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  • [vB4] How to SEO vBulletin without VBSEO

    *I copied this by Cerberus from this thread.

    I tried implementing some of these steps but this was written for vB 3.x , as such some of the code has changed.

    For example there is no longer "$headinclude" in the vB4 code. I was wondering if someone could point out which of these steps are stil useful in vB4 and what the proper code would be to edit your template.

    Also, I know vB4 has improved their built in SEO'ing, which of these steps are no longer needed?

    Thanks.


    --------------------------------------------
    Ok, I thought I would throw this together for those people seeking a guide for seo without the help of vbseo. If I leave anything out or if anyone has anything to add please do so. So, here we go. Oh and thanks to all who have helped me and all who I copied some of this info from. I grabbed them from posts on various sites. Thanks Brandon,Joeychgo, Mike54,


    1)Remove Powered By Vbulletin tag

    Editing the "powered by vBulletin" phrases is something I recommend to every forum owner.
    This phrase is showing up in the title tag of every page of your forum.
    It's essential in SEO'ing your vBulletin forum..


    How to Remove the "- Powered by vBulletin" in page title tags

    Go to your ADMINCP> Language & Phrases> Search in Phrases

    In your Phrases Search for: x_powered_by_vbulletin (be sure to choose to search by Phrase Text and Phrase Variable Name)

    Edit the phrase. Simply change it from {1} - Powered by vBulletin

    to {1}

    SO your just deleting - Powered by vBulletin


    2)Title and description changes

    vBulletin handles page titles and descriptions differently then I like.

    For starters, the page descriptions do not change from one page to the next. So the description for each and every post and thread are the same. This does not help search engines (or adsense) figure out what a thread is about. You want the titles, descriptions and keywords to be specific to each page / thread.

    vBulletin does this in the template "headinclude". We will modify this template first. Remove the following from the template:

    Quote:
    Code:
    <if condition="$show['threadinfo']"> <meta name="keywords" content="$threadinfo[title], $vboptions[keywords]" /> <meta name="description" content="<if condition="$pagenumber>1"><phrase 1="$pagenumber">$vbphrase[page_x]</phrase>-</if>$threadinfo[title] $foruminfo[title_clean]" /> <else /> <if condition="$show['foruminfo']"> <meta name="keywords" content="$foruminfo[title_clean], $vboptions[keywords]" /> <meta name="description" content="<if condition="$pagenumber>1"><phrase 1="$pagenumber">$vbphrase[page_x]</phrase>-</if>$foruminfo[description_clean]" /> <else /> <meta name="keywords" content="$vboptions[keywords]" /> <meta name="description" content="$vboptions[description]" /> </if> </if>
    This removed the description and keywords from the headinclude.

    Now, lets go about putting them back in a better manner.

    We have to replace them in all vital areas, meaning pages that we want search engines to index.

    SO, lets start with the forumhome template.

    Look for:

    Quote:
    Code:
    $headinclude <title><phrase 1="$vboptions[bbtitle]">$vbphrase[x_powered_by_vbulletin]</phrase></title>
    Now, first, move the $headinclude to below the title line, and insert this inbetween the two.

    Quote:
    Code:
    <title><phrase 1="$vboptions[bbtitle]">$vbphrase[x_powered_by_vbulletin]</phrase></title> <meta name="keywords" content="$vboptions[keywords]" /> <meta name="description" content="$vboptions[description]" /> $headinclude
    Like this you will be using the description and keywords that you set under vBulletin options. If you want to be specific to the page, you can change the areas in red below and use that:

    Quote:
    Code:
    <title> <phrase 1="$vboptions[bbtitle]">$vbphrase[x_powered_by_vbulletin]</phrase> </title> <meta name="keywords" content="$vboptions[keywords]" /> <meta name="description" content="$vboptions[description] " /> $headinclude
    Ok... Thats the forumhome. Now onto the forum display template.

    In the forumdisplay you have:

    Quote:
    Code:
    $headinclude <title>$foruminfo[title_clean]<if condition="$pagenumber>1"> - <phrase 1="$pagenumber">$vbphrase[page_x]</phrase></if> - $vboptions[bbtitle]</title>
    We are going to make a similar change as we did on forumhome...

    Quote:
    Code:
    <title>$foruminfo[title_clean]<if condition="$pagenumber>1"> - <phrase 1="$pagenumber">$vbphrase[page_x]</phrase></if> - $vboptions[bbtitle]</title> <meta name="keywords" content="$foruminfo[title] $vboptions[keywords]" /> <meta name="description" content="$foruminfo[description] $foruminfo[title]" />  $headinclude
    There are 2 main changes here. First, your pulling keywords from the vBulletin options as with the forumhome, but your also adding the forum name to the keywords... Second, you have a description that is specific to each individual forum. The description you get breaks down like this:

    $foruminfo[description] = the description you entered for the forum in the forum manager

    $foruminfo[description] = the title of the individual forum.

    If you like, you can swap these around - like
    <meta name="$foruminfo[title] $foruminfo[description]" />


    Ok, now onto the Showthread template:

    Here again, you have this:

    Quote:
    Code:
    $headinclude <title>$thread[title]<if condition="$pagenumber>1"> - <phrase 1="$pagenumber">$vbphrase[page_x]</phrase></if> - $vboptions[bbtitle]</title>
    Change it to this: (changing the red text to something specific to your forum)

    Quote:
    Code:
    <title>$thread[title]<if condition="$pagenumber>1"> - <phrase 1="$pagenumber">$vbphrase[page_x]</phrase></if> - $foruminfo[title]</title> <meta name="description" content="$thread[title] is discussed at vBulletin FAQ - $foruminfo[title]" /> <meta name="keywords" content="$thread[title] $vboptions[keywords]" /> $headinclude
    The breakdown here is this:

    You are changing the title slightly by removing the site name, and replacing it with the name of the forum that the thread is in.

    You are adding the description which will now have: The Title of the thread + The red text + the title of the forum the thread is in. Lots of keywords in your description now.

    You are also adding the keywords that you placed in vBulletin Options, as well as the thread title which is also in the keywords now.

    I also like to do the Showthread_showpost and Memberinfo templates. These arent really important, but I like to do them anyway.

    With Showthread_showpost you start with:

    Quote:
    Code:
    $headinclude <title>$vboptions[bbtitle] - $vbphrase[view_single_post] - $threadinfo[title]</title>
    and change it to:


    Quote:
    Code:
    <title>$vboptions[bbtitle] - $vbphrase[view_single_post] - $threadinfo[title]</title> <meta name="keywords" content="$thread[title] $vboptions[keywords]" /> <meta name="description" content="$thread[title] $foruminfo[title] $foruminfo[description] " /> $headinclude
    and for Memberinfo you have:

    Quote:
    Code:
    $headinclude <title>$vboptions[bbtitle] - $vbphrase[view_profile]: $userinfo[username]</title>
    and Change it to

    Quote:
    Code:
    <title>$userinfo[username]'s profile on $vboptions[bbtitle]</title> <meta name="keywords" content="$vboptions[keywords]" /> <meta name="description" content="$vboptions[description]" /> $headinclude
    Thats a start. Dont be afraid to customize this a bit for your particular forum.

    3) Remove forum titles from threads

    Once you've established your forum title in vBulletin Options, that title will appear on all sub-forum, member profile and thread pages. I am of the opinion you can experience much better thread title relevancy by removing the forum title from these pages.

    Since everyone removes the 'Powered by vBulletin' from their titles, why not take it a step further and remove the forum title, as well?

    This is a simple modification to make.

    1. Log into your Admin CP

    2. Select Styles & Templates, then select Style Manager

    3. Select the style you want to edit and then Edit Templates

    4. Select the FORUMDISPLAY template. In the Title tag, near the top of the template, you are looking for
    Code:

    $vboptions[bbtitle]

    5. Delete that code and save the template.

    6. Repeat steps 4 & 5 for the MEMBERINFO template and for the SHOWTHREAD template.

    This will remove the forum title from the title of the page, giving more weight to the actual thread title.

    4)Adding H1 Tags to your Forum and Threads

    H1, H2 and H3 tags can help search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN figure out what a web page is about.

    SO this is an important mod to make. It also is good for your members as it gives a more descriptive introduction to a thread.

    As always, you should back up your forums before making any changes.

    In the FORUMDISPLAY template find

    Quote:
    $navbar
    and Below it add:

    Quote:
    Code:
    <br /> <center> <h1 class="myh1">$foruminfo[title_clean]</h1> <h2 class="myh2">$foruminfo[description]</h2> </center> <br />
    This adds the Forum Name in the H1 Tags and the Forum Description in the H2 tags. It also places these items below the navbar when you visit a forum.

    In your SHOWTHREAD template find

    Quote:
    Code:
    $navbar
    and Below it add:

    Quote:
    Code:
    <br /> <center> <h1 class="myh1">$thread[title]</h1> <h2 class="myh2">$foruminfo[title_clean]</h2> </center> <br />
    This adds the Thread Title in the H1 Tags and the Forum Name in the H2 tags. It also places these items below the navbar when you visit a thread.

    Now. You can control the size and appearance of H1, H2 and H3 tags via your CSS if you choose.

    For example. In your Style Manager, Main CSS, under Additional CSS Definitions, scroll to the bottom and add something such as this:

    (This will make all the H1 & H2 tags using this class appear like this, forum wide) This is the code we use here to give you an idea of how it looks.

    Quote:
    Code:
    /* ***** H1 Tags ***** */ h1.myh1 {font-family: Arial; font-size: 20px; color: #000000; font-weight: bold;}  h2.myh2 {font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; color: #000000; font-weight: bold;}
    You can change the font, font size and whether its bold or not by simply changing the variables. You can also change the color if you like.

    5).htaccess to stop duplicate content

    Open up notepad on your computer and paste this code into your notepad

    Code:
    Options +FollowSymLinks
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^yoursitename\.com$
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.yoursitename.com/$1 [R=301,L]
    Obviously replace yoursitename with the name of your site. You can also replace .com with whatever type of domain you have for example .net, .info, etc...

    Then go to file at the top save as and name it .htaccess...Make sure to save it as all files...Now just upload it to the root folder of your site.
    Last edited by too_cool_3; Mon 7th Nov '11, 9:27pm. Reason: spelling

  • #2
    Originally posted by too_cool_3 View Post
    if someone could point out which of these steps are stil useful in vB4
    IMHO none of these things is useful for SEO. The best thing you can do for your site is to post quality content so that others will link to your site.

    Comment


    • #3
      I was able to follow Step 1 (Remove Powered By Vbulletin tag) without issues.

      -------------------------------------

      In Step 2 (Title and description changes) it says to remove:

      Code:
      <if condition="$show['threadinfo']"> <meta name="keywords" content="$threadinfo[title], $vboptions[keywords]" /> <meta name="description" content="<if condition="$pagenumber>1"><phrase 1="$pagenumber">$vbphrase[page_x]</phrase>-</if>$threadinfo[title] $foruminfo[title_clean]" /> <else /> <if condition="$show['foruminfo']"> <meta name="keywords" content="$foruminfo[title_clean], $vboptions[keywords]" /> <meta name="description" content="<if condition="$pagenumber>1"><phrase 1="$pagenumber">$vbphrase[page_x]</phrase>-</if>$foruminfo[description_clean]" /> <else /> <meta name="keywords" content="$vboptions[keywords]" /> <meta name="description" content="$vboptions[description]" /> </if> </if>
      from "headinclude" template. This removes the description and keywords from the headinclude.

      In vB 4.1.7 I removed:

      Code:
      <vb:if condition="$show['threadinfo']">
      
      <vb:elseif condition="$show['foruminfo']" />
              <meta name="keywords" content="{vb:raw foruminfo.title_clean}, {vb:raw vboptions.keywords}" />
              <meta name="description" content="<vb:if condition="$pagenumber > 1">{vb:rawphrase page_x, {vb:raw pagenumber}}-</vb:if>{vb:raw foruminfo.description_clean}" />
      <vb:else />
              <meta name="keywords" content="{vb:raw vboptions.keywords}" />
              <meta name="description" content="{vb:raw vboptions.description}" />
      </vb:if>
      Does this essentially accomplish the same thing? As I noticed the code they are asking you to remove is similar, however it is not the same..

      -------------------------------------

      Next it states to look for:

      Code:
      $headinclude <title><phrase 1="$vboptions[bbtitle]">$vbphrase[x_powered_by_vbulletin]</phrase></title>
      in the "forumhome" template. Move the $headinclude to below the title line, and insert this inbetween the two:

      Code:
      <title><phrase 1="$vboptions[bbtitle]">$vbphrase[x_powered_by_vbulletin]</phrase></title> <meta name="keywords" content="$vboptions[keywords]" /> <meta name="description" content="$vboptions[description]" /> $headinclude
      Like this you will be using the description and keywords that you set under vBulletin options. However, in vB 4.1.7 I see:

      Code:
      {vb:raw headinclude}
          <title>{vb:raw vboptions.bbtitle}</title>
      so I did this:

      Code:
      {vb:raw headinclude}
          <title>{vb:raw vboptions.bbtitle}</title>
              <meta name="keywords" content="$vboptions[keywords]" />
              <meta name="description" content="$vboptions[description]" />
      Since there is no $headinclude in vB4 I left {vb:raw headinclude} at the top. Does this accomplish the same thing? Should I put the <meta name> stuff above {vb:raw headinclude}?

      -------------------------------------

      In "forumdisplay" template, it says to find:

      Code:
      $headinclude <title>$foruminfo[title_clean]<if condition="$pagenumber>1"> - <phrase 1="$pagenumber">$vbphrase[page_x]</phrase></if> - $vboptions[bbtitle]</title>
      and change to:

      Code:
      <title>$foruminfo[title_clean]<if condition="$pagenumber>1"> - <phrase 1="$pagenumber">$vbphrase[page_x]</phrase></if> - $vboptions[bbtitle]</title> <meta name="keywords" content="$foruminfo[title] $vboptions[keywords]" /> <meta name="description" content="$foruminfo[description] $foruminfo[title]" />  $headinclude
      There are 2 main changes here. First, your pulling keywords from the vBulletin options as with the forumhome, but your also adding the forum name to the keywords... Second, you have a description that is specific to each individual forum.

      However, in vB 4.1.7 I see:

      Code:
      {vb:raw headinclude}
          <title>{vb:raw foruminfo.title_clean}<vb:if condition="$pagenumber > 1"> - {vb:rawphrase page_x, {vb:raw pagenumber}}</vb:if></title>
      so I changed it to this:

      Code:
      {vb:raw headinclude}
          <title>{vb:raw foruminfo.title_clean}<vb:if condition="$pagenumber > 1"> - {vb:rawphrase page_x, {vb:raw pagenumber}}</vb:if></title>
              <meta name="keywords" content="$foruminfo[title] $vboptions[keywords]" />
              <meta name="description" content="$foruminfo[description] $foruminfo[title]" />
      Again, I kept {vb:raw headinclude} at the top of the <meta name> stuff, instead of putting it at the bottom like they say to do with $headinclude. Is this accomplishing the same thing they intended in the older code?

      -------------------------------------

      Next, in "showthread" template, you find:

      Code:
      $headinclude <title>$thread[title]<if condition="$pagenumber>1"> - <phrase 1="$pagenumber">$vbphrase[page_x]</phrase></if> - $vboptions[bbtitle]</title>
      and change it to this (changing the red text to something specific to your forum):

      Code:
      <title>$thread[title]<if condition="$pagenumber>1"> - <phrase 1="$pagenumber">$vbphrase[page_x]</phrase></if> - $foruminfo[title]</title> <meta name="description" content="$thread[title] is discussed *title of your forum* - $foruminfo[title]" /> <meta name="keywords" content="$thread[title] $vboptions[keywords]" /> $headinclude
      The breakdown here is this - You are changing the title slightly by removing the site name, and replacing it with the name of the forum that the thread is in. You are adding the description which will now have: The Title of the thread + The red text + The Title of the forum the thread is in. Lots of keywords in your description now.

      You are also adding the keywords that you placed in vBulletin Options, as well as the thread title which is also in the keywords now.

      However, in vB 4.1.7 I see:

      Code:
      {vb:raw headinclude}
          <vb:if condition="$threadinfo['keywords']"><meta name="keywords" content="{vb:raw threadinfo.keywords}" /></vb:if>
          <meta name="description" content="{vb:raw thread.meta_description}" />
      
          <title>{vb:raw thread.prefix_plain_html} {vb:raw thread.title}<vb:if condition="$pagenumber > '1'"> - {vb:rawphrase page_x, {vb:raw pagenumber}}</vb:if></title>
      This seems to already include <meta name> information. So I LEFT IT ALONE. How does what's already there in vB4 differ from what the older code instructed you to put in?

      -------------------------------------

      Next it instructs you to edit the template "showthread_showpost" which I could not find in vB 4.1.7 so I skipped it.

      -------------------------------------

      Lastly, you find "memberinfo" template and change:

      Code:
      $headinclude <title>$vboptions[bbtitle] - $vbphrase[view_profile]: $userinfo[username]</title
      to:

      Code:
      <title>$userinfo[username]'s profile on $vboptions[bbtitle]</title> <meta name="keywords" content="$vboptions[keywords]" /> <meta name="description" content="$vboptions[description]" /> $headinclude
      in vB 4.1.7 I found:

      Code:
      {vb:raw headinclude}
          <title>{vb:rawphrase view_profile}: {vb:raw prepared.username} - {vb:raw vboptions.bbtitle}</title>
      and changed it to:

      Code:
      {vb:raw headinclude}
          <title>{vb:rawphrase view_profile}: {vb:raw prepared.username} - {vb:raw vboptions.bbtitle}</title>
              <meta name="keywords" content="$vboptions[keywords]" />
              <meta name="description" content="$vboptions[description]" />
      Again, leaving {vb:raw headinclude} at the top of everything instead of moving it to the bottom like it states with $headinclude, since there is no $headinclude in vB4. Is what I did to the code in my template proper and valid for vB4?

      -------------------------------------

      That's as far as I've gone. I have not yet tried:

      Step 3 (Remove forum titles from threads)

      Step 4 (4)Adding H1 Tags to your Forum and Threads)

      Step 5 (.htaccess to stop duplicate content)

      Would these be a good idea?

      Thanks for all your help. Any updates to these template codes or feedback is greatly appreciated!

      -Marc

      Andy, thank you. That goes without saying. That is my main goal, however any steps I can take along the way to help, I will try my best to use.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by too_cool_3 View Post

        Andy, thank you. That goes without saying. That is my main goal, however any steps I can take along the way to help, I will try my best to use.
        I doubt any of those modification would help, if anything I bet it would hurt SEO.

        Comment


        • #5
          I got these instruction from a credible source. I'm just worried the code is outdated. For example:

          Does adding:

          Code:
          {vb:raw headinclude}
              <title>{vb:raw vboptions.bbtitle}</title>
                  <meta name="keywords" content="$vboptions[keywords]" />
                  <meta name="description" content="$vboptions[description]" />
          to my "forumhome" template allow me to use the description and keywords that I set under vBulletin options. Or is the code wrong?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by too_cool_3 View Post
            I got these instruction from a credible source. I'm just worried the code is outdated. For example:

            Does adding:

            Code:
            {vb:raw headinclude}
                <title>{vb:raw vboptions.bbtitle}</title>
                    <meta name="keywords" content="$vboptions[keywords]" />
                    <meta name="description" content="$vboptions[description]" />
            to my "forumhome" template allow me to use the description and keywords that I set under vBulletin options. Or is the code wrong?
            Of course it's outdated, it was written for a different version than what you are running.

            The best SEO is good unique fresh content. Good thread titles, if you have competing sites that rank high on google take a look at the content, thread titles, most recent posts, etc. to get an idea of what to change. URL's are very minimum with SEO now.
            www.cdmagurus.com
            www.cellphone-gurus.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Andy View Post
              I doubt any of those modification would help, if anything I bet it would hurt SEO.
              If you have doubt with what your trying to teach, maybe you should let other advice..

              The main idea in the thread above will in fact help your onpage SEO.. (especially the first suggestion as well as the duplicate content fixes)

              Some of the "fixes" have already been added in vb4 though.
              -- Web Developer for hire
              ---Online Marketing Tools and Articles

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Loco.M View Post
                Some of the "fixes" have already been added in vb4 though.
                Which one of the above tips have been already added to vB4?
                Last edited by too_cool_3; Wed 9th Nov '11, 3:04pm.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Can a vB Staff member reply and let me know which of these techniques is now redunant in vB4? It seems a lot of these would still work well with slight updates to code.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    *crickets*

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Content is king. I don't have all the seo dohickys but still get good enough PR. I have a section that has rss fed in to it and the bots come in small groups eating it up. I also keep my captioned pics freshened up on a timely bases. They seem to love that stuff.
                      I don't mod the code or jigger settings to get higher PR. My content speaks for itself.
                      I'd just pay a lot more mind to what's going on in the forum itself. Are people posting? Are you and your mods posting? You and your mods can serve as a catalyst for new threads and posts. Just for gp open a thread telling the staff and members what you're up to with the forum. You'd be surprised at how lively those topics can get. You and your mods as well as members can go out and spread the word about your forum. Don't spam and ask first at other forums if you can post something about your forum. I do. I brag about my forum anywhere they let me. But I'm real active at those other places too.
                      All those things you want to do to your forum may or may not help. But when all is said and done > It's not what's going on in the boiler room that matters. It's whether or not the building is warm.
                      ...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Are all these tweaks added to JIRA?
                        I buy 420 forums

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by setishock View Post
                          I have a section that has rss fed in to it and the bots come in small groups eating it up.
                          Are rss feeds in forums really beneficial for seo or rather bad?
                          .......

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ramsesx View Post
                            Are rss feeds in forums really beneficial for seo or rather bad?
                            Just did a google search for anime appeal. Top of page 1. Normally I'm on page 9 or thereabouts. I would imagine with the feeds pouring in like they do it shows a lot of activity. I selected 3 sites that are real big and very active to get the feeds from. There's something always going on that gets fed out to me.
                            There was some concern that not clicking on them would cause the rss system to stall out. I don't have to worry about that. It seems if that's the case there are so many bots stomping on links it's turned in to a perpetual motion machine. All I had to do was set it up then sit back and watch the show...
                            ...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Meta description for threads:
                              http://www.vbulletin.org/forum/showthread.php?p=2233128
                              | College student forum | Men beauty and Health Tips | Dress Forum [IPB] |

                              [For 6 Months] Unlimited vB Upgrades + $50 AWS CloudFront CDN (billed in my account) + vb.org Mod Installs - PM me. 2 Spots

                              Comment

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