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Hi all,

I've just spent the last hour or so reading the posts relating to phpbb v vBulletin here. The main issues everyone seems to have with phpbb are security/spam related.

I have phpbb installed on my website and I have added a ton of mods to it so that over time it has become exactly what I want and gets little or no spam. So I'm kind of reluctant to switch over to vBulletin unless the benefits outweigh the negative side effects of a switchover/cost etc.

The reason I feel I should switch is because after almost a year the site does not rank very high on Google and after a lot of research and reading a lot of posts I have come to the conclusion that most people think phpbb sucks in the SEO dept. Is this the case? I've Googled the bejaysus out of optomising phpbb for search engines and done all the reccomended things like getting rid of session ids etc, but the traffic to the site still seems to be a bit low. Does anyone have an opinion on this?

Thanks
C

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Last Post by Dani
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vBulletin is much more SE friendly out of the box then phpbb. You have to modify phpbb to be search engine friendly (at least in version 2.x).

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With mods such as removing session IDs and using mod_rewrite to rename your forum and thread pages with .html extensions, I see no reason why phpBB can't be just as SEO friendly as vBulletin. I don't think that it's realistic to expect that if you switch to vB tonight, miraculously your site will rank #1 tomorrow.

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Yeah, the mods exist. The big issue with that is every time you upgrade your software you have to reinstall the mods. I think phpbb 3.0 is SE friendly out of the box but don't quote me on that.

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every time you upgrade your software you have to reinstall the mods.

Yeah that's the dilemma I'm now facing, I'm not too bothered tho, I don't need any whistles and bells and the functionality of the present installation is more than sufficent.
As cscgal said with mod_rewrite and session ids it should be ok. I've reformatted the content in a more Google-friendly way and wil lgive that a while to see if it has a noticable effect. Otherwise I'll just take the plunge and switch to vBulletin.

Thanks to you both

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I think phpbb 3.0 is SE friendly out of the box but don't quote me on that.

Sorry for quoting you on it! Anyway, yes I installed 3.0 on a local machine and I'm looking at the cursed "&sid=", I guess that's one feature they didn't get rid of :!:

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I went from fully modded phpbb to vbb with a mod called vbseo. I noticed a night and day diffence. Imo it was worth it for my business. Because i went from being 100 or so in google to number 1 and i show up for all sorts of odd ball search terms.

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Even without the mod you would get results because phpbb is not SE friendly out of the box. But if you have used a mod in it it would do just as well as vBulletin. Kind of not fair to go out of your way to make one SE friendly then say it is so much better then the one that you didn't make search engine friendly.

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But if you have used a mod in it it would do just as well as vBulletin.

I've added a lot of mods to my phpBB, got rid of the ?sid in the url, removed excessive links etc.etc. but it still doesn't seem to be affecting its rank in the 6 key phrases I want it to, there isn't that much competition for a few of those phrases either!

One thing I noticed is the site has a GPR af 4 on the homepage, static html pages that are linked directly from the homepage have a rank of 3 *but* despite the fact that I have about 4 links on the homepage going to the phpBB forum homepage it still has a PR of 0! wtf! Bad Google!

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..actually that reminds me - a lot of the URLs that Google has spidered on my site have ?sids in them!

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My best in SEO terms is a PHPBB forum. Was never able to make IPB or VB work from this point of view. I also have some bad SEO-d phpBBBs and myBBs .. in the end I think it's more our fault ...

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..well anyway I went ahead and bought vBulletin and vBseo and I swear to god, if anything, my hits have gone down!

Am hoping this is just temporary - after all the work and money I've spent on it! It's only a month since the new forum went live so maybe things will pick up.

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Are you using 301 redirects to point the old URLs to the new ones? If not, the decline is most likely a result of all your pages in google's index no longer being valid.

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Are you using 301 redirects to point the old URLs to the new ones? If not, the decline is most likely a result of all your pages in google's index no longer being valid.

Well I did do some sort of 301 redirect! I can't remember the specifics. However the problem was that there were about a thousand old URLs so I didn't really find any satisfactory explanation on how to do a 'blanket' redirect on all of them...

However if I didn't do the redirect correctly would the hits not have started dropping off instantly? They've really only started dropping off in the last 2 weeks or so, (yesterday I got the princely sum total of 40 organic visits from Google!) before that they were grand, they were at the level they were prior to switching over from phpBB.

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> However the problem was that there were about a thousand old URLs so I didn't really find any satisfactory explanation on how to do a 'blanket' redirect on all of them...

If threads have the same ID number with both forum systems, use an .htaccess file to point the old URLs to the new URLs. If threads don't have the same ID number, create a redirectional page at the old URL location which fetches the new ID number of the thread and redirects the user there.

However if I didn't do the redirect correctly would the hits not have started dropping off instantly?

You said it yourself - you have over a thousand URLs in Google's index. Google doesn't re-spider all of these pages every day. Depending upon your PageRank, whether you use Google Sitemaps, and many other factors, expect your homepage to be spidered every few days and other pages (such as forum threads) every few weeks to every few months to even less often, in some cases. When looking at the big picture, you would expect a steady decline over the course of about a month (give or take depending upon many factors). I assume that your homepage has always been accessible. So it would take awhile before Google started respidering old forum threads and finding them broken one after another. It would take even longer before Google came across old forum threads that actually had a high ranking. It might have been that for the first two weeks, the pages Google was respidering weren't getting much traffic but then after two weeks, Google got around to respidering a page that was ranking very well.

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