Pligg V1.0.0 Changes To Break All Your Story URL’s and Damage SEO and PR

Pligg are currently working towards releasing v1.0.0 of their system which is claimed to be an drastic improvement over previous versions of the system. Browsing their forums today though we came across an interesting post regarding a new Story URL structure that has been implemented in v1.0.0 of pligg which will break all story links on existing v9.9.5 pligg based websites. This in turn could and most probably will damage your sites organic search results along with Pagerank and general SEO that your site has gained during it’s lifetime, sounds like a great improvement doesn’t it?

From previous updates to the pligg system we realize that the developers don’t really plan any features with a great deal of thought or common sense. V1.0.0 for example Groups were added before any type of working spam protection modules or cores features, of course you can killspam (Pretty useless) users but you still cannot ban them by IP easily or completely delete any user from the database. Spam protection is much more sought after than groups but was ignored by the developers and continues to be a major problem for all pligg based websites.

Now it seems that another major flaw in v1.0.0 of the system has been discovered by pligg users relating to the URL paths of submitted stories, in v1.0.0 all the Story paths have been changed to include the word “category” within the URL structure?. For new users of pligg v1.0.0 on a fresh install this is annoying, for users planning to upgrade their site from v9.9.5 to v1.0.0 it’s a complete disaster and shows a complete lack of thought out development plans and knowledge of SEO.

We all expect changes to a system when new version’s are released but to completely change a sites main URL structure when there is nothing wrong with it is sheer madness on the developers part. So what exactly are these changes and how will they affect your pligg site new or v9.9.5 upgrade.

With pligg v9.9.5 when you submit a URL to the site and you have SEO URLS (Methood 2) enabled all story URLS are rewritten like the one below.

http://pligg.con/Technology/twitvid-wants-to-be-the-twitpic-of-video-sharing-on-twitter/

As you can see above the url is pretty good for SEO it has the sites domain name, the category name that the story was posted under on your pligg site along with the actual title of the article. This is nice for SEO and contains keywords that will help your site rank a little higher in search engines, it’s also easy for a user to look at and understand what the page contains information wise at a glance.

So what has changed in v1.0.0 that is going to break every story link on your pligg website, this example below shows what has changed within the URL structure.

http://pligg.con/category/Technology/twitvid-wants-to-be-the-twitpic-of-video-sharing-on-twitter/

Each story url now has the word “category” inserted into the stories url structure, not only is this not needed but it damages SEO factors by including a completely useless keyword in your URL structure along with pushing important keywords further to the right of the URL.

Is there any real need for this change NO, is there any benefit for the end user or owner with this change NO, will this benefit SEO in anyway definitely not, will this make upgrading pligg from v9.9.5 a nightmare YES, will most owners want this change to their pligg site Probably Not.

So why change the URL structure at all? Yankidank says below why this change is required and has been added to the core distribution of pligg v.1.0.0. Most of the reasons do no make any real sense with Yanki contradicting himself and not seeming to fully understad the questions asked, these were replies to a member asking for the word “category” to be removed from the story URL’s only.

Yankidank:

I mostly agree with the story URLs not having the word category. I only disagree with the idea because by removing the /category/ on the story page it disrupts the intuitive nature of the URLs. You either have to always have /category/ or never have it.

Yanki agrees with the idea of not having the word “category” in the story url then disagrees within the same sentence because removing the /category/ on the story page it disrupts the intuitive nature of the URLs? confused? so were we.

In our opinion adding the word category in fact disrupts the intuitive nature of the URLs. Yanki then goes on in the quote below to describe how this change will stop users screwing up their site? The example given by Yanki is that of users screwing up their site by trying to add a category titled “live” which is also the name of a page on a pligg site install.

The member who asked the question was not in anyway referring to the category URLS within pligg, only the Story urls. Yanki’s next reply details why not having the word “category” within the story url will easily facilitate users to break their category urls.

YankiDank:

The reason we do have /category/ is to reduce the chances of people screwing up their site by naming a category to something forbidden such as “live” which would conflict with the /live url already in use. Trust me when I say we would have at least a dozen people breaking their site within a month because they wouldn’t be able to figure out what the problem is. Rather than making a forbidden category list (which would constantly be changing) I thought that it would make a lot more sense to just add /category/ as a description for how the URL is being sorted.

This is a completely inaccurate statement as pliggs category URLs display like wordpress as we will show in the examples below.

Pligg Category URL Structure

http://pligg.com/category/Technology

As you can see from the example above pligg category urls are exactly the same as you would have in a wordpress blog like this one your reading. Under no circumstances would not having the word category within a pligg story URL affect your pligg category URLs. This is the type of reply we see at pligg all the time with developers not being able to read a members post and understand the authors questions even when they are very well written and explained as these one’s were. We understood what the author was asking without any problems as no doubt will you, so why can’t the developers?

What all this means for v9.9.5 pligg users is that if you upgrade to v1.0.0 all your story URL’s will lead to 404 not found errors, The solution a hack as self described by YankiDank will be to 301 redirect all old story url’s to the new ones with the word “category” within them, great huh? more .htaccess rules in pligg which in our opinion already has far too many.

YankiDank:

I will look into providing a 301 redirect hack with 1.0 so that sites upgrading won’t have expired links. That way search engines would update their links rather quickly, plus it would be helpful if we rewrote a more advanced sitemap module.

These rules would need to be present forever on your website as any external site that has linked to your site in the past will have done so using your old Story URL structure, so if you have lots of backlinks the load on your server could climb with this .htaccess method. Also imagine having a year old pligg site with 200,000 backlinks that are all the wrong urls leading to your site, what a great idea it is to change the url structure.

Whats the downside to changing your entire indexed url structure?

One is that sometimes the search engines get things wrong and will not respond accurately or quickly to the new instruction. This can mean missing rankings for long periods of times. There are work around’s and the longest we have seen an entire site drop (moving from one URL to another new one) is six weeks. And even that had many pages coming back after only a few days. Typically you should expect a downtime of between two and four weeks, but be prepared for longer.

Some pligg members have already started to provide hacks to change the url structure back to what it was originally, if that isn’t an indication the developers that this change isn’t wanted we don’t know what is? Hopefully pligg will see sense before they release v1.0.0 final and correct this flaw otherwise many owners are going to have some disgruntled feedback, lose traffic and damage SEO with the extra “category” word.

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Author: on May 22nd, 2009

Category: Pligg

Tags: , , ,

  1. Geoserv says:

    The developers just keep screwing up a perfectly good CMS. To date v1.0.0, which shouldn’t be used in a live environment, has been a disaster.

    Way to go guys, another nail in the coffin of Pligg.

  2. catchpen says:

    Brilliant! This is the reason open source and “commercial” software doesn’t mix (I say this in quotes because even though Pligg charges for it, it’s crap).
    Any experienced developers won’t volunteer to help out since they know they will be taken advantage of and Yanki and CRoast will benefit from them monetarily. So when beta testers and any advanced coding is needed (like Pligg desperately needs right now), they will have to pay a dev to help out and then they’re back to $0 in their crap module ponzi scheme lol.

  3. pushpinder says:

    hello there… so I agree that in the story page we need not category word but its okay in the category page to have it like http://pligg.com/category/Technology or in the tag page to have it like http://pligg.com/tag/brad-pitt
    or is it not ?

  4. spatter says:

    Love the blog mate, keep up the good work – I’ll definitely recommend your blog to some friends of mine ^^

  5. bbrian017 says:

    I didn’t even notice this…

    I upgraded and my traffic from Google is fine.

    What I don’t like is the lack of administration available with groups.