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Vanilla's links structure is a SEO FRIENDLY

edited August 2010 in Feedback
Howdy folks,

I've installed vanilla v2.0 on subdirectory on my site http://www.lifelan.com
I don't know where to start, But I'd like to tell you that this thread is not for bitching or anything, Its more for finding a solution and get things better.


**Categories:
If we have Vanilla installed on www.example.com/forums/ ... When we click on one of the categories the link will look like example.com/categories/general (Edit: I mean example.com/forums/categories/general)

There are 2 points here.
1. You got two directories deep unnecessarily (Google wouldn't care, But other search engine will).
Should have been example.com/general

2. Its not even under the /forums/ directory.
Should have been example.com/forums/genera/ (Recommended, Since search engines will know that page is related to the forums)

=-=-=-=-=-=

**Threads:
Click on any random category, then check out the link structure of the threads, It'll look like this
example.com/forums/12345/thread-title
Or sometimes example.com/forums/12345/thread-title/#item_X

Now try making it look like this... example.com/forums/12345 and it will work!
Lets try example.com/forums/thread-title/ (Best URL structure); Turns out it doesn't work!

So far we have 3 links that directs to the same content which could be seen as duplicated content to search engines since there's not even a canonical link.

=-=-=-=-=-=

**Comments & Notifications:
Comment permalink structure:
vanillaforums.org/discussion/comment/123456/#Comment_123456

Other links that work too:
vanillaforums.org/discussion/comment/123456/
vanillaforums.org/discussion/thread_title/#Comment_123456 (Recommended but not activated)

=-=-=-=-=-=
**Users IDs:
When I click my name from posts it takes me to
http://vanillaforums.org/profile/13294/LifeLan

While vanillaforums.org/profile/13294 or vanillaforums.org/profile/LifeLan are much better and work but not activated as well.


I've also searched the addons for "SEO" and nothing came up. There's no option to change the links structure on the back end.

That's it for now,
Ted.
Tagged:

Comments

  • Your links that you suggest are fine as long as you assume nothing is ever going to change. The id is used in case the title changes it can still resolve to the page. The same thing with the profile links, you can change your username and the link will change, but with the id any previous links can still take you to the right person as the id hasnt changed.

    Maybe i don't know as much SEO as you but this all seems trivial really, the whole SEO fad has gone way out of hand i'm sure. How much emphasis do you really think a search engine will put on your link compared to your content?
  • >you can change your username and the link will change
    If its gonna change anyway then why the current structure is /profile/1234/username??

    Content needs SEO! Specially when you think about forums... You can't control what kind of content you are getting.

    You can't imagine how much these "little" SEO stuff makes a difference. I'm not sure how far your SEO knowledge goes but even a trailing slash makes a difference.

    We're talking about a quality CMS, Right? You can't ignore SEO!

    I don't wanna talk more about how really important SEO is because what I've said is enough for anything who has a decent SEO knowledge.
  • >you can change your username and the link will change
    If its gonna change anyway then why the current structure is /profile/1234/username??

    Because both:
    /profile/1234/john
    /profile/1234/bob
    are the same person before and after they change names, so previous links to john will still work even when he changes his name to bob.

    Google works using probabilistic artificial intelligence and natural language processing, i just can't see urls affecting it a huge amount. Things such as 301 redirects, meta data, keywords, sure as it would increase the ranking of certain words.

    @halo_12 Sorry, i guess its just because i don't think no matter how much SEO you do, your site will only be as good as its content. You could pay attention to every little detail of SEO but it won't make your site good or popular.
  • mdrmdr
    edited June 2010
    Unless you've a website in a highly competitive category like gaming or movies, the most important parts of SEO are:
    1. Content.

    Quality and high quantity of it with lots of nice keywords.

    2. Keywords in URL and TLD.

    If you have a site devoted to Democratic politics, www.socialdemocrat.com is far better than www.donkee.net any day.

    3. Pagerank.

    Links, links, links and more links.

    Those make up roughly 80% of the important stuff unless you have a site with about 1000 other competitors then the 20% matters.

    All of that being said, "folder" structure means nothing compared to "link" structure, that means all pages are linked to from a root page and all of those pages link back to root and that root page.

    After that? Links should be short, the shorter the better but they should be keywords.

    Let's get back to your suggestion.

    First of all, if you installed vanilla 2 inside of a folder called forums, the categories links would look like this "yoursite.com/forums/categories/general", not "yoursite.com/categories/general".

    Secondly, on this site for example, http://vanillaforums.org/discussions is a link to all discussions http://vanillaforums.org/categories/feedback is a link to this category of discussions, the links to the discussions are for instance this one:
    http://vanillaforums.org/discussion/11193/vanilla-s-links-structure-is-a-seo-killer

    So in reality we have this:
    > http://vanillaforums.org/discussions
    >> http://vanillaforums.org/discussion/11193/vanilla-s-links-structure-is-a-seo-killer

    That is the structure.

    Categories:
    > http://vanillaforums.org/categories/feedback
    This is more of a search like:
    > http://vanillaforums.org/search?Search=test

    In truth, since EVERY SINGLE discussion lies within the same page:
    > http://vanillaforums.org/discussions
    It could be argued that it is a far better and spider friendly hierarchy than:
    >> http://vanillaforums.org/discussions/feedback/vanilla-s-links-structure-is-a-seo-killer

    Why?

    Because you've created two major problems:
    1. Categories can change, then what? You've relied on your category for link structure. This is a problem.
    2. Names of articles can change, then what? You've removed the discussion ID. This is another problem

    I can see what you are trying to say but I think, unless you can bring some real data to the table, that the current link structure is as good if not better.

    The only thing I could think of that would make the structure SLIGHTLY better for SEO, much better for stability and just plain simpler, would be to change /discussion to /discussions/ and to mirror all /discussion to /discussions in order to fix any broken links in currently active websites and make it so that some users can select everything after the /discussions/ but like I said before, folder structure means almost nothing.

    What matters most is link structure and short URL's, Vanilla has both as well as any other forum if not better.
  • Keywords in TLD don't really matter. Sure, having them in the url is a must, but TLD not so much.
  • @garymardell: meta keywords and description don't really matter nowadays... URL's still do and most probably will in the foreseeable future.
  • Thanks seifip for clearing that out.
    That's what I'm talking about, And that thing about changing the URL automatically whenever you change a username, thread title... etc is really stupid.
  • MarkMark Vanilla Staff
    When this discussion was created, we were in the middle of a big SEO overhaul internally. With the release of Vanilla 2, we are extremely happy with the changes and improvements to the code. I actually disagree with most of the points of the first comment here, but that aside, the code is very SEO friendly now. We've even got routes (which essentially allow you to create duplicate urls to the same content) set up so that search engines know we're not "cheating".

    Of course there is more work to be done (there always is!), but expect an SEO-Magic plugin to be released in the very near future to help address any remaining issues, and help admins tweak their popular pages.
  • that's really good to hear Mark, can't wait for that plugin

    from my experience with Vanilla 1, the software is already very seo friendly and does well in google. Vanilla 2 will only be better, as I'm sure time will show
  • Quote; "garymardell - are you serious? SEO Fad?"

    I have to say that I agree that SEO can be a fad-ish thing, or perhaps obsession inducing may be a better way to say it. I created a hand-built site which had simple content, and which for a long time appeared in the top 5 on google.com, and top 2 of google.co.uk (it's a UK site). The simple reason is that it followed their basic rules for SEO, and there were no attempts at trickery. When the content didn't change it dropped down the list, but changing the content or adding new pages made it bob back up like a cork in a pond. (It doesn't appear high up now, perhaps because I left it dormant for almost a year).

    It's all about balance, ie., how much time, effort and money you want to put in, and what results you actually get. Adverts saying things like, "We can get your site in the Google top 5!" just make me laugh. Come on; how many sites in the Interverse can actually fit into the Top 5?! Vote if you agree that @garymardell is not crazy. :)
  • @Mark , Thanks for taking the time to fix all these issues.

    About the "routes" part, I just don't get it! What's the point of having many links leading to the same content?
    If I am right, I think all what you've done about it is making a canonical link.

    The problem remains in people linking to your site, Now lets say that there's a post that people like, they will start linking to that page (with different URLs); that will cause the incoming PR juice to be divided and going to different pages, and not focused on one page.
    saurik
  • TimTim Lord of Servers Vanilla Staff
    http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/canonical-link-tag/
    http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=139394

    Sounds like you don't know what Canonical links even do. Read a little, they fix the problem you described.

    Vanilla Forums Senior Developer [GitHub, Twitter, About.me]

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