What is the best seo mod?

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Eelke
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Re: What is the best seo mod?

Post by Eelke »

Who's to know? But why would they? I'd expect that the URL is simply treated as another potential source for keywords. If it "matches" the rest of the content, it will probably contribute somewhat to the ranking of the page (although I personally feel that the most important incentive to use "friendly URLs" is that it looks nicer, I can hardly imagine it gets you a lot of points).
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Re: What is the best seo mod?

Post by drathbun »

Here's one of the problems I have with trying to set up "fancy" content word URL's for discussion boards: you're leaving the SEO in the hands of your users. Do you really want to do that? Have a look at some of the topic titles from the Support forum (and yes, I cherry-picked these to prove a point):
Topic titles from Support wrote: error code
New problem after update
sql error
Fresh Install
error during updating
... and they go on from there. Do you think that sql_error.html would be a good hit for google or other search engines, something that would relate to phpbb.com? How about error_code.html? Neither are very good, I think. Plus when a subject is edited, the "smart" url would be rewritten which would result in a missing page the next time the search engine comes around. Also not good.

Who do you think is going to be better at extracting content from the post: you with what I assume would be limited time and budget, or google who does this for a living? I assume google will do a better job, thus I leave it up to them.

With static pages - content that never changes - I can see where SEO could make the difference between a couple of points up or down on search results. But with dynamic pages like here on phpbb.com, it has been shown over and over that topics and their keywords get indexed very rapidly, without any extra effort whatsoever. I remain unconvinced that it's important for board owners (and therefore phpBB coders) to be concerned about SEO.
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Re: What is the best seo mod?

Post by Dog Cow »

drathbun wrote: ... and they go on from there. Do you think that sql_error.html would be a good hit for google or other search engines, something that would relate to phpbb.com? How about error_code.html? Neither are very good, I think.
No, of course not. The page content matters as well. But if someone does a Google search, then it's one more potential match.
Plus when a subject is edited, the "smart" url would be rewritten which would result in a missing page the next time the search engine comes around. Also not good.
Implementation. If the SEO software you're using is like that, then you need to consider changing it or writing your own. All dynamic, "pretty" URLs should have an absolute ID number in them to prevent exactly that scenario. In any case, the fact that the URL would change to reflect the updated subject matter is a boon, IMO.
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Re: What is the best seo mod?

Post by drathbun »

Dog Cow wrote:If the SEO software you're using is like that, then you need to consider changing it or writing your own.
It was a hypothetical example, as I said earlier in this topic I don't use URL rewrites. :) The only SEO changes I have made are to remove some "bad" links and replace others with more appropriate text.
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Re: What is the best seo mod?

Post by Eelke »

SEO, of course, is not just pretty URLs. It is also about proper HTML structure and of course the holy grail of SEO: content, content, content (actually, I suppose that means there is no holy grail, because content takes effort to create :)).

If you choose to base URLs on topic titles, that to me is just one more reason to educate your users to use titles that make sense; the fact users can come up with some stupid titles is just a fact of life, and it is no worse for URLs than it is for topic overviews on your site, where other users can't make sense of what a topic is about [or for the title tag, which I believe to be far more important for page rank than the URL]. Putting keywords in URLs will not mean that that page will suddenly get top marks for those keywords (this presumed effect is usually used as an argument in favour of friendly URLs, I've never seen it turned around :lol: ). Neither does having them in the title tag in the head, or in the <h1> (surely the only one you have on the page), or in some natural text forming the content of the page. If it all adds up, though, it's all going to contribute to a good page rank.

Do friendly URLs make a huge difference? I don't believe so. (Could it make the winning difference if your board is in a highly competitive niche? I suppose it could). Is it worth the effort from an SEO standpoint? I honestly don't know. Actually, with all the dynamic websites out there, I'd expect search engines to tie very little value to the actual URL (the bottom line is always, search engines are designed to let web users find information on the web, not to keep SEO-companies in business and webmasters worrying about how their URLs look). I believe, by the way, that there is another reason to put keywords in URLs; nowadays, it's very common for software to turn URLs into links automatically. A very important factor in getting a good page rank is keywords in links pointing to the page. If you make sure there are keywords in the URL, there will be keywords in the link if that URL gets turned into alink.

Whatever way you choose, of course the software has to be clever, and you have to be clever. If you are going to have friendly URLs today, and for some reason those URLs stop working tomorrow, you have broken an awful lot of the links to your site. If you don't take into account that your URL would change if your topic title changes, that's just plain silly :) Like Dog Cow said, make sure that no matter what the URL is, you can always work out what the topic is. If you do it properly, you work out the "correct" URL for every page and you compare that to the URL that was actually used to get to the page. If they don't match, you do a 301 redirect to advertise the "correct" URL. This is all not trivial stuff, and like I said, I have my doubts it's actually worth the effort, just to get pretty URLs. If you don't know what you're doing and all you care about is getting the pretty URLs without any ? and &, you are likely to do more harm then good.
Last edited by Eelke on Mon Jul 20, 2009 6:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the best seo mod?

Post by Dog Cow »

drathbun wrote:
Dog Cow wrote:If the SEO software you're using is like that, then you need to consider changing it or writing your own.
It was a hypothetical example, as I said earlier in this topic I don't use URL rewrites. :) The only SEO changes I have made are to remove some "bad" links and replace others with more appropriate text.
I meant "you" in the sense of "one," not necessarily you personally.
Eelke wrote: If you choose to base URLs on topic titles, that to me is just one more reason to educate your users to use titles that make sense; the fact users can come up with some stupid titles is just a fact of life, and it is no worse for URLs than it is for topic overviews on your site, where other users can't make sense of what a topic is about.
Of course, many moderators will edit the topic of a title if they feel that it is not descriptive enough or suitable. The moderators here at phpbb.com do this from time to time.
I believe, by the way, that there is another reason to put keywords in URLs; nowadays, it's very common for software to turn URLs into links automatically.
Yep. 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. It's a lot nicer to be able to see the topic or forum title in a URL and you have a much better idea of where that URL will follow, as opposed to viewtopic.php?t=35623 ... who knows where that leads?
Eelke wrote:Like Dog Cow said, make sure that no matter what the URL is, you can always work out what the topic is. If you do it properly, you work out the "correct" URL for every page and you compare that to the URL that was actually used to get to the page. If they don't match, you do a 301 redirect to advertise the "correct" URL. This is all not trivial stuff, and like I said, I have my doubts it's actually worth the effort, just to get pretty URLs. If you don't know what you're doing and all you care about is getting the pretty URLs without any ? and &, you are likely to do more harm then good.
When redoing my forums almost a year ago, I went to great lengths to make sure that the URL handling was pretty much "bullet-proof." Without boring all of you to death, here's a summary:

Forum URLs look like this: /forums/forum-name/f.6/
The URI parser is just looking for the f. sequence. The forum name is optional. Pages two and so-on are simply /f.6_2/

Topic URLs looks like this: /forums/forum-name/topic-title/t.200/
Again, the URI parser is just looking for the t. sequence. The topic title and forum name are optional, but if they are not included, then a 301 redirect is issued to the "correct", verbose URL. Pagination is identical to the forums.

One benefit of this faux directory structure is that someone can do a Google search such as "cats site:example.com/forums/forum-name/" and will only get posts from that forum. There are no duplicate URLs. In addition, if anyone accesses the "legacy" viewtopic and viewforum, then he gets a 301 redirect to the new URL.
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Re: What is the best seo mod?

Post by Prof101 »

I agree that everyone should concentrate on good content. But I assume there are a few basic things that I can do to my new phpbb forum to optimise it for search engines. But I have not found a post which simply lists a few things that I should do. Can someone write one?? My impression is that most posters assume such a level of knowledge that these threads are often impenetrable to newbies.
My current problems are that I have tried to add my forum to google wemaster tools, but it says that my site is a file. My domain is: englishforuniversity.com and my phpbb forum is at http://englishforuniversity.com/phpBB3/index.php so I have my domain already listed - can I add my forum separately?
Secondly, I did a 'scrub the web' test of my forum and it said I have no meta description tag used, but onlooking at my overall header file it looks OK.
Any simple SEO tips for a newbie very welcome!
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Re: What is the best seo mod?

Post by Eelke »

Prof101 wrote:But I assume there are a few basic things that I can do to my new phpbb forum to optimise it for search engines.
The "basic things" have already been done, mostly. As has been said before, phpBB3 does a pretty darn good job of ticking most of the "basic" boxes. My favourite tip beyond the basics is tweaking the title tag (I think it has been described previously in this thread).
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Re: What is the best seo mod?

Post by garble »

ric323 wrote:As people have already stated, most major search engines, including Google, ignore META tags now, because they were so abused in the past.
Google at least still looks at the description tag as far as I know. If you sign up and use Google's webmaster tools, one of the checks they do on your website is for pages with duplicated descriptions. Here's the Google meta description information for webmasters.

The Google algorithim for search rankings contains 100 or more different variables. My own observation after changing some urls in one website from the format page.php?variable=123&anothervariable=456 to urls matching the title and or description tags was that there was a boost in rankings. I don't think it's the most important factor, and my own opinion is that it is likely to lose importance since so many websites are using automated URL rewriting to boost their rankings. However, the benefit comes not from the fact that the URLs are rewritten per se, but that whenever a link is posted (either internally or externally) without specifying any linked text, the title then becomes the default link text associated with the URL, and that is one of the more significant factors in the Google algorithm.
Ignore garble :mrgreen:
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Re: What is the best seo mod?

Post by Davey123 »

Dog Cow wrote:When redoing my forums almost a year ago, I went to great lengths to make sure that the URL handling was pretty much "bullet-proof." Without boring all of you to death, here's a summary:

Forum URLs look like this: /forums/forum-name/f.6/
The URI parser is just looking for the f. sequence. The forum name is optional. Pages two and so-on are simply /f.6_2/

Topic URLs looks like this: /forums/forum-name/topic-title/t.200/
Again, the URI parser is just looking for the t. sequence. The topic title and forum name are optional, but if they are not included, then a 301 redirect is issued to the "correct", verbose URL. Pagination is identical to the forums.

One benefit of this faux directory structure is that someone can do a Google search such as "cats site:example.com/forums/forum-name/" and will only get posts from that forum. There are no duplicate URLs. In addition, if anyone accesses the "legacy" viewtopic and viewforum, then he gets a 301 redirect to the new URL.
Hi Dog cow, this is very interesting - did you do this somehow through the .htaccess please ?
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Re: What is the best seo mod?

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Dog Cow wrote:When redoing my forums almost a year ago, I went to great lengths to make sure that the URL handling was pretty much "bullet-proof." Without boring all of you to death, here's a summary:

Forum URLs look like this: /forums/forum-name/f.6/
The URI parser is just looking for the f. sequence. The forum name is optional. Pages two and so-on are simply /f.6_2/

Topic URLs looks like this: /forums/forum-name/topic-title/t.200/
Again, the URI parser is just looking for the t. sequence. The topic title and forum name are optional, but if they are not included, then a 301 redirect is issued to the "correct", verbose URL. Pagination is identical to the forums.
As long as we're reviving a year-old topic, I have two questions.
  1. What happens if somebody starts a topic with "t." in it (like "t.1000 Terminator")? Do you URL encode the period?
  2. Is this something that you could package into a MOD? I'm sure lots of people would like your solution.
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Re: What is the best seo mod?

Post by hot_boy_bg »

meta tag DISCRIPTION and TITLE is the best - other userless
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Re: What is the best seo mod?

Post by DaveC64 »

Hi everyone,

After reading most of this Thread, I’m really none the wiser, especially as most of it seems a little out of date now.

I have had a look at the SEO Mods on this forum and there is a few to choose from, so basically, which one or combination of them are the best to apply to my forum???

Forum SEO
SEO Friendly Forum Title
Index SEO description and keywords mod.
Topic SEO description and keywords mod
SEO MOD
Sitemap FX
Page Titles Optimization
User Blog Mod
Quick Title Edition

I found the SEO phpBB Mods at:
http://www.phpbb.com/customise/db/find- ... %5D_1-sc_1

Thanks,
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Re: What is the best seo mod?

Post by Brf »

We do not recommend SEO mods at all. The Search Engines will index just fine without them.
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Re: What is the best seo mod?

Post by DaveC64 »

So are these mods pointless then???... and I know it will be indexed just find. Im more interested in getting my forum ranking for its content in the search engines.
Last edited by DaveC64 on Wed May 18, 2011 2:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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