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IP.Board 3.2.0 Dev Update: Calendar Improvements, Part I: SEO Improvements

Work is underway on IP.Board 3.2 so we wanted to start divulging some of the great changes you can expect to see in our next upcoming major release. One area of IP.Board that we wanted to spend some time improving was the calendar, and this blog entry is the first of several outlining changes and improvements you can expect to see in the calendar with IP.Board 3.2.

We intend to post several blog entries detailing changes you can expect to see in calendar, so if there's something you're looking forward to and you don't see it mentioned in this blog entry that doesn't mean it won't be coming. Keep an eye out for future blog entries outlining calendar-related changes by "liking" this blog entry.

Meta Tags

Beginning with IP.Board 3.2, Calendar will start issuing appropriate meta tags based on the page you are viewing. When I say meta tags here, I'm not only talking about "keywords" and "description", although these are certainly included. I'm also talking about context-sensitive link tags that relate to SEO, such as the canonical URL tag.

Previously, Calendar set no meta tags at all. Now, calendar will set the following meta tags as appropriate, based on the page you are viewing:

  • Keywords: Calendar will begin setting the generic "keywords" meta tag
  • Description: Calendar will begin setting the generic "description" meta tag
  • Canonical URL: Calendar will set the appropriate "canonical" link tag to consolidate backlink weighting to the appropriate page in Calendar
  • Up: Calendar will set the appropriate "up" link tag which helps navigational tools and other software designed that reads and understands this link tag
  • Author: Calendar will set the appropriate "author" link tag, again supported by some navigational tools

Friendly URLs

While Calendar supported FURLs in previous versions of IP.Board, that support was limited and often times various versions of a URL would cause the FURL not to be generated correctly. We have re-evaluated all of the friendly URLs in Calendar for IP.Board 3.2, solidifying the format and enhancing support where appropriate.

First, of note, the event title is now added to the friendly URL when you view an event. A sample event URL might look like this: /calendar/1/event/47-first-test-event

Additionally, the calendar title itself is now added to all other friendly URLs in calendar. When viewing a single calendar you may see a URL like this: /calendar/1-community-calendar ; when viewing a month, you will see a URL like such: /calendar/1-community-calendar/02-2011 ; and when viewing a day the URL looks like so: /calendar/1-community-calendar/day-2011-01-18 .

Some areas of calendar previously generated URLs with URL components in different positions within the string. The end result of this was that URLs that should have been FURL often weren't, simply because our FURL engine couldn't match them up. We have gone through all such URLs and ensured the consistency of the URL format to make sure that all URLs that support friendly URL formatting now do so correctly.

hCalendar Microformat

We have also taken this opportunity to implement the hCalendar microformat into Calendar. Microformats are basically universally-accepted HTML structuring that, when used correctly, allow software to read the page and parse it like an XML document. In particular, the hCalendar microformat very closely resembles the iCalendar format, allowing some software to read Calendar just as if it were an iCal feed.

While this may seem like a small change on the surface, the more scripts that support universal formats, the higher the likelihood that other tools will be created to interact with these formats. As you can see at the previous link, there are already tools available to convert hCalendar into iCalendar, and vice-versa.

Layout Enhancements

While we are not ready to go into detail about some of these other changes just yet (but we will in a future blog entry!), we are making other changes that closely relate to SEO in the general structure and layout of Calendar. For instance, we have consolidated all event posting pages into one, so there is just one "Add Event" button now, and we are changing the current daily view to less-closely resemble the event view. We feel these two views being essentially duplicates of each other is not only confusing to the user, but may be seen as duplicate pages by some search engines while crawling your site (if you view a day that has one event, and the event directly, the output is nearly identical, even though they are two separate views within Calendar). These changes, while we are not targetting SEO specifically with them, do impact your search engine optimization directly and indirectly. Expect future blog entries to be posted that detail these changes further.

We hope you are excited about IP.Board 3.2, and want you to know we are excited to begin discussing things you can see coming in the next version. As mentioned previously, keep an eye out for our next blog entry on 3.2!

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