SEO - Obsolete?

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callumacrae
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Re: SEO - Obsolete?

Post by callumacrae » Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:42 am

Dog Cow wrote:Someone here at the phpBB Group thought that it was important enough to include it in the Titania MODs DB.

You should take a look around this web site before you start sandbagging people with the same line over and over again that SEO URLs don't matter at all.

Again, someone with the phpBB Group took the time to make SEO URLs for this a major feature on this very site.
They're "human readable URLs". So that humans can read them. They weren't, as far as I am aware, put there so that the phpBB customisation database is placed ahead of all the rival modification databases on search engines.
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Re: SEO - Obsolete?

Post by tbackoff » Sun Nov 04, 2012 4:18 am

Dog Cow wrote:Where are your facts, t_backoff, that SEO URLs don't matter?
Ah, but I never said they didn't.
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Re: SEO - Obsolete?

Post by -EnYgmA- » Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:26 am

This is a very contradictory debate ...

I will not say that ...

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Re: SEO - Obsolete?

Post by drathbun » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:48 pm

There may be certain behaviors that Google / Bing / et al favor today. It does not mean they will continue to favor them tomorrow. That's the point of the article that I originally linked, as far as I read it. As search engine algorithms continue to get more and more sophisticated, the "tricks" that people apply today to attempt to gain exposure on page one of the search results may not be necessary. Ultimately it will be truly about the content.

The point of "human readable URLs" really isn't about making them human readable at all... it's about putting keywords into the page link. If we have keywords in our header tags (H1, H2, etc) as well as in our page title, and those keywords also appear in an appropriate fashion within the content as well, then keywords in the URL may help reinforce the idea that this page is, in fact, about those particular keywords. As stated, Wordpress offers a very simple method for turning this on. The category for the blog post becomes part of the URL, and the title of the blog post becomes the URL as well. But a blog post is not a forum post. When I write a blog post, it may take hours or even days of research. I may document my findings with screen shots. I may search the web for relevant links in order to include them. By the time my blog post is published, hopefully it has been outlined, written, proofed, and finally published. Once it gets to that point, it's not likely to change much, and certainly the title won't. I may write several thousand forum posts over the course of a year, and several dozen blog posts. The relative weight / importance of an individual forum post is just not as high as an individual blog post. So to me it makes sense that Wordpress does more for SEO, simply because it's more important for that platform.

A forum post might take two minutes. Less, if I don't search first. ;) In my opinion, they're different animals. The amount of effort required to ensure unique, valid, and appropriate "keyword stuffed" URLs is not mandated in this case. I've been running a phpBB board for years and when I search for keywords that I expect to match on my site, I find that without fail my site appears on page one of the results.

Finally, I won't dispute that studies exist that can show that this helps as far as search engine optimization, at least today. ;) But if you've worked on the web long enough, you know that strategies that worked three years ago are in many cases no longer used, and in some cases may even draw a penalty in the weighting. So if we can agree that forums are not blogs (and vice versa) then perhaps we can also agree that different techniques may also be more or less appropriate.
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Re: SEO - Obsolete?

Post by Pony99CA » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:31 pm

Dog Cow wrote:
Pony99CA wrote:
abrakadava wrote:The devs need to ignore this garbage and make SEO a higher priority if they want to continue to grow the platform...
I'm sure that your opinion will be given its due weight. :twisted:
You should take a look around this web site before you start sandbagging people with the same line over and over again that SEO URLs don't matter at all.
As you called me out, I'm going to sandbag you. :twisted:

First, show me one place that I said that SEO URLs (I call them HR-URLs -- Human Readable URLs) don't matter? In fact, if you bothered to read my earlier posts, you'd' have found this one, where I said that I liked them and included a link to an Area 51 RFC where I made a specific proposal to add HR-URLs for very little cost and no database modifications.

I also don't doubt that HR-URLs might help SERP in cases where two pages rank similarly and one has it and one doesn't. I just want more proof that they have the major impact claimed by people like the newbie poster, overriding pages with "better" content and more back-links, for example.

As an aside, I know that a good domain name helps -- search for "good dog sitting" in Google and you'll get my site #3 on the first page (as of today, sometimes it's been #1 even) even though I doubt that I have the best or most linked to dog sitting site on the Web. But that's not the part of the URL that we're talking about.

Second, the comment that you quoted had little to do with the subject; it was about that poster's attitude. He comes here all puffed up calling the topic ridiculous and garbage in his first post, so I pointed out that developers would likely give his opinion the weight it was due (very little). That doesn't mean that developers won't implement the solution (and there are proposals in Area 51, including mine).

Finally, I've previously asked you if you could make your HR-URL system a MOD and gotten no response. What's up with that?

And even you didn't sound truly convinced that there would be SEO benefits (emphasis added below):
There were two reasons that I did friendly URLs for my forums: one was for the users, and the second reason was for any potential SEO benefits.
So have they helped with SERP?

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Re: SEO - Obsolete?

Post by Christian 2.0 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:52 pm

t_backoff wrote:
Dog Cow wrote:Where are your facts, t_backoff, that SEO URLs don't matter?
Ah, but I never said they didn't.
You did: here, here, here, here and here. :mrgreen:

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Re: SEO - Obsolete?

Post by tbackoff » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:56 pm

I meant in this topic, but fair enough. :P
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Google Matches Keywords in URLs

Post by Dog Cow » Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:34 pm

Google Matches Keywords in URLs

I was inspired to run an experiment against Google a few days ago after making my post in this topic.

Here is what I did: I selected 4 words that should never appear on any web page or in any URL yet existing on the Web. They are 4 words from three different languages: English, Latin, and French. I ran a Google search on these 4 words, and no hits were returned by Google.

I then constructed an HTML page containing a nonsense story about a hiking trip. This HTML page did NOT contain any of the 4 words chosen previously.

I then uploaded this HTML page to my web site and used the 4 words, separated by dashes, as the file name. Then I added .html for the extension.

I put a link to this HTML page on a prominent place on my main web site. Likewise, the anchor text for the link did not contain any of the 4 special words. I waited for it to appear in the Google index.

Today, it does.

If you do a Google search for even just three out of the four words, my web page appears at the top of the search results, even though none of the words appear anywhere in the HTML page.

https://www.google.com/search?q=meronym+hominem+poulet
https://www.google.com/search?q=meronym ... ulet+onuma

The results of this experiment would seem to suggest that Google does pay attention to the URL of web pages.
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Re: Google Matches Keywords in URLs

Post by callumacrae » Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:42 pm

Dog Cow wrote:Google Matches Keywords in URLs

I was inspired to run an experiment against Google a few days ago after making my post in this topic.

Here is what I did: I selected 4 words that should never appear on any web page or in any URL yet existing on the Web. They are 4 words from three different languages: English, Latin, and French. I ran a Google search on these 4 words, and no hits were returned by Google.

I then constructed an HTML page containing a nonsense story about a hiking trip. This HTML page did NOT contain any of the 4 words chosen previously.

I then uploaded this HTML page to my web site and used the 4 words, separated by dashes, as the file name. Then I added .html for the extension.

I put a link to this HTML page on a prominent place on my main web site. Likewise, the anchor text for the link did not contain any of the 4 special words. I waited for it to appear in the Google index.

Today, it does.

If you do a Google search for even just three out of the four words, my web page appears at the top of the search results, even though none of the words appear anywhere in the HTML page.

https://www.google.com/search?q=meronym+hominem+poulet
https://www.google.com/search?q=meronym ... ulet+onuma

The results of this experiment would seem to suggest that Google does pay attention to the URL of web pages.
Yeah, we knew that it gets keywords from the URL. There is no evidence that it prefers them, though, and it is impossible to test for.
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Re: SEO - Obsolete?

Post by Dog Cow » Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:59 pm

callumacrae wrote:and it is impossible to test for.
I don't think so. I've already thought of another experiment to test for it, and I will run it later this week.
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Re: SEO - Obsolete?

Post by drathbun » Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:56 pm

You might also need to test similar pages with non-text URLs, but with same or similar content. See which one ranks higher.

The problem with tests like this is you're testing in a vacuum. You can't know what Google does, you can only infer. And your inferences today may not match Google's algorithms tomorrow. But it still looks like an interesting exercise. :)
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Re: Google Matches Keywords in URLs

Post by Pony99CA » Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:14 pm

callumacrae wrote:Yeah, we knew that it gets keywords from the URL. There is no evidence that it prefers them, though, and it is impossible to test for.
Actually, I didn't know that it got keywords from URLs, so I think that was an interesting experiment. I figured that Google would look at the URL for keywords and, if they matched keywords on the page, the page would get a bump. I didn't know that it would index pages under keywords only contained in the URL. That seems like something spammers and malware purveyors would do.

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Re: Google Matches Keywords in URLs

Post by Lumpy Burgertushie » Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:43 pm

Pony99CA wrote:
callumacrae wrote:Yeah, we knew that it gets keywords from the URL. There is no evidence that it prefers them, though, and it is impossible to test for.
Actually, I didn't know that it got keywords from URLs, so I think that was an interesting experiment. I figured that Google would look at the URL for keywords and, if they matched keywords on the page, the page would get a bump. I didn't know that it would index pages under keywords only contained in the URL. That seems like something spammers and malware purveyors would do.

Steve
which is why google keeps changing it's way of doing these things. remember when you could get away with putting thousands of keywords in the code that did not display on the page because the font was the same color as the background?
google gets smarter every day.


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Re: SEO - Obsolete?

Post by Dog Cow » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:45 pm

drathbun wrote:You might also need to test similar pages with non-text URLs, but with same or similar content. See which one ranks higher.

The problem with tests like this is you're testing in a vacuum. You can't know what Google does, you can only infer. And your inferences today may not match Google's algorithms tomorrow. But it still looks like an interesting exercise. :)
I thought everyone here at phpBB.com enjoyed blackbox testing... :|

I will outline my next test case.

I will prepare at least 4 sets of paired documents. Each pair of documents will be specially crafted to contain a nonsense story similar to my last experiment, but each pair of documents will contain a unique set of keywords that brings up no other result on an existing Google search, again, similar to last time.

Each pair of documents will contain the same set of words, but to avoid Google's duplicate content detection system, the words will be scrambled in a manner that I devise. Probably I will rearrange sentences and words within sentences.

Furthermore, one of the two documents will be given a file name that does not contain any of the unique keywords for the document pair. The other document in the pair will.

All sets of documents will be uploaded at the same time so they will all have the same level of "freshness" and since they all contain the same sets of words, they should be relatively equal in all respects.

I will execute a search on the unique keywords for each pair to see which document-- the one with the keywords in the filename (URL) or the one without-- comes up first. Because each document pair contains a unique set of keywords, each Google search will return two and only two results (the pair of documents).

Since I will have 4 or more pairs, I will judge how many times each one of the set comes up ahead of the other. And then I will make my conclusion on whether keywords in a URL affect ranking of search results.
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