Customizing SMF > Building Your Community and other Forum Advice

Forum SEO is a myth

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oh please....    those are useless terms. They are popular and thus so diluted that you'll never find anything useful. (for example, the top searches indeed all have toyota in the domain name)

The point is - 40k players (the people who would be interested in 40kOnline and the ones that we want to find the site) would indeed search for those sort of terms.

Prior to my taking it, down, the "Ask a witch community" was top of the list.  Searching for "ask a witch" brought it up... even when I moved the site to a sub-domain of my other site and no longer had the domain name.

But, if you insist... to use your example...
I search for "Witch forum" and immediately, top of the list, get, which is, indeed, an SMF site.
I search for "Razorback forum" and immediately, top of the list, get, which, also, is an SMF site.

You need to pick your search terms more carefully....   I don't even know if there are any people running SMF forums for toyotas or hondas... so they might not even exist to be missed in your test.

hmmm... actually, narrowing your search
"Scion forum" returns which is only 4 down, still first page.

so, your issue is indeed disproven - Looks like the main toyota sites happen to be running vb...   but when you move to a more narrow search term, smf forums do indeed show up in the first page of the index list.

oh.... and searching for "Forums software" returns only third down...   definitely first page.

青山 素子:
Time for some search examples! No, I'm not going to use uselessly diluted terms, there's way too many people applying black-hat stuff to have a chance of being in the first or even second page unless you're huge.

So, how about topics on forums I manage?

Term: "kiddy grade first look"
Google: #1 (
BIng: ?

Term: "Shakugan no Shana III fansub"
Google: #4 ( - site homepage, not any forum topic)
Bing: ?

Term: "real life chobits"
Google: #2 (
Bing: ?

Okay, so apparently Bing doesn't like fansub stuff... Google seems to be fine. Well, we should check against other types just to be sure, right? So, why not a few other SMF forums?

Term: "common Eldar Strategies" (reference to Warhammer 40k)
Google: #1, 2, AND 3 (
Bing: #1 and 2

Term: "focus xr5 forum" (bit more specific than "Ford forum")
Google: #1, 2, AND 3 (
Bing: #1 and 2

Term: "hsv vxr forum"
Google: #1, 2 AND 4 (
Bing: #1 and 2

Okay.... How about something more generic?

Term: "piano music forum"
Google: #3 (
Bing: #3

And sports?

Term: "Liverpool FC Forum"
Google: #1 and 2 (
Bing: #2

All in all, not bad. I was doing checks against Baidu and Yandex too, but decided against it after a few as both of those engines focus on a different language (Chinese and Russian) and so wouldn't be applicable for English forums.

I think that's fairly respectable. given the complete lack of "SEO" URLs and the like on the majority of those sites.

Edit: Some new tests I thought would be fun, using topics on

Term: "toujou aya fan club"
Google: #1
Bing: #3 and 4

Term: "Latest work of Mizuki Kawa******a"
Google: #7
Bing: ?

Term: "madoka first look"
Google: #4 (not bad, considering that series spawned a lot of online discussion)
Bing: ?

Term: "anime addict" (yeah, somewhat generic)
Google: #33 (to be fair, there are a lot of domains with those exact whole words in them. Also, #4 is a pointer from my site to that site)
Bing: #4

Term: "addicted to anime" (okay, this should be good, right?)
Google: #9 (all the sites above are much older than the one I'm looking for, domain-wise)
Bing: #4

I think that's enough tests for one day.

:)  exactly, Motoko.... thanks for all that!

sweet.  I'm staying with SMF then :)

Any more?

青山 素子:
Simply get good participation (Google at least awards for URLs that keep updated content when all else is equal) and good discussion. Find a niche and market inside it. It's a lot easier to be a forum focused on, say, one specific car than a general car forum. You'll also likely be much more successful if you cater to a focused niche. There are more than enough general-discussion sites around about every topic, so you won't be able to outrank them for the general case until you get huge.


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