IMO the area of SEF is one of as yet defined benefit, the selling point of having human readable URL’s is of debatable value. SEF is certainly no all curing elixir, there is much you can do to improve your rankings before turning to SEF alone.
As you’d expect from the opening paragraph I’ve found no discernable traffic increase from using Artio’s Joomsef for a period of approximately 8 months unless you count my 404 traffic which has literally gone through the roof!
Anyway the Good points on this product;
• Easy to install
• Easy to update (one click from the control panel for core product as well as any add-ons a particularly appreciated feature)
• Good Documentation (though describes only the function rather than how it works or the impact of using features)
• Regular updates
Bad points (the bit you’ve been waiting for)
• Doesn’t play nice with many components even when you purchase the plugin for that component
• Clunky navigation when trying to identify rogue URL’s
• 404’s increase exponentially (from only a handful pre-install to over 50,000 in 8 months)
• Poor Support (takes a long time to get a reply and then only with a holding type response, not good)
• Creates huge numbers of duplicates which wreaked havoc on my sited
• Doesn’t handle RSS feeds well
• Requires extensive maintenance (correcting URL’s, getting rid of duplicates etc.) and since I run a news site with material changing everyday this creates far too much overhead.
In a nutshell I’ve bitten a very large bullet and uninstalled Artio Joomsef, there were for me, far more downsides than upsides, particularly once you consider that many components now are adding their own SEF functionality, it’s difficult to see a bright future for components like this.
thanks for your extensive feedback. However, let me debate with you a bit.
JoomSEF is JUST a tool, not a magic wand.
Tool that will assist you with improving your site SEO. It will help you identify weakness of the site, components and structure design.
But it cannot solve all the problems by itself! You (or the component author) or the programmer who implemented your Joomla site needs to check for the reasons and remove them. JoomSEF will just point towards such problems.
If the site works fine with no duplicates, also the URLs and overal SEO ranking will be fine.But if there exists duplicate in the original non-SEO URL, there will be also duplicate in SEO URL. This also relates to the maintenance; if the site is well developed, no maintenance is needed.
I do not see relation between 404s and JoomSEF. If a URL does not exist, then it simply does not exist and generates 404 error. JoomSEF does not play any role in that.
Similar issue is with RSS.