SEO URLs

General discussion of development ideas and the approaches taken in the 3.x branch of phpBB. The current feature release of phpBB 3 is 3.3/Proteus.
Forum rules
Please do not post support questions regarding installing, updating, or upgrading phpBB 3.3.x. If you need support for phpBB 3.3.x please visit the 3.3.x Support Forum on phpbb.com.

If you have questions regarding writing extensions please post in Extension Writers Discussion to receive proper guidance from our staff and community.
Post Reply
User avatar
Meis2M
Registered User
Posts: 437
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:18 am
Contact:

Re: SEO URLs

Post by Meis2M »

Sam wrote:I believe a simple solution could be implemented that would allow users to change topic titles without breaking the links. (looking back more closely at this thread, it resembles nn-'s suggestion).

/phpbb3/ <- Board index
/phpbb3/general-discussion-12/ <- General Discussion forum (id of 12)
/phpbb3/general-discussion-12/fighting-spam-472/ <- The topic Fighting Spam (id 472) in the general discussion.

The ID would still be in the URL which it would use as it will not rely on the text of the URL to find the topic. Instead, you could put anything in /phpbb3/fake-forum-12/ (when forum 12 is General Discussion) and upon visiting this, it will check to see if the forum is really General discussion and redirect the user with a 301 to the appropriate URL. It would store the URL slug ("general-discussion", in the General Discussion board's situation) in the database and compare it to the one it sees in the URL instead of going through the process to create a slug for comparison on every view (which could be performance intensive). This would be applied to topics as well, which means you could effectively change the URL and not loose any bookmarks.

It might also make sense to include a new permission in allowing people to change topic titles. Even though we have the protection of keeping links active, there is a good chance there could be some administrators that may want such a restriction when URLs are involved.
yes... i like it
User avatar
Pete77
Registered User
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 10:16 am

Re: SEO URLs

Post by Pete77 »

All these ideas and questions ( doubts? ) have been delt and made possible since phpbb2.

do a * gasp * search on it. ;)
User avatar
sooskriszta
Registered User
Posts: 85
Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:23 pm

Re: SEO URLs

Post by sooskriszta »

If you have been posting on this topic so far, I apologise for being a pain in the ass, but since Adam won't let us use phpBB discussion for this, so henceforth, the idea of this topic is as following:

This topic is about HOW the implementation of SEO/Pretty URLs should be done. If you have concerns regarding WHETHER SEO/Pretty URLs are a good thing, there's a separate thread for that: http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopi ... &t=2100309

Just trying to gather ideas on what a good implementation of Pretty URLs could look like. Please comment on the following questions:
1. What should Pretty URL structure be like? There can be several options. e.g.

Code: Select all

domain.com/board-title/sub-board-title/thread-title/post-title

Code: Select all

domain.com/thread-title/thread-id
etc.

2. <spaces>, underscores or hyphens? i.e.

Code: Select all

domain.com/thread title/thread id

Code: Select all

domain.com/thread_title/thread_id

Code: Select all

domain.com/thread-title/thread-id
3. Keep common words (conjunctions, auxiliary verbs etc) or remove them? i.e.

Code: Select all

domain.com/this-is-a-thread/thread-id

Code: Select all

domain.com/this-thread/thread-id
4. What to do with non ASCII characters (keep as is/ reformat/ strip)? i.e.

Code: Select all

domain.com/Hírek/thread-id

Code: Select all

domain.com/Hirek/thread-id

Code: Select all

domain.com/Hrek/thread-id
5. What happens when a title is changed? i.e.
- change the URL and base it on new title
- don't change the URL once created

6. What happens when topics are split or merged? i.e.
- When topics are split, one topic may retain original title and URL, the other that takes a new title may get a new URL
- When topics are merged, URL of the topic into which others are being merged may be retained
- When topics are merged, admin may be asked which topic's URL to keep

Also, please feel free to provide additional implementation suggestions.
Last edited by sooskriszta on Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
OC2PS
Testfestés, Arcfestés, Csillámfestés

Alapanyagok, Képzések, Ismertetők
Hennafestés
GMAT coaching and MBA Admissions Consulting
formerly known as sooskriszta
User avatar
sooskriszta
Registered User
Posts: 85
Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:23 pm

Re: SEO URLs

Post by sooskriszta »

I'll start :lol:
sooskriszta wrote: 1. What should Pretty URL structure be like?
My vote is for (thanks Pony!)
domain.com/forums/
domain.com/forums/forum/forum-id/forum-title
domain.com/forums/topic/topic-id/topic-title
domain.com/forums/post/post-id/post-title
It is simple, relevant and easy to remember (also probably has high keyword density for search engines)

Also, the script doesn't have to actually bother reading the title - it can just read the id and fetch the relevant page - in fact if a topic was
phpbb.com/phpBB/topic/35616/SEO-URLs
and you typed phpbb.com/phpBB/topic/35616/Abracadubraboomboomshack
You would still be taken to the correct page
sooskriszta wrote:2. <spaces>, underscores or hyphens?
Hyphens
domain.com/forums/topic/topic-id/topic-title
Google say hyphens are better, and I don't want to argue with them.
sooskriszta wrote:3. Keep common words (conjunctions, auxiliary verbs etc) or remove them?
This is a tough one. For long titles it may be prudent to strip off the common words that don't help SEO, but on the balance I feel that recognizable sentences would work better on humans.
Keep.
sooskriszta wrote:4. What to do with non ASCII characters ?
Keep as is. Modern browsers are fine with UTF characters, and these can be important for SEO
domain.com/forums/topic/239112/Hírek
Also, this is less of the supposed problem if we apply (1) above
sooskriszta wrote:5. What happens when a title is changed?
SMF doesn't let you change the URL once created. Wordpress does.
If titles are changed then the URL could lose ranks in Google and break links posted elsewhere - however, not if you apply (1) above...whatever the title is doesn't matter, because phpBB only will consider topic ID to be relevant for fetching the page
Also, if an admin changes a title, then the title would probably become friendlier after the change.
VOTE: Change the URL
sooskriszta wrote:6. What happens when topics are split or merged?
This problem is eased a bit if the URL is allowed to change on title edits.
When topics are split, if both continue to have the same title (unlikely) they should have the similar URLs with only difference being ID
If the title is edited for either, then as per 5, they'll have brand spanking new URLs
When topics are merged, let the admin specify which URL to keep
OC2PS
Testfestés, Arcfestés, Csillámfestés

Alapanyagok, Képzések, Ismertetők
Hennafestés
GMAT coaching and MBA Admissions Consulting
formerly known as sooskriszta
User avatar
Dog Cow
Registered User
Posts: 271
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 2:14 pm

Re: SEO URLs

Post by Dog Cow »

If anyone is interested, here's how I implemented SEO URLs on my forum:

First off, my forum has a single point of entry, a front-end controller. This means that I catch all requests and handle them appropriately.

The canonical URL for a topic looks like this (where the leading slash indicates forum root dir)

/name-of-forum/name-of-topic/t.123

If I want page 2, then the last bit becomes

t.123_2

The system also recognizes some handy shortcuts, such as "last" and "recent" for fetching last page of topic, and earliest page with new posts, respectively. "name-of-topic" is generated by taking the topic title, lower-casing it, and removing all characters that aren't a-z,0-9, or space. Then spaces are transformed into dashes. Multiple consecutive dashes are collapsed into one, and trailing or leading dashes are truncated.

The system also automatically handles expansion and 301 redirection. So if someone entered literally /t.123 (remember, leading slash is forum root here), the URL gets fully expanded via a 301 redirect. The URL should have one and only one dot in it, and that plus the letter f or t is what the system is looking for. This also means that if the forum name or topic title ever change, a 301 redirect is also issued. The system is quite robust in this regard. One big advantage to this system is that I can do a site search using a search engine and the inurl operator to search a specific forum.

Forum URLs are handled similarly, as so:

/name-of-forum/f.456

All of the same rules and features as stated above apply, except that the only extension is for pagination.

Additionally, "legacy" URLs such as viewtopic and viewforum are also caught and redirected to the new, canonical URL. If the system has done its best job and still can't figure out where you want go based on your URL, then it loads the forum index with an error message. Non-existent topics and forums are met with a similar error.
User avatar
sooskriszta
Registered User
Posts: 85
Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:23 pm

Re: SEO URLs

Post by sooskriszta »

Excellent post DogCow.

I learn from your example and propose
domain.com/forums/topic/topic-id/topic-title/page-number
e.g.
phpbb.com/phpbb/topic/21396/SEO-URLs/6

I see certain advantages of the above as opposed to using your methods as is:
  • While hierarchically correct, using the forum name in the URL of a topic doesn't make too much sense to me. So I've eliminated that.
  • I prefer topic ID to be before topic title...this may just be a matter of taste
  • I don't like underscores, so I've put a "/" before page number...again..this may just be a matter of taste
  • Using the words forum or topic in the URL instantly tells the reader what we are talking about..while not particularly SEO relevant, this does increase human readability
OC2PS
Testfestés, Arcfestés, Csillámfestés

Alapanyagok, Képzések, Ismertetők
Hennafestés
GMAT coaching and MBA Admissions Consulting
formerly known as sooskriszta
GoBieN
Registered User
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:23 pm

Re: SEO URLs

Post by GoBieN »

I have implemented phpBB-SEO (not supported by phpbb.com).
They use The following structure:
domain.com/forumname-fx/topic-title-tyyy.html
Where x is the forum-ID and yyy the topic-ID. Although you can also select to remove the ID's completely. But i don't mind them.
Strange characters get stripped. Like for instance a comma gets stripped and spaces are turned in to hyphens.
They also have the option to remove the phpBB3 subdirectory from the URL if your board is in a subdirectory. They call it virtual root.
If I change the topic title, the URL is not changed automatically. But when i do change the URL or let it automatically recreate, all the old or wrong URL's should get HTTP 301 redirected to the correct URL.
We should save the URL in the database and when loading the page first check the URL and redirect with status 301 if necessary.
POST pages should only be allowed for normal users and not for bots/guests, or just always redirected to the correct topic URL with pagination & POSTID anchor.
Rotsblok
Registered User
Posts: 325
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2005 12:21 pm
Location: x= y+1

Re: SEO URLs

Post by Rotsblok »

Im a bit lost here...

Lots of talk about pretty urls where all the ing.php?mode=reply&f=105&t=35616 stuff is gone...
But now whe want stuff like: funkyboard.com/funky-1/board-subject-1323

To be honest it's just replacing things.. it still contains the id's and in my opinion its no more easier then the original url. I cant remember the topic title, forum name, category name etc.. but I can remember 2 id's.

So putting id's in the "pretty" will make them ugly again IMO.

And TBH sooskriszta you say our points are invalid (most of the time) or saying we don't read the entire topic. But sometimes I wonder if you really read our posts and the objections we have. By just throwing googles preferences to us is not making us abording our pov's...
sooskriszta wrote:I see certain advantages of the above as opposed to using your methods as is:

* While hierarchically correct, using the forum name in the URL of a topic doesn't make too much sense to me. So I've eliminated that.
* I prefer topic ID to be before topic title...this may just be a matter of taste
* I don't like underscores, so I've put a "/" before page number...again..this may just be a matter of taste
* Using the words forum or topic in the URL instantly tells the reader what we are talking about..while not particularly SEO relevant, this does increase human readability
It might improve readability by giving the user the title and telling him/her what the url is about.. But then again you say it isnt SEO relevant.. So why pushing the pretty urls if it is not SEO relevant (or a small part).. And please don't start with SERP cos that is switch things around..

So let me ask you this: What is SEO really. As you stated that pretty urls are of little concern regarding SEO. Most of the time you are talking about SEM (search engine marketing)

SEO is mostly (and I quote from wikipedia)
Optimizing a website may involve editing its content and HTML and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links, is another SEO tactic.
So do we see the urls as barriers to the indexing activities of bots? I don't as most are just indexing just right and pretty fast. You think the poretty urls might benefit the relevance to specific keywords.. Well that might be. But as we know of google, it also substracts and post an small description of the content linked to the url (so SERP is also handled correctly).

As most keywords are already been used on the internet (little is unique), then the point of relevance to specific keywords is becoming less relevant each second. What becomes more relevant is the complex combination of keywords but then again most combinations are also already been made..

So in my opinion SEO just becomes targeting the barriers and the content and HTML of a site..
Remember loads of phpBB users do have little SEM value because of the BB idea (of course there are exceptions).
ø = 1.618033988749895...
Everything has ø in it
User avatar
sooskriszta
Registered User
Posts: 85
Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:23 pm

Re: SEO URLs

Post by sooskriszta »

Rotsblok wrote:And TBH sooskriszta you say our points are invalid (most of the time) or saying we don't read the entire topic. But sometimes I wonder if you really read our posts and the objections we have.
What do you mean "our" and "we"? What are you, a posse? I don't remember engaging in any sort of conversation with you here before just now.

If I say a point is invalid, that's usually because it is. e.g. your half-witted (and that's giving too much credit by about half a wit) about sitemaps et al here
Rotsblok wrote:By just throwing googles preferences to us is not making us abording our pov's...
English, please!What in God's name is "abord"?
Rotsblok wrote:
sooskriszta wrote: * Using the words forum or topic in the URL instantly tells the reader what we are talking about..while not particularly SEO relevant, this does increase human readability
It might improve readability by giving the user the title and telling him/her what the url is about.. But then again you say it isnt SEO relevant.. So why pushing the pretty urls if it is not SEO relevant (or a small part).. And please don't start with SERP cos that is switch things around..
Err..I am sorry, but I have to do what you have already accused me of doing - ask you to read the post!

What I am saying is, use
phpbb.com/phpbb/topic/21396/SEO-URLs/6
instead of
phpbb.com/phpbb/21396/SEO-URLs/6
for improved readability, and that this addition of /topic/ is not beneficial for SEO but only for readability. Adding the topic title is for SEO.
Rotsblok wrote:As you stated that pretty urls are of little concern regarding SEO.
No I haven't and it's not true. However, if you want to voice your opinion on this, please do so here.

And as a suggestion, if you are trying to build credibility or provide evidence for your views, Wikipedia is not the best reference.
Rotsblok wrote:Most of the time you are talking about SEM (search engine marketing)
Err...no! Search Engine Marketing is composed of 2 elements:
Search Engine Advertising i.e. placing CPC ads on SERPs
(surprise) Search Engine Optimization
Since I haven't been talking about advertising, therefore by process of elimination, I am talking about SEO.

I understand if you are not in a mood to agree on these definitions, but humbly request you to start a separate topic on phpBB Discussion forum to dissect the nuances of language, rather than hijacking this topic.
Rotsblok wrote:Lots of talk about pretty urls where all the ing.php?mode=reply&f=105&t=35616 stuff is gone...
But now whe want stuff like: funkyboard.com/funky-1/board-subject-1323

To be honest it's just replacing things.. it still contains the id's and in my opinion its no more easier then the original url.
Well, the point never was to eliminate the ID. The point was to add the title - so that keywords are included in the URL.

As I said in the previous post, I don't much care for including forum title in the URL for a topic.

I'm not after
funkyboard.com/funky-1/board-subject-1323
but rather
funkyboard.com/topic/1323/rotsblok-does-not-like-seo-urls
Rotsblok wrote:II cant remember the topic title, forum name, category name etc.. but I can remember 2 id's.
Well, the point is hardly about memorability - if that comes, it would be a bonus.

After SEO, the second objective of Pretty URLs is human friendliness or readability - in other words, by looking at the URL can you understand the overall context of the page that it leads to, without actually clicking on it.
Rotsblok wrote:So do we see the urls as barriers to the indexing activities of bots? I don't as most are just indexing just right and pretty fast.
Pretty URLs are not appropriate for or liked by everybody. Nobody is asking you to love them. When the option becomes available in phpBB, just don't use it.

I respect your right to have an opinion, and also the right to voice it, but request you to please do it on the appropriate topic. If you want to discuss WHETHER or not Pretty URLs should be implemented in phpBB, please do so here.
Last edited by sooskriszta on Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
OC2PS
Testfestés, Arcfestés, Csillámfestés

Alapanyagok, Képzések, Ismertetők
Hennafestés
GMAT coaching and MBA Admissions Consulting
formerly known as sooskriszta
User avatar
DavidIQ
Customisations Team Leader
Customisations Team Leader
Posts: 1864
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2006 4:29 pm
Location: Earth
Contact:

Re: SEO URLs

Post by DavidIQ »

sooskriszta wrote:English, please!What in God's name is "abord"?
That is english... :|
Image
Post Reply