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Issues with Title Tags in vanilla forum h1 & h2

edited January 2012 in Vanilla 2.0 - 2.8

I am new to vanilla forum and studying the code to customize this awesome piece of script. From the experience that I have from wordpress development, I have following concerns with the present title structure of vanilla forum (I might be wrong in interpreting the structure of a forum software)

There should be at least one h1 tag on a page which is mostly the title of post on a dynamic website. So here are my observations about the current tile structure of vanilla forum

General Observations:
Every page of vanilla forum (default vanilla theme) has h1 tag assigned to the logo, which is completely wrong. Since h1 tag is the most important tag of a page, it should be unique and assigned to the heading of page.

All the headings (category, thread …) in vanilla forum script have no heading tag assigned to them and the other non-useful sidebar headings have been wrapped in h3 & h4 heading tags. I can’t digest this particularly.

Categories Page (List of all categories):

On the categories page, all the category headings have no tag assigned to them which is a potential loss in terms of SEO. Since there are more than one category linked on a single page, all category headings should be assigned to h2 tag (because there can’t be more than one h1 tag on a page.)

The other headings on the page, based on their importance, can then be assigned h3 and h4 tags etc.

Single Post Page:

On the single post page e.g thread page, the title of the thread should have been wrapped in h1 but it doesn’t even wrapped in any heading tag right now.

Here also the h1 tag is used for logo image which is worthless and will only make it hard for you to get higher ranking in search results.

This is what I have observed. I don’t know how the structure of this script has been developed for SEO perspective, but I have written here what I have observed.

Best Answer

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    LincLinc Detroit Admin
    Answer ✓

    I said for version 2.1 which is upcoming. You're probably using


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    This page itself has no title tags from h1-h3. My title "Issues with Title Tags in vanilla forum h1 & h2" should have been wrapped in h1 tag and the category heading on teh right "Questions" should have been in h2 tag.

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    sahotataransahotataran Developer, Bay Area - CA ✭✭✭
    edited January 2012

    you are looking it alllll for SEO! you will have to create custom views where you will have to wrap the title in h1 and the category in h2 and other elements in the tags which you need.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

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    Well, this should have been in the core itself..

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    And that may be the reason itself isn't very well indexed and ranked in search engines..

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    jspautschjspautsch Themester ✭✭✭

    An SEO expert I've been developing a custom theme for has expressed identical concerns, this is worth looking into.

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    ToddTodd Chief Product Officer Vanilla Staff

    We are actually ranked very well on search engines actually. This isn't an argument I really want to get into though.

    We are currently going through one round of changes to get our h1 tags in order though.

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    hbfhbf wiki guy? MVP

    i found this place via google.... seems the search ranking wasn't too bad.

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    edited January 2012

    @Todd By writting about indexing, I didn't mean to say Vanilla is bad in indexing but I meant that it could have even more facilitated if were using proper heading tags.

    I found so many discussions that are happening here at vanilla forum but are not ranking well in SERP.

    @hbf You found this discussion via Google because the search keywords you entered were not of high competition. Try to search competetive keyword and see how many vanilla powered sites pops up on first page of Google!

    The issue is not that vanilla is bad, but it is to make vanilla even better by making it more SEO friendly..

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    edited January 2012

    @Todd @Lincoln

    Ok.. I have a fix for h1 and h2 tags issue. After doing a research on various forum softwares and understanding their coding structure I have come up with following change in master file:

    I am using a custom theme so there is a default.master.php file in themes folder.. You should be better knowing than me to locate where to change the code?

    Present Code:

    <div class="inner">
            <h1><a class="Title" href="<?php echo Url('/'); ?>"><span><?php echo Gdn_Theme::Logo(); ?></span></a></h1>

    As you can see, the h1 tag of every page is pointing towards logo of forum and is same for every page. This tag should be removed from present location.

    Code Change:

    Now the h1 tag should point to the page title instead. So when we are on a single post page, call the page title wrapped in h1 just like we have at present for logo.

    The problem comes when there are multipl headings on a page.

    Here is the solution for this problem.. Let me explain with example

    vBulletin is the best forum software and is highly SEO optimized. For our understanding, take example of Digital Point Forum. On every page, there is a page heading defined between the breadcrumbs and content area followed by description. This page heading is the same as the heading of category or thread with additional prefix..

    This heading is wrapped into h1 tag and here you go. Problem Solved.

    The subcategories are wrapped with h2 tag and sidebar or less important headings are wrapped with h3 and h4 tags.

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    edited January 2012

    This is very easy and quick to accompalish. You just have to relocate the h1 tag and assign h2 tags on other important headings. I am not a PHP developer so I don't know how to call page title dynamically, so please share the code and I will do the rest.

    I don't think it will be more than 2 lines longs...

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    LincLinc Detroit Admin
    edited January 2012

    We've already changed the discussion title to have h1 tags for 2.1. In fact, a major template change was involved that will cause issues in some themes. Generally, speculating on the difficulty of your requested change isn't a sound plan.

    To my knowledge, there is no penalty for multiple h1 tags on a page nor should there be. If you wish to remove the logo from h1 tags, that's a simple theme change. I can't say whether it's being changed in the default install.

    vBulletin is the best forum software

    You'll find conflicting opinions on that.

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    @Lincoln I don't see Discussion titles been wrapped into h1 tags. I installed this forum software last week only and was working on default theme.

    All major headings are still been served in ul tags..

    Also, can you please share the code of how to call page titles dynamically (PHP code) so that the theme I am customizing can be altered a little bit?

    Like if I am on a single discussion title, how would I call the page title dynamically and same for category, discussion, activity and other pages

    Please share the code snippet..

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    LincLinc Detroit Admin
    Answer ✓

    I said for version 2.1 which is upcoming. You're probably using

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    Oh.. I hope the upgrade should work seamlessly with my custom theme. I have done so much customization to lose.

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