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Unicorns and fairies debates: does the Joomla site name affect SEO?

1212 hits Updated: 13 January 2018

Does the Joomla site name affect SEO?

What is the purpose of the Site Name in Joomla?

How to get an article about “unicorns and fairies debates” indexed by Google?

Does Site Name in Global Configuration » Site » Site Settings affect SEO?  There are plenty of articles discussing the effect of domain name on SEO but I can’t find anything about the effect of the Site Name.a “forum user”, Joomla forum, 11-Jan-2018

If you found the article you are now reading by using Google then it means you were looking for something about unicorns and/or fairies, or you were looking for an article about the debates that unicorns may have with fairies, or, perhaps, you were looking for information about Search Engine Optimisation [SEO].  I don’t know what you were searching for but thank you for visiting this website.

The references to unicorns, fairies and SEO will become apparent when you read further.  This article discusses the question about whether or not the value of the “Site Name” setting—within Joomla’s global configuration parameters—has any demonstrable benefits for SEO.  The fact that you are reading this article (and there is no reference to fairies, unicorns or other mythological creatures in this site’s Site Name) proves that the value of the site name is irrelevant as far as SEO is concerned.

What is the purpose of the Site Name setting in Joomla?

j3x sitenameThe Site Name setting in Joomla is used to provide a concise description of the website (or perhaps the purpose of the website).  It has no role as far as SEO is concerned.  The image at the right of this page (click to enlarge it) shows you the help text that appears when you hover your mouse over this setting.  For example, if the website is to be used for testing J! 3.8.3 you could assign the value “J! 3.8.3 Test Site” to this setting.

Site Name is used in a lot of places around a Joomla website, e.g. copyright notices, emails sent from your website, on the banner heading in backend.  You can also use the Site Name as the text that appears on the web browser tab title; the setting is Global Configuration » Site » SEO Settings » Site Name in Page Titles.

My website is all about a new author who has one book for sale.  The domain name of the website contains the author’s name.  Googling the author shows search results but googling the book name doesn’t.  I have included the book name in menu meta titles, article meta descriptions and meta keywords.  I was wondering if changing the Site Name from author name to book name would improve SEO?same “forum user”, Joomla forum, 11-Jan-2018

From a search engine indexing perspective, changing the Site Name will have neglible effect on whether the author’s books are indexed or not.  Further, I do not understand where this kind of mythology originates.  Let us take a more practical approach to the situation and discuss how one might choose a suitable Site Name.

In the example I have quoted, the owner of the website has a domain name that “contains” a book author’s name; for the sake of argument, let’s assume that John Smith is the name of the book author and, let’s also assume that the domain name associated with John Smith is www.johnsmith.com.  Assuming that the website exists to promote John Smith’s books a suitable Site Name for www.johnsmith.com might be  “John Smith’s books”.  Why not?

The developer of the website www.johnsmith.com might have added “menu meta titles, article meta descriptions and meta keywords” for site content relating to John’s books—and they may be wondering why Google doesn’t return any results—but this has nothing to do with the Site Name setting in Joomla.  Adding meta information to articles or menu items doesn’t guarantee that Google (or any other search engine) will detect the content and index it.  The website needs to be crawled by the search engine first.

The Joomla Global Configuration facility stores information about your website (e.g. the Site Name) in the file configuration.php.  For example, the value of Site Name for this website is literally

    public $sitename = '{kun´ēzē}';

This text is used in the copyright notice at the bottom of the page.

How to get an article about “unicorns and fairies debates” indexed by Google?

69 publishingAs we read earlier, people ask why Google and other search engines don’t return results in response to submitted queries even after they’ve created “menu meta titles, article meta descriptions and meta keywords”. Well, let’s examine what meta information was used in creating this article and how it helped the presentation of the result that people will find when they search for “unicorns and fairies debates”; in other words, let’s look at what I used within Joomla when I created the article that you’re now reading.  Referring to the image at right (click to enlarge it), you will see that I primarily used only two pieces of information on the Publishing tab:  (a) the Search Engine Title; and (b) the Description.  You should understand that Google only uses the first 70 characters of the Search Engine Title and the first 160 characters of the Description; you may type more characters into these fields but Google will ignore them..

After you have saved your article and published it, the next step is to submit your website (or specific page) to Google.  There is an abundance of information on the internet to show you how to use Google’s Search Console and I will not go into those details here.  Needless to say, it takes a little while for Google to send its ’bot to find the page(s) that you submit but, after these pages have been crawled and indexed by the search engine, you should expect to see your site displayed on Google like this:

0113 uaf serp

As you can see, from the image above, the Site Name has nothing in common with the displayed results.  This proves the point that the Joomla Site Name setting is irrelevant as far as improving the SEO for a website.  While it may be relevant to choosing what value you use for your Joomla Site Name, just remember that it has nothing to do with SEO.  Its main use is in connection with copyright notices, emails sent from your website, on the backend menu banner and (as a default) on browser tab titles.

I will, however, leave the final word to another tireless battler in this interminable struggle to dispel the mythology, the urban myths, rumour and false advice that circulates around the internet:

Does the Joomla site name affect SEO?  You mean like promoting … “blue smurfs” but hosting it at redsmurfs.com?  Then, yes [this would look out of place].  So,  [in revisiting the endless] debate over … years and various formats, it doesn’t hurt not to put it in and it doesn’t hurt to have the site name “blue smurfs appreciation society” [as the Joomla site name] on bluesmurfs.com.  It’s all [about personal choice] and [whether] your content header ... shows a site description [in search engines] but that’s another debate between the unicorns and the fairies.one of the “forum moderators”, Joomla forum, 11-Jan-2018
About the author:

is a Joomla professional and former member of the Kunena project for more than 8 years—a substantial contributor to the original Kunena documentation project with over twenty thousand messages posted at the Kunena forum. The opinions expressed in this article are entirely those of the author. View his profile here.

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