Saying Good Bye to Vanilla Forums, Vanilla Forums SEO is Really Bad.

when i use wordpress and discourse forums. its just take 2 - 10 minute for google to index my site because of high domain authority. i dont have to submit sitemap or fatch the url in google search console.

But its not same in case of vanilla forums leave auto indexing google not even indexing my site after submiting my website and fetching the url so i'm 100% sure there is seriously something is wrong with vanilla forums.

i love vanilla design but its is of no use if no one will visit my forum.


  • I agree there is no home page, it is either /discussions or /categories meaning your will have duplicate content and to make matters worse the canonical tag is /discussions (or /categories) which means google is unlikely to index your home page. On top of that the generic title that you set in admin is the same on /discussions and /categories.

    Work needs doing in this department

  • Yep, SEO is very hit and miss for me too.

  • edited May 19

    This problem is with the vanilla forums structure I have read in one of the blog of Google that if your website structure is bad then google bot get confused and doesn't index the page.

    So if you look at the vanilla forums structure.

    The URL structure is like this:

    If you see above then you will notice that for each new discussion vanilla forums create new directory like /1/, /10/, /50/, /100/

    this is really bad seo practice it's same as creating 1 subdomain for 1 post.

    Eg -

    This is the main reason behind the indexing issue of vanilla forums.

    Admin - Please fix this and make the URL structure as simple as possible. Put all the new discussion under the 1 directory


  • I do not agree the url structure doesn't make any difference, you are getting mixed up with human readable and bot readable, ideally the bot just needs an ip address, pretty url's are only to make sense to us.

  • I'm in this field since last 12 years.

    and I know what search engine prefer and what not.

    If you mean is same as

    (and Search Engine treat both equally)

    Then you are wrong

    Or is same as

    (and Search Engine treat both equally)

    Then you are 100% wrong.

  • URL's used to be full of numbers question marks ='s ans so on, the bots can read them just the same, it is us that struggles.

    Of course your examples are different but they are equally different in the eyes of a search robot.

  • I know google will index it but it take 15 to 30 days to index a single discussion with that kind of URL structure.

    If all the discussion was under the same directory google would have indexed it instantly.

  • You have to remember that a bot is just a computer without a browser, it only needs the url to download the content (in html php etc) then it decides if it's unique, relevant interesting etc. I think bing uses keywords in URL's but google is way smarter than that.

  • I found this on Moz this is the same thing which I am saying.

  • It all ads up I suppose, as far as I can see the url structure of this software is ok, a folder (discussion) then a thread number followed by a human readable version of the title.

    The duplicate content on the home page and the duplicate titles are way more serious issues in my humble opinion.

  • Then why only 5 pages are indexed in google since 1 week and 0 pages in last 48 hours ( This Forums Report

  • Credit where credit is due, after some research, it does seem that vanilla is the only forum software that uses a unique number in each thread.

    All the others are

    Does that mean that google looks negatively on the vanilla system?

    I am not so sure but would be interested what others think?

  • Actually I have just found a major, well indexed forum that uses the unique number system, I am talking about stackoverflow.

    Here is a thread about this very subject.

  • As for the home page issue, assuming your home page is discussions, you can go to routes in your dashboard and in DefaultForumRoot change from discussions to just / then all links will point to instead of

    Unfortunately you still have the issue of the canonical tag telling google that the home page is instead of

    This can be remedied b ut it means editing a core file that I know devs frown upon but anyway for anyone that's interested it is:


    around line 91 change to

     // Set canonical URL

           $this->canonicalUrl(url(concatSep('/', 'discussions', pageNumber($Offset, $Limit, true, false)), true));

  • The PHP Fusion CMS also uses ID numbers for its articles, news, blogs, etc. Has done for years.

  • This pretty much sums it up.

    @garebih265 has neither shared the google blog post that says that google punishes the URL structure used by Vanilla i asked for in the other discussion, nor any kind of server configuration details that would help us help him solve his problem.

  • @Bleistivt just because you didn't get an answer doesn't mean the issue doesn't exist. It pretty much sums up nothing.

  • @manticore789 stackoverflow using the same kind of URL structure is pretty convincing evidence, that the URL structure is not the problem. What I mean is that OP has opened two discussions now without anything for us to really act on.

    You threw a concern about duplicate content into the mix, which could very well be a valid issue. But that should probably get its own discussion. The days where SEO used to be about technicalities like markup or sitemaps are long gone. Googlebot visits and crawls websites more or less like a human user would, including scripts - that's what it's made to do. Search engine optimization should mostly be content optimization now.

  • R_JR_J Cheerleader & Troubleshooter Munich Moderator
    edited May 22

    @garebih265 At first I was surprised that you have registered just to say goodbye. Quite a big effort just to say "your SEO skills are bad, hasta la vista"

    Then it appeared that you wanted to show that you have superior SEO skills

    Now you are starting asking questions which show that you now want to customize Vanilla.

    All in all a surprising change and let me say it frankly, a real bad start in a support community.

    But nevertheless, I'll answer your other questions if you're really interested in getting them answered. But if you simply want to insert your own custom css, I would suggest using either the pockets or the CSSEdit plugin.

    If you want to change quite a lot, you might find out better suited to create your own theme. Your can get further information on that topic in the link at the top of the page.

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