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I wish to avoid and duplicate penalties and make sure only one url points to each post. Any feedback on how you have managed this would be greatly appreciated.
As well, is there a static option or a rewrite option which makes the dynamic urls redirect possibly to static to avoid the issue entirely?
>> showing that there are no duplicate content issues with vBulletin whatsoever <<
And completely wrong.
Words fail me.
My suggestion is those who don't see the issue should leave their forums alone while the rest of us do what we can to fix ours. The less competition the better.
Out of the box, most forum software is an accident that has _already_ happened and is just waiting for the search engines to _locate_ and _confirm_ the patient has _committed_ suicide.
Most folks I've seen discuss a Vbulletin based system have installed various mods to get control of a number of issues.
I just finished looking at another forum I'm a member of it is a Vbulletin based system running the 3.5.3 version of the software.
I can indeed find what looks like duplicated pages in Google's index for that site.
In fact when I save the pages and normalize the saved file names there only minor differences in the markup and just the time is different for the content portion of the two pages I ran a diff on.
When I go read the mail there I'll have to let the owner know about that.
I like where this thread is heading and do agree that vBulletin has serious duplicate content issues out of the box that need to be fixed.
I agree with g1smd and Nick0r on many things. I disagree with Joey 100% though. I am at a loss for words that anyone can look at vBulletin and not see duplicate content issues everywhere. From the multiple urls that lead to the same page, to the redundant archive feature, vBulletin is a mess out of the box.
I agree with g1smd that using a robots.txt to prevent the search engines from indexing things such as showthread.php?p=3333 is a bad idea and a bad fix. That link will then be worthless to you when someone gets that url viewing a thread and decides to link to it on other web sites, which costs you a backlink. The only real solutions are to 1) rewrite the urls using mod_rewrite to get rid of all the duplicate urls and 301 redirect to orignal threads where needed, such as new post links. 2) Rewrite vBulletin to only use the t= which imo is too much work, however it much more feasible for a larger board that doesn't want to lose all its backlinks to the old showthread.php pages by using mod_rewrite.
Myself, I opted to go with VBSEO for both old and new sites. While it is $150 I am not capable of coding nor do I have the time to learn how to code to do the same thing that vBSEO does at the same level of quality that it achieves. While it may do 1 or 2 things that you may not agree with like using 301 redirects in certain situations it does produce 1 url that people will use to link to that thread and that does wonders to me. On top of that it includes other optional things that make running a vBulletin forum easier.
I hope that vBulletin does take this serious and fix it in future versions of vBulletin.
It's true that in some cases Google may index and even rank certain duplicate URLs - on any domain, not just a vBulletin forum. But that is not to say that having a single URL wouldn't be better, even in those cases. Plus, many of us know quite well the struggles we have had that only a UNARY URL structure has fixed for us.
He also appears to make a common SEO error by thinking in terms of a duplicate "penalty" -- like a black mark against the domain kept in some back end database table deep inside Mountain View.
Duplicate handling at Google is usually a simple matter of filtering, and not penalizing. But that doesn't mean you can't depress your rankings when multiple URLs point to the same content, compared to what you might otherwise achieve. In some cases, with low PR or an undeveloped trust profile, you can even seem to chase googlebot away from any kind of thorough spidering.
I know I will probably not get this wish, but I wish the phrase "duplicate penalty" would be disallowed in the SEO vocabulary. It has generated a lot of confusion and needless obsession.
Duplicate handling at Google is usually a simple matter of filtering, and not penalizing. But that doesn't mean you can't depress your rankings when multiple URLs point to the same content, compared to what you might otherwise achieve.
This is the biggest thing right here. If you have multiple urls pointing to the same thing and all those multiple urls are being used to link to the same thread you are losing valuable link weight! You want one url to get linked and only one so that the search engine doesn't have to decide which url gets the weight. If you have 24 people that link to your thread using showthread.php?t=23 and then 120 linking to a thread using the showthread.php?p=35474 and then throw in the other ones that somehow appear... you got a mess. It's so obvious. It's like some people just want to disagree for the sake of disagreeing. It's common sense that one url is better than multiple.
The other is the links with ?t=33333&goto=nextnewest and ?t=55555&goto=nextoldest both pointing to a thread that is already indexed as ?t=44444 are another form of duplicate. Likewise ?t=55555&goto=nextnewest and ?t=77777&goto=nextoldest might both be pointing to a thread that is already indexed as ?t=66666.
Additionally, if any of the three threads in a "chain" are bumped, the two &goto= links no longer point to the correct thread from the SERPs...
I've had it enabled - but i've modified meta descriptions and titles significantly enough so that google is happy to consider them seperate pages and will index and rank both.
Update: I've just turned it off because I've realised that almost no traffic is going to it anyway, so it seems pointless.
In terms of removing the problems relating to more than one URL. My board is very heavily modified to ensure a 1url per thread structure, and to do so, I found the simplest method was to simply use vbulletin IF conditions in templates to only show links to things like showthread.php?p= and member.php?find=lastposter to registered and logged in members.
[edited by: Nick0r at 9:57 pm (utc) on Dec. 17, 2006]
and to do so, I found the simplest method was to simply use vbulletin IF conditions in templates to only show links to things like showthread.php?p= and member.php?find=lastposter to registered and logged in members.
This still does not stop your registered members from getting these links and then going out on other boards and linking to the p=3354 etc etc.
As far as the Archive its pointless imo. Disable it and use it as a sitemap or just block it off completely.
Just a suggestion. If you are not in love with VB you might want to consider kicking the tires on phpbb, it has gotten much better lately.
I'm actually rather pissed at both vbulletin and google for failing to fix this. Google can detect a vb installation easily. Just figure out vb is there and find the highest thread number, and index from high on down. Ignore the other url's that point to the dupe content and don't penalize the site for those pages. Simple. There are too many vb's out there to penalize sites for having the best forum software for your users..
And vb can fix this easily too. At least with a lot less pain than switching to OOP and all the other massive systemwide changes they do version after version(ie changing coding practices). There are several threads on the topic. But the management doesn't seem too interested to fix it.
I was tempted many times to write my own forum software using php and setting up stuff that SEOs would like to have. But it's just too big a job and my coding skills probably aren't good enough to do this. I'm self-taught so you wind up with a lot of holes in your knowledge..
Hmm, but vbseo seems to be based more on pumping keywords in to URLs than anything else. That was something a few believed for a while sometime back, but I don't feel that it is a generally effective strategy today.
G1smd you are my "duplicate content" mentor and I hate to disagree with you, but...
I recently kicked off a new forum site. A phpbb veteran, I went with VB because I heard so many good things about it.
I also bought vbSEO.
There is so far no duplicate content issues, and the amount of tweaks and options in vbSEO is truly impressive. Even the archives can be tweaked to prevent D content.
Duplicate content is addressed extensively in the newest version of vbSEO and after installing it, I also read and searched everywhere on VB dup content. My conclusion so far is that it covers all the bases "if" you also use a good robots.txt file and do your non-www to www trick.
Please correct me if I am wrong, I am not "married" to vbSEO, but I think it deserves a bit more credit then it gets here.
Have you guys seen or used the very newest version? The setup options, help on the web site, the vbSEO forums cover dup content very well, it is a big issue and they seem to take great pains in making sure it is fixed...
I may be totally wrong here, like I said, I know phpbb inside and out, but VB I am new to. I don't want to "disagree" in a confident sense, but rather as a "well ok, but it's different now, isn't it?" sense.
If I am wrong that vbSEO doesn't "CURRENTLY" address very well, the dup content issues, please not only let me know, but tell me in addition to vbSEO what I should be doing to further defeat duplicate content.