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Moving forward with Composr

ocPortal has been relaunched as Composr CMS, which is now in beta. ocPortal 9 will be superseded by Composr 10.

Head over to compo.sr for our new site, and to our migration roadmap. Existing ocPortal member accounts have been mirrored.


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Posted
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#78225 (In Topic #16036)
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Community saint

Currently, member names are shown as a link in forum posts and blog/news posts even when "Module: members" is not allowed access. ocPortal properly directs to the login page but I think that the member names should not even be shown as links. The current situation results in the search engines getting 401s for every member name crawled; eliminating the link would eliminate these needless 401 errors.

Or have I missed a permission setting somewhere?

Bob
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Posted
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#78226
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Community saint

I don't think you have missed a setting.   I noticed this problem and wrote it down to figure out later, as I noticed in google webmaster tools there are LOADS of crawl errors like you mentioned.

Paul
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Posted
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#78227
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Community saint

I feel better now knowing that I am not alone.  :)

Hopefully, Chris will consider this request as it really makes a mess of the crawl errors for search engines when Guest is not allowed access to the members module.

Bob
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Posted
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#78233
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Implementing this would really swiss-cheese the templates badly as lots of extra Tempcode would need adding around every member link to control the display of both the opening and closing 'a' tags.

I think it is very normal behaviour what happens now, often when I use various functions in other forum software it asks me to log in before I can do it – in fact, that's a service, it's expected that I should be able to view information on the submitter and the login screen tells me that I need to log in to do it (just having no link leaves me clueless).

So in summary, user experience for templaters and for end-users is much more important than having some links show in some hidden debug console ;) (I'll eat my hat if this could affect SEO).

That said it probably could be implemented as an option (maybe one just for bots – although content rewriting for bots is a risk), and probably we could do some magic new Tempcode syntax to make the conditional logic in the template less horrendous for this kind of case. But that's less trivial.


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  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
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Posted
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#78243
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Community saint

Bob, he is right.  Just a quick search through some code where the username is presented as a link, sometimes the link appears to be created in a template file, sometimes it is created in a php file and sent to a template as part of a {content} sort of thing.

Very non-standardized.

Paul
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Posted
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#78245
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Community saint

Thanks again, Paul.

@Chris-

I agree that it is unlikely to affect SEO, at least at the present time.

I don't think that creating special presentation for bots is wise either as both Google and Microsoft run checks with bots without a user-agent to detect this very kind of behavior. This would more likely effect SEO rankings.

I'll just learn to live with the list of 401s and try to consider it a reminder of the site's success.

Bob
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Posted
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#78252
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Community saint

does google and such just brute force into some things?  I noticed 401's where the bots were trying to read messages in a forum that is only open to a certain usergroup to even see, so guests can not see it.

Was wondering how the bots even figured out something was there.

Paul
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Posted
Rating:
#78257
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Community saint

Paul-

This usually happens one of two ways:
  1. something already cached by the search engines before you closed access to Guest, or
  2. direct links posted at some third-party site by one of your forum members.

There is some degree of brute force to the Search engines. For instance, if you block a URL in robot.txt, Google will not crawl it but might still index it using whatever information it has. In this case, you need to use the "Url Removal" tool in Webmaster Tools.

I may be way off-base but I am convinced that the search engines will eventually ding your site for every crawl error generated on-site. In some ways, this makes a great deal of sense forcing webmasters to make sure they have no broken links or links to inaccessible areas. I think this will even apply to links which time out or are otherwise unreachable. They will present it as providing quality control to favor those sites which offer the best user experience.

Bob
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Posted
Rating:
#78259
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Community saint

I agree with your assement of what the will eventually count in ratings.

Paul
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Posted
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#78261
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I don't ;).

Whilst you might be able to worry about how each page is handled, many important institutions will never be able to do that. Imagine for example a situation at a university, where different professors maintain different sections, but they're always rebuilding, reworking, or there are personnel changes. These are some important sites, but they will be stacked full of crawl errors.

And going back years, there's a continuous churn of what pages are out there, and very few people bother making redirects for them.

Or, imagine that you could effectively "take out" a competitor just by feeding Google with bad links.

Generally Google works on a page level, it does very little on a site level. If you think about it some more, what exactly is a site? There are no clear boundaries, and of course it can't work on a per-domain-name basis (e.g. it would make every MySpace page part of the same 'site' in that case). Google has no idea on the level of division of control, and who may or may not have broken something and their relationship with the organisation that controls the root of their domain, so they're not going to make big generalisations.


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  • If not, please let us know how we can do better (please try and propose any bigger ideas in such a way that they are fundable and scalable).
  • If so, please let others know about ocPortal whenever you see the opportunity.
  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
  • If my response can inspire a community tutorial, that's a great way of giving back to the project as a user.
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Posted
Rating:
#78267
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Community saint

I agree with Chris 100% and he explains it very well. That is not to say, going forward, attention should not be paid to improving what you can when you can. "NoFollow" could probably be a kind way to deal with private links.
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Posted
Rating:
#78269
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Community saint

Chris Graham said

I don't ;).


Maybe you are right but who knows what the future holds. Bing already holds a site's sitemap to a higher standard than Google: too many crawl errors from the links submitted and your sitemap is no longer crawled until the links are fixed. I believe the cut-off is anything below 95% but I am not certain.

As far as competitors making problems for you, I was very clear that Google would only tally errors that originate and terminate on-site. The domain becomes the natural boundary for this distinction.

There will always be special cases like MySpace and Facebook and other social sites or universities and these sites will likely be able to apply for an exemption since they are collaborative by nature.

It's easy to dimiss stuff as unlikely but I am old enough to remember things predicted that have come close to our current situation. I am speaking about geo-politics, and privacy and other civil rights issues. I am still shocked at what has become the norm.

I don't think that a search engine that is an arbiter of quality is so far-fetched and I am decidedly not a conspiracist. It would be rather straight-forward to rank a site based on on-site performance criteria included bad links. Heck, there are already plenty of tools out there to identify broken links on a site so people would just be nudged into using them. This could even be a way for Google to monetize a service.

Bob
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Posted
Rating:
#78271
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Fair enough I suppose :). Well, obviously we're not going to sit around if this is what they start doing, it'd become a top priority.


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Was I helpful?
  • If not, please let us know how we can do better (please try and propose any bigger ideas in such a way that they are fundable and scalable).
  • If so, please let others know about ocPortal whenever you see the opportunity.
  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
  • If my response can inspire a community tutorial, that's a great way of giving back to the project as a user.
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Posted
Rating:
#78278
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Community saint

Bob, I have to agree with Chris & Duck on this one.

BobS said

Bing already holds a site's sitemap to a higher standard than Google: too many crawl errors from the links submitted and your sitemap is no longer crawled until the links are fixed. I believe the cut-off is anything below 95% but I am not certain.
I think you might be reading too much into this Bob. Errors in a sitemap should have significantly more weight then general crawling errors as sitemaps are supposed to reflect the current state of your site. The 5% (or whatever) margin for error just acknowledges that that sitemaps are typically periodically generated and not on generated on demand.

So "higher standard" in this case could just a likely be interpreted as "Don't wast our crawlers time with a sitemap that is full of errors".

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Posted
Rating:
#78279
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Community saint

temp-

I agree about the sitemap being held to a higher standard. The sitemap is fully under the control of  the site administration.

However, I still have a sneaking suspicion that search engines will eventually start to 'grade' your site based on on-site errors.

This is not something that needs urgent attention as they will have to give fair warning should they make such a move. And Chris (and all developers) would need to come into compliance to maintain their product's viability.

The seed for this was planted by something I read dealing with some smaller search engine that rolled bad links into its relevancy rankings as I recall. It just seems to me that Google and Bing will one day do the same.

Bob
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Posted
Rating:
#78287
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Community saint

BobS said

However, I still have a sneaking suspicion that search engines will eventually start to 'grade' your site based on on-site errors.
That may be so, and it probably should be so, if those errors came directly form the sitemap.

But for a well maintained site, which is largely inherent in ocPortal, the great bulk of the errors are going to be generated from out-side sources, either other sites or the search engines cache, none of which you have any control over and there can't possibly be penalised for. If you are penalised because of those sources then the ranking logic is seriously flawed and the search companies will quickly get pounced on by every one as it opens up truck-sized holes that can be used to game the search results by bad-linking your competitors.

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Posted
Rating:
#78290
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Community saint

temp-

We are in 100% agreement. There should be no penalty for any off-site link including search engine caches. That is why I have adamantly stated that this will apply only to on-site links to destination URLs that are part of the same domain.

Heck, for all we know, Google could already be using logic like this in their Page Rank algorithm. They have stated that they use many undisclosed factors besides keyword-density, inbound links and such. They always say the best way to maintain good PR and SERP results is to make the best page possible for a user. Bad links are a definite negative user experience.

Bob

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Posted
Rating:
#78293
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It's very nice to see this level of discussion here :).


Become a fan of ocPortal on Facebook or add me as a friend. Add me on on Twitter.
Was I helpful?
  • If not, please let us know how we can do better (please try and propose any bigger ideas in such a way that they are fundable and scalable).
  • If so, please let others know about ocPortal whenever you see the opportunity.
  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
  • If my response can inspire a community tutorial, that's a great way of giving back to the project as a user.
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Posted
Rating:
#78294
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Community saint

Chris Graham said

It's very nice to see this level of discussion here :).
Build a great product and eventually you will have a great community with a lot of interesting discussion.

Bob
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Posted
Rating:
#78295
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Community saint

Duck said

I agree with Chris 100% and he explains it very well. That is not to say, going forward, attention should not be paid to improving what you can when you can. "NoFollow" could probably be a kind way to deal with private links.
I didn't have enough caffeine in me when I first read this.

It would probably be a good idea to make links to usergroups and members "noindex" so that they are not included in SERPs. I don't really think this kind of information adds much of value to people searching for content (unless they are maybe stalking someone).

Bob
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