Extra Variable in Topics URL = Poor SEO?

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cheater512
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Re: Extra Variable in Topics URL = Poor SEO?

Post by cheater512 »

thecoalman wrote:That is simply not my experience, I have two forums that I monitor. One has a URL mod applied and the other does not. The first gets about 50 pages indexed per day and other gets 800 indexed per day. the only difference between the two is the URL's. In fact the first one is on more prominent site so should most likely be doing better if the URL's were not an issue.
Do you really think Google only crawls sites with SEO mods?

There are a massive number of factors involved with how often your crawled.
Google simply doesnt want to crawl your site much.
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Re: Extra Variable in Topics URL = Poor SEO?

Post by thecoalman »

ToonArmy wrote: I imagine both have different content, different styles, different domains, different people linking to them. In fact hundreds of variables, applying a URL mod is unlikely to be the only variable.
True but to be clear, the forum on that site gets about 50 pages indexed each day. The rest of the site is spidered quite consistently. It's only the forum that suffers from poor indexing. If you want you want to take into account structure each site is not that much different, as far as inbound links and other things again the one with poorly indexed forum has is superior in every way.

I understand there's many factors but I'm not talking about a little differrence but a huge difference.
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Re: Extra Variable in Topics URL = Poor SEO?

Post by thecoalman »

cheater512 wrote: Do you really think Google only crawls sites with SEO mods?
Absolutely not, only a fool would think that. Google loves to index everthing which is half the problem.

Google simply doesnt want to crawl your site much.
??? You missed what i posted, my site without the duplicates does very well.
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Re: Extra Variable in Topics URL = Poor SEO?

Post by Highway of Life »

You make some excellent points, but there seems to be some issues that are not very well thought through.

What do you consider duplicate links? Pagination?
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Re: Extra Variable in Topics URL = Poor SEO?

Post by ascensions »

Acyd Burn wrote: Really? We are in the age of dynamic content - i do not think Google (for example) missed this step. ;) It is able to differate between added "parameters" and "static pages". What you want is all data processed on one page being only submitted through the POST action? No GET actions anymore?
Post data wouldn't be beneficial because all data would have "the same" URL then. No, the correct way to handle dynamic content is make sure URLs are the same and variables that would change the URL structure are gathered or produced in alternative ways.
Acyd Burn wrote:
If you want to sort a topic for example, from up/down to down/up... it is the same content, sure. But the user is just viewing the page in a different order, differently sorted... even if there is no change in sorting, users may prefer watching a page with different styles - again, same content, but different layout.
The style could be handled by a site wide global variable, and sorting can certainly be passed through a post method, although I personally find the idea of sorting a topic page useless. But at a minimum lets disable the sort parameter for bots.
Acyd Burn wrote:
I really can't imagine any search engine being that "blind" to tag such "parameters" as duplicate content. They have very complicated algorithms to detect and weight such things. I never ever heard of a forum being set on the blacklist due to different GET parameters on one page. If this would be the case, nearly every website nowadays has to be blacklisted.
Who said blacklisted? This isn't banning material, this is the difference in PHPBB as a CMS being bad and being the best. People download the software because they can't build it themselves. The authors are stewards of each of the websites owner content. A responsibility is given unto them to provide them with a software that adheres to modern web principles.

Acyd Burn wrote: Even if Urls are made human readable (through url rewriting for example), you need to pass on additional GET parameters - is this generating duplicate content too? Of course there is advantage gained by using readable urls, a tiny bit of better rankings, but the main advantage being human readable urls... after all it is for the user and not any machine. If you do not have good content and try to get ranked higher because you are unable to provide such content you should be blacklisted anyway.
I'm not big on rewriting. It's just more work for keyword inclusion. Not necessary. "Just make sure one link for one content", and you will reap huge rewards.

This can be done by using a preset structure for URLs and adhering to it. In moments where you want it to change, you find another way.

An example would be post pages. Post pages are apart of topics. They should not have their own &p= variable. This should only be listed as a # since Google sees the # as part of the same page. Pagination should be calculated based on the config count variable and U_LAST_POST should appear similar to this:

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=25&start=25#1234

not


viewtopic.php?f=10&t=25&p=1234#1234

why? Because elsewhere we have already listed this post apart of another URL with the start param, and no P.
This is but one example, and although in "real-life" this would only effect "browser oriented bots", there are many other similar examples in PHPBB
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Re: Extra Variable in Topics URL = Poor SEO?

Post by A_Jelly_Doughnut »

ascensions wrote: An example would be post pages. Post pages are apart of topics. They should not have their own &p= variable. This should only be listed as a # since Google sees the # as part of the same page. Pagination should be calculated based on the config count variable and U_LAST_POST should appear similar to this:

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=25&start=25#1234

not


viewtopic.php?f=10&t=25&p=1234#1234

why? Because elsewhere we have already listed this post apart of another URL with the start param, and no P.
This is but one example, and although in "real-life" this would only effect "browser oriented bots", there are many other similar examples in PHPBB
Since this is the only specific example you provided, it is the only one that I can say would break functionality. Consider if I try to link to your post under your system. http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopi ... 0#p3229300
That is, it is impossible to reach any page other than the first with only an anchor.
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Re: Extra Variable in Topics URL = Poor SEO?

Post by thecoalman »

Highway of Life wrote:What do you consider duplicate links? Pagination?
As I mentioned my estimation is 20, that may be more it may be less and that's if you upgrded from phpbb2 because all the old links still works. As far as phpbb3 by itself goes I've already posted some examples in this thread:

http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopi ... 0#p3051565
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Re: Extra Variable in Topics URL = Poor SEO?

Post by Highway of Life »

thecoalman wrote:
Highway of Life wrote:What do you consider duplicate links? Pagination?
As I mentioned my estimation is 20, that may be more it may be less and that's if you upgrded from phpbb2 because all the old links still works. As far as phpbb3 by itself goes I've already posted some examples in this thread:

http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopi ... 0#p3051565
That didn't really answer my question.
Pagination is not an issue, which you mentioned about next, previous, etc. But without pagination, there is no way that Google, Search Engines, or anybody else could access anything but the first page of a topic.
I could see sort direction, sort key, sort days and post ID being issues, but as was stated by A_Jelly_Doughnut, Post IDs are required for functionality, though I could see that it could be tweaked by a MOD for better SE performance.
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Re: Extra Variable in Topics URL = Poor SEO?

Post by thecoalman »

Highway of Life wrote:That didn't really answer my question.
Pagination is not an issue, which you mentioned about next, previous, etc. But without pagination, there is no way that Google, Search Engines, or anybody else could access anything but the first page of a topic.
I could see sort direction, sort key, sort days and post ID being issues, but as was stated by A_Jelly_Doughnut, Post IDs are required for functionality, though I could see that it could be tweaked by a MOD for better SE performance.

There's 5 links that go to the same default page, that's duplication because the extra parameters are not required. The only parameter required for defualt pages in pagination is start and thats only if it isnt the first page. ;)

This:

http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopi ... 4&t=527340

Is no different than:

http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopi ... 40&start=0

Nor is it different than:

http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopi ... &sk=t&sd=a

or:

http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopi ... &sk=t&sd=a

or:

http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopi ... =a&start=0

Those will all produce the very same default page. I'm aware that those parameters would be required if you're sorting however I don't understand why the URL cannot be consitently be the first one when those parameters are not being used. If they aren't being used why not strip them out?

Page 1:

http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopi ... 4&t=527340

Page 2:

http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopi ... 0&start=15

etc.

If the user uses the sort box then invoke the other parameters as needed. SE's are not going to be sorting pages so the duplication goes away.

Perhaps I'm overlooking something and my php programming knowledge is rudimentary but from the basic knowledge I have it doesn't appear to me that would be hard to do. I wish it was better so I could offer specific suggestions, maybe next year. ;) Of course I could be wrong....

Edited for clarity.
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Re: Extra Variable in Topics URL = Poor SEO?

Post by romans1423 »

http://www.example.com/page.php?page=5
http://www.example.com/page.php?start=25

Suppose both those URLs link to the same content. Or, even more basic:

http://www.example.com
example.com

Both those are obviously the same. But both are unique URLs.

According to Google's webmaster guidelines, Google's algorithm decides which variant to display (though there is an option in their Webmaster Tools for WWW preference). So, for instance, Google might decide to list a normal topic link as opposed to a print-friendly link, even though the content is the same.

In other words, variable variables are not a problem. Google can figure it out. Just read their Guidelines. :)

However, there's no guarantee that they'll display the most basic/most common of a URL variant, the one you want to be "canonical." That's simply an SEO issue and can be resolved with robots.txt. Just block Google from indexing things with "print=" or "p=" or similar. Very easy, doesn't require core modification to phpBB, and still allows Google to visit every forum, every topic, and every page of every topic, WITHOUT getting any duplication of content.

For those who think that using GET variables to do things like display certain posts, sort the topic, and so on, yes, POST can be used to do that, but that is a misuse of POST. POST is for submitting info, GET is for getting info. Plus, POST-defined pages cannot be bookmarked or linked to. Such requires GET & the URL variables.

(Heck, and I know I'm rambling, but this is even possible:

viewtopic.php?t=1&f=2
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1

Same content, different URL. Can't control how users type things in without setting up crazy .htaccess redirects. But then again, Google can figure it out.

They do, however, have a problem with maliciously duplicating content, and reading their guidelines sheds light on that.
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Re: Extra Variable in Topics URL = Poor SEO?

Post by thecoalman »

romans1423 wrote:
Suppose both those URLs link to the same content. Or, even more basic:

http://www.example.com
example.com

Both those are obviously the same. But both are unique URLs.
No need to set it up in webmastertools, add this to your htaccess:

Code: Select all

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.yoursite\.com$ [NC] 
RewriteRule ^(.*) http://www.yoursite.com/$1 [QSA,L,R=301]
A SE won't have to figure whether its www or no www because its only going to see the www version. IMO its better to point the SE in the exact direction it should go instead of letting it decide for itself what is important. Thats about the same point I'm trying to make regarding the duplicate URL's, if you can do it why shouldn't you?
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Re: Extra Variable in Topics URL = Poor SEO?

Post by romans1423 »

I agree, but I disagree that the way phpBB is set up is a bad thing, especially when getting Google going in the right direction is as simple as a robots.txt file (and perhaps one should be included by default -- or even via a robots.txt manager in the admin panel of a phpBB installation -- which disallows robots.txt compliant bots from visiting unnecessary pages).

Ideally, there's only four things bots need to see:

Index
Forums
Topics
Pages of Topics

Everything else is non-content-related or members-only, if I'm not mistaken.
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Re: Extra Variable in Topics URL = Poor SEO?

Post by thecoalman »

Edit: That's how there written on viewtopic... ignore the following

---------------------------------------


I could be mistaken here but if you deny the parameters through robots.txt with wildcrds theres no URL that goes to

http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopi ... 0&start=15

or

http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopi ... 0&start=30

To get those indexed you would have to allow most of them which puts you back at square one.
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Re: Extra Variable in Topics URL = Poor SEO?

Post by ascensions »

A_Jelly_Doughnut wrote: Since this is the only specific example you provided, it is the only one that I can say would break functionality. Consider if I try to link to your post under your system. http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopi ... 0#p3229300
That is, it is impossible to reach any page other than the first with only an anchor.
Not if you have the php file determine what &start variable is based on the post count for a topic.

I'm doing just that right now on my board, and it works flawless.

Once you have the count, just do a

if < 25 (my count setting)

link structure a: without start variable

elseif >25

link structure b: with the start variable.
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Re: Extra Variable in Topics URL = Poor SEO?

Post by Highway of Life »

ascensions wrote:Not if you have the php file determine what &start variable is based on the post count for a topic.

I'm doing just that right now on my board, and it works flawless.

Once you have the count, just do a

if < 25 (my count setting)

link structure a: without start variable

elseif >25

link structure b: with the start variable.
Though you’ll need to make sure you specify the board config values of Posts per page and Topics per page.
if < $config['posts_per_page']
else if > $config['posts_per_page']
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