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Google not storing message board pages

Exactly what it says on the tin..

11:02 am on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Guys and Gals..

I have a weird search engine problem.

For some reason search engines are not spidering my message boards.

Google spiders these pages fine:

[example.net:...] a search for sportnetwork confirms that
[example.net...] a search for London Wasps confirms that.

I have done just a site and search on google and can't find any message board links. The links should look like:


Its very weird. I thought that googlebot must not even be able to see the message board but I found a link to my who is on-line feature which is only linked to from the message board so this must mean googlebot is view the message boards but just not storing them in the database.

The way my site works is the /main and /boards bits in the URL are not folders but files with no extention and every thing after that is a variable. for these files, I thought that would have something to do with it but /boards works the exact same way as /main and /main files are getting stored on google.

I have a robots.txt file but it only has restrictions on the directories /admin/ and /mainadmin/

Does anyone have any clues as I am stumped!

John Wards

[edited by: Woz at 11:09 am (utc) on Jan. 10, 2003]
[edit reason] TOS#13 [/edit]

11:56 am on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Doing a bit more research of my own on this topic:

I have used the Spider SIM with this URL


It returns a 302 and it says its getting forwarded to


Which is weird because its not. I have used another Spider sim on the same url and it doesn't get forwarded.....I am confuzed...

Also using the google tool bar and visting any of the front pages of my message board I get a 2/20 ranking which is not good and no back linking to these urls. This should not be the case as every story page for each sup site links to their message boards!

I know it has a lot to do with external sites linking but an example of a high ranked page with no exteranl linking is:

[example.net...] which is ranked No 1 for certain keywords

I am confuzed still..

John Wards

[edited by: Woz at 12:02 pm (utc) on Jan. 10, 2003]

11:58 am on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

ooops sorry about putting in my url.....need to read TOS..:-)


12:11 pm on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Welcome to the board, John. You might want to look through the WebmasterWorld Welcome and Guide to the Basics [webmasterworld.com], there are some links to discussions there that you'll probably find helpful.
1:52 pm on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


I have been lurking about for a few weeks as I was drawn in to find out more about "the dance"...which I am getting to grips with.

I am still baffled at the reason I can't find any of my message boards in the database....

I have figured out that they have been indexed as google tool bar is giving them a 2/10 rack..or so I have been told as I can't get google tool bar for Moz....so I persum it has to do with my keyword density and backlinking...

I am off to play with my keywords I think..but would love to find a message board using keywords to give me a start but have yet to find one!

Oh hum...

If anyone has any more information to get me started that would be great!

John Wards

1:55 pm on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

The PR2 on your message boards doesnt mean they have been indexed - it just means that some pages on your site have been indexed and the toolbar is guessing the PR for the rest based on that.

Im not too sure about the whole message board indexing deal - i know that if the board is members only i wont be indexed.

Maybe someone else can chip in a couple of points?


2:00 pm on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Some of the message boards are members only to post but none are members only to read.

Would it have anything to do with this bit:


i.e. it not indexing the indavidual messages because they are variables? Or have too many variables?

I caould rewrite my code to look like this:


Would that help things?

John Wards

2:00 pm on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

What's killing you is the session ID in the URL - and thus the 302. It's the programming of your board software that is at fault.


2:02 pm on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It doesn't have a session id in the the url. And php is set to not add session id's to URLs only to do cookie based sessions.

Also sessions are used on my /main pages and they get indexed....

hmm curious..


2:04 pm on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

hey, I have the same problem with my forum too!

Google has only indexed the static pages and for the actual forum pages ( which are dynamically driven )...the PR is greyed out.

Its been almost 50 days since this phenomenon.

Thanks for any input.

2:13 pm on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

>> It doesn't have a session id in the the url

it might do (can't see your boards myself to check). the session ID might only be visible to you if you turn cookies off - remember that spiders don't accept cookies. it might do the same as oscommerce shopping cart, ie, no session ID in the first hit on any message board page, but session IDs added to every link just in case cookies are turned off. try the SIM spider at [searchengineworld.com...] to see your site how the search engines might see it.

google also has trouble indexing pages with name=value pairs in the URL. it seems ok with 2 name=value pairs on some ASP sites i have, but definitely cannot cope with 3 name=value pairs and does not spider my CGI or PHP sites with 1 or 2 name=value pairs in the URL.

FAST spiders all of them just fine.


2:21 pm on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member woz is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member


Google is getting better at spidering dynamic URLs, but there are a few rules of thumb that help.

1) The more static the URL the better. The page can still be dynamic but a static URL helps heaps.

2) The higher the Base PR of the site the better. There is a threshold below which Google stops spidering Dynamic URLs so the higher the PR of the referring page/s the more pages get indexed.

3) Related to #1, the fewer the variables the better. page?A=1 is better then page?A=1&B=2&C=3. Somethings to try are:- a) converting the variables into a speudo directory structure such as a1/b2/b3/page, or b) concatenating the variables such as page?A=1xb2xc3 and then splitting the variables with x as the split point.

There are many more techniques and tips available. Do a search (link at top of page) on Dynamic URLs and you should get more ideas.


2:27 pm on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have turned off the bit in php.ini that adds session ids to the url if the user doesn't support cookies. If the user doesn't support cookies they they don't get a session based data and every page is pulled from the database.

I am begining to think there are a few problems with my message boards:

1. Keyword Relevance
2. To many dynamic URLs which I can fix with mod_rewrite
3. Back Linking...

I can deal with the first 2 problems my self but the back linking problem is a weird one.

As every /main page has a link to coresponding /boards page and /main pages are being linked no problem at all I would think this would be enough back linking?

Also the posts are all have a link back to the corisponding /boards page....



12:05 pm on Jan 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

An update on this...

I have done the following things to see if this will make a difference:

1. Increased the keyword relevance on the message boards to about 10-15% in 1,2,3 keyword phrases for the relevant keywords int he meta tags.
2. Increased the number of links to the message board 10 fold and links back also. Internal for just now
3. Changed the fisrt link to the message board to /boards/list/s85.php instead of /boards/list/s85.php?f=85

Also I noticed that I had accidently included the wrong base ref in the html. It was pointing to [example.net...] it is now pointing to just [example.net...] stupid copy and paste mistake.

I noticed that when running the spider SIM that it was picking up the links like this: /boards/list/boards/list/s85?f=85

I have now fixed this so it picks up the links correctly.

Hopefully that should make a difference but I am still confuzed why I can't find any refrences to my message boards within google. I think it might have been the base ref problem.

John Wards

12:13 pm on Jan 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Welcome to the board John.

I rarely say the following anymore, because the php guys get all fired up when I say it: php pages rank lower than stock .html pages. Always have, probably always will. There are alot of tangible and intangible reasons for that from people not linking to dynamic urls, to just plain dynamic urls. That's true for all the nonstandard filetypes.

Whens the last time you saw a .shtml page ranked under any kind of quality kw?

12:20 pm on Jan 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

so if i changed the extention to .htm or .html I would fair better?

It is a "fake" extention anyway as the /boards /main bit is the file with everthing else just being variables after that.

Would google not moan if I have a .php version and a .htm version? And would I have to change all my links?


10:29 am on Jan 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Ha! Sucess!

I am starting to see some of my message board pages in google!

Only 4 so far but it was only 1 yesterday! only about 90 more to go ;-)

Thanks for all your help and hints!

John Wards


10:42 am on Jan 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member woz is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Good to hear John, Keep at it.



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