URL management: standard Joomla SEF and .htaccess give the same result.
Alias management and 404 request: standard Joomla redirection manager does a good job too
shURL: usability not clear
Title & meta: makes it more complicated in Joomla. Use standard Joomla functions in stead.
Analysis: never got it working in Joomla 3.2.2, support gave up about this item.
Safety: may be the only benefit, no experience with this though.
404 page: only works if you don't set one component to joomla router.
Social SEO: poorly implemented, alternative free extensions work better
Most functionality is already present in Joomla 3.2.2 or can be implemented with little effort. Added functions don’t work well, alternative free extensions work better. Safety may be the only benefit. Support could be better.
You do seem to have had a bad experience with sh404SEF, let me provide a bit more details at least on two extremely important things:
- "standard Joomla SEF and .htaccess give the same result" simply put: No
If you look superficially, yes, you get SEF urls with Joomla, and you get SEF urls with sh404SEF. But they are totally not the same, especially in keys SEO areas. sh404SEF are usually much shorter (no categories, or only one), much more to the point (no ids) but most importantly and I agree that's not easy to see: sh404SEF controls duplicate content on your site, while Joomla menu-based urls can only create duplicate content.
- support didn't give up on your issue with analytcs. You're one of two users with this problem. So far, we haven't managed to reproduced it on any of our servers, and we still don't know what's causing the problem, whether sh404SEF or not. Investigation is happening, and if the problem is with us, it'll be fixed.
On the lighter side:
- 404 page: yes, using Joomla router, you get Joomla! 404 page; using sh404SEF, you get sh404SEF page - which I do believe brings good marketing value to your site
- title and metas: a matter of taste and usage, I think. Many, many people prefer to have all meta data in one place, and the ability to override titles and description for multiple site pages on the same page
Most importantly, with sh404SEF, you specify metadata per URL, not per article, products, categories.
URLs are what's visible to search engines, not Joomla articles (see point 1 about menu-based urls used by Joomla)
- shUrl: not sure I understand your comment. sh404SEF provides a built in URL shortener, so that you don't have to rely on external service. Your site is doing the shortening, and so your urls are www.mysite.com/xc3 for instance.