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To me, a "friendly URL" has this structure "site.com/just-this-and-no-sub-directories-before-it"

Adding the sub-directory "topic" like so: "site.com/topic/this-is-buried-under-a-useless-sub-directory-and-hurts-seo" does not help SEO at all.

You should at the very least provide your customers with a hack/mod/work-around to get rid of the "topic" and "forum" sub-directories.

This one issue is preventing me from moving forward with my project.

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Edit furlTemplates.php in admin/applications/forums/extensions/



Gotta edit it too if it helps at improving the SEO!




Burn3r, thanks for the reply. The staff here also told me to edit furlTemplates.php, but they won't say any more than that because (presumably) they don't support modifications, which I understand. But the problem is that I'm not exactly a php programmer - so simply saying "edit furlTemplates.php" without telling me specifically what lines of code to change and what to change them to doesn't help me.

I am aware that the answer to this problem is to edit furlTemplates.php, but the staff here is tight-lipped on the precise code edits. And that is what frustrates me the most.

Everyone knows that site.com/keyword is better SEO than site.com/non-keyword/keyword... this is IMPORTANT to the success of a forum, so it should be in IPS' interest to address this.

Heck, even my phpBB forum from 2006 (which does great in SE) has SEF URLS in the form site.com/keyword... and that is a FREE platform.

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I disagree, and we have consulted with people in the "SEO" industry who have concurred that "/topic" is not at all detrimental to your site's optimization.

I believe it is very unlikely we will be changing this in the official release in the near-mid future.

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people in the "SEO" industry who have concurred that "/topic" is not at all detrimental to your site's optimization.



That's a bold statement to make. By that logic, site.com/this/is/all/not/my/keyword is equivalent to site.com/keyword. I disagree with those seo experts wholeheartedly.

http://community.invisionpower.com/topic/317904-how-to-remove-forum-and-topic-from-friendly-urls/

He lost 95% of his indexed pages in Google, even though they were properly 301 redirected, with no indication of any of them coming back. And there are many similar stories.

My point is that you should provide support for those admins like me who don't want the extra sub-directories embedded into their URL structure.

I was lucky enough to eventually figure out how to remove the redundant sub-directories, but it would have been a better customer experience if I was provided a little more direction to help me make the necessary file edits and move on in a timely manner.

Anyway, my issue has been resolved and I'm otherwise happy with the forum software.

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That's a bold statement to make. By that logic, site.com/this/is/all/not/my/keyword is equivalent to site.com/keyword. I disagree with those seo experts wholeheartedly.



:lol: No it's not! /topic indicates what the section of the site is you are looking at. It's no different to going to a site and clicking a link that has /news or /links or /forums. Adding 75 subdirectories to the URL is a bit different, don't you think? ;)


http://community.invisionpower.com/topic/317904-how-to-remove-forum-and-topic-from-friendly-urls/



He lost 95% of his indexed pages in Google, even though they were properly 301 redirected, with no indication of any of them coming back. And there are many similar stories.



My point is that you should provide support for those admins like me who don't want the extra sub-directories embedded into their URL structure.



I was lucky enough to eventually figure out how to remove the redundant sub-directories, but it would have been a better customer experience if I was provided a little more direction to help me make the necessary file edits and move on in a timely manner.



Anyway, my issue has been resolved and I'm otherwise happy with the forum software.




He changed his URL structure. YES, this causes pages to get dropped in search engines. It will take time for search engines to re-index them. That really has nothing to do with the topi at hand, however. ;)


All I can suggest, here, is that we agree to disagree. I do not agree, nor have the consultants we have spoken with, that /topic or /forum in the URL structure is at all detrimental to your positioning in search engines. I think people focus WAYYYY too much on the URL and not enough on the content on the pages themselves, personally, which is really what is going to drive your search engine positioning.

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That's a bold statement to make. By that logic, site.com/this/is/all/not/my/keyword is equivalent to site.com/keyword. I disagree with those seo experts wholeheartedly.




Have a look at a topic I posted here:

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If we were to start fiddling with the URL structure now, we'd force google to re-index millions of pages and send everyone crazy.

The URL fornat is fine. It's been in use for at least 18 months now and google is more than happy. Indeed, we recommended that large sites upgrading from 2.3.6 throttled search engines to stop the server overloading.

Regardless we knew that the out of the box solution wouldn't please anyone so we made sure we made it an editable system.

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My only issue is that if you have your forum in a sub directory named forum or forums. Then it's kinda of silly to see the word pop up twice.

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Regardless we knew that the out of the box solution wouldn't please anyone so we made sure we made it an editable system.




I understand and appreciate this. My biggest complaint was a lack of instruction/guidance on how to edit the URLs. It took me a few days to figure it out, whereas it should have only taken at most 15 minutes to find the answer and make the edits and move on to something else. Extremely frustrating. :angry:

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My only issue is that if you have your forum in a sub directory named forum or forums. Then it's kinda of silly to see the word pop up twice.




While I can sympathize with this specific scenario, it's also difficult to really do anything about.

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To me, a "friendly URL" has this structure "site.com/just-this-and-no-sub-directories-before-it"



Adding the sub-directory "topic" like so: "site.com/topic/this-is-buried-under-a-useless-sub-directory-and-hurts-seo" does not help SEO at all.



You should at the very least provide your customers with a hack/mod/work-around to get rid of the "topic" and "forum" sub-directories.



This one issue is preventing me from moving forward with my project.




I'm not sure where you heard that, but it's simply not true. There are things that could be done to improve the structure of the URLs, we know that, but removing the directory-like structure from the URL is not one of those.

The keywords are what matter the most, and they are present.

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This is a few months old but I'd rather not start a new thread. There are issues with using non-keywords to the left side of the URL and I'll tell you why.

(1) In many places you will see the first X number of characters in a url before it will be shortened with an ellipsis... If a user sees the following, guess which he or she will select. I'm not saying it's the only factor, but this is one I have also used with shortening my wordpress URLs so as not to nest sub-categories in the URL, only the main one which is short:

http://www.mysite.com/forum/topic/ipod...

http://www.mysite.com/forum/ipod-free-...

(2) While there is no problem with having up to 200 characters in a URL (supposedly), there are issues when it comes to how many keywords in a URL search engines may or may not look at. Some say that anything more than 66 characters is not beneficial and may not be seen. I prefer not to waste my characters if possible, especially not in this case. In setting up my forums, I'm deciding how to setup topics and it will be just f## standing for forum and number. If I change the name it will cause havoc later. At the same time, I want to be able to tell what forum is what for purposes of advertising and tracking. Hence, I would remove the topic and shorten the forum and name as it is here.

These are my thoughts. I don't know what, if anything, IPB wants or may do to address them but they are there. I wouldn't say they are awful as IPB does well enough in Search Engines.

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This is a few months old but I'd rather not start a new thread. There are issues with using non-keywords to the left side of the URL and I'll tell you why.



(1) In many places you will see the first X number of characters in a url before it will be shortened with an ellipsis... If a user sees the following, guess which he or she will select. I'm not saying it's the only factor, but this is one I have also used with shortening my wordpress URLs so as not to nest sub-categories in the URL, only the main one which is short:



http://www.mysite.com/forum/topic/ipod...



http://www.mysite.com/forum/ipod-free-...



(2) While there is no problem with having up to 200 characters in a URL (supposedly), there are issues when it comes to how many keywords in a URL search engines may or may not look at. Some say that anything more than 66 characters is not beneficial and may not be seen. I prefer not to waste my characters if possible, especially not in this case. In setting up my forums, I'm deciding how to setup topics and it will be just f## standing for forum and number. If I change the name it will cause havoc later. At the same time, I want to be able to tell what forum is what for purposes of advertising and tracking. Hence, I would remove the topic and shorten the forum and name as it is here.



These are my thoughts. I don't know what, if anything, IPB wants or may do to address them but they are there. I wouldn't say they are awful as IPB does well enough in Search Engines.





You do have some valid points. One counter-argument, however, is that the page actually leads to a "topic", so does it not make sense to have that included in the URL?

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I made this:

This

http://forums.domain.tld/forum/54-abcd/

changed to

http://forums.domain.tld/category-54-abcd/

This

http://forums.domain.tld/topic/90-efgh/

changed to

http://forums.domain.tld/topic-90-efgh/




What do you think about this?

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For what it's worth, a lot of major sites use a different URL shortening method that cuts from the middle, rather than the end, so you'd end up with something like: http://mysite.com/t.../ipod

That includes Google.

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And from SEO view are these links OK?

http://forums.domain.tld/page/_/category/subcategory1/subcategory2/subcategory3/record-r1



Links like this makes IP.Content when you have lot of subcategories.

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And from SEO view are these links OK?



http://forums.domain.tld/page/_/category/subcategory1/subcategory2/subcategory3/record-r1



Links like this makes IP.Content when you have lot of subcategories.



You're going to have differing opinions on this, for sure. Assuming your categories and sub-categories are appropriately labeled (personally I think it's silly to have to drill 4 categories deep for an article, but that's just a personal opinion) the keywords from the categories may be highly relevant.

The /_/ marker is a necessary evil at this time. I will agree in an ideal world you wouldn't need some sort of marker, but the mashup of static and dynamic content can easily lead to conflicts that can only be resolved by having some sort of "marker" in the URL that the software can look at and understand.

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I don't have any problem with marker I renamed it to "category" so it looks more familiar for me. I want to know only if 3-4 subcategories don't make any problems for search engines :)

the keywords from the categories may be highly relevant


Yes, that's true.

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I don't have any problem with marker I renamed it to "category" so it looks more familiar for me. I want to know only if 3-4 subcategories don't make any problems for search engines :)




If short and appropriately named, I would say now. i.e.

site.com/actors/movies/tom_hanks

If you have randomly named categories or categories with irrelevant names, I would say they wouldn't help you any (I can't say it would create a "problem", however...search engines ARE able to index pages just fine with or without keywords in the URL mind you). i.e.

site.com/businesses/production/tom_hanks

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You do have some valid points. One counter-argument, however, is that the page actually leads to a "topic", so does it not make sense to have that included in the URL?



Sorry for the late reply - I'm not getting email notices of responses.

I would counter that the topic of the page is obviously the title that is already included in the URL. Obviously if the URL is "mysite.com/forum/who-will-win-the-world-cup.htm" then you don't need to inform anyone that it is the topic. It's all wasted character space that is limited when google crawls URLs. Unfortunately this will always be the case due to sites trying to do "url stuffing."

I appreciate your consideration of my points. If I wasn't convinced they were most valid, I wouldn't have raised them.

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Could you source this? Some of the largest forums on the internet still use showthread.php?tid=xxxxx.



Because changing an already established URL Structure causes a Search Engine to reindex which can take days and temporarily drop your positioning during that time. Considering the various big boards are likely to have been around for many years, it's likely they don't want to deal with the re-indexing process so they just leave it as is.

It's not the URL that matters, it's the content. They already have the content as well as the search engine positioning, so the URL is a moot point by that time.

Many big board owners I know personally have stated as such, as well as SEO experts. If you already have an established URL structure, you should not change it unless it's absolutely dire to do so.

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It is not a problem with re indexing a forum if you lost 200,000+ threads with the adoption of the new URL structure and they never returned to Google search results. Claims that the threads would return to the search results never materialized.

If customers want the option of changing the default URL structure, it should be not dismissed.

According to Google Webmaster tools, for our one large forum the 5 most common keyword was "Topic". This means that "topic" is indexed similarly with thousands of other IBP owners boards. It does not help search nor user experience. It just takes up valuable URL real estate space. Just my 2 cents.

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