Why we dropped vbSEO

Author: | Posted in SEO experiments, SEO tactics No comments

As you know we recently dropped the use of vbSEO here at SEOrefugee. Since we’ve also been dealing with a major drop in the number of pages indexed by Google, you might assume there’s a connection. That’s not entirely true.

We have been looking at a number of scenarios relating to why we might be losing pages at Google (while continuing to gain them at Yahoo! And MSN) and some of those have involved vbSEO. But the fact is we really don’t see a relationship. And, if there was a correlation, it was probably due to our misusing the product.

Here are the real reasons:

1. It wasn’t helping us (at least not with Google). There’s some debate about whether so called SEO-friendly URIs actually make a difference. My opinion, and it’s only that, is that they make a very slight difference. For instance keywords in the URI of a forum (http://www.seorefugee.com/ forums/google-optimization seemed to boost the SERPs for those pages in some search engines., but I don’t think keywords pulled from thread titles were doing us any good.

The problem is that it’s nearly impossible to measure the effect of any single SEO tactic. There are just two many factors involved in getting indexed to know what caused your success or problems.

If you search, you’ll find that some people swear vbSEO gave them great result and others blame vbSEO for a variety of problems. Unfortunately the same is true for almost any SEO tactic.

2. It’s complex. This isn’t vbSEO’s problem. It’s ours. We just don’t have the time to devote to the administration of SEOrefugee that it deserves. So, anything that adds to the administrative load without adding some major benefit for the site or its users isn’t going to be kept. And the complexity adds another problem. We were never sure we were using the program properly.

I should point out here, however, that vbSEO’s support on their forum has been generally very good.

3. With the last update of vBulletin, VBseo broke all of our archive links (enough said).

4. We’ve had trouble updating it due to server issues. Again, that’s not necessarily vbSEO’s problem but, I don’t want to have to worry about updating the server every time a plug in updates

5. Along the same lines, another vBulletin update is coming soon. I’ve learned the hard way that it’s best to keep current with vBulletin for security and other reasons. Unfortunately, vBulletin updates often break our plugins. So, it’s easier to reduce the number of plugins to
simplify the update process.

6. It’s easier to drop the so-called seo-friendly URIs now than it will be later.

7. By making this change now, we’ll have experience with how it affects our listings, SERPs and traffic. That should be valuable if vBulletin ever changes it’s link format or if we ever decide to try SEO-friendly URIs again.