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SEO Rankings flying all over the place, and why is this..


Steven UK

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I'm sorry that this post is completely off-topic, but I really need to ask something after I visited the site of the OP.

@Steven UK Are you using IP.Content on your site? I ask because this looks basically exactly like my Joomla site and I was thinking to move it to IP.Content, but wasn't sure if IP.Content could do what Joomla can do. Also I noticed that your site is very fast compared to almost any IPB site I visited. Did you do something special to make your site run that fast?

(Again, sorry for the off-topic post)

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Hi Mattmax,

IP content is on the site, yes, but only on certain pages, like contact, and about us, etc. I use IPContent just to create the information pages, so that the header and footer are seamless. It is very good for that! The front end of the site is a WordPress installation, but again, it looks seamless, as we have created it that way. It means with the IPContent, combined with the way we have set it up, we can use it all like a CMS (Joomla, if you like).

It will be a great piece of kit, this forum software....... providing the guys at IPBoard can sort this SEO issue out. This really is a clincher for me, the SEO, and should be for everybody else who uses IPB. Our forum is still growing, but if I knew the SEO was not going to get sorted, I would immediately move it to another platform, like VB, but I really don't want to do that if I can help it because there are very many positives with the IPB software, but those do not mean much without this SEO fix, but there is a limit on how long I am prepared to wait for these fixes. It is costing me money, simple as that.

As for the speed of the site. I have it on a dedicated server, so the load on the server is only for this site (currently), which probably has quite a lot to do with speed.

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[color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif]What would you expect Google to do with a 10 page topic? Would you expect Google to put the last 9 pages into supplemental results or would you expect them to nest the results or would you expect them to list all 10 pages separately?[/font][/color]



Google wouldn't ever nest 10 results. It's a max of 5 and usually not page 2 etc.

Lets look at a few examples from VBSEO

Searching Google for: 404 / 301 Tool After Import Redirect on ImpEx imported forums



https://www.google.co.uk/search?sugexp=chrome,mod=0&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=404+%2F+301+Tool+After+Import+Redirect+on+ImpEx+imported+forums

This is obviously exact match and still doesn't show page 2+ Briansol's Ultimate Guide to vBSEO


https://www.google.co.uk/search?sugexp=chrome,mod=0&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=Briansol's+Ultimate+Guide+to+vBSEO



Again it's not nesting the results. Google would much rather nest related content, vs almost duplicate content.

If I'm honest, I would nofollow page 2+, this would eliminate duplicate content entirely and I bet my life, wouldn't have any negative impact on traffic at all. On the contrary. Google will thank you for making it's job easier and not bombarding it with duplicate content.

It's duplicate only because of the duplicate titles. Which means a 10 page thread, has 10 pages all fighting for first place. Fortunately Google is usually smart enough to figure out page 1 and ranks that anyway.

Though perhaps this nofollow of page 2+ should be an IP.SEO option for those who don't want to employ it.

At the very least, I'd switch the titles up as Matt touched on above. Page 2 of 10 - Title - Brand

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Interesting that. "No follow" page 2+, but you would also get the same situation with the [strings], as they are competing too, Paul. Interesting nonetheless.

No follow ALL strings, and no follow page 2 +

How can that be done?

As for the nesting, yes I already stated the 5 results, but I have seen many times nesting of page 1,2,3,4,5, but this usually happens in quick succession.

The nesting is not the problem though, it is the duplicate content, and the strings. (the latter fixes the first issue)

They are both real killers, I am telling you!

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This is interesting...

A forum I spend a lot of time on, is the redcafe.net (uses VB), for obvious reasons, it discusses the best football team in the world, but that is for another discussion, on another day..

But it is good to use as an example, because multiple pages of the same thread get created very, very quickly.

I just picked one thread at random, that has 128 pages. The topic is:

Carrick, Carrick... Wherefore art thou Michael Carrick?

Now, apart from the first page of the thread, every subsequent thread has an index.html extension added, like this:

redcafe.net/f6/carrick-carrick-wherefore-art-thou-michael-carrick-307230/index2.html

/index3.html

/index4.html

right down to:

/index128.html

etc...

But the first thread, is always the one indexed at the top on the serps. No strings, no duplicate, etc. etc.

Food for thought possibly.

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Strings in themselves are not an issue. The issue is that the strings on IPB are being mistaken for new pages.

Way back when, I believe IPB used to use ?variable which would not be mistaken as a new page. Though doesn't look as pretty, but our aim isn't to get these pages indexed, it's to solve duplicate content issues.

IMO what we need, is the first page of a thread indexed and that's it. Nice, clean, solidified, all the focus where it should be.

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That's a horrible idea.




As it stands right now, and knowing how much traffic I am losing, and rankings due to the current situation, I would implement that solution in a heartbeat. Not ideal, no, but as a short-term solution, until the fix is provided it would solve the current issues.


Have to agree with Ryan.. what if second page contains resolution to the issue posted on first page? Not indexing other pages is not good...




If the solution is on the second page, with the first page being indexed, the second page would get read anyway.

I don't think users quite understand how detrimental the current situation is, or could be. I won't go into detail, but spam/duplicate content is not good to an algorithm, so the larger a forum, the more chance that, well, you get the picture.

But yes, as it stands now, I would very happily just have the first page indexed and nothing else, no strings, no second pages (short-term-sticky-plaster, until fix is found). Once the visitor lands on the forum, they will find anything else they require from the additional pages. And if I implemented that today, then my traffic would increase on every new thread create immediately after.
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I suspect that google is seeing thread pages as separate entities, due to the url structure.
The page name of this very thread is not:
363264-seo-rankings-flying-all-over-the-place-and-why-is-this
Thats the directory.
The page title is:
page__pid__2271948__st__220

Thats not a very good page title and gives google no clue that its relates to the other pages.

As it currently stands, there is a directory titled '363264-seo-rankings-flying-all-over-the-place-and-why-is-this' with 20 pages in it. If you do it this way, then use index.html for page 1 and index2.html for page 2. Google seems to recognize this.

Also Google gives hints that the threadID should be at the end, not at the beginning. (they made such a statement in regard to google news articles)

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Another interesting tip that I've seen floating about is to add:



Page X of series



In the meta description for multi-page topics.



We could also move the "Page X" nearer the topic title in the TITLE also.




the thing is: this is pretty much how all forums software are doing it. So that's millions of websites. I wouldn't think for a moment that google won't recognize a forum when he sees it or a topic of a forum.
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OK. Some examples to prove my point

vB (random topic - page 2)
https://www.vbulleti...-Software/page2

I don't see any page 2 added to the <h1>. Do you guys think google is penalizing every vB based website out there because of this?

phpBB (random topic - page 256)
http://www.phpbb.com...3592&start=3825
same as above
SMF (random topic - page 3)
http://www.simplemac...topic=428569.40
same as above


the reason why this is a very bad idea is that if you have 5k topics with at least two pages then that's 5000 occurances of the word page. Who want to have the word page as a top keyword?

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OK. Some examples to prove my point



vB (random topic - page 2)


https://www.vbulleti...-Software/page2

I don't see any page 2 added to the <h1>. Do you guys think google is penalizing every vB based website out there because of this?




No, because the page 1 of that thread, the original thread is showing at the top of Google for the title:

http://www.google.co...iw=1348&bih=755


phpBB (random topic - page 256)


http://www.phpbb.com...3592&start=3825


Same for this, and the third example is too generic a title to rank for.

Does this prove that it is worth testing?

I have just checked some sites on: xenforo.com forum software too, which is also becoming popular, and they do exactly the same with page numbers:

page-6, for example.

I don't think having 'page' in the title of every thread would be detrimental, not if this is the standard of known forum software, proven to rank very highly indeed, and the standard of acceptance by Google.

Enkidu, what are your suggestions to fix the obvious duplicate content issues, and the string issues, which is the same issue?

I need these fixes ASAP, and I am also prepared to pay anybody who can fix these issues, then I will never upgrade again, and just stick with what I know to work.
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Evidence that this is a horrible idea please?




I Google a question and am led to page 23 of some forum thread with an answer several times daily. Making guests sift through that many pages from the OP is going to help usability? Bounce rates on forums are high as it is, people aren't going to sort through 30 pages when 2 is probably about all even the most patient will sit through.
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OK. Some examples to prove my point



vB (random topic - page 2)


https://www.vbulleti...-Software/page2

I don't see any page 2 added to the <h1>. Do you guys think google is penalizing every vB based website out there because of this?



phpBB (random topic - page 256)


http://www.phpbb.com...3592&start=3825

same as above


SMF (random topic - page 3)


http://www.simplemac...topic=428569.40

same as above



the reason why this is a very bad idea is that if you have 5k topics with at least two pages then that's 5000 occurances of the word page. Who want to have the word page as a top keyword?




You've not proven anything, you've just misunderstood a lot about this topic and SEO in general.

First, <title> tag is FAR more important than the <h1>, VB has page 2 in the title.
Second, VB pages are being seen as part of the same thread, IPB are not, which is the issue here. This is what will be causing the penalisation.
Third, why would having page 2, in a title, make page a top keyword? It would not, I assure you.

Maybe I take too much for granted but it's quite astonishing how little people know about SEO. IMO as a webmaster, you should better understand this stuff.
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I Google a question and am led to page 23 of some forum thread with an answer several times daily. Making guests sift through that many pages from the OP is going to help usability? Bounce rates on forums are high as it is, people aren't going to sort through 30 pages when 2 is probably about all even the most patient will sit through.




I agree it happens, but several times daily? No. People search for problems, not answers. The problem is in the page title. People WILL read through a thread, that holds the same problem that they are experiencing and click through, until they find somebody with the solution.

Can you show me an example, of a PROBLEM you've searched, that leads you to page 23?

As I said it should be an option. Any potential loss, which would be small, would be far outweighed by the extra traffic bought in, by higher ranking threads.
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My iPhone keeps turning off


https://www.google.co.uk/search?sugexp=chrome,mod=0&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=my+iphone+keeps+turning+off#q=my+iphone+keeps+turning+off&hl=en&safe=off&prmd=imvns&source=lnms&tbm=dsc&ei=wCnET5T1JMWP8gOX-aDfCg&sa=X&oi=mode_link&ct=mode&cd=4&ved=0CFQQ_AUoAw&prmdo=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=ab2f8053f80aa012&biw=1190&bih=591

My nintendo Wii wont turn on


https://www.google.co.uk/search?sugexp=chrome,mod=0&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=my+iphone+keeps+turning+off#hl=en&gs_nf=1&pq=my%20iphone%20keeps%20turning%20off&cp=19&gs_id=2v&xhr=t&q=nintendo+wii+wont+turn+on&pf=p&safe=off&prmdo=1&tbm=dsc&sclient=psy-ab&oq=nintendo+wii+wont+t&aq=0&aqi=g3g-K1&aql=&gs_l=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=ab2f8053f80aa012&biw=1190&bih=591

My dog is being sick


https://www.google.co.uk/search?sugexp=chrome,mod=0&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=my+iphone+keeps+turning+off#hl=en&safe=off&prmdo=1&tbm=dsc&sclient=psy-ab&q=my+dog+is+being+sick&oq=my+dog+is+being+sick&aq=f&aqi=g4&aql=&gs_l=serp.3..0l4.41351.43476.0.43547.20.13.0.6.6.0.118.1046.10j3.13.0...0.0.wopieIxK7O4&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=ab2f8053f80aa012&biw=1190&bih=591



Totally random choices, not one of them, leads to a forum on any page but page one.

As I say it does happen. But right now, IPB based forums are getting a LOT less traffic than they would, if these issues were fixed. And this would help sort them faster than waiting for Google to figure it all out for itself.

Duplicate content is a big issue these days. And because IPB multi pages of a thread, are being seen as completely new threads, it's a huge issue. I don't think some of you appreciate how big a deal this could be.

By noindexing page 2+ the problem would resolve a lot faster.

But again, it should be an advanced option for those who want to employ it.

By default, I would recommend fixing the paging and making the titles of page 2+ a little less optimised as explained earlier.

It's not a coincidence that all of the biggest forums are VB based. I know there are some big IPB, but the biggest are VB based.

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Evidence that this is a horrible idea please?



Because that's a pretty bold statement.



I'll show evidence that it's a good idea, as posted by some of the top SEO's in the world AND a Google employee!



Cheers :)


Well if Google hadn't indexed page 75 of a certain thread then I would've never found the most amazing...err..."adult" site in the world.
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[color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif]


Well if Google hadn't indexed page 75 of a certain thread then I would've never found the most amazing...err..."adult" site in the world. [/font][/color]






:D hah!

Let me explain one last thing. It's rare for a thread to rank, based words in it's content vs the title of the page. On the instances they do, it's because no other threads or pages on the internet, have a similar page title, which means its gonna be a VERY low traffic term. Meaning it will never drive any traffic that will change anything. Even accumitively it won't add up to much, compared with the benefits.

But this would be a personal choice anyway. Pros and cons aside, I'm pretty confident that noindexing the page 2+ would result in far more traffic.
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