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Forums > Announcements & Site Feedback > Major change to certain site URLs

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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: February 16, 2013 (01:39 AM)
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I am currently updating the site so that the URLs for review and game profiles are different. This change is being implemented to better optimize our performance in search engine results.

Long-time community members may recall that this is not the first time I have made such changes. It is actually the third time. Previously, I updated URLs so that they would be shorter, which was intended as a convenience to users. The idea was that people could more easily post links on social media without those links taking up character counts. However, most social media sites now automatically shorten URLs anyway, so that courtesy is no longer needed in most cases.

Another reason our URLs didn't include game titles is that this could sometimes lead to multiple URLs for the same content, in the event that a game title needed to be edited. However, cases like that rarely come up on the site these days, so it's not typically relevant.

I looked around, and it seems that most sites ranking ahead of us in Google search results do include game titles in the URLs. That fact, along with the recommendation from several SEO-oriented individuals I've met around the Internet, has prompted me to make the change I've described above. To give you an idea of the sort of changes that have happened through the years, here are the four URLs that have at one point or another led to the exact same review:

http://www.honestgamers.com/systems/content.php?review_id=8016&platform=Super+Nintendo&abr=SNES&gametitle=Breath+of+Fire

http://www.honestgamers.com/reviews/8016/Breath-of-Fire.html

http://www.honestgamers.com/reviews/8016.html

http://www.honestgamers.com/8016/super-nintendo/breath-of-fire/review.html

As you can see, the newest URL lets you know at a glance what game has been reviewed, and for which platform. It's a nice compromise between the longest and shortest URLs, and the details should help future content to perform more effectively in search results.

Of course, this change is not without its issues. I still have a few more hours of coding to do before the new URLs are reflected appropriately throughout the site. Additionally, comments in Disqus were associated with the old URLs, so they'll likely disappear now. However, I figure it's better to get this out of the way now than later.

The good news is that any old URLs that may be sprinkled around the Internet should still work (which took some definite work on my part), including links from forums and sites such as GameRankings and N4G. Old URLs will redirect to the new ones, and search engines will be advised to update accordingly.

Hopefully, this change will continue to make the site's content accessible to the widest possible audience. Thank you for your continued support as I work to make the site as efficient as possible so that your awesome contributions can reach the widest possible audience!


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: jerec
Posted: February 17, 2013 (02:38 AM)
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Did this wipe all the comments on reviews?


I can avoid death by not having a life.


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: February 17, 2013 (04:30 AM)
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I mentioned that in the first post in this thread, yes. Look back over that post if you'd like a fuller explanation as to the exact reason the comments disappeared. Disqus wasn't introduced as the site's commenting system all that long ago, so the number of comments that are no longer linked is relatively low. It's definitely unfortunate, but the new URL paths could have significant impact over the coming months and may even lead to twice the traffic.

I take a lot of crap for making updates to the site over time, but the unfortunate reality is that changes are necessary just to make sure that the site is able to compete with competition as search engines change what they consider when ranking sites. This isn't a change I wanted to have to make, but it's the change that was needed for the site. Given what a monstrous pain in the butt it was, I'm hopeful--and reasonably confident--that it won't be necessary again.

Also this weekend, I've addressed one concern that casual visitors to the site have had: the top bar that lists available systems. Apparently, a lot of people were overwhelmed. And I've reworked the front page, as you know, which was also intimidating people... and I've reactivated the old search engine (instead of Google) to keep results simpler. These are all changes that may seem relatively minor overall to a casual observer, but they're the sort of things that could wind up having a hugely positive impact on how the site performs.

In any event, I had to do something. Google algorithm changes have been hitting us hard. There are still some changes I may have to implement to further improve the site, but probably not much that anyone might notice just by looking at the pages.


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: JoeTheDestroyer (Mod)
Posted: February 18, 2013 (04:22 AM)
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On the plus side of comments disappearing: we no longer have those annoying comments boo-hoo-hooing about a few low scores.

Also, I'm glad you did away with that Google search engine. It drove me nuts having to search for the listing for Chains by going directly to the PC category.


The only thing my milkshake brings to the yard is a subpoena.


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: February 18, 2013 (03:17 PM)
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I suck at making internal search engines, I've always known, but apparently I could do a lot worse since people find the results my coding generates more useful than the ones Google generates. Who would've thunk it?


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: February 18, 2013 (07:44 PM)
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The work looks really nice, HG! I like that scores for games are back, too.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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