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Search Engines, dynamic URLs in Blogs and permalinks

Started by on May 08, 2007 – Contents updated: May 08, 2007

May 08, 2007 02:21    

I don't know where the right place to post this is in b2evolution forum. EdB, I will address here my understanding of Permalinks and you can please tell me if I am confused.

One thing that I notice with all blogs, whether b2evo or other, is that all search engines generally make a hash of indexing them. This is because most blogs are entered at the latest page and the content of that is ever changing with any post moving to page 2 and page 3 as time goes by. So the poor search engine always discovers a post at a URL that is doomed to become wrong.

I assume that this is at least part of the reason why permalinks were invented. I use them so that I can quote my posts (articles) in places where they may be read for quite some time. This includes usenet groups, technorati, myspace, flickr and stumbleupon. When I have a hit page, giving it a thumbs up in stumbleupon can generate about 500 people coming to see it. If some of them give it a thumbs up then more get sent, and a popular post (article) can get thousands of refers to it in a few days. This is great, but a total disaster if I make more posts and the people coming do not find what the review (associated with the thumbs up) says that they are coming to.

So I am doing my best to make it work for people coming to my site by always quoting permalinks. But the search engines are sending people to the page numbered links that keep on changing - dynamic links are useless when used this way. It means that the searcher has to do another search all over again and is likely to just go away.

I think that there is an answer for this, but it means some sort of standard between the blogs and the search engines. I cannot find any evidence that this is already the case and it surprises me. Please tell me if there is something already in place.

My idea is that blog software should put something on each page that tells the search engine that this page is either a dynamic one or a permanent URL. If it is dynamic then it should include info that the search engine can find to give the permanent URL. It is already there on most pages in most blogs anyway. But the search engines keep sending people to the dynamic pages. And they often quote multiple links that are really all the same page addressed 3 or 4 different ways.

I presume that blog sites like technorati do this better than google. However technorati is not indexing my sites properly. I have my 3 blogs set to ping technorati whenever I make a change. I can also go to technorati and see when it last updated its view of my sites and do a ping if it is out of date. It is still months behind in most cases although the odd post is shown there when I search. But even weeks old posts that were very popular (100s to 1000s of views) are not showing in technorati.

One other slightly related thing. I see that there is a way to get permalinks without the index.php stuff (shorter URLs). What I would like to know is if I start using that will then other old ones continue to work? ... because I have them plastered all over internet ;-)

All the best
Ray

May 08, 2007 09:39

There's a few hack on the forums somewhere which add meta tag for "index/follow" / "noindex follow" on relevant pages to limit search engines to indexing just the permalink version of your pages. ( this is [url=http://forums.b2evolution.net/viewtopic.php?t=4459&highlight=robots]one of them[/url] )

Technorati et al have the advantage because when your blog pings them it send them the posts permalink.

If you decide to go with clean urls then the evocore will still pull up the correct posts for old style links.

¥

May 08, 2007 11:23

Thank you ¥åßßå

That sounds like just what the doctor ordered.

May 08, 2007 12:11

This works really well. I would like to suggest that the very useful line of code given by kwa be shipped in all _main.php files supplied by b2evolution. It is described here: http://forums.b2evolution.net/viewtopic.php?p=55000#55000
and the code is:

<meta name="robots" content="<?php if( $disp != 'single' ) echo( 'no' ); ?>index,follow"/>


which goes in the <head> section.

This makes the search engines direct people to single article permanent links only so that people will find what they were looking for. If not done then after a short time the majority of searches will arrive at pages that do not have the content any longer. The stability of the searched content also means that the engines can build up a pattern of behaviour.

May 08, 2007 16:43

Okay so we got the same understanding of permalinks. In the other thread I THOUGHT you were talking about how different images and locations mattered. Obviously it doesn't!

Here, for absolutely free, is my theory on SEO and search engines: who cares!

Yup: "who cares" is my theory. I figure if what I write is interesting then people will find it and share it and link to it. If not then all the tricks in the world won't matter. A million years ago I wrote a page that wrote the head section for HTML4.0 web pages. I had 8 slots for keywords, and told people that keywords are a waste of time. Content is King is the thing.

If you write about something I'm interested in I'll subscribe to your feed. If not I won't. Search engines might l-o-v-e your web, but I won't. Others might though, so do with your web that which you want to do with your web. Just don't think that you have to serve the search engines what THEY love, because they'll change when they figure out they need to change. Again.

So that's my theory! I like random crap, b2evolution stuff, and hang gliding, so that's what I blog about. Sometimes something gets a lot of traffic, most of the time it doesn't. Sometimes pages get traffic for years even though it was a throwaway page - to me.

Anyway even though I already stated it I'll say it again: that line of code would be detrimental to how I currently use my web space. A plugin that enabled easy customization would be cool, but shipping that way would be bad.

May 08, 2007 20:19

EdB wrote:

Anyway even though I already stated it I'll say it again: that line of code would be detrimental to how I currently use my web space. A plugin that enabled easy customization would be cool, but shipping that way would be bad.

So ... this'd be a bad time to mention ( approx line 55 in skins/custom/_main.php ) 1.10 ? :-

	<?php robots_tag(); ?>

The good news is ... it wasn't me :D

¥

May 09, 2007 00:31

<?php $Plugins->trigger_event( 'SkinBeginHtmlHead' ); ?>


Seems more suited to a plugin eh?

robots, geo-coding, stopping MS from doing what they wanted to do, stopping that stupid graphic from popping up on top of images, favicons! author, copyright (not that it matters but some folk might want it), and probably a million others that aren't gonna be handled across multiple blogs with multiple skins by a function.

But hey I'm sure there's a good reason for adding that function!

Dec 23, 2007 05:59

Does anyone know if this tag can still be implemented today in 2.x?
New to this blog and don't see _main.php, but see meta tags in html_header.inc - and also some code that says <?php robots_tag(); ?>
thanks in advance for any help.

RTomes wrote:

This works really well. I would like to suggest that the very useful line of code given by kwa be shipped in all _main.php files supplied by b2evolution. It is described here: http://forums.b2evolution.net/viewtopic.php?p=55000#55000
and the code is:

<meta name="robots" content="<?php if( $disp != 'single' ) echo( 'no' ); ?>index,follow"/>


which goes in the <head> section.

This makes the search engines direct people to single article permanent links only so that people will find what they were looking for. If not done then after a short time the majority of searches will arrive at pages that do not have the content any longer. The stability of the searched content also means that the engines can build up a pattern of behaviour.

Jan 05, 2008 11:29

EdB wrote:

Okay so we got the same understanding of permalinks. In the other thread I THOUGHT you were talking about how different images and locations mattered. Obviously it doesn't!

Here, for absolutely free, is my theory on SEO and search engines: who cares!

Yup: "who cares" is my theory. I figure if what I write is interesting then people will find it and share it and link to it. If not then all the tricks in the world won't matter. A million years ago I wrote a page that wrote the head section for HTML4.0 web pages. I had 8 slots for keywords, and told people that keywords are a waste of time. Content is King is the thing.

If you write about something I'm interested in I'll subscribe to your feed. If not I won't. Search engines might l-o-v-e your web, but I won't. Others might though, so do with your web that which you want to do with your web. Just don't think that you have to serve the search engines what THEY love, because they'll change when they figure out they need to change. Again.

So that's my theory! I like random crap, b2evolution stuff, and hang gliding, so that's what I blog about. Sometimes something gets a lot of traffic, most of the time it doesn't. Sometimes pages get traffic for years even though it was a throwaway page - to me.

Anyway even though I already stated it I'll say it again: that line of code would be detrimental to how I currently use my web space. A plugin that enabled easy customization would be cool, but **** that way would be bad.

Yes, I support your theory about search engines. For several years I took the trouble to "optimize" my website for Google. Anyway, the "guy" was the whole time carrying my site from the first positions to the last ones (e.g. 55) without any apparent reason. And I got to a point where I thought: "Who cares?"... as you said... "Really, I will publish rich content for visitors ONLY and let the search engine do what it feels like."

In fact, I regularly upload sitemaps in XML to Google and since I started to do so, my positions are worse and worse. This is a good joke indeed, but it is true!

My theory is that Google does those continuous changes of positions purposely in order to get all webmasters focused on it. I don't have e-commerce but I can't imagine how terrible would be to have my shop one day in the main quarter of the city and the next week in the slums just because Google danced in a bad way for me without any apparent explanation. One day in the main quarter, then in the slums, again in the main quarter, again in the slums and so on and on. After seeing this behavior of Google, I gave up my efforts to be a site friendly with it and any other search engine. In fact, Google itself expresses "more or less" that one should publish pages for people and not for search engines.

OK, Google PR is the bait and the majority of webmasters simply get hooked up!

What's the way out? To forge solid links with other related websites and publish good content for people. Who cares about search engines? ;)


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