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  1. #1
    SitePoint Addict fabrizio's Avatar
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    vBulletin forums: how is best for Google?

    Hello here,
    I have just installed vBulletin forums system on my website, and I have a question about it. vBulletin includes a section called "Archive" that allows search engines to spider all the content of the forum. To better understand, here is my new forums:

    http://www.virtualsheetmusic.com/forums/

    and if you look in the bottom left you find a link called "Archive" that brings you to the following page:

    http://www.virtualsheetmusic.com/for...hive/index.php


    Despite vBulletin folks claim that it's a search engine like optimized feature that should better allows search engines to spider the content of the forums, I am a little worried about it and I am thinking to disable it (yes, I can disable from the Admin Control Panel) to avoid page duplication or, better, content duplication.

    I am above all worried about Google because I know it's able to spider URLs with a "?" symbol inside, and for that it could catch the same contents either from the normal forum pages (with the "?" in the URLs) or from the "optimized" pages in the Archive section.

    What do you think about? What do you suggest to do? Keep or drop a such "Archive" section?

    Any idea is very welcome

    Thank you in advance

    Sincerely,
    Fab.
    Virtual Sheet Music®, Inc.
    http://www.virtualsheetmusic.com
    Musicians Page
    http://www.musicianspage.com

  2. #2
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    I wouldn't even think of the archive section from an SEO standpoint.

    If it's useful for your members, do it. If it isn't, don't.

    Do I think it will hurt your rankings? Probably not.

  3. #3
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    I don't use the archive for the issues you mention. Duplicate content, lack of usability, etc.

    I think its kind of backwards that Sitepoint uses it.

    Sitepoint has code (or had code) so that if you link directly to a printable version of an article it will redirect you to the normal version with all the bells and whistles and ads. So the only way to access the printable version would be to visit the normal version first.

    Yet they use the archive, which is essentially a printable version of the forums (all bells and whistles removed).
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
    Featured Article: Free Comprehensive SEO Guide
    My Guide to Building a Successful Website
    My Blog|My Webmaster Forums

  4. #4
    I am obstructing justice. bronze trophy fatnewt's Avatar
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    I often find myself on vBulletin archive pages when I'm searching for various things.

    I'd prefer to be taken to the full version of the page than to the archive. The archive pages are just more difficult to use.
    Colin Temple [twitter: @cailean]
    Web Analyst at Napkyn


  5. #5
    SitePoint Addict fabrizio's Avatar
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    Thank you guys for your thoughts... I am already getting excellent results on Google WITHOUT the Archive section. Try to search for "Wieniawski Scherzo and Tarantella" on Google and you'll find one of my forums pages at the first place... vBulletin standard pages are perfectly indexed and ranked if well optimized!

    Here is the direct Google page:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=wieni...and+Tarantella

    and here is the indexed page:
    http://www.virtualsheetmusic.com/for...thread.php?t=9


    Thank you again.

    Fab.
    Virtual Sheet Music®, Inc.
    http://www.virtualsheetmusic.com
    Musicians Page
    http://www.musicianspage.com

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard subnet_rx's Avatar
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    I don't think you'll have a duplicate content problem with a archive section. There's many reasons to have content displayed in many forms on a site. What about an article in doc, pdf, html, and txt form? I've seen google spider and index all 4, it's just in the similar page link. Duplicate content should only apply to different domains.

  7. #7
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    I simply place ads and sometimes a little header into my archives... http://forum.iamnotageek.com/archive/index.php

    The bulk of my forum traffic from search engines are from archives just like that.... Only use the archive if you put the ads in and want to make more money AND get more traffic....

  8. #8
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    I have around 15,000 visitor per day come from google by the content of vbulletin archive, but now the number decrease to around 12,000.
    this means Vbulletin archive is google friendly.
    google first!

  9. #9
    SitePoint Addict fabrizio's Avatar
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    I have no doubts that the Archive section of vBulletin is Google friendly, but I am worried by the fact that to have similar pages could "dilute" the weight of any single page. In other words, with the Archive section active, you will have almost doubled the number of indexed pages of your forums and for any Archive page you will have the corresponding REAL page with inside around the same keywords/content. I hope you understand what I mean...

    Thank you.

    Fab.
    Virtual Sheet Music®, Inc.
    http://www.virtualsheetmusic.com
    Musicians Page
    http://www.musicianspage.com

  10. #10
    Non-Member
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    I run a number of sites, 1 of which I ran for 6mnths without the archive... 1mnth after adding the archive traffic doubled without doing anything other than adding the archive.....

    You'll see more traffic by using the archive. I even use friendlier URLs on my sites .....


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