Callum95 wrote:You don't need SEO urls for that - firefox also searches the page titles
It depends on what exactly one understands for SEO. It has nothing to do with human-readable URLs, that much is true, but it has to do with browser page title, which I do consider a part of SEO.Lumpy Burgertushie wrote:but that has nothing to do with SEO. That has to do with your memory and the memory of your browser.
Although I do agree that Google has no problem indexing phpBB boards, the story is somewhat different with Yahoo and whatever the engine-of-the-day from Microsoft. The latter generally show considerably lower indexation. It is anybody's guess why, but it may, just may, has something to do with dynamic URLs.
As far as the page titles are concerned, it is time to get rid of 'View forum' and 'View topic' for they have no relevance to the content of the page. Most of the time it is irrelevant to the readers if the information they are looking for comes from a forum. Page titles should not have anything that is not descriptive of the page's content.
And finally, I think this periodic calls for phpBB's URL SEO optimization came mostly from the CMS crowd and are mostly misguided. Having heard from numerous SEO "experts" about the importance of keywords in the URLs, they have a hair-raising experience having looked at phpBB URLs. They do, however, miss a very important issue: while publishing articles on a WordPress or Joomla site they can be in complete control of the titles and can even hand-craft the permalinks, they are not in control of topic titles every Jane and Jack can come up within a forum. Even a moderately active forum can generate hundreds of titles every month making it unmanageable for any meaningful SEO optimization. Yes, they cam still slap a topic number into the URL to prevent duplication of content, which may be a reasonable compromise.
The bottom line is - and I will take the trouble of repeating the previous speakers - when it comes to search engine ranking (and this IS what we are after, isn't it?), the significance of having keywords in the URLis much lesser than having valuable content and back links. Uniqueness of content and back links will affect site ranking way more than keywords in URLs and site ranking is what moves you up the Google's list. Rather than pissing and moaning about not having human-readable URLs, concentrate on having human-readable content.