SEO URLs

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sooskriszta
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Re: SEO URLs

Post by sooskriszta »

Unknown Bliss wrote:If it was made so that it stays with the original:
If Someone made a ridiculous spammy topic title then it would normally be edited but the topic link would remain the same, looking very odd and spammy.
If the title is spammy, there is a good chance that the post is spammy and would be deleted. Eitherway, who cares if a spammy post ranks high on Google? Keep the same URL. Or change it. It's not a life-altering question that needs to be resolved before the question of "whether we should have SEO/pretty URLs" is answered.
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Re: SEO URLs

Post by DavidIQ »

I don't think it's so much an issue of the topic being spammy but more that the post title can be changed at all. For instance users with topics in our MODs in Development forum tend to change the topic title a lot to reflect the current development status of their MODs. So whenever they change their title the links will be broken wherever they've been used on the Internet if it were an SEO URL. That right there is a tough issue to tackle...
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Re: SEO URLs

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DavidIQ wrote:For instance users with topics in our MODs in Development forum tend to change the topic title a lot to reflect the current development status of their MODs. So whenever they change their title the links will be broken wherever they've been used on the Internet if it were an SEO URL.
Yes, but I think that represents a very specific, and may I add atypical, use case. It is understood that pretty URLs are not for everyone, and in cases such as the above (or for secret forums), these boards should perhaps not use pretty URLs...problem solved :twisted:
DavidIQ wrote:I don't think it's so much an issue of the topic being spammy but more that the post title can be changed at all.
As far as I know, other BB software don't change the URL, once created....
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Re: SEO URLs

Post by /a3 »

sooskriszta wrote:
Erik Frèrejean wrote:
sooskriszta wrote:
/a3 wrote:Just put in mind that potentially confidential information should not be placed in URLs. If a private forum had "SEO URLs" and an external link was given, any users that click that link could leak the URL in a referrer header. Or even worse, if remote avatars were allowed, then any 3rd party sites could easily get an idea of what sort of topics are discussed in those forums.
Fair point, maybe for 1% or fewer of phpBB users.
1%? (where did you get that number?)
I pulled the number out of my hat. But the number is not the point - the point was that a small fraction of phpbb users would benefit from that.
Benefit from what? phpBB.com is an example of one website that allows remote avatars. You can't assume that websites running phpBB won't have private forums, because I'm sure a lot do.
sooskriszta wrote:Is that the purpose of phpBB? To allow people to have *secret forums*? Obviously if you have secret forums, you don't want them SEO'd - doesn't take a genius to figure that out.

@most boards will have some sort of staff forum: Where did you get the "most" from ;-)
But seriously, why would mixing types of URLs not be a solution? Even in case of pretty URLs, you can always access the webpage by using the *dynamic* URL...it's just that a rewrite is done to create pretty URLs to make them seem nice to users and Search Engines
sooskriszta wrote:Yes, but I think that represents a very specific, and may I add atypical, use case. It is understood that pretty URLs are not for everyone, and in cases such as the above (or for secret forums), these boards should perhaps not use pretty URLs...problem solved :twisted:
A lot of phpBB admins wouldn't even know what SEO is, let alone what privacy risk it could pose.
sooskriszta wrote:The point I made in the quoted portion was that even if there is ZERO technical SEO advantage to pretty URLs, there is actually an SEO advantage to them - because keywords are hihlighted in URLs on Google results page, so there is a higher likelihood for the URLs with keywords to be clicked.

Yes, the title is the same as URL, so it SHOULD NOT make a difference - but that is a gross misunderstanding of human psychology. Whether it is logical or not, that's how people behave.
I don't believe you have any evidence to support this. The fact is, most search engines display the topic title, and I see no argument to support additionally having it in the URL.
sooskriszta wrote: Inherent in this fact is that a lot of links do not include the title and description. And what of forwarded links?
Wait, so it's perfectly normal to have URLs lying around with no meaning to them? Especially links pointing to a topic page?
sooskriszta wrote:
/a3 wrote:Also, a reason why I am against "SEO" URLs is because phpBB is dynamic in nature, and hence should be using dynamic URLs.
Frankly, that makes no sense whatsoever. I'm not even gonna try to respond to this one.
It makes lots of sense. Dynamic means that the pages do change. The fact is, topics are replied to and change all of the time, and hence aren't static.
One example where this might be important would be with caching software such as Squid and other browser and caching software. I know for a fact that Squid won't cache pages with a question mark (?) in the URL because it assumes it is dynamic in nature. I am aware that HTTP headers can be used to control caching, but that might not work with legacy software and software that doesn't support these headers.
sooskriszta wrote:Well, what do you know? URL structure is at #3
Well, phpBB's current URL structure looks fine to me. If phpBB used URLs like:
http://www.example.com/websitedbs/C3112 ... -banner=LN
then there might be a problem. However, phpBB's URL structure does make sense. For example:
http://www.example.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=45
where the forum has an ID of 23 and the topic has an ID of 45.
sooskriszta wrote:
/a3 wrote:Having some sort of switch would mean extra clutter and complexity to the ACP as well as unnecessary code, and phpBB is designed to be as simple and lightweight as possible.
Truthfully, I don't even think you yourself believe that :-)
Actually, I do. The fact is, more options = more complexity, which makes it far more difficult for new users to adjust.

The fact is, SEO URLs are not what I would consider a "core feature" of the way that forums should function. They are not a necessity, nor have you proven that SEO URLs are beneficial to users (the people that use phpBB) in any way. IMO it should be kept as a MOD to the phpBB code. ;)
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Re: SEO URLs

Post by sooskriszta »

/a3 wrote:Benefit from what? phpBB.com is an example of one website that allows remote avatars. You can't assume that websites running phpBB won't have private forums, because I'm sure a lot do.
And what % of phpBB installations do you think use remote avatars? Do the admins understand what remote avatars even mean?

I'm not assuming that websites running phpBB won't have private forums (although, once again, probably a very small fraction of them will). I am assuming that if they are so concerned about privacy, they won't use Pretty URLs - either for the whole installation, or for the private part.
/a3 wrote:A lot of phpBB admins wouldn't even know what SEO is
Then they must be living in 1970s. In any case if they don't know what SEO is, then they probably won't be using SEO URLs. If you are so concerned about their informed decisions, stick a warning next to the Pretty URL off/on switch.
/a3 wrote:
sooskriszta wrote:The point I made in the quoted portion was that even if there is ZERO technical SEO advantage to pretty URLs, there is actually an SEO advantage to them - because keywords are hihlighted in URLs on Google results page, so there is a higher likelihood for the URLs with keywords to be clicked.

Yes, the title is the same as URL, so it SHOULD NOT make a difference - but that is a gross misunderstanding of human psychology. Whether it is logical or not, that's how people behave.
I don't believe you have any evidence to support this. The fact is, most search engines display the topic title, and I see no argument to support additionally having it in the URL.
Err...read this...
Google Webmaster Tools wrote: Consider organizing your content so that URLs are constructed logically and in a manner that is most intelligible to humans (when possible, readable words rather than long ID numbers). For example, if you're searching for information about aviation, a URL like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aviation will help you decide whether to click that link. A URL like http://www.example.com/index.php?id_sez ... f849f730f1, is much less appealing to users.

Consider using punctuation in your URLs. The URL http://www.example.com/green-dress.html is much more useful to us than http://www.example.com/greendress.html. We recommend that you use hyphens (-) instead of underscores (_) in your URLs.
Google's [url=http://www.google.com/webmasters/docs/search-engine-optimization-starter-guide.pdf]SEO Starter Guide[/url] wrote:Like the title and snippet, words in the URL on the search result appear in bold if they appear in the user's query. The words in the URL might appeal to a search user more than an ID number
/a3 wrote:
sooskriszta wrote: Inherent in this fact is that a lot of links do not include the title and description. And what of forwarded links?
Wait, so it's perfectly normal to have URLs lying around with no meaning to them? Especially links pointing to a topic page?
Actually, yes! One of the reasons why Pretty URLs are handy.
/a3 wrote:Also, a reason why I am against "SEO" URLs is because phpBB is dynamic in nature, and hence should be using dynamic URLs.

It makes lots of sense. Dynamic means that the pages do change. The fact is, topics are replied to and change all of the time, and hence aren't static.
And how is that supposed to change with pretty URLs?

Do post URLs (dynamic) change? In other words, do thread/post IDs change?

The same will be the case when you use pretty URLs...
/a3 wrote:One example where this might be important would be with caching software such as Squid and other browser and caching software. I know for a fact that Squid won't cache pages with a question mark (?) in the URL because it assumes it is dynamic in nature.
Thanks for finding a website that no one has heard of. This is 2011! What proportion of users have browser caching?

Again, if you are concerned that Pretty URLs cause more harm to YOUR website that good, just don't flick that switch on.
/a3 wrote:I am aware that HTTP headers can be used to control caching, but that might not work with legacy software and software that doesn't support these headers.
Yes, and at phpBB, we are big on legacy software, correct? Remind me, which version of php do we support?
/a3 wrote:
sooskriszta wrote:Well, what do you know? URL structure is at #3
Well, phpBB's current URL structure looks fine to me. If phpBB used URLs like:
http://www.example.com/websitedbs/C3112 ... -banner=LN
then there might be a problem. However, phpBB's URL structure does make sense. For example:
http://www.example.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=45
where the forum has an ID of 23 and the topic has an ID of 45.
Read again:
Google Webmaster Tools wrote: Consider organizing your content so that URLs are constructed logically and in a manner that is most intelligible to humans (when possible, readable words rather than long ID numbers). For example, if you're searching for information about aviation, a URL like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aviation will help you decide whether to click that link. A URL like http://www.example.com/index.php?id_sez ... f849f730f1, is much less appealing to users.

Consider using punctuation in your URLs. The URL http://www.example.com/green-dress.html is much more useful to us than http://www.example.com/greendress.html. We recommend that you use hyphens (-) instead of underscores (_) in your URLs.
Google's [url=http://www.google.com/webmasters/docs/search-engine-optimization-starter-guide.pdf]SEO Starter Guide[/url] wrote:Google is good at crawling all types of URL structures, even if they're quite complex, but spending the time to make your URLs as simple as possible for both users and search engines can help.
/a3 wrote:Having some sort of switch would mean extra clutter and complexity to the ACP as well as unnecessary code, and phpBB is designed to be as simple and lightweight as possible.

The fact is, more options = more complexity, which makes it far more difficult for new users to adjust.
Here's what I read:
Avatars and emoticons are critical core features. As a matter of fact, remote avatars are critical core features.
Elaborate RSS feeds are critical core features.
5 different types of spambot countermeasures are critical core features.
It is important to have permission settings under both *Users & Groups* and *Permissions*
It is important to have post settings under both *General* and *Posting*
(just a couple of things off the top of my head)
But we don't have enough space for a lousy checkbox!
is that what you are saying?
/a3 wrote:The fact is, SEO URLs are not what I would consider a "core feature" of the way that forums should function. They are not a necessity, nor have you proven that SEO URLs are beneficial to users (the people that use phpBB) in any way. IMO it should be kept as a MOD to the phpBB code. ;)
I addressed that already:
sooskriszta wrote:This is a core feature, not a mod/extension candidate, because with mods there is always the danger that a software update will break the mod...and if this mod is broken then the board owners can say bye bye to their Google traffic.
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Re: SEO URLs

Post by A_Jelly_Doughnut »

sooskriszta wrote:
/a3 wrote:The fact is, SEO URLs are not what I would consider a "core feature" of the way that forums should function. They are not a necessity, nor have you proven that SEO URLs are beneficial to users (the people that use phpBB) in any way. IMO it should be kept as a MOD to the phpBB code. ;)
I addressed that already:
sooskriszta wrote:This is a core feature, not a mod/extension candidate, because with mods there is always the danger that a software update will break the mod...and if this mod is broken then the board owners can say bye bye to their Google traffic.
With any MOD, there is a certain chance that an upgrade will cause the forum to stop working completely, making this argument void IMO. (This isn't a phpBB-only problem -- this week I upgraded a WordPress install from 3.0.0 to 3.0.4 and encountered a fatal PHP error due to a conflict with a plugin)

Frankly, I feel pretty URLs are becoming more irrelevant because most of the URLs I click have been bit.ly'd anyway.
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Re: SEO URLs

Post by /a3 »

sooskriszta wrote:And what % of phpBB installations do you think use remote avatars? Do the admins understand what remote avatars even mean?
For one, phpBB.com. Another large forum: MozillaZine. There are a lot of websites that use remote avatars.
sooskriszta wrote:Then they must be living in 1970s. In any case if they don't know what SEO is, then they probably won't be using SEO URLs.
That's not true. I didn't know what SEO was when I first started a phpBB board.
sooskriszta wrote:If you are so concerned about their informed decisions, stick a warning next to the Pretty URL off/on switch.
So we should have an on/off switch for every single requested feature now?
sooskriszta wrote:Actually, yes! One of the reasons why Pretty URLs are handy.
There's no reason why you couldn't append &title=yourtitle to the end of your URLs if you really wish to send it in an email without any meaning whatsoever. But otherwise, I can't see why this would be important.
sooskriszta wrote:And how is that supposed to change with pretty URLs?

Do post URLs (dynamic) change? In other words, do thread/post IDs change?

The same will be the case when you use pretty URLs...
No. A dynamic page is generally a page that ends with a question mark.
sooskriszta wrote:Thanks for finding a website that no one has heard of. This is 2011! What proportion of users have browser caching?

Again, if you are concerned that Pretty URLs cause more harm to YOUR website that good, just don't flick that switch on.
Umm, actually, a lot ISPs use some form of proxy caching. See this Wikipedia article: Proxy server. If you don't believe me, see this Google search: zero sized reply
sooskriszta wrote:Yes, and at phpBB, we are big on legacy software, correct? Remind me, which version of php do we support?
I am not talking about PHP. I am talking about legacy proxy caching software.
sooskriszta wrote:Here's what I read:
Avatars and emoticons are critical core features. As a matter of fact, remote avatars are critical core features.
Elaborate RSS feeds are critical core features.
5 different types of spambot countermeasures are critical core features.
It is important to have permission settings under both *Users & Groups* and *Permissions*
It is important to have post settings under both *General* and *Posting*
(just a couple of things off the top of my head)
But we don't have enough space for a lousy checkbox!
is that what you are saying?
A fully working SEO URL system is a little bit more than a checkbox.
$ git commit -m "YOLO"
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Re: SEO URLs

Post by sooskriszta »

/a3 wrote:
sooskriszta wrote:And what % of phpBB installations do you think use remote avatars? Do the admins understand what remote avatars even mean?
For one, phpBB.com. Another large forum: MozillaZine. There are a lot of websites that use remote avatars.
sooskriszta wrote:Then they must be living in 1970s. In any case if they don't know what SEO is, then they probably won't be using SEO URLs.
That's not true. I didn't know what SEO was when I first started a phpBB board.
sooskriszta wrote:If you are so concerned about their informed decisions, stick a warning next to the Pretty URL off/on switch.
So we should have an on/off switch for every single requested feature now?
sooskriszta wrote:Actually, yes! One of the reasons why Pretty URLs are handy.
There's no reason why you couldn't append &title=yourtitle to the end of your URLs if you really wish to send it in an email without any meaning whatsoever. But otherwise, I can't see why this would be important.
sooskriszta wrote:And how is that supposed to change with pretty URLs?

Do post URLs (dynamic) change? In other words, do thread/post IDs change?

The same will be the case when you use pretty URLs...
No. A dynamic page is generally a page that ends with a question mark.
sooskriszta wrote:Thanks for finding a website that no one has heard of. This is 2011! What proportion of users have browser caching?

Again, if you are concerned that Pretty URLs cause more harm to YOUR website that good, just don't flick that switch on.
Umm, actually, a lot ISPs use some form of proxy caching. See this Wikipedia article: Proxy server. If you don't believe me, see this Google search: zero sized reply
sooskriszta wrote:Yes, and at phpBB, we are big on legacy software, correct? Remind me, which version of php do we support?
I am not talking about PHP. I am talking about legacy proxy caching software.
sooskriszta wrote:Here's what I read:
Avatars and emoticons are critical core features. As a matter of fact, remote avatars are critical core features.
Elaborate RSS feeds are critical core features.
5 different types of spambot countermeasures are critical core features.
It is important to have permission settings under both *Users & Groups* and *Permissions*
It is important to have post settings under both *General* and *Posting*
(just a couple of things off the top of my head)
But we don't have enough space for a lousy checkbox!
is that what you are saying?
A fully working SEO URL system is a little bit more than a checkbox.

Do you have a real reason how a Pretty URL on/off switch will harm YOU, or do you just enjoy trolling?

Because if you are not the developer who'll need to do the work, then if for whatever reason you think it will harm YOUR site, you just shouldn't switch it on, and that should be the end of the story.
Last edited by sooskriszta on Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SEO URLs

Post by sooskriszta »

A_Jelly_Doughnut wrote:
sooskriszta wrote:
/a3 wrote:The fact is, SEO URLs are not what I would consider a "core feature" of the way that forums should function. They are not a necessity, nor have you proven that SEO URLs are beneficial to users (the people that use phpBB) in any way. IMO it should be kept as a MOD to the phpBB code. ;)
I addressed that already:
sooskriszta wrote:This is a core feature, not a mod/extension candidate, because with mods there is always the danger that a software update will break the mod...and if this mod is broken then the board owners can say bye bye to their Google traffic.
With any MOD, there is a certain chance that an upgrade will cause the forum to stop working completely, making this argument void IMO. (This isn't a phpBB-only problem -- this week I upgraded a WordPress install from 3.0.0 to 3.0.4 and encountered a fatal PHP error due to a conflict with a plugin)
With all due respect, that doesn't make the arguement void but rather strengthens it. With any mod there is a possibility that an upgrade will break it. Therefore any functionality that is CRITICAL needs to be in the core. And if thousands of your pretty URLs are indexed by Google, then I'd say for you the functionality would be critical.
A_Jelly_Doughnut wrote:Frankly, I feel pretty URLs are becoming more irrelevant because most of the URLs I click have been bit.ly'd anyway.
I beg to differ. Just because YOU have been clicking on Twitter links lately doesn't mean that people have stopped Googling or forwarding links.
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Re: SEO URLs

Post by /a3 »

sooskriszta wrote:Do you have a real reason how a Pretty URL on/off switch will harm YOU, or do you just enjoy trolling?

Because if you are not the developer who'll need to do the work, then if for whatever reason you think it will harm YOUR site, you just shouldn't switch it on, and that should be the end of the story.
If that's what you think, then I'm done here.
$ git commit -m "YOLO"
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