Magic SEO URLs For phpBB ?
So I just felled on this comparison table here and would like to tell you a few words about what's being said there.
Everyone has the right to think what he wants and I have no problem with that, so here I go for my part.
The information's on this table are inaccurate and the way it is presented can lead some to think that mod rewritten URLs is the only Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) enhancement one could think of, and that injecting keywords in URLs is the working for all solution.
And this is not true at all. A lot of phpBB forum do have excellent results with static mod rewrite (no title injection at all).
That's why phpBB SEO is providing three different mod rewrite solutions, because Search Engine Optimisation does not only rely only implementing code changes or mod rewrite, but is a global scope needing the set of a correct strategy according to your specific project's needs and type, and on the efforts you'll be able to put in it.
There is no absolute and final universal solution. That's why the phpBB SEO Community covers many more topics than just php code.
This being said, we have to talk a bit about the code and the choices I made so far attempting to provide a personalized SEO working solution for all here.
My starting principle follow those three essentials principles being, IMHO, the three essentials SEO principle :
Search Engine Optimization relies on :
- Content :
There is now way to Search engine Optimize a site without content.
Looks stupid to repeat this, but content is always what comes first in the end. I mean, only pages with structured and following a defined topic will have reliable search engine results, that will last in time. All pages attempting to do more SEO than content will be one day or the other penalized by search engines.
Content is the number one matter for a web site, even if only providing online services, such as mail or dns look-up, or even Google (eg few forms and barely no text), theses services should be well commented somewhere in the web site for them to be findable under more than just their name as a search query.
- Linking :
Both internal and external.
Links are our only tools to make our content findable. No link, no page views.
That's why this is what comes second in Search Engine Optimization Priority. And where comes mod Rewrite as well.
So what we want here first is a good URLs standard. Mod rewritten URLs are better for sure, but not everything with it is better.
As it is already said in this thread, there would be no point to end up with title injected URLs if we'd only have topic titles like this : "oh it's so wonderful, I can't believe it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!".
This is not something I tell for others to follow, I do prevent topic title injection here on this site for regular users.
Then, once you have chosen the best mod rewrite solution for you, you need to work on having many links to your content, both coming from your site and from others.
You must as well work on having the less duplicates as possible, if not none, as well as the fewer useless links (like posting for phpbb forum, it's not SEO useful, but is a must for users so)
- Code :
You need your site functional and your HTML output to be the cleanest as possible.
You want fast page load and low server load. There is a lot to say about the ending html code and page loading time, they are essential for both Search Engine Ranking and user experience.
To me user experience comes first compared to super optimized html output, because I am not developing nor writing for bots, but this is very important for sure to care about this.
HTML optimization just need to be done according to the means and effort you'll be ready to put in your templates.
Not really cool if you end up with a great SEO template but reluctant to users. For sure the best is if you managed to only use divs and lists to build your page. But, as every web site should look different, there is no final answer to this.
When using php scripting, you need it to work fast, and even more when it comes to SEO mods, because you as well want to keep resources for users, which are not really caring about URLs, but more about content, styling and page loading.
As you can see, the phpBB SEO projects offers you to work on all these three points.
Some good SEO advises can really help out to best organize content in a web site. And organization is important both for users and Search engines.
phpBB SEO offers two directories (French and English speaking) with hard links, allow signature links for real users and thus provide very good backlinks, they will, I am sure, really appreciate.
phpBB SEO provides more than mod Rewrite with mx sitemaps and mx Google sitemaps to take care of your linking.
phpBB SEO provides meta tags and other titling enhancements for phpBB.
Besides, being a community will allow our experience to be shared and will lead to even better solutions I am sure.
So let's go now for a technical answer to this Magic SEO URL comparison table :
First two are ok. Then :
- Code: Select all
Well-structured URLs Yes No Partially (structured incorrect)
The No standing for the phpBB SEO advanced mod rewrite.
Let me tell you something right know, you must have noticed the phpBB SEO mod rewrite where only rewriting links being viewed by Search engines.
The "partially" here stands, at least I believe it does, on the extended sorting options in viewforum.php and viewtopic.php, never followed by bots by the way.
I decided to make the pagination standard as light as possible because I believe we still don't want too many parameters in our mod rewritten URLs.
Besides, the extended sorting Options are fully working with original URLs.
Now, purely SEO wise, I am sure it is not a good thing to mod rewrite extended sorting URLs, because this would raise the number of URLs with the exact same title and injected keywords in URLs (even though with different parameters) to something totally outrageous.
You must know that two pages with the same title will have at least a lot fewer, if not no chances to both get cached by Google and will for sure create confusion and lead to a lower PageRanking. So what if an custom sorted page showing most recent messages first is the one to get cached ?
Your nice first post with the good content to first spider and cache will barely never show up in search engines results. Really cool.
So this is not something I'd advise to do. What I think is one URL, one title, one page. The simpler the better.
And the forum itself is only linking to the URLs without those extended sorting options, so you are directly working against those good ones, being already well linked and enough to list all your content.
All those will have the same title, the same keywords in URLs and most of the extended ones will have unstructured content.
I mean there is nothing better than chronological order to make sens with time for search engines. If a special URL is stored in Google's Cache, it will be the one visited, thus hard to understand as the content will change with new posts and not just be added like something following the starting post. All together this is not a small issue, at least IMHO.
So to me, this supposed "structured incorrect" for those URLs using the phpBB SEO mod rewrite is a major SEO enhancement. It's all a matter of point of view, I personally only care about results in such matter.
You just need to add two line in your robots.txt to make sure the vanilla forum and topic URLs won't be taken into account where with the other method you would just not be able to disallow any.
And this as well takes care of point three as it is a lot lighter not to rewrite all those.
Now some will say, "ho but if a member posts a natural link with extended sorting options, un-rewritten, ho my god this is horrible"
The answer is : would you prefer spending more server resources to allow "pseudo-dupe" posting ?
And by the way, one could really think about getting rid of these special sorting options as they are far from being the more useful nor most used in most cases.
Then, results, try only thinking about results : Pages 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 ...
The same about the "Supported types of URLs" row, I mean, is the magic SEO URL mod rewriting ACP links ?
What's the point to mod rewrite memberlist.php ?
I really think we should not SEO profiles too much if not at all, because it's the first thing to do to fight against spam, and SEOed web site are more interesting for spammers.
Again, not something I tell for others to do, as you can see, I have left the vanilla URLs here for profiles, even though the phpBB SEO mod rewrite will mod rewrite profile links.
As the method is here super fast, no title injection to allow robots.txt disallowing, it's something webmaster usually prefer even though I am not sure user really care about them, or at least would ask for them to be rewritten this much.
Never occurred to me, never so a user asking phpBB.com to mod rewrite URLs just for the user experience.
This is at least going further than what is really required and important, mod rewriting URL we should disallow in robots.txt is no SEO at all in all cases.
Then again not that useful server resources spending IMHO.
"No same content available on the different URLs" :
For sure it was not released yet, but here is what I think :
With pagination handling for both post and topics :
So this is a feature all phpBB users will soon have. Will off course support forums and categories URLs.
And when I read under : "Verification and validation of each URL" that the redirection are not well formed, I start being amused.
HTTP 301 is the only used method here. And again, you'll see how efficient is the tweak, will be as much as one call to format_url() in one "if" per page load, I am not sure four digit after zero will be enough to measure time loss.
So the "Safe changes of URLs" not implemented here is just wrong, period. I know how to use HTTP 301 headers.
The "Redirections from ALL original phpBB URLs" will be total upon the zero dupe release.
Will handle all links, thus "Previous/Next thread links workaround", same for "Newest posts links workaround" and "Prevent home page duplicate content penalties".
"Makes all relative URLs absolute" will be an option, as it's not a good solution for all.
Adding the domain in every URL is something that can help out, but this can be like 20% of your page's weight, so you'd better have bandwidth.
The "Sesions IDs removing" is just so fun, "not supported", but in fact it is. What's the problem with Cyber alien guest session mod?
No need to redo it, it's here and efficient.
Then again, to handle the three user per year not accepting the very friendly phpBB cookie (guests without cookie handling still can browse the forum), the Magic SEO URL mod proudly filter 120 bots before it will decide what to do. I mean, how efficient that is ?
And it's just taking great risks of showing SIDs to bots, for example if your bot listing is not up to date.
The Cyber alien Guest sessions method is just so much simpler, lighter and 100% efficient.
I take the Does not add any SQL queries to "n/a" as a joke, is it possible to miss this when you pretend to compare this much features ?
Then saying the Magic SEO URL does not add SQL query but caches all URL. I mean, I believe it does, but this mean it's flat cache file. Really cool with 200 topics, but what about if you reach 50 000 ?
File access on a 5mo file (more or less what would weigh 50 000 titles) is rather a heavy process.
That's why SQL servers exists, to query among large amount of data.
I mean, these cache files are updated upon every new post and editing ? And worst, loaded upon each page load ? Or is it one file per cached title (not better) ?
And why caching when it can be this fast to do it on the fly ? I am not even sure the cache would be a real enhancement for small boards, I am really wondering how it would be for bigger ones.
The other two comments are just not worth commenting here, yes this is a mod, yes you'll have to implement rather simple code changes and yes you'll need sometime to ask for a small patch for mods if not just hit search link here to find it already done. This is not much to do if you consider this is what is making this code so light and fast.
Then about the URL standards chosen on Magic SEO URLs, I personally dislike it, and found many "incorrect link structures" such as the ending /?view-post=xx#xx and find the category title injection in all links just too much.
There is a limit in what is useful, reached here IMHO and again heavier to run for the server.
I already said that the forum title injection on this site is experimental, not the code, the concept, and that it will be available for phpBB3 anyway.
Then, I am sorry if telling this causes trouble, I have no problem with other web site doing what they want, it's just there is no possible way someone will start telling things not being true about all the efforts being deployed here, for free.
Every one has the right to do and think what he wants as long as respect for other is kept untouched.
I do respect the Magic SEO URL effort, but this does not mean I cannot think what I want, nor that I am supposed to stay quiet when I read such things. I mean, an official SEO web-site selling SEO softwares and telling this can look like the truth to many, even though I fell honored that phpBB SEO is listed among their top three mod rewrites
Saying how great is their software should have been enough I think. No need to say wrong things and to pretend others are not providing good solutions, if not better.
Before I end this long post, one last thing : all of this being said, I have no problem at all about the Magic SEO URL mod users (nor with the project besides this), and would actually be very happy to help them doing better and keeping their URL standard.
This is something I do since the very beginning, I think mods like mx Google sitemaps and mx Sitemaps should be usable with any mod rewrite as they are anyway useful.
I followed another path in this project with good reasons. That at least make the comments in this "comparison table" unappropriated.
So the discussion is opened, all I want to make sure is that everything is clearly stated for everyone.
Then results will talk.
[EDIT] Comparison table updated to phpBB3 here [EDIT]