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Does vBulletin need SEO mods?

Discussion in 'vBulletin' started by brandondrury, Oct 27, 2005.

  1. joeychgo

    joeychgo Notable Member

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    #21
    Should you Mod-Rewrite your vBulletin?

    You dont need the Mod-Rewrite.

    Look, ill explain this simply. The mod-rewrite is SUPPOSE to make your website more spider friendly. Guess what? Google and Yahoo actually have a clue believe it or not.

    Here are a few simple Google Indexing examples:

    Digitalpoint has 763,000 pages indexed

    vBulletin has 3,090,000 pages indexed

    vBulletin.org has 424,000 pages indexed

    opentechsupport.net has 274,000 pages indexed

    vB Webmaster has 83,500 pages indexed

    Lincoln vs Cadllac has 214,000 pages indexed

    ForAbodiesonly.com has 261,000 pages indexed


    This is just a few sites - none of them use a mod rewrite. So what makes you think that you need one? The proof you dont is above.


    I have found that Google only indexes one of the duplicated pages and appears to apply no penalty. My guess is that they know why there are duplicates and just index one of the pages.

    I would disagree with this completely. You need to do nothing to the actual site to get it indexed. Build links to your site. That'll get you indexed and ranked highly. I do some changes to things like Title and description tags, and add some h1 tags - but I do not use a mod rewrite on any site.
    SEMrush
    My sites get ranked highly, very highly for tough keywords. Ill point out that if you search for "vBulletin" my vB Webmaster site is the only one on page one that talks except for vBulletin itself. None of the other vBulletin related sites appear on page one, and page two contains one site thats related, www.vbstyles.com, and the owner of that site is one of my Admins.

    My Lincoln vs Cadillac site ranks on the first page for the term 'Cadillac' and has been there for some time. Cadillac Forums, also appears on the first page of that search term with no mod rewrite.

    Proof is in the pudding. How much proof do you need?
     
    joeychgo, Nov 1, 2005 IP
    SEMrush
  2. YoungSmeagol

    YoungSmeagol Well-Known Member

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    #22
    When you have a small site that is just starting out Forum SEO is important but if your site has quality incoming links then It probably doesn't matter because they will most likely crawl your entire forum anyway. Of course they will crawl high ranking site's (like Digitalpoint, PR 7, Alexa Ranking under 500) forums very often but not low ranking sites with very little incoming links. I think a sitemap mod would probably do more good than anything.

    P.S. seo for phpbb is a must because the session IDs are extremely long
     
    YoungSmeagol, Nov 3, 2005 IP
  3. joeychgo

    joeychgo Notable Member

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    #23
    SO instead of spending your time looking for and installing seo mods, go do some link building.
     
    joeychgo, Nov 3, 2005 IP
  4. jward

    jward Active Member

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    #24
    There is more to SEO than just getting indexed, but it certainly helps if you can find a solution to make that process more efficient and expedient.

    Removing duplicate content and building "link consensus" as well as considering onpage SEO techniques all contribute to improving your forum positioning on a thread by thread basis.

    Ranking on page 1 for a high value keyword will definitely deliver you a solid volume of web traffic. But, please keep in mind that each thread should be relevant to its own topic - not just 1-5 global keywords that you have numerous competitors all targeting. With very large forums like those mentioned above, you can imagine that a small amount of incoming traffic per thread can really add up - especially when you consider that many of them have in excess of 100,000 posts.

    Juan says "SEO is a moving target" - and he's absolutely correct. As an admin or webmaster, you should always commit some time to the process of identifying the latest trends in SEO and applying them where appropriate.

    Many will tell you over and over again "build links, build links, build links". Absolutely... of course! But don't stop there - use every opportunity at your disposal to achieve maximim results. CRUs (Content Relevant URLs) is another SEO strategy you should consider. I posted a link in another thread to users who are reporting successful results after implementing static URLs for their forums. Check it out:

    http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showpost.php?p=430627&postcount=13

    Note: When it comes to SEO, keep it whitehat! :)
     
    jward, Nov 12, 2005 IP
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  5. jazzylee77

    jazzylee77 Peon

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    #25
    I see no proof in this pudding for either side. It is possible that keywords in urls give a boost that is comparatively small for sites scoring high on other variables. Yet it may be an important boost for small sites or sites pulling out of the sandbox. I'm not saying this is the case, but it's like saying don't feed formula to an infant because grownups can live on steak.

    That said...I still don't think I'll use modrewrite on my first vBulletin site I'm planning. I guess I'm saying my gut tells me it isn't that important, but the arguments aren't very scientific.
     
    jazzylee77, Nov 12, 2005 IP
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  6. jward

    jward Active Member

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    #26
    @jazzylee77:

    We plan to introduce a reporting tool that will track the progress of vBSEO enabled forums. This should serve to provide a more quantitative evaluation of the SEO improvement vBSEO provides.
     
    jward, Nov 12, 2005 IP
  7. 993ti

    993ti Well-Known Member

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    #27
    I've looked at 2 other sites using vbulletin but they suck @ google.
    They have a pagerank of 2 and 4.
    Does the pagerank have something to do with it?

    Maybe we should try 2 boards with the same content, 1 optimized and one vanilla.
    Like test.domain.com uses optimized
    test-2.domain.com uses vanilla.
    Use a backup of a forum on both and don't allow new registrations or posting so the boards stay the same.

    Maybe a stupid idea but i think it's a cool test :D
     
    993ti, Nov 12, 2005 IP
  8. jward

    jward Active Member

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    #28
    @993ti:

    Interesting concept. However, it would have to be structured to prevent one of them from being flagged as duplicate content which could be decided arbitrarily based on which one is crawled first, etc.

    I'll talk to the team to see how we can approach this strategy you suggest.
     
    jward, Nov 12, 2005 IP
  9. 993ti

    993ti Well-Known Member

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    #29
    How about 2 domains?
    Like 12-test.com and 123-test.com?
     
    993ti, Nov 12, 2005 IP
  10. jward

    jward Active Member

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    #30
    @993ti:

    If it was set-up, I think it would need a larger sample space to be statistically significant. Since the same content would result in duplicate content penalties and different content would have different search volumes associated with the keywords, it would be difficult to set-up a good test with controlled variables.

    For that reason, multiple forums with identical characteristics, but with different randomized content might be the way to go. This would definitely be in no way a small undertaking. Does anyone have any contacts in "Consumer Reports"? :)
     
    jward, Nov 12, 2005 IP
  11. michaelbenson

    michaelbenson Peon

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    #31
    Personally i think that the quicker you can apply your mod_rewrite tools with regards to your forum life cycle the better, for instance with my forums i have applied the popular commerical vB SEO modification within a week of my forums opening; hence the issue of duplicate content wasnt something i had to deal with.
     
    michaelbenson, Nov 16, 2005 IP
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  12. jward

    jward Active Member

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    #32
    Yes - ideally it would be advisable for new forum admins to install vBSEO as soon as they launch. :)

    However, even forums that have been online for several years with thousands of pages of indexed content can safely install vBSEO. Our 301 redirect features will ensure that only duplicate content pages are cleansed from the SERPs. All valuable indexed pages will be updated with their CRU (Content Relevant URL) equivalents.

    Whether you need more traffic to generate ad revenue, product/service sales, subscriptions, etc. OR you are simply looking for new members to build community and/or expand your content and knowledge base - vBSEO really is the right choice.
     
    jward, Nov 16, 2005 IP
  13. Selkirk

    Selkirk Peon

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    #33
    I'm surprised at the lack of attention that content ordering gets for vBulletin SEO.

    For example, using h tags to help the search engines understand the relative importance of content on the page. Or using CSS and JavaScript to move content toward the top of the page and to move chrome and navigation to the bottom (or to a separate file).

    Take a look at a couple of WordPress blogs in the lynx browser and then look at a couple of vBulletin forums to see my point.
     
    Selkirk, Nov 20, 2005 IP
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  14. MentaLRZ

    MentaLRZ Well-Known Member

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    #34
    i use VBSEO good product :)
     
    MentaLRZ, Nov 26, 2005 IP
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  15. Lord Brar

    Lord Brar Peon

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    #35
    I don't think vBulletin needs mod_rewrite. The default URLs work great as it is. :D
     
    Lord Brar, Dec 3, 2005 IP
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  16. joeychgo

    joeychgo Notable Member

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    #36
    IMO...

    No, its not. Ive explained this a few times in different places, even in this thread. Ill do it again.

    What your basically paying for is the mod-rewrite since most if not all of the other elements are available for free as a hack or something you can do yourself as a template edit easily.

    Ok, now that said. What VBSEO basically does is change your URLs to more simple URLs without variables.

    A thread titled:
    Probably a stupid question, but...

    Ends up with a URL like this:
    http://www.yourdomain.com/f2/probab...stion-but-2429/

    Instead of
    http://www.yourdomain.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2429

    Now this does 2 things basically. It makes a URL with no variables and it adds keywords to the url. While it was once true that search engine spiders had a difficult time spidering URLs with multiple variables, this is no longer the case.

    Here is proof. Take a look at Google's index of vBulletin.com pages HERE - vb.com has 2,750,000 pages indexed in google. Lets check vb.org HERE- 445,000 pages indexed - how about a few others? Digital Point - 567,000, TIVO Community - 1,340,000 pages indexed.

    All of these have stock vb urls and are clearly indexed fine. So, we have now established that the mod rewrite isnt necessary to be indexed by Google.

    SO that leaves us with the keywords in the URL.

    Are they helpful in getting ranked? Short answer is yes. However, Google uses over 100 different factors in determining how a particular page ranks for a search query. Each Factor carries different level of importance. Oh, one more thing, Google changes these around pretty regularily, so what works well today may not work tomorrow. Point being, they might 'help' in getting your page ranked, but they are onlya small part of the equasion.

    Let me explain something else. Being indexed means little if your pages dont rank well. The difference is this. Indexed means google maintains a listing of your page in its computers. Ranked Well means when someone searches for a phrase that is important to your site, your site appears in the first few pages in the listings. It takes alot more then just words in a url to get ranked well, unless its a very obscure phrase.

    Here is what I think is a great example.

    Search for the phrase vBulletin. That phrase is the most important phrase to someone trying to sell a vBulletin product. vBseo doesnt appear in the first 10 pages! vBulletin Webmaster appears 3rd after vBulletin.com and vBulletin Fans. None of those sites use a mod rewrite or have the keyword in the url. Proof is in the pudding.

    It is my opinion that although its a help, its a minor help.

    If you want to rank better, Here is what I suggest. First, spend half that money any buy Arron Walls SEO BOOK. Read it. Learn about Search Engines. What it takes is too long to go into here. Its best you read the book and learn about SEO.

    Second, visit and become active in forums like Digital Point, vB Webmaster, and Webmaster World, as well as others, ask questions, and learn about SEO and how to apply it to vBulletin Forums.

    Third, SEO is something you have to work for. There isnt a 'magic pill' you can install and instantly rank high. It takes time and effort. Its not a plugin. BUT, you CAN do it.

    Let me add one more thing. In a PM discussion on vBwebmaster, vBSEO said this to me:
    I have to say I agree with you %100 in the fact that mod_rewrite is not necessary to get pages indexed.
     
    joeychgo, Dec 3, 2005 IP
  17. jward

    jward Active Member

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    #37
    Most forum admins understand the value of SEO for vBulletin. If you are serious about gaining more web traffic, building your membership, expanding your content, and increasing revenues from AdSense or other channels, then you should be considering all SEO solutions that will provide an improvement.

    vBSEO's static CRUs (Content Relevant URLs) are a big part of this total self-service SEO solution. Mod_rewrite just so happens to be the fundamental underlying technology powering the features that deliver significant SEO benefits.

    Serious forum admins should learn more about the vBSEO solution. You can hear it directly from vBSEO customers themselves here: vBSEO Reviews.

    We have also added a new section for vBulletin resources. Check it out. :)
     
    jward, Dec 3, 2005 IP
  18. joeychgo

    joeychgo Notable Member

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    #38
    Thats a real nice ad there jward -- but doesnt answer anything.
     
    joeychgo, Dec 3, 2005 IP
  19. jward

    jward Active Member

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    #39
    I would like to address joeychgo's message so that vBulletin forum admins do not miss out on the opportunity of learning more about the vBSEO solution.

    First of all, joeychgo's *SE* strategy seems to be primarily focused on anchor text spamming. There is no question that linkbacks with keywords in the anchor text is an important technique for *SEO* in Google.

    However, SEO stands for search engine *optimization*. Optimization, by definition, requires that *all* known factors be taken into consideration where possible, and certainly not overlooked. Neglecting a factor that will provide a benefit is not an *optimization* strategy.

    joeychgo acknowledges that keywords in the URL can be helpful in getting ranked (see below). Static URLs with keywords should also be a part of your *SEO* strategy and NOT overlooked:

    Joey's devaluation of the benefit of static CRUs (Content Relevant URLs) created using mod_rewrite is without merit. Likewise, his evidence and loose application of the scientific method leaves alot to be desired.

    I'll let Google speak for themselves about the usefulness of static CRUs in the numerous links/quotes provided below (taken directly from google.com). See at bottom of this post.

    FYI vBSEO is shown to not only get you indexed more efficiently and remove duplicate content, but also to make you rank better on a thread-by-thread basis.

    Remember, each thread has its own set of relevant keywords. You should NOT attempt ONLY to build all organic search result traffic from a list of 5 or so pre-selected keyword phrases.

    There is a greater benefit of content building forums. With effective SEO strategies in place, you can gain traffic for 1000s of search engine queries.

    Buy a Solution vs. Become an SEO Expert & Programmer?

    Although you will definitely get a very nice overview of SEO by reading Aaron Wall's book on the subject, again joeychgo is not thinking very logically. He suggests:
    • You spend $79 on the eBook
    • Read it and start learning about SEO
    • Spend months reading and posting from/to significant forums such as DigitalPoint and Webmaster World
    • Then implement all solutions yourself, which is most likely going to require some more programming eBooks at least. ;)
    Q. Can you imagine the cost in terms of money, time, & other resources that would be required to achieve the above?

    What joeychgo fails to realize is that not everyone has the desire, time, and/or resources to become professional SEO consultants!

    Most forum admins simply want to meet their business objectives, which in the forum world include:
    • Gaining more web traffic
    • Building forum membership
    • Increasing content
    • Boosting revenue from AdSense or other revenue channels
    Q. Do you think these business objectives are best achieved by:
    1. Taking months or years to gain the level of knowledge of an SEO consultant and/or programmer, OR
    2. Installing an SEO solution that is already providing definitive results for its users? :)
    FYI I certainly hope the answer is clear. This is not a trick question. :)

    My recommendations for vBulletin forum admins looking for SEO solutions for their forum are:
    • See the proof straight from Google that static CRUs are important (see below)
    • Read some of the Customer Reviews for vBSEO to find out more about the results they are achieving
    • Learn more about the advanced vBSEO optimized solution to find out what it can do for your forum
    Some Information from Google.com

    Re: http://www.google.com/ads/glossary.html

    Re: http://www.google.com/webmasters/2.html

    Re: http://www.google.com/webmasters/guidelines.html

    Re: http://www.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=745

    Re: http://www.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=745 (Duplicate content)

    Re: http://www.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=745 (Why use the vBSEO Google/Yahoo Sitemap? - http://www.vbseo.com/f5/vbseo-google-yahoo-sitemap-generator-released-vbulletin-org-1870/)


     
    jward, Dec 3, 2005 IP
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  20. joeychgo

    joeychgo Notable Member

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    #40
    In other words - more advertisment


    You have no idea what or how much I've done and do. Second, dont call it spamming, third, this is the wrong place to call the COOP spam.


    The question is -- it it worth the $150 you charge -- I dont think so.


    Many sites, including this one, do just fine while overlooking that - and saving $150


    Perhaps, but you've offered no evidence whatsoever.


    In other words - more advertisment - no evidence


    Huh? Wo said anything about 5?


    People here do - so why are you telling them they are wasting your time?


    Answer:
    Taking months or years to gain the level of knowledge of an SEO consultant and/or programmer - certainly. Why not learn about it? What do you think people are here for?

    There is no magic pill. Realize that. No one thing will make you successful. THATS what you dont realize. Your selling an easy way out, but that wont work long term. There is SO much else that needs to be done - and your hack isnt NECESSARY by any means.


    -
     
    joeychgo, Dec 3, 2005 IP
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