SEF/SEO URLs

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stevemaury
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Re: SEF/SEO URLs

Post by stevemaury »

lurttinen wrote: Are they all selling snake oil? :)
IMNSHO - yes.
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Re: SEF/SEO URLs

Post by AdamR »

SEO is very real. How it's applied is over-hyped and severely outdated.

In regards specifically to URLs, it has been my experience, that keywords in URLs make little to no difference in search rankings.They're not SEO URLs anymore. They're "human friendly" URLs.

There was a time (circa 2002-2003) when SEO became the marketing hype of the internet, and for good reason. Search engine algorithms weren't nearly as complex as they are today and they could be easily manipulated by going down a checklist of optimizations. People "in the know" began monetizing it, and soon everyone and their dog claimed to be an SEO expert in order to make some money.

Search engines evolved. Unfortunately, the "SEO experts" haven't.

As far as forums specifically are concerned, you may have noticed over the past two years or so that search engines have been giving them special treatment. Google/Bing/Yahoo know exactly when someone last replied to a topic or created a topic in a forum and weights it accordingly. In many respects, a site simply being identified by a spider as a forum will by default be good for search rankings provided content is appropriate, simply because forums are categorized as dynamic and constantly updating sites. The newer the content, the more important it probably is.

There's areas where phpBB can certainly improve in terms of SEO. Page titles, canonical meta tags. Even things like meta keywords may be beneficial, though this specifically is dying out. Google has already dropped weighting meta keywords, and Bing is just about there, too.

All around, if someone (anyone) has suggestions on how phpBB can be improved in the area of SEO, create a topic over on http://area51.phpbb.com/phpBB/ and consensus can be reached. If it's reached in favor of adding the improvement, it will be implemented. Full stop.

EDIT: I just want to clarify that I personally am all for adding human readable URLs, not because it's SEO but because it's more user friendly. :)

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Re: SEF/SEO URLs

Post by OC2PS »

Lumpy Burgertushie wrote:I can't speak for the developers here, but if there was any proof that any of this would really help in search engine ranking to any measurable degree, then maybe they might do it.

However, there is none that I have found.
You mean, apart from this:
Google Webmaster Tools wrote: Consider organizing your content so that URLs are constructed logically and in a manner that is most intelligible to humans (when possible, readable words rather than long ID numbers). For example, if you're searching for information about aviation, a URL like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aviation will help you decide whether to click that link. A URL like http://www.example.com/index.php?id_sez ... f849f730f1, is much less appealing to users.

Consider using punctuation in your URLs. The URL http://www.example.com/green-dress.html is much more useful to us than http://www.example.com/greendress.html. We recommend that you use hyphens (-) instead of underscores (_) in your URLs.
Google's [url=http://www.google.com/webmasters/docs/search-engine-optimization-starter-guide.pdf]SEO Starter Guide[/url] wrote:Like the title and snippet, words in the URL on the search result appear in bold if they appear in the user's query. The words in the URL might appeal to a search user more than an ID number
Last edited by tbackoff on Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SEF/SEO URLs

Post by OC2PS »

Really folks, this discussion may be more productive (in the sense of getting this done) if you post your opinions at http://area51.phpbb.com/phpBB/viewtopic ... 05&t=35616
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Re: SEF/SEO URLs

Post by Pony99CA »

sooskriszta wrote:
Lumpy Burgertushie wrote:I can't speak for the developers here, but if there was any proof that any of this would really help in search engine ranking to any measurable degree, then maybe they might do it.

However, there is none that I have found.
You mean, apart from this[....]
Note that your quotes did not talk about search engine ranking, only what appealed to users more. I think we all agree that words are more appealing than IDs, but the issue at hand is whether they help your ranking.

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Re: SEF/SEO URLs

Post by OC2PS »

Pony99CA wrote:
sooskriszta wrote:
Lumpy Burgertushie wrote:I can't speak for the developers here, but if there was any proof that any of this would really help in search engine ranking to any measurable degree, then maybe they might do it.

However, there is none that I have found.
You mean, apart from this[....]
Note that your quotes did not talk about search engine ranking, only what appealed to users more. I think we all agree that words are more appealing than IDs, but the issue at hand is whether they help your ranking.

Steve
Whether Pretty URLs technically help in SEO is moot.

Even if technically Pretty URL's are useless for SEO, they can have a tremendous SEO impact, especially for small businesses/communities.
on SERPs like those of Google, keywords in URLs are highlighted and may draw users' attention (and clicks) - if more people click, you get higher in the ranking, AND there are snowball effects - if you get higher in the ranking, you get even more traffic.

Having said that, dig this:
Google SEO Starters' Guide wrote: Creating descriptive categories and filenames for the documents on your website can not only help you keep your site better organized, but it could also lead to better crawling of your documents by search engines. Also, it can create easier, "friendlier" URLs for those that want to link to your content. Visitors may be intimidated by extremely long and cryptic URLs that contain few recognizable words.

Some users might link to your page using the URL of that page as the anchor text. If your URL contains relevant words, this provides users and search engines with more information about the page than an ID or oddly named parameter would.
Lastly, remember that the URL to a document is displayed as part of a search result in Google, below the document's title and snippet. Like the title and snippet, words in the URL on the search result appear in bold if they appear in the user's query ...The words in the URL might appeal to a search user more than an ID number like "www.brandonsbaseballcards.com/article/1015/" would.

Google is good at crawling all types of URL structures, even if they're quite complex, but spending the time to make your URLs as simple as possible for both users and search engines can help. Some webmasters try to achieve this by rewriting their dynamic URLs to static ones
Last edited by tbackoff on Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SEF/SEO URLs

Post by Pony99CA »

sooskriszta wrote:Whether Pretty URLs technically help in SEO is moot.
And here I thought that was what this topic was about. :?
sooskriszta wrote:[...]if more people click, you get higher in the ranking[....]
Do you have any proof of that? That seems like it would be remarkably easy to game.

Look, I have no problem with Reader-Friendly URLs. However, that's a less persuasive argument for doing this than having them be both reader-friendly and improving SEO. The only argument that I've found remotely persuasive (and it has been mentioned before) is that naked URLs with keywords might improve indexing a bit.

Steve

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Re: SEF/SEO URLs

Post by OC2PS »

Pony99CA wrote:
sooskriszta wrote:Whether Pretty URLs technically help in SEO is moot.
And here I thought that was what this topic was about. :?
Cute! Perhaps I should have screamed "technically" :)
Pony99CA wrote:
sooskriszta wrote:[...]if more people click, you get higher in the ranking[....]
Do you have any proof of that?
It is a generally well-known fact. Google assesses the relevance of a link to particular keywords based on how many clicks were generated out of showing the link on SERP for that keyword. (Of course, there are other factors too that go into the ranking). The question is a bit like asking "do you have proof that water is wet?"

Even so, here's how keyword quality score is calculated for AdWords. I hope we don't need to haggle about whether the same applies to searches
Google Keyword Quality Score wrote:While we continue to refine our Quality Score formulas for Google and the Search Network, the core components remain more or less the same:
  • The historical clickthrough rate (CTR) of the keyword and the matched ad on Google
  • ...
  • Other relevance factors
Pony99CA wrote: That seems like it would be remarkably easy to game.
Hence the term "click fraud" (even though nowadays it's used more in context of advertising)
Pony99CA wrote:Look, I have no problem with Reader-Friendly URLs. However, that's a less persuasive argument for doing this than having them be both reader-friendly and improving SEO. The only argument that I've found remotely persuasive (and it has been mentioned before) is that naked URLs with keywords might improve indexing a bit.
Well, Google does say
  • If your URL contains relevant words, this provides users and search engines with more information about the page than an ID or oddly named parameter would.
  • Google is good at crawling all types of URL structures, even if they're quite complex, but spending the time to make your URLs as simple as possible for both users and search engines can help.
  • Creating descriptive categories and filenames for the documents on your website can not only help you keep your site better organized, but it could also lead to better crawling of your documents by search engines
.

Of course, Google only HINTS at what one should do - it's not going to just go all out and tell you how to "game" its algorithm. Are we looking for irrefutable proof?
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Re: SEF/SEO URLs

Post by swood »

Kevin Clark wrote: Google and other search engines don't care what the URL says. They care about the content of the page.
Did you read the blog article I linked to?

If you think the URLs we have are not SEO friendly, you might like to know that your post has been indexed already.

Image
Ah brilliant. I didn't realise this. Thanks for the info Kevin
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Re: SEF/SEO URLs

Post by Pony99CA »

sooskriszta wrote:
Pony99CA wrote:
sooskriszta wrote:[...]if more people click, you get higher in the ranking[....]
Do you have any proof of that?
It is a generally well-known fact. Google assesses the relevance of a link to particular keywords based on how many clicks were generated out of showing the link on SERP for that keyword. (Of course, there are other factors too that go into the ranking). The question is a bit like asking "do you have proof that water is wet?"
No, I'm asking if there is documentation that states that Google's PageRank algorithm takes result clicks into account. I thought it used a combination of keywords on your page combined with links from other site (weighted by the PR of those sites) to determine your PR. This is the first time that I've heard somebody claim that clicking helped your PR.
sooskriszta wrote:Even so, here's how keyword quality score is calculated for AdWords. I hope we don't need to haggle about whether the same applies to searches
Google Keyword Quality Score wrote:While we continue to refine our Quality Score formulas for Google and the Search Network, the core components remain more or less the same:
  • The historical clickthrough rate (CTR) of the keyword and the matched ad on Google
  • ...
  • Other relevance factors
Yeah, we do have to haggle about that. :) Ads are different than searches. In an ad scheme, you want clicks (because that's how people get paid); in a search scheme, you want an impartial judge of relevance. (Yes, fake links could be equivalent to fake clicks, so there may be some ways to game that, too.)
sooskriszta wrote:
Pony99CA wrote: That seems like it would be remarkably easy to game.
Hence the term "click fraud" (even though nowadays it's used more in context of advertising)
Yes, but click fraud in advertising costs people real money. Click fraud on search results (other than sponsored results, perhaps) does not.
sooskriszta wrote:Well, Google does say
  • If your URL contains relevant words, this provides users and search engines with more information about the page than an ID or oddly named parameter would.
  • Google is good at crawling all types of URL structures, even if they're quite complex, but spending the time to make your URLs as simple as possible for both users and search engines can help.
  • Creating descriptive categories and filenames for the documents on your website can not only help you keep your site better organized, but it could also lead to better crawling of your documents by search engines
.
Of course, Google only HINTS at what one should do - it's not going to just go all out and tell you how to "game" its algorithm. Are we looking for irrefutable proof?
But that's a lot of "cans" and "coulds". The first bullet makes sense (and is the one that I said that I agreed with). The others seem to be proven false by the fact that Google seems to have no problem quickly indexing posts here.

Of course, maybe that advice could help with other search engines. I haven't looked around to see if Bing, Ask or Yahoo have similar suggestions or not. That's probably because I don't much care about SEO. If people don't find my sites, I don't care that much. :D

That said, if you search for "good dog sitting", I'm #7 in Google and #2 in Bing -- with almost no SEO at all (I added Hollister and San Benito County on the Home page to get better rankings on searches with those words and registered with one or two petting sitting Web sites). That just proves that content is king.

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Re: SEF/SEO URLs

Post by OC2PS »

Pony99CA wrote:No, I'm asking if there is documentation that states that Google's PageRank algorithm takes result clicks into account. I thought it used a combination of keywords on your page combined with links from other site (weighted by the PR of those sites) to determine your PR. This is the first time that I've heard somebody claim that clicking helped your PR.
I never said clicks help your Page Rank. I said clicks help your SERP Rank. Google has been using this since the start as one of the factors to determine relevance - which is why as number of users increased on Google, it's accuracy increased too. When they launched AdWords, they applied the same logic to ads - it's not just about the money...Google will remove your "irrelevant" ad even if it doesn't have alternate ads available to search for those keywords. I don't have any documentation at hand, but ask any SEO expert or ask Google at one of their help boards.
Pony99CA wrote:But that's a lot of "cans" and "coulds". The first bullet makes sense (and is the one that I said that I agreed with). The others seem to be proven false by the fact that Google seems to have no problem quickly indexing posts here.
Of course they are cans and coulds. Google won't tell you will and would ;) Nothing is proven false by Google being able to index posts here - as someone said before "Google Bot practically lives here due to the popularity of the site". Also, as someone said before "compare your site before and after SEO URLs - not one non-SEO-URL site to another SEO-URL site".
Pony99CA wrote:That said, if you search for "good dog sitting", I'm #7 in Google and #2 in Bing -- with almost no SEO at all (I added Hollister and San Benito County on the Home page to get better rankings on searches with those words and registered with one or two petting sitting Web sites).
Why don't you perform a little experiment - use SEO URLs, and see if your SERP rank goes up. SEO, of course, is more than just SEO URLs - registering with pet sitting sites, which you did, is also SEO.
Pony99CA wrote:content is king.
There's no arguing that. But in a bulletin board you can't quite exercise control over content that much. However, URL structure is something that you CAN control - even if 90% of post titles are crap, this control over URL structure can help you optimize the good 10% for searches.
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Re: SEF/SEO URLs

Post by callumacrae »

Content is definitely king, I've never optimised any of my websites and I'm still fairly high on google.

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Re: SEF/SEO URLs

Post by OC2PS »

Callum95 wrote:Content is definitely king, I've never optimised any of my websites and I'm still fairly high on google.

~Callum
As has been said numerous times before, that doesn't mean that you wouldn't benefit from SEO.
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Re: SEF/SEO URLs

Post by callumacrae »

sooskriszta wrote:
Callum95 wrote:Content is definitely king, I've never optimised any of my websites and I'm still fairly high on google.

~Callum
As has been said numerous times before, that doesn't mean that you wouldn't benefit from SEO.
I reckon that 2 hours spent on creating better content would be far more beneficial than 2 hours optimising it for search engines :D

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Re: SEF/SEO URLs

Post by OC2PS »

Callum95 wrote:
sooskriszta wrote:
Callum95 wrote:Content is definitely king, I've never optimised any of my websites and I'm still fairly high on google.

~Callum
As has been said numerous times before, that doesn't mean that you wouldn't benefit from SEO.
I reckon that 2 hours spent on creating better content would be far more beneficial than 2 hours optimising it for search engines :D
It's possible. But is this an either-or situation? What if SEO-URLs take 2 minutes one time effort vs 2 hrs per day effort for content generation?

Also, I am curious as to how you go about generating quality content on a NEW bulletin board, and how it helps you get to the top of Google SERP without:
  • Submitting an XML sitemap to Google
  • Getting back links
  • Having Pretty URLs (including having a domain name that contains keywords)
  • Utilizing meta tags like Description
  • Using HTML styles like H1, H2
  • Having logical structure
  • Having easy navigation
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