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Author Topic: Making your Smf forum as SEO friendly as possible? How to Tips  (Read 158669 times)

Offline confusion

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Re: Making your Smf forum as SEO friendly as possible? How to Tips
« Reply #20 on: August 08, 2008, 09:56:00 AM »
To see pretty URL's in action, take a look at this site: http://www.syslog.org/forum/syslog-and-syslogd/

Normally, the URL's look like this: http://www.syslog.org/forum/index.php?topic=147.0
The "Search engine friendly URL" setting makes the URL's look like this: http://www.syslog.org/forum/index.php/topic,147.0.html
Pretty URLs make URLs look like this: http://www.syslog.org/forum/syslog-and-syslogd/implementation-of-plain-syslog-tcp/

Like it or not, the presence of keywords in a URL is material to the weighting search engines (even Google) give to a page.  I am not asserting that Google (or any other SE) can't or won't parse the URL's used by SMF.  I am saying that the appearance of the title in the URL gives additional weighting to the page.

The majority of internet users search on Google, which is partly why the numbers are so high.  The other part is that technical people (my site is technical in nature) tend to shun MSN, Yahoo, and all other SE's in favor of Google. 

When I look at a site I have that is not technical in nature (also not running SMF), I have the following stats:
Code: [Select]
- Yahoo! 593 593
- Google 508 508
- Windows Live 25 25
- AOL 17 17
- Unknown search engines 13 13
- MSN Search 7 7
- GoodSearch 4 4
- Avantfind 1 1
- Earth Link 1 1
- WebCrawler 1 1
- Google (Images) 1 2
- Ask 1 1
- AltaVista 1 1
- Google (cache) 0 12

So, Google is king to be sure, but I would not downplay the importance of the other search engines.

Offline karlbenson

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Re: Making your Smf forum as SEO friendly as possible? How to Tips
« Reply #21 on: August 08, 2008, 10:17:00 AM »
Quote
Like it or not, the presence of keywords in a URL is material to the weighting search engines (even Google) give to a page

The presence of keywords in the link bears no effect towards pagerank. (source google).
They might however come into play as general keywords on the page where they are linked.

This is why the benefit of seo-type urls is so hotly debated.
Some say there is no real benefit, some say there is alot, some say there is (and the bracket which I prescribe to) a little.

The main benefit of seo-urls is that some people think they look prettier.
(IMO again they are a perversion on what seo-urls started out at).

Offline Deprecated

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Re: Making your Smf forum as SEO friendly as possible? How to Tips
« Reply #22 on: August 08, 2008, 10:22:03 AM »
Thank you so much for clearing up the ... er ... confusion, confusion. ;)

Well now that you've explained it I can see your point and I agree about the desirability of the pretty URLs. However, I really like the sitemap, so now it's a choice between one or the other. It's a shame that Sitemap is not compatible. I think I'll go make a post to encourage the author to update his mod for pretty URL compatibility.

I'm going to stick with the default + Sitemap, but I think I'll add the mod to my test site to explore how it works. Who knows, maybe I can figure out how to fix Sitemap and then we'd have the best of both worlds.

I hope others will add to this thread. I had intended to start the same thread myself, but noticed your discussion and figured it would be best to concentrate the discussion to one place. Let's keep those SEO suggestions coming in folks! :)



Well I can see that Karl has added a post while I was composing.

I agree with you Karl, that SEO URL optimization is a hotly debated topic. As far as humans who look at my URLs, pfffftttt!!!! ;) I could care less. :)

However I am totally convinced that since Google encourages the use of a sitemap, practically clubs you into submitting one to their webmaster tools, that that one thing is probably the single most valuable SEO trick in the book. In my opinion when you're with the gorilla you've got 90% of the job done!

Offline karlbenson

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Re: Making your Smf forum as SEO friendly as possible? How to Tips
« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2008, 10:28:51 AM »
Well I've submitted sitemaps with GoogleWebmasters. It doesn't give you that much.

Overall SEO'ing a forum doesn't help as much as lots of unique Content + Backlinks.

Offline confusion

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Re: Making your Smf forum as SEO friendly as possible? How to Tips
« Reply #24 on: August 08, 2008, 10:35:07 AM »
The presence of keywords in the link bears no effect towards pagerank. (source google).
They might however come into play as general keywords on the page where they are linked.

That is true, but Google also states that Page Rank is but one of roughly 200 variables that impact the SERP of a site for a key word.  In addition to back links, as has been pointed out, there is a strong need to clearly identify to the SE's what the page is about.  The contents of the URL are a factor in that equation.

However, I really like the sitemap, so now it's a choice between one or the other. It's a shame that Sitemap is not compatible. I think I'll go make a post to encourage the author to update his mod for pretty URL compatibility.

I'm going to stick with the default + Sitemap, but I think I'll add the mod to my test site to explore how it works. Who knows, maybe I can figure out how to fix Sitemap and then we'd have the best of both worlds.
I agree.  I don't like having to choose.  For a while (until the load got to be too high) I was running a crawler on my site that generated a site map that I ha submitted to Google. 

Offline karlbenson

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Re: Making your Smf forum as SEO friendly as possible? How to Tips
« Reply #25 on: August 08, 2008, 01:21:48 PM »
Yeah external crawlers can overload sites.

Its better to do it with internal scripts on the database. Although even they can lock up a forum with super-long queries.
I personally cache/save the sitemap.xml file generated for 24hrs.

Offline confusion

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Re: Making your Smf forum as SEO friendly as possible? How to Tips
« Reply #26 on: August 08, 2008, 02:55:00 PM »
To get back on track to the topic of broader SEO for SMF, the vbulletin meta tags are a very valuable thing, but are only available on SMF >= 2, so do not work for me. 

There are some serious SE gurus that believe that forcing links on a forum (that are not internal links) to use the rel=nofollow tag.  The logic is that forums will be penalized by SE's for having large numbers of outbound links.  There is an SMF mod called NoFollow All Links that apparently will do just that.  I have not played with it.  I have a thought on how to improve it, though.  Forum owners not only want their forums to rank highly in SERPs, they also want to have an active forum.  Let's be very honest, there are a non-trivial number of forum participants that post simply for the backlinks in their signature blocks, but genuinely contribute.  Forcing all links to nofollow will cause some number of those people to go elsewhere, which is somewhat counter productive.  Some forums I have seen take a stance of now allowing links in a signature or post until the poster gets to X posts (25 or 50 typically).  A hybrid approach would be to allow such links from the start, but below a certain threshold of posts, the links would be nofollow.  This would encourage participation and reduce the number of links exposed to SE's (from all of the posters who drop in and make one or two posts, never to return).  I suppose that is more of a suggestion for an improvement to a module than a suggestion on SEO.




Offline Deprecated

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Re: Making your Smf forum as SEO friendly as possible? How to Tips
« Reply #27 on: August 08, 2008, 07:26:18 PM »
Getting back to Sitemap and robots.txt files, I just discovered something that should be shared:

This line in your robots.txt file

Disallow: /*?action

Is going to prevent Google from accessing your Sitemap

http://www.example.com/index.php?action=sitemap;xml

What you need to do is to add this line to your robots.txt

Allow: /index.php?action=sitemap;xml

I have verified that it works properly.

Offline 青山 素子

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Re: Making your Smf forum as SEO friendly as possible? How to Tips
« Reply #28 on: August 08, 2008, 07:52:44 PM »
Could you please describe exactly what "pretty URLs" are, and give an example? I don't want to install the mod just to be able to see what they are.

They are the ones that have text in them versus a numeric ID. The argument is that when people just post the URL as the link, the text in the URL will help. So, it's a tangental benefit and not direct. Some people argue that it has value in itself, but there are plenty of studies showing this isn't the case. Personally, I think it's a waste of resources to do it, and is especially hard on the system as you grow.
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Offline Deprecated

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Re: Making your Smf forum as SEO friendly as possible? How to Tips
« Reply #29 on: August 08, 2008, 08:04:32 PM »
Thanks Motoko. I went ahead and installed Pretty URLs and they were exactly what I had expected, .htaccess mods and all. Quite a big programming job I might add. Unfortunately it totally crashed my forum. Fortunately it was my test forum. :) It took about 20 minutes to manually uninstall it, a good lesson in itself. I decided it wasn't worth my trouble to figure out what the problem was.

There's a better way to expose intelligence in links: Show Local URL Titles (on the mod site)

I agree with you that it's a waste of resources, including a waste of my time to debug it, although I'm sure others have had better luck.

Offline ellion

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Re: Making your Smf forum as SEO friendly as possible? How to Tips
« Reply #30 on: August 13, 2008, 12:59:04 PM »

My robots.txt can be found
http://www.youposted.com/robots.txt
I have different sections for different robots and based on the parameters that each can support.
- Yahoo is too aggressive so I limit it to everything but topics.
- Google I allow free reign
Would it be okay for me to use this robots.txt in my own forum? Can i delete the aracade and downloads parts? as i dont have those section in my forum.
.

Offline 青山 素子

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Re: Making your Smf forum as SEO friendly as possible? How to Tips
« Reply #31 on: August 13, 2008, 01:11:08 PM »
Karl has said before that you are free to use his robots.txt and modify it to fit your needs.
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Offline karlbenson

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Re: Making your Smf forum as SEO friendly as possible? How to Tips
« Reply #32 on: August 13, 2008, 01:19:01 PM »
Yes feel free.

Offline ellion

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Re: Making your Smf forum as SEO friendly as possible? How to Tips
« Reply #33 on: August 14, 2008, 03:11:33 AM »
thanks karl i only altered it slightly and i left credit to youposted.com


@depracted
@confusion

in previous posts you are talking about 'pretty urls' and 'sitemap' mods not being compatible. i have both working together perfectly on smf 1.1.5. are you using different version?

Offline Deprecated

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Re: Making your Smf forum as SEO friendly as possible? How to Tips
« Reply #34 on: August 14, 2008, 09:08:45 AM »
I used SMF 2.0b3.1 so perhaps it's a versional issue. I installed Pretty Urls and my site blew up, became unusable. I had to manually uninstall it (not that hard).

Offline Dannii

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Re: Making your Smf forum as SEO friendly as possible? How to Tips
« Reply #35 on: August 14, 2008, 10:20:06 AM »
You sure your server supports both .htaccess and mod_rewrite? Noone else seems to be having major problems anymore.
"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 Deprecated

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Re: Making your Smf forum as SEO friendly as possible? How to Tips
« Reply #36 on: August 14, 2008, 11:30:54 AM »
Damned sure. I already had a healthy .htaccess file I wrote myself. I've been writing them for a couple years. In fact I have a vanity website written entirely in PHP that dynamically generates about 100 HTML pages, except none of the pages exist even though they appear that way. I'm using a similar technique that you used for Pretty Urls. I analyzed and fully understood the Pretty Urls .htaccess mods, and they looked okay, but in the end it just wasn't worth my trouble to debug it further since I don't think the pretty URLs make any difference to SEOs, or at least not enough to matter to me. Please note that I did not intend to deprecate the mod. It just wasn't for me.

Offline metallica48423

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Re: Making your Smf forum as SEO friendly as possible? How to Tips
« Reply #37 on: August 14, 2008, 05:54:05 PM »
i use it in my test site with no problems at all on SMF 2.0 beta 3.1 :)
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Offline Deprecated

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Re: Making your Smf forum as SEO friendly as possible? How to Tips
« Reply #38 on: August 14, 2008, 06:42:49 PM »
Well I'm sorry I mentioned it. I didn't mean to start an argument. I installed it, had trouble, decided to just manually uninstall and that was it. I started with no mods other than Sitemap installed, but maybe it was just a glitch. I've seen SMF's install/remove glitch before and probably anybody who has installed/removed a lot has seen that. I began by noting which files were affected, and uploaded fresh copies of those files directly from my 2.0b3.1 local reference. Then I installed Sitemap and then I installed Pretty Urls. Actually the whole point of the exercise was that somebody had asked me if the two mods were compatible. I was curious what the mod looked like so I was willing. When my test site blew up I lost interest and just wanted to get back to testing. I bet if I tried installing it again it would probably go fine.

Actually that Pretty Urls is one hell of a coding job! I looked in the source and there's a lot there, really a lot!!! :)

Offline metallica48423

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Re: Making your Smf forum as SEO friendly as possible? How to Tips
« Reply #39 on: August 14, 2008, 07:45:13 PM »
i was simply stating that i had no problem with it.  :P

theres a million and one things that could prevent it from working properly and such..  such is the way of this industry :P
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