that unnecessary index.php in it.

Second step:

Rename the htaccess.txt found in Joomla's root folder to .htaccess, and switch in the global Configuration the "Use URL rewriting" to Yes:

As you can see, the result is far better, but still not perfect. Believe me, this thick works for ALL core components and SOME of optional add-ons. If you want better control over your URL's - especially for the ones generated by third party components - enter the

Third step:

Install and configure a specialized SEF URL manager. We recommend - and use - sh404SEF. The result is like this:

Compact, good looking, tailored to my needs (and taste), and highly Search Engine Optimized. Go for it!