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Author Topic: SMF SEO Unfriendly?  (Read 67490 times)

Offline 青山 素子

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #20 on: March 07, 2008, 12:32:57 AM »
Yes, I imagine this would be very complicated to correct but the last topic links are displayed everywhere and every days search engines find new URLs for the same pages. Couldn't the last messages links be replaced by the last topic ones or a link sending to the last page where the last topic is, in the board index?

But that can change. Take as an example a topic where you want to link to message #49. The board has a default of 10 posts per page. This puts #49 on page five. So, let's make a link of "topic5564.5#m68499" or something like that. All topics on page five are the same except for the fragment (The # part). Now, suppose the admin decides to move to 20 posts per page for some reason. Reply #49 is now on page 3. The link that you sent a friend to read is now invalid because it goes to the wrong page.

By putting a post id in the URL, you will wind up on the right page because SMF calculates what page to drop you on.

Forums with a set up of 20 posts per page that will make 20 different URL's for the same page plus the other URL's from the previous and next links. That is a lot of duplicate content.

Each post can be referenced by a unique link. I don't see the problem here. If you use a post-level URL, a tag is placed in the page preventing a search engine from indexing it, so it isn't counted as duplicate content.


And what is the point to have a link to a post placed in the title of the same post? Maybe so people can click to go to the same place over and over until the server crashes  :D

So you can copy the link easily and send to someone? It is quite easy to do so on all the browsers.

BTW, updating my previous post with more info on the points I didn't cover before I left work.
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Offline Dannii

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #21 on: March 07, 2008, 12:48:40 AM »
Could the messages link to msg= in 2.0?
"Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise."

Offline 青山 素子

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #22 on: March 07, 2008, 12:50:34 AM »
Could the messages link to msg= in 2.0?

So instead of topic=, it would be message= ?

I don't see that as an improvement because it would link to the topic anyway as SMF doesn't display individual messages on their own page, only in the topic flow.
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Offline Dannii

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #23 on: March 07, 2008, 12:53:32 AM »
Yeah, but you would have simple links consisting only of the message ID, which then redirect to the topic number, page number with message as a fragment. Seems simpler to me, only issue is the server loading for redirecting lots of pages. Could be a server option though?
"Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise."

Offline 青山 素子

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #24 on: March 07, 2008, 12:55:05 AM »
Yeah, but you would have simple links consisting only of the message ID, which then redirect to the topic number, page number with message as a fragment. Seems simpler to me, only issue is the server loading for redirecting lots of pages. Could be a server option though?

Might be interesting, although this is going a bit off-topic.
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Offline ForumMustang.com

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #25 on: March 07, 2008, 12:07:49 PM »
Quote
But that can change. Take as an example a topic where you want to link to message #49. The board has a default of 10 posts per page. This puts #49 on page five. So, let's make a link of "topic5564.5#m68499" or something like that. All topics on page five are the same except for the fragment (The # part). Now, suppose the admin decides to move to 20 posts per page for some reason. Reply #49 is now on page 3. The link that you sent a friend to read is now invalid because it goes to the wrong page.

By putting a post id in the URL, you will wind up on the right page because SMF calculates what page to drop you on.

SMF could calculate the page where the reply #49 would be depending of how post per page the forum is set up. We could have something like: index.php?topic=225022.0&page4#msg1444063 this way there would be no duplicate content. I don't know how easy that would be done but vbseo works like that. vbseo.com/f2/vbseo-functions-extensibility-1662/index4.html#post57854


Quote
Each post can be referenced by a unique link. I don't see the problem here. If you use a post-level URL, a tag is placed in the page preventing a search engine from indexing it, so it isn't counted as duplicate content.

I am not sure what you mean there but you are right. I just checked if there was any duplicate content for this topic and others and I didn't find any. My forum does. Is it a new feature from smf 2.0? Can it be implemented in 1.1.4 forums? How does it work?
I am very interested  :D

Offline 青山 素子

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #26 on: March 07, 2008, 12:31:42 PM »
SMF could calculate the page where the reply #49 would be depending of how post per page the forum is set up. We could have something like: index.php?topic=225022.0&page4#msg1444063 this way there would be no duplicate content. I don't know how easy that would be done but vbseo works like that. vbseo.com/f2/vbseo-functions-extensibility-1662/index4.html#post57854

But what if the page number changes since you got the link? That is the problem. You can accurately determine the offset quite easily when you visit the topic, but what if the page number that the post is on changes?

I am not sure what you mean there but you are right. I just checked if there was any duplicate content for this topic and others and I didn't find any. My forum does. Is it a new feature from smf 2.0? Can it be implemented in 1.1.4 forums? How does it work?
I am very interested  :D

I think it might have been added in the last RC, but it was implemented in 1.1 final for sure. If your theme is upgraded from a 1.0 theme or was created in the RC or beta phase of 1.1, it probably doesn't have the logic in the template.

Look in index.template.php, you want to see something like this:

Code: [Select]
<meta name="description" content="', $context['page_title'], '" />', empty($context['robot_no_index']) ? '' : '
<meta name="robots" content="noindex" />', '
Motoko-chan
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Offline ForumMustang.com

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #27 on: March 07, 2008, 01:15:16 PM »
Quote
But what if the page number changes since you got the link? That is the problem. You can accurately determine the offset quite easily when you visit the topic, but what if the page number that the post is on changes?
The number of posts by page is saved in the database so if it's modified, SMF could know in what page the post would be and update the links. But if you are saying search engines don't index the duplicate pages, this problem is not really one  :D

Quote
I think it might have been added in the last RC, but it was implemented in 1.1 final for sure. If your theme is upgraded from a 1.0 theme or was created in the RC or beta phase of 1.1, it probably doesn't have the logic in the template.

Look in index.template.php, you want to see something like this:

I converted my site from Xoops to SMF about a year ago and after that, I noticed that none of the SMF pages were indexed by Google. I had no idea why and when I saw the tag "noindex" in the header I decided to delete it.
I don't understand how this code works so can you confirm me only duplicate pages are not being indexed?

Offline ForumMustang.com

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #28 on: March 07, 2008, 01:50:38 PM »
  :o It worked  :D Only the duplicate pages have the "noindex" tag. Now I understand why my SMF forum was so SEO Unfriendly and I retire what I said previously.
 Thank you very very much Motoko-chan. You saved my site  ;)

Two more questions:
 I guess there is no need to display the last 10 topics on the SEO point of vue if they are not being indexed. Right?
 If the pages are not indexed, does it mean that search engines won't follow the links in those pages?
 Thank you again.

Offline 青山 素子

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #29 on: March 07, 2008, 02:00:33 PM »
Quote
But what if the page number changes since you got the link? That is the problem. You can accurately determine the offset quite easily when you visit the topic, but what if the page number that the post is on changes?
The number of posts by page is saved in the database so if it's modified, SMF could know in what page the post would be and update the links. But if you are saying search engines don't index the duplicate pages, this problem is not really one  :D

Maybe I'm being unclear. Say I find a post about halfway through a topic and I want to send a link for it to my friend. I grab the link (conveniently part of the title of each post) and e-mail it off. But my friend is awfully busy and can't look at it until the weekend. However, on Friday evening, the administrator decides they want to change the posts-per-page for some reason.

If you use SMF's current link style, it won't matter as the correct part of the topic will open and the message will be there. However, if the link you gave had the page number in it, and only the fragment had the message number, my friend will quite likely wind up on the wrong page and have to poke back and forth to find that post.

Dannii's suggestion actually is a better idea than passing the page number. You make the post ID part of the query passed in and it doesn't matter what page the post is on, it will be pulled up. This is actually what SMF currently does in a roundabout way (It passes topic and message ids).


I converted my site from Xoops to SMF about a year ago and after that, I noticed that none of the SMF pages were indexed by Google. I had no idea why and when I saw the tag "noindex" in the header I decided to delete it.
I don't understand how this code works so can you confirm me only duplicate pages are not being indexed?

If you did a wholesale conversion, that would be why there were index problems. There will always be when you completely change the URLs. There is a theory that Google (and possibly other search engines) keep track of the average change rate of a site. When you go outside this range by a big margin, you'll get penalized temporarily while it figures out what went on. This seems to be a reaction from valid sites with content having their domains expire and a squatter snaps it up for advertising and such to benefit from the residual rank the old site had.

The code basically determines if "robot_no_index" is set. If it is, it adds in the noindex tag. If not, it doesn't do anything. It might look a little confusing, but this is actually an example of a ternary conditional (read link for explanation on how it works).

The robot_no_index value is set in Display.php. There are certain conditions that cause it to be set. The previous and next links trigger it. Any topic link that points to a specific message (like topic=3898932.msg458942) will also cause it to be set.



Two more questions:
 I guess there is no need to display the last 10 topics on the SEO point of vue if they are not being indexed. Right?
 If the pages are not indexed, does it mean that search engines won't follow the links in those pages?
 Thank you again.

Last ten topics? I know there is a "recent posts" area. As those link to individual posts, they will be requested to not be indexed.

Note there is not a "nofollow" directive. This means the search engines are perfectly fine to follow the links to the actual topics from that page. To stop that behavior, you would do "noindex, nofollow".
« Last Edit: March 07, 2008, 02:04:29 PM by Motoko-chan »
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Offline Log On

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #30 on: March 07, 2008, 02:00:39 PM »
I don't have seo mods installed and I don't have friendly url's enabled. My forum is nine months old, and google visits me +8000 times a month, yahoo +3000 times a month. In total I have 42 robots crawling my site... Who ever says that about SMF is talking ****.

Offline ForumMustang.com

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #31 on: March 07, 2008, 02:18:53 PM »
Thank you Motoko-chan for your explanations. I understand what you mean now with the links for each posts. Like I said, you can forget about the critics I made, if the duplicate pages are not indexed, this is no more a problem  :)

Quote
I don't have seo mods installed and I don't have friendly url's enabled. My forum is nine months old, and google visits me +8000 times a month, yahoo +3000 times a month. In total I have 42 robots crawling my site... Who ever says that about SMF is talking ****.
I never said SEO mods would improve the way the forums would be crawled by robots but they would improve the position of our pages in search results. My forum was messed up and I don't think it's as important now but I'm still sure there is benefits to have keywords in the URL and more H1, H2 and alt tags.

Offline 青山 素子

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #32 on: March 07, 2008, 02:28:38 PM »
I never said SEO mods would improve the way the forums would be crawled by robots but they would improve the position of our pages in search results. My forum was messed up and I don't think it's as important now but I'm still sure there is benefits to have keywords in the URL and more H1, H2 and alt tags.

Keywords in the URL won't help in ranking. Keywords in the domain help, but nowhere else.

Right now, H2 tags seem to help rankings, probably because of an increased focus by webmasters on semantic code. Alt tags are also important to use for images that have content in them. If an image is a placeholder or design element, it really should be in the CSS, not in the page itself. If it is in the page, however, it should have an empty alt tag. Also, interestingly, Yahoo! has filed some patent applications for technology that will differentiate page-specific content from other elements. This could help in rankings as search engines start to determine where the actual content is and place less emphasis on common items (site menus, etc).
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Offline ForumMustang.com

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #33 on: March 07, 2008, 02:53:49 PM »
Quote
Keywords in the URL won't help in ranking. Keywords in the domain help, but nowhere else.
Why would Wordpress or Wikipedia use it then?
When you type a search for example "simple machines forum" on Google (link) the keywords included in the URL are highlighted the same way as the page title and content  like with Wikipedia, Linuxjournal and Astahost. It doesn't prove anything but I don't think it's useless.

Offline 青山 素子

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #34 on: March 07, 2008, 03:07:56 PM »
Why would Wordpress or Wikipedia use it then?
When you type a search for example "simple machines forum" on Google (link) the keywords included in the URL are highlighted the same way as the page title and content  like with Wikipedia, Linuxjournal and Astahost. It doesn't prove anything but I don't think it's useless.

For Wikipedia, it's because of the way their site works.

Now for some references.

Quote
It is a common misconception that keywords in URLs are somehow helpful to search engine rankings, when in reality, they have very little (if any) effect on rankings.

The reasons why people believe they help rankings are many, but generally center on a mixing up of cause and effect, as many people learning about SEO are apt to do.

...

What has happened over the years is that the mixer-uppers have spread the word that keywords in URLs will help with rankings, so others believe it and make changes to their own URLs, making more and more keyword-rich URLs appear in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Which, of course, feeds the myth-monster even more!
From Search Engine Guide - Changing URLs (December 10, 2007)



And an older article (emphasis mine):
Quote
My conclusions:

For Yahoo presence of keywords in URL is a considerable ranking factor.

In case of competitive keywords, Google takes presence of keywords in URL as overoptimization and penalizes a page.

In case of uncompetitive keywords, Google uses this factor in its ranking process.
From: Search Engine Watch Forums - Do keywords in URL influence your rank? Research by Web CEO Team. (November 3, 2004)

Some time has passed, so don't take those conclusions to heart. Because of the boom in keywords being stuck in URLs, I'm seeing that Google has toned down their penalties while Yahoo! doesn't give those pages as much of a boost as they used to.
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Offline ForumMustang.com

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #35 on: March 07, 2008, 04:23:42 PM »
 SEO is not an exact science and what works one day may not work the next day. All experts have their own theory but Matt Cutts (would who know better than him?) did say in his blog a years ago that keywords in the URL may help rankings.
Quote
Most bloggy sites tend to have words from the title of a post in the url; having keywords from the post title in the url also can help search engines judge the quality of a page.
http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/scoble-visiting-the-plex/

 

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #36 on: March 09, 2008, 03:53:24 PM »
I did a test to see if SEO pages are ranked better. I created 2 html pages both linked in the same location in the root of the domain and the optimized page comes first on Google. It doesn't show how much the rank is better but I will do another test and link the non optimized page in a different domain. If the SEO page is still #1, it will prove SMF would benefit to be more SEO friendly :)

http://www.google.com/search?q=Wdgibo+ungxtena&hl=en&safe=off&filter=0

Offline 青山 素子

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #37 on: March 09, 2008, 04:42:36 PM »
Considering the simplicity of the pages and the lack of any kind of competition, any conclusions you can draw from the experiment are not really much. It would take a much more wide investigation to get decent conclusions going.

Luckily, someone has done that recently.

Quote
In short, do keywords in URL help?

1. Any keyword after the / in www.domain.com/ does NOT DIRECTLY help with ranking.
2. Keywords in URL WILL help you get more traffic. About 4.37% more in my tests.

How does that work? Keywords in URL will NOT get you higher in the SERPs directly because of the keywords.

From: http://www.theadminzone.com/forums/showpost.php?p=325656&postcount=132 (Posted Feb 18, 2008)
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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #38 on: March 09, 2008, 05:45:09 PM »
Quote
The more traffic you get (even 4.37%) the more people might end up linking to your site and if you're a forum, the more content is created for you. Thus INDIRECTLY keywords in url can help your rankings increase.

4.37% is still good to take.

Quote
Considering the simplicity of the pages and the lack of any kind of competition

That's the point of my test. There is many factors that will get your pages in first position in search results, not only search engine optimizations. The 2 pages I created are in the same domain so domain popularity doesn't affect the results. I didn't hope to have that SEO page in top of results for competitive keywords but if it helps even a little, we shouldn't neglect it. Even with 0.001% more traffic, it can give you a chance to have other websites talking about your forum and bring you much more traffic down the road.

When people place links in forums, most of the time they do a copy and paste of the URL. Every body knows that text links will improve the ranking for the text used. A link displayed like "site.com/the-worse-president.html" will improve your position for the search: "the worse president". A text link displayed like "site.com/index.php?id=24" will improve your position for the competitive search: "index.php?id=24"   :D. I am sure you heard about  the story of George Bush's official website that used to be in the top position for the search "worse president in history". That was due to the keywords used to link to that website and had nothing to do with its content.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2008, 05:55:39 PM by chadon »

Offline Kindred

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #39 on: March 09, 2008, 08:38:29 PM »
actually, no...  the flub for the whitehouse search on "worst president" was due to a very specific action taken to take advantage of how google ranks...  it has nothing to do with keywords and had nothing to do with "text in the url"

I will say one more time...   making "SEO URLS" has no proven appreciable effect on your ranking... and my sites that use id=24, etc rank first page, sometimes, first link for keyword search terms.
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