The phpBB SEO Mod Rewrites

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The phpBB SEO Mod Rewrites

Postby SeO » Mon Jun 05, 2006 11:30 am

The phpBB SEO Mod Rewrites :

phpBB SEO is providing three differents mod Rewrite solutions for Search Engine Optimizing phpBB.

Please read carefully what follows, you will save time and will ensure not to jeopardise your Page-Ranking.

Note :
    These codes are, in the end, quite easy to install, but you should better think two times about it before you go online.
    A small typo in the .htaccess or in a RewriteRule can temporary block a whole site, and modifying your forum's URLs is really a big change in you web-site's life.

    The phpBB SEO Search Engine Optimizing techniques are really working, but you should not forget that the most important in what is put online is content and not the Search Engine Optimization trick we are able to install.

    Quite some forums do not need any Search Engine Optimization, just because they only have private forums. Even, very low quality content can be almost impossible to search for.

    In all cases, our advice here is to ask you to think well about your project's needs and about the effort you will be ready to put in it.
    Few days of local testing to properly understand what is involved here can keep you safe from many problems.
    Your web-site's Ranking will not suffer from waiting a bit more ;)

Overview :

  1. What is common to the three versions

    1. Before you Start
    2. Char-sets
    3. The robots.txt
    4. The .htaccess
    5. Migration
    6. The Support
    7. Why asking for a link ?

  2. The three different phpBB SEO mod Rewrites

    1. The phpBB SEO Simple mod Rewrite
    2. The phpBB SEO Mixed mod Rewrite
    3. The phpBB SEO Advanced mod Rewrite
    4. The mods
Last edited by SeO on Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:58 am, edited 12 times in total.
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Postby SeO » Wed Jun 07, 2006 3:33 pm

  1. The phpBB SEO mod Rewrites : What is common to the three versions

    1. # Before you Start :

        These three URL Rewriting solutions are using Apache's mod Rewrite. The phpBB SEO url rewriting solution by the way work nicely with IIS server running the isapi_rewrite module, just a matter of small adaptation in the httpd.ini.
        You can install them only if your forums is hosted on a server running Apache with themod_rewrite module loaded, or isapi_rewrite with IIS.
        This is the first thing to check with your web-site's ISP.

        Then you should read carefully what follows in order to chose the best possible solution for your needs.
        phpBB SEO is offering three solution because there is a need, each one of it has it's own pros and cons. And each one of it can appear to be the best one for your project's needs.
        First thing to do is then to understand what do each of them does, and what does it mean for the admin.

        Then, before you proceed, you must get rid of the session variable (SID) from phpBB's URL.
        Cyber Alien's Guest Sessions is a good solution.

        More clues :

          phpBB vanilla URLs are looking like viewtopic.php?t=XX, where XX is the topic ID.
          When someone, bot or regular user, follow such link, PHP is directly able to grab the XX variable within the viewtopic.php file, and to select the proper topic to output.

          mod_rewrite will make sure URLs like topicXX.html (or topic-title-vtXX.html in case of title injection) will match the viewtopic.php's script with the t=XX variable.

          A Regular Expression (Reg-Ex) located in the .htaccess's RewriteRules will first "understand" that XX is in deed a topic ID (and not a forum one for example), because it "sees" that "topicXX" (topic([0-9]+), e.g. "topic" followed by a positive integer, here the topic ID) is part of the URL (or "-vtXX" in case of title injection, e.g. "-vt" followed by a positive integer, here the topic ID).

          mod_rewrite will then end up its job and pass the XX variable directly to the right PHP script, without any need to load vanilla URLs.

          Of course, things are a little more complex (special cases, pagination etc ..) but the principle is here.

          Now that we know we can use URL being different than the vanilla phpBB ones, we have to change the way phpBB is building URLs.

          Most mod Rewrite for phpBB are using the PHP function ob_start() :
          This function will turn output buffering on. While output buffering is active no output is sent from the script (other than headers), instead the output is stored in an internal buffer.


          They thus proceed in a rather heavy way.
          The page is first build, then kept in RAM where the code is filtered through the Regular Expressions (Reg-Ex), to match and rewrite phpBB URLs.
          Eventually the page get sent to the browser.

          When they perform a topic title injection they inject the html text link.

          Reg-Ex are thus filtering all the HTML code outputted, and this takes some RAM.

          In addition, such methods are not able to properly deal with pagination, when the title to inject is not available in the text link).

          The phpBB SEO mod Rewrite do not use ob_start() and are achieving the same transformation in a rather lighter way.
          The transformation is performed within the phpBB's append_sid() function, used to build all outputted phpBB links before the page is ended.

          Since version 0.2.0, the mods do not use Reg-Ex any more, allowing a better control over the URL transformation. They are for example able to only format each title once prior to injection, even though several links are using the same url on a given page (memory cache).

          And, whenever title are injected, this is achieved without any added SQL, unlike some other solutions using the append_sid() function as well.
          The required code changes are easy and very unlikely to cause any trouble in the phpBB code.
          The worst for this part is that some links may not be Rewritten when outputted by a non patched mod. But, patches are easy to build if not already done in phpBB SEO web-site.

          Then, and it's the more important for your forum as far as being well Ranked in Search Engine , the phpBB SEO mod rewrites outputs a lot less duplicates and, it is something to note, absolutely no duplicates for the phpBB pagination, forums and topics. Are left URLs with SIDs or used for some functions guest juste cannot access too and should not see. Here comes the zero duplicate, for these "left overs".

          Because each version comes with an HTTP 301 dynamic redirection suite, called the zero duplicate.
          It the must have for any URL rewriting solution, allowing us to migrate without risks from a different URL standard, un-rewritten or vanilla, and to make sure that only the canonical URLs are being used.
          The zero dupe performs many type of dynamic redirection such as :
          • http://www.phpbb-seo.com/boards/a-nasty-duplicate-vf45/
            Allowing us to moderate our injected titles without troubles.
          • http://www.phpbb-seo.com/boards/viewforum.php?f=45
            Allowing us to be sure only one URL will be used per page and that we will be able to migrate and install mods without risks.
            ...

          Please through an eye to the phpBB SEO demo forum and compare ;)
          You will be able to test all of the phpBB SEO mod Rewrites and select them on this page.
          Please note that this demo uses the old delimiters (-vc, -vf and -vt), 0.0.2 and above now uses -c, -f and -t instead.

        As well, you will have to take care of the www prefix issue in your domain's URL.

        These solutions are of course compatible and auto detected (not set up required to support your specific URL standard) by the GYM Sitemaps & RSS and mx Sitemaps modules, however very useful while Search Engine Optimizing phpBB forums.
    2. # Char-sets :

        The phpBB SEO mod rewrites supports all the char-sets supported by htmlentities().
        For other char-sets, specific solution should apply, do not hesitate to ask for support.
        For all these char-set, the mod rewrite will only inject the possible ASCII Chars, after removing all accents, available in the titles.

        For example : "نرم افزار - Software niño" will be formatted prior to injection in the following way : "software-nino"

        Please visit the mod rewrite release topic for further details.
    3. # The robots.txt :

        The robots.txt is a simple text file listing instructions that Bots are supposed to follow.
        Major Search Engine Bots, such as Google-Bot, Yahoo!Slurp, MSNBot etc ... do follow those, and they are the one we are really interested in.

        These rules will allow us to avoid page such as viewtopic.php?t=XX to appear in the Search Engine Results, and to concentrate Page-Ranking on the really interesting URLs.

        In all cases, this file should be located in your domain's root physical folder (usually www/).
        Every one of the three phpBB SEO mod Rewrite comes with a specific robots.txt file to properly set up and upload.
        The paths must be set correctly for the robots.txt file to help out.

        If you are migrating from another mod rewrite for phpBB, some special adaptations may be necessary. The phpBB SEO team will help upon request posted in the mod rewrite you'll be using forum. You'll find there as well topic covering the required steps to follow for a successful migration.
    4. # The .htaccess :

        The ".htaccess" is a file containing the mod_rewrite's RewriteRules that will allow to catch modified URLs.

        In the install files are proposed two version of the .htaccess.

        These two are meant to show you how path shall be set up when phpBB is installed at the root level (generally the www/ folder in your ftp account) or in a sud-folder.
        Besides, they both perform the same job.

        In both case you should put your .htaccess file at your domain's root level, using one of the two cases .htaccess : phpBB in root or sub-folder.
        If this folder already has an .htaccess file, then just add the provided Rewriterules, with the correct paths, after the other ones in there (you may need to play a bit with their order) without putting twice "RewriteEngine on".

        Note :

          It is sometime impossible to create a file named with a "." at the beginning using windows. And thus impossible to create a file named ".htaccess".
          You may need to first name it "htaccess.txt", while you edit it and upload it on your ftp.
          You will then be able to rename it to ".htaccess" and to "activate" it.
    5. # Migration :

        It is of course possible and quite easy to migrate from any other mod rewrite for phpBB.
        But this should not be done uncautiously, do not hesitate to post in the mod rewrit eyou'd be using to get helped.

        If you don't know wich one of the three mod rewrite solution to use, please ask in the phpBB mod rewrite forum.

        In most cases it will be possible to either adapt the phpBB SEO mod Rewrites to keep your actual URL Standard and end up with a faster code with no pagination duplicates, or to set up appropriated 301 redirections and go for the phpBB SEO URL standards.
        In all cases something is to be done not to jeopardize what's already well Ranked.
    6. # Support :

        Support for .htaccess settings must be asked for posting a new thread in the forum mod Rewrite phpBB, or, if a thread is already talking about a similar case, a new reply.
        Please use an appropriate and descriptive title when posting a new topic.

        Support for particular cases (sub-domains, working together with other mod rewrites ...) should be asked for in a dedicated thread, in the most appropriate forum.
        Please use the search functions to first check if you problem is not already solved somewhere.
        Please note that if phpBB is installed in a sud-domain, this sub-domain is it's actual domain, the only one to care of.
    7. # Why asking for a link ?

        This project's main idea is to allow everybody to obtain good results in Search Engines. We provide solutions and advices to Search Engine Optimize your web-site in general with emphasis on phpBB.

        phpBB SEO solutions are really working, and will, if only you offer some content, greatly, if not totally change the way your site appears in Search Engines Results.

        Example are many on this forum, showing how well our members website got better Ranked, indexed and started showing up at better position in search engines, with significant increase in visitors.
        phpBB is the first, and as far as we know, the only website to offer to everybody a free, easy to use and personalized URL rewriting solutions, which together with the zero duplicate makes phpBB the only duplicate free forum.
        And our goal is to dev as many tools and module as possible, all compatible with the phpBB SEO mod rewrites, whatever the chosen standard.

        As time passed and this link was added on many site, we where able to release new modules such as GYM sitemaps & RSS, building and caching Google Sitemaps (united 0.9) and RSS 2.0 feeds with many possibilities :


        And all of this is made so upgrading to phpBB3 won't hurt.

        This to tell that a link back is not that much for so much ;)
        And we, the phpBB SEO mod user, need this site to stay long for the mod to still be updated, for our project's best.
        And phpBB SEO will itself, while being well Ranked, give you back very good quality BackLinks, from several domains and sub-domains (forums, directories, etc ..) and using several languages, which is a plus.
Last edited by SeO on Fri Jun 01, 2007 9:34 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Postby SeO » Wed Jun 07, 2006 5:03 pm

The three different phpBB SEO mod Rewrites


    Note :
    It is useful to read carefully what follows, this will help you out choosing the best Search Engine Optimization solution for your phpBB forum.
    In almost all case our advice goes for the phpBB SEO Mixed mod Rewrite because it is efficient and easy to handle.

    1. # The phpBB SEO Simple mod Rewrite :

        This is the simple solution. Efficient and with no worries, ready for any charset and which won't need any more modding for other phpBB mod support (at least if they are decently written).
        Able2know.com, as well as many other do obtain pretty good results with static rewrite, similar to the phpBB SEO Simple mod Rewrite, but with many pagination duplicates and a heavier code.
        The phpBB SEO Simple mod Rewrite will simply do a lot better.

    2. # The phpBB SEO Mixed mod Rewrite :

        This mod is more efficient than the Simple one, because forum names will be injected in their URLs and as easy to use because the topics URLs will stays static.
        You can thus chose Keywords to be used in your forums URLs, which is a great Search Engine Optimization, and you do not have to worry too much about your members posting very bad titles.
        Because we only want good keywords in our URLs.
    3. # The phpBB SEO Advanced mod Rewrite :

        To be used with caution. Topic titles will be, after they have passed through the phpBB's censoring check (at least with phpBB SEO official patches) injected in their URLs.

        This means that unlike the Mixed one where only the admin can select the keyword to use, members will be the one to choose the topic titles.

        This method would be, for example, perfect for a forum not allowing user to start new threads, or only trusted members.
        It requires an active moderation and strict rules for topic titles, if the forum is more open.
        Because you don't want to end up with 80% of your topic URLs being like "oh-this-is-so-cool-i-can-t-believe-it-vtXX.html", this would end up not optimizing anything anymore.
        So this is something that can end up to be tricky to use in some cases.
        That's what you should think about before going online with it.
        Then, for sure, when properly used on an appropriate forum, this one is very efficient.
        A functionality will help you out a lot though, anything in the topic titles in between "[" and "]" won't show up in the URL.
        For example, this topic title :
        Code: Select all
        "[on the 2/05/06 weather is nice] Search Engine Optimizing phpBB Forums"

        Will correspond to this URL :
        Code: Select all
        "search-engine-optimizing-phpbb-forums-tXX.html".

        Very handy to use better keywords in topics URLs.
    4. # The mods :

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