Simple Machines Community Forum

Customizing SMF => Building Your Community and other Forum Advice => Topic started by: Arantor on March 29, 2011, 07:02:08 AM

Title: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on March 29, 2011, 07:02:08 AM
Last year I posted an article on a site about the mythology of trying to search engine optimise forums. I'm reposting because I think it's an interesting point for discussion.

Quote from: Arantor
I have said publicly that trying to 'optimise' a forum is futile. Here's why I think that's the case.


1. You're Trying To Game The System

Let me get this straight. You're trying to attract the attention of, amongst other things, one of the most powerful companies in the world, which is staffed with Smart People, probably smarter than both you and I combined in many cases. You're trying to attract their attention, and do so by gaming a system built by Smart People.

It's like going to the doctors, and suggesting a diagnosis before you get there. And at the clinic, the doctor is likely going to ignore your diagnosis (especially if they have any sense), and evaluate you themselves, before making a recommendation.

You know what? That's what Google does, mostly. Sure, you can help them a little, but by and large it isn't your site's SEO they're evaluating, and it definitely isn't the prime factor they rank you on. It's the site as a whole. Length of time it's been there, responsiveness of pages, and its content.


2. SEO works on carefully crafted content.

Now, unless you're weird, your average public forum is filled with juicy content that's contributed by the members, not the staff. And unless you're going to sit and mercilessly edit content, or beat your community members with a big stick, odds are quite strongly that it won't be the keyword-laden, search engine "optimised" masterpiece that the SEO experts recommend you should have.

I wonder why that is. Is it because you have no control over it?

On a blog, where you're the sole author, you can control the content, the presentation - every aspect of the page from the opening DOCTYPE to the closing </html>. But on a forum, odds are you just don't have that flexibility. Sure, you can modify the layout, the code, whatever, but the most important thing for search engines is the one thing you have little real control over: content. And content is utterly king for search engines.

You can adjust your page to have header tags (H1 through H6), you can adjust the link follow elements, you can do all the so-called tricks, but since you're only affecting a tiny percentage of your content, it actually makes very little difference.


3. Sitemaps are next to useless on a forum.

A sitemap, for those who aren't really aware of it, is a list of URLs a crawler should visit. Not a "must index these pages" list. Nor even a "only these pages kthx" list. But simply a "here's what we think you'd be interested in" list.

Now, on a smaller website, or website where the content is more finely controlled, you probably would want a sitemap. You get to set relative priorities of pages, plus a 'how frequently updated this page is' factor. This does actually help a search engine, for the kinds of sites that that applies to.

Note I said "for the kinds of sites that that applies to". A forum is not one of those kinds of site. A forum, by nature, has a totally dynamic, primarily user driven update schedule. It's not like a blog where the author writes as and when he feels like it, or even on a schedule.

You will also likely know that a crawler is quite capable of traversing links by itself; it doesn't need to be told the list of pages it should index, and where it's dynamic and likely to change from one day to the next, adding a sitemap just means you're building an ever changing list of links, which an engine is smart enough to find for itself without your help.

There is only, and I do mean only, one reason you might consider a sitemap, and that is if you've managed to hide a board from general view but still want it indexed without it being linked any other way. If you create a sub-board (or child board) of a parent, such that the parent is not available to the public but the child board is, the child board can be browsed and indexed, but won't show on the board index.

This, however, isn't standard practice, meaning that it's the sort of thing you don't actually need to do on the vast bulk of forums out there.


4. Pretty URLs doesn't help.

At this point I know that I'm going to be near lynched by claims of B-B-B-BUT THE SEO GUIDE SAID... It's crap. It's absolute, utter crap.

Well, what are pretty URLs? The idea is that the URL contains key words relating to the page at hand, so search engines rank it higher. It's also easier to remember if you're going to type it in.

Search engines generally don't use the URL itself in any kind of ranking, or if they do (Google, at least, is known not to use the full URL at this time in ranking though it can consider the domain on its own, but all that may change) it won't be significant at all.

Now before we get into the 'but every little helps' argument, let me put this forward first. Since Google has stated page load speed is actually a factor in the ranking process (albeit not a huge one, but likely more important than the URL), and that pretty URLs on a forum is not a small calculation (though, SlammedDime's SimpleSEF mod does it surprisingly fast), you'd probably be better off dropping the pretty URLs for the performance boost.

That said, there is one possible argument for pretty URLs on a forum, but it's pretty weaksauce: click through. When you're on the Google-or-Bing-or-whatnot page of results, you'll see the URL of the page, and if it's short, and it looks nice, there is a tiny fraction of a percentage of an outside chance that you'd click on it where you wouldn't otherwise. Most seasoned net users, however, don't care.

Now, other sites DO use pretty URLs. And it works for them. Why? Why not forums?

Let's have a quick look - off the top of my head, Facebook and Wikipedia both do. But, curiously, it's not for search engine ranking reasons (and anyone that tells you it is, is BS'ing you) In both cases, it's because articles are likely to be actually typed in by users directly.

For example, http://www.facebook.com/arantor (http://www.facebook.com/arantor) is a prime example. It's a pretty URL.

Or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meat_Loaf (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meat_Loaf) (which is reachable through http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meat Loaf (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meat Loaf) in most browsers) Again, it's memorable.

So why wouldn't this approach work on a forum? After all, what's stopping this page from being index.php/Chit-Chat/Forum-SEO-is-a-myth ? Well, partly [here] don't have any pretty URLs mods installed, but if it did, I know full well it wouldn't generate that as a URL.

As I've said earlier, a forum is typically, mostly, community generated, which often means little regards to the normal SEO stomping grounds of things like titles. I won't dwell on it but on the forum community here, titles such as "Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" are not uncommon. As you can imagine, that's not very SEO friendly.

That's the first thing: the page's title will be directly tied to its URL, and if you have a meaningful title, you have a meaningful URL. The majority of forums do not produce meaningful thread titles.

The second thing is what happens if you get a duplicate? Well, on a conventional blog or other site, duplicates of names are much less common, but on any decent sized forum it starts to become very common - and you would get into the realms of having index.php/board/topic, index.php/board/topic2, index.php/board/topic3, which isn't very meaningful either.

So already you've drifted off track in terms of having a meaningful URL. What both the pretty URL mods do for SMF (this software) is embed the thread's id number into the URL. This has three effects.

Firstly, it makes the thread URL unique, which is great.

Secondly, it means an expensive trip to the database is avoided because you have the id number handy and don't have to look it up like you do elsewhere, which means site performance isn't degraded as much.

Lastly, but by far most importantly, it makes the URL unmemorable. Which sort of makes it pointless because the whole idea is to have MEMORABLE URLs.

And seriously, how often do people type URLs in? Well, on social services, and linking to their friends, not that uncommonly perhaps. But general forum links? Very, very often you won't type the whole URL in, you'll either copy/paste it or you'll just use a URL shortening service - either way, the pretty URL phenomena just doesn't work on forums.


Closing thoughts

I hear a lot of people saying how effective these tips are, and I'd love to actually collect stats on whether it does actually have an effect or not, because I believe that forum growth is IN SPITE of the above, not because of it.

Why? Well, if you're putting that time and effort into the site to check SEO, to check all these things work, you're making more content and content is really the key. If you're actively pushing the site, you'll grow, not because you played some voodoo magic to game a system built by people smarter than you.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: DoctorMalboro on March 29, 2011, 11:35:21 AM
Honestly, I don't care about SEO or anything like that on my blog. It just a waste of time, but a good way to get easy money by people who "believes" in SEO magicians...
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: 青山 素子 on March 29, 2011, 11:55:03 AM
Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Seriously though, I agree with your points. It's near impossible to massage user-contributed content in places like a forum unless one is willing to heavily re-write ever post a user makes. Should one actually try doing that, I think they will find out quickly that people don't appreciate such things.

I especially agree with the notes on "friendly urls". Using something such as that is expensive (in computation time), so it should be avoided. As for the readability and "friendlyness" of them, let's make a few real-world examples.

First, the standard SMF URL:

hxxp://www.example.com/index.php?topic=394582

Here, you only really have to remember the topic ID number. It's not as easy to memorize as some things, but it's not super-humanly difficult.

Now, a sample "friendly" URL:

hxxp://www.example.com/topic/should-britian-eat-so-much-fish-394582.html

I think that perhaps this might be easier to memorize than some of the more common topic titles, but you suffer a bit here from the length and time. Four hours later, if you try to pull the page up on a different computer you not only have to still know the topic ID, but now you have to try and remember the words too! Was it Britian or England? Eat or Consume? Of course, if the rewrite is working correctly (pulling only the ID at the end), the following should take you to the same topic:

hxxp://www.example.com/topic/nudity-buffer-394582.html

This means, of course, that the software will need to find some way of signaling to a search engine that such a URL as the above is not the correct URL either through the fairly-new canonical link tag in the page header, or via redirect to the "correct" URL. Of course, this means more computation time is spent making sure that the URLs are preserved instead of, you know, serving the page.

As for blogs, the canonical URL usually has a date in front of it to prevent URL collisions, which make "friendly" URLs on blog posts an oxymoron as you then have to also remember the year and month of the post and possibly the day as well.



On the topic of using heading tags the right way (in other words, not sprinkinlg h1-h6 in random areas you think are important but as actual outline elements), I support taking the time to do so if it is possible. Anything that can help the search engine distinguish between content and wrapper should be encouraged. This is especially important if you have the advantage of getting quality content-filled posts and topics.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: ARG01 on March 29, 2011, 11:55:57 AM
I have seen incidents where start up companies would pay well over $1,000 for SEO services. I can understand this to a limit for product sales or distribution and, if the site content was well written. But for a basic forum site? No way.

 ;)
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on March 29, 2011, 12:02:40 PM
That one came from arantor.org last year but most of the thoughts I have about the 'way of things' tend to appear on Innovate, not Imitate, and interestingly enough I recently posted again on the same matter, though much less forum-specifically. (Here's the second article, off InI, more about SEO being uninnovative in general (http://innovatenotimitate.com/?p=158))


Thing is, though, the same is true of blogs... the majority of them that have nice long 'friendly' URLs are invariably far longer than I could ever be bothered to type, I'd just copy/paste it again. The one difference with blogs is that you can pass in just the year/month and often get a list of topics from that period which could be useful for narrowing it down - assuming you found the right month/year to start with.


Quote
I have seen incidents where start up companies would pay well over $1,000 for SEO services. I can understand this to a limit for product sales or distribution and, if the site content was well written. But for a basic forum site? No way.

Yup... how do you optimise something you have no real control over? Even a huge forum with masses of content can do little more than nibbling at the edges.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: SlammedDime on March 29, 2011, 01:21:58 PM
As the author of Sitemap and SimpleSEF... I almost wholeheartedly agree... however with some points about your sitemap observations and Motoko's on 'pretty urls'...

From Google's own webmaster tools...
Quote
Sitemaps are particularly helpful if:

Your site has dynamic content.
Your site has pages that aren't easily discovered by Googlebot during the crawl process—for example, pages featuring rich AJAX or images.
Your site is new and has few links to it. (Googlebot crawls the web by following links from one page to another, so if your site isn't well linked, it may be hard for us to discover it.)
Your site has a large archive of content pages that are not well linked to each other, or are not linked at all.
I'd say the very first one applies well to forums, and the third may apply to many forums as well that aren't well established yet.

Furthermore...
Quote
The optional priority tag describes the relative priority of all pages on your site. This priority can range from 1.0 (extremely important) to 0.1 (not important at all).
...
Setting the priority of pages will never affect your site's ranking in Google search results. Search engines use this information when selecting between URLs on the same site, so you can use this tag to increase the likelihood that your more important pages are present in a search index.
Sitemap uses dynamic priority based on how old a topic is and how many posts it contains, so more recent topics will have a higher priority and older topics have a lower.

And also...
Quote
The optional changefreq indicates how frequently the page is likely to change.
...
The value of this tag is considered a hint and not a command. Even though search engine crawlers consider this information when making decisions, they may crawl pages marked "hourly" less frequently than that, and they may crawl pages marked "yearly" more frequently than that. It is also likely that crawlers will periodically crawl pages marked "never" so that they can handle unexpected changes to those pages.
So while this is only a hint, it is somewhat valid, and again Sitemap calculates this dynamically based on the number of posts and age of the topic/board.  If a topic is active, it is changed more frequently thus should have a higher frequency for the search engines.

First, the standard SMF URL:

hxxp://www.example.com/index.php?topic=394582

Here, you only really have to remember the topic ID number. It's not as easy to memorize as some things, but it's not super-humanly difficult.

Now, a sample "friendly" URL:

hxxp://www.example.com/topic/should-britian-eat-so-much-fish-394582.html

I think that perhaps this might be easier to memorize than some of the more common topic titles, but you suffer a bit here from the length and time. Four hours later, if you try to pull the page up on a different computer you not only have to still know the topic ID, but now you have to try and remember the words too! Was it Britian or England? Eat or Consume? Of course, if the rewrite is working correctly (pulling only the ID at the end), the following should take you to the same topic:

hxxp://www.example.com/topic/nudity-buffer-394582.html

This means, of course, that the software will need to find some way of signaling to a search engine that such a URL as the above is not the correct URL either through the fairly-new canonical link tag in the page header, or via redirect to the "correct" URL. Of course, this means more computation time is spent making sure that the URLs are preserved instead of, you know, serving the page.
This is exactly what SimpleSEF does... only uses the topic ID part, so directs to the right topic regardless of what friendly words you put in front of it.  I don't really see this as an issue for search engines unless people go posting links with invalid words but a correct topic (but in the case of SMF 2, at least there is the canonical tag, albeit, however lightly used by search engines.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on March 29, 2011, 02:17:42 PM
Quote
I'd say the very first one applies well to forums, and the third may apply to many forums as well that aren't well established yet.

'Dynamic' content can refer to an awful lot of things. It's more for sites that have regular content updates rather than totally dynamic-driven sites like forums.

Quote
Sitemap uses dynamic priority based on how old a topic is and how many posts it contains, so more recent topics will have a higher priority and older topics have a lower.

Yes, I was aware of that - but at best it's a vague indicator, in ranges rather than the more limited, more targeted variant that Google et al are expecting.

Quote
So while this is only a hint, it is somewhat valid, and again Sitemap calculates this dynamically based on the number of posts and age of the topic/board.  If a topic is active, it is changed more frequently thus should have a higher frequency for the search engines.

Except most people seem to think that's it's gospel and a command for 'only index this' rather than anything else.

Quote
This is exactly what SimpleSEF does... only uses the topic ID part, so directs to the right topic regardless of what friendly words you put in front of it.

Good to know, but while it achieves that, it still breaks the 'memorable URL' mentality attached....
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: 青山 素子 on March 29, 2011, 02:20:59 PM
This is exactly what SimpleSEF does... only uses the topic ID part, so directs to the right topic regardless of what friendly words you put in front of it.  I don't really see this as an issue for search engines unless people go posting links with invalid words but a correct topic (but in the case of SMF 2, at least there is the canonical tag, albeit, however lightly used by search engines.

Heh, posting links with funny URLs might be interesting.

I never said it was a problem with search engines (they'll ignore the URL mostly, anyway), just that you're no better off for the much-argued point of it being easier to type directly or remember, and in fact might be worse off if you must use the correct phrase. The argument that the URL will help drive users to click on the link ignores that the page title is the biggest text on the search engine result page and is also a bit better for SEO purposes anyway.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: SleePy on March 29, 2011, 05:58:08 PM
I should point out that while this topic mentions SEO, the contents posted in it has seem to of focused on SEF urls.  These are two things really, even though SEF falls under SEO.  Search Engine Friendly URLs is being discussed and has the myth that some bots couldn't handle urls with query strings in them (any bot nowdays that can't won't have very many users using their search). Then there is SEO, which is optimizing your actual page to give the search engine better and more direct content relevance to that page and thus to search results.

I don't believe in SEF, although have made a few mods and even use SimpleSEF on one of my sites.  The reason for using it was consistency with the reset of the site that didn't contain any query strings and was meant to keep it clean and organized.  I could of left it out, but it made the pages very easy to remember and doesn't break out of the structure I have for the site.

SEO on the other hand is important.  While many will argue against it, I see doing proper (x)HTML and other front end programing as key to ensuring that content is well indexed.  Not having a bunch of poor coding, random images, and random characters meant as a alt character for when a image can't be displayed, will help keep screen readers and search engines from misinterpreting their usage.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on March 29, 2011, 06:02:45 PM
The reason I focused on SEF URLs is because it's the number one 'SEO technique' promoted out there, and for all the wrong reasons. Using it for nice looking URLs because that's clean and tidy is a separate thing altogether - not for SEO benefits.

SEO is important in and of itself - it just doesn't apply to forums by definition. The examples you mention such as valid X/HTML and proper alt tags for images, they're not really SEO things at all, they're actually accessibility - it just happens that people who put the time in getting accessibility and other things right improve the site as a whole, not because of SEO.

SEO, ultimately, is about targetting the content of your site at search engines, not actual users. Except that a forum who targets content at search engines isn't likely to be particularly popular.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: bloc on March 29, 2011, 06:28:15 PM
Can only agreed to whats mentioned about SEF urls. SEO, true, its more than just SEF, IMHO the biggest advantage is already done in the theme: using headers tags properly and not abusing semantic tags for layout(like lists just to place a content side by side), that is what the markup should do and will then be enough for the crawlers. I have used lots of divs in my themes, up to a point of real "divitis" lol, but it doesn't seem to affect sites using them, at least not for the SEO...they are just ignored, as they should be, a div is just a container tag. Using a actual header tag will be much more important - in which default theme and my themes does of course.The only problem is that we under-use the semantic tags..for lack of knowledge or even wondering what the tag should apply to in a forum? lol :) With CSS3 coming full on thats even more important I guess.

There's no denial that Google finds the smallest site anyway, as long as its on the net lol.Will it rank it high? Now, thats another area altogether - and Arantor pointed out the important parts-  so trying to "cheat" is almost hilarious considering how long Google have been in this game.

I think they are onto us(them).. ;D
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: WhiteEagle on March 29, 2011, 06:40:33 PM
I only use sitemaps for my sites powered by SMF (and other dynamic-systems like link directories, Content Management Systems, blogs, etc.) so I can submit a sitemap to Google Webmasters. Not that it's done me any benefit, but I just like doing it. I rely more on word of mouth and social websites like Facebook and Twitter to get my sites out there.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Dannii on March 29, 2011, 07:55:29 PM
I see the benefit of pretty URLs not in being somehow easier to remember but that when someone posts one in IRC or whatever you'll have an idea of what it's about before you open the page. But now that people are using URL shorteners it might not be as useful...

Arantor, do you have information showing that search engines no longer care about URLs which are the content of an <a>? If so that would mean pretty URLs no longer help in the common situation when someone just posts a link and doesn't use the [url] syntax.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on March 29, 2011, 08:02:05 PM
Well, search engines have been known to take the content of the link text itself as for ranking, but only as a minor factor, from what I understood they'd long since preferred to have a shorter phrase that's still meaningful (and, as at least one SEO 'expert' has recommended in the past, the link title should match the destination page's title or have a meaningful relationship to it)

I guess there could be a small amount of ranking based on having a bare pretty URL with keywords in it, but again that brings us back to user-driven content having meaningful titles and thus meaningful URLs, which for primarily user driven content (which was the scope of the article, i.e. for *forums*) doesn't tend to happen.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: mashby on March 29, 2011, 09:59:36 PM
The more time you spend on optimizing <meta keywords> or worrying about how your URL is constructed and looks to the human eye is time you really should be spending on content people would care to read. That's one of the biggest bang for you buck you'll ever imagine. Content is king. Keywords and URLs are peons. Think about it this way. Let's say I have a page that had the absolute best keywords and the best URL you'll ever see (put on your imagination caps please). But the page content was this:
(https://www.simplemachines.org/community/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fupload.wikimedia.org%2Fwikipedia%2Fen%2F7%2F74%2FBunny-pancake.gif&hash=abed3ab19ad41f2967de3e08104e1ca0)
How is that effective or useful? Focus your content on being useful, informative, linkable. That's one of the best directions SEO has taken. Content is king. Pictures of bunnies with pancakes on their head isn't quite so much.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: DoctorMalboro on March 30, 2011, 07:48:09 AM
I wish I could translate this and put it on my blog...
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on March 30, 2011, 08:10:20 AM
The article or the picture of a bunny with a pancake on its head?
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: DoctorMalboro on March 30, 2011, 10:10:42 AM
both :P
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on March 30, 2011, 10:15:31 AM
Feel free to repost the article translated, provided that you make it clear it's not the original article (but a translation) and that a link back is given here to its source. (Consider the article as being Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/))
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: DoctorMalboro on March 30, 2011, 10:17:49 AM
You made me sound like a leecher, of course i'll do that. Just in another time, now i'm short of it...
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on March 30, 2011, 10:20:40 AM
Not at all; just covering all the bases, you know? I don't generally mind people reusing my work provided there is attribution and that people don't expect me to deal with matters that arise out of things I had nothing to do with.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: DoctorMalboro on March 30, 2011, 10:23:33 AM
Of course. I actually find that my post are stolen as flattering, it means someone actually reads my blog from time to time :P
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on March 30, 2011, 10:25:29 AM
Of course. I actually find that my post are stolen as flattering, it means someone actually reads my blog from time to time :P

Other than a few good friends, no-one reads my blog other than spammers :P
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: DoctorMalboro on March 30, 2011, 10:27:33 AM
Of course. I actually find that my post are stolen as flattering, it means someone actually reads my blog from time to time :P
Other than a few good friends, no-one reads my blog other than spammers :P
I actually accept spam to made my forum has a little more of movement :P

Gotta love spammers :P
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: licora on April 02, 2011, 12:04:20 PM
I am not agree with your #4 point (4. Pretty URLs doesn't help ). I think they help a lot.
And honestly, a forum needs members and new posts and if a forum webmaster has it, he can ignore about the situation of his forum on search engines.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on April 02, 2011, 02:00:01 PM
you can disagree all you want, just like I can call the sky green... doesn't make it true.

Pretty URLs make no difference to search engines, plain and simple.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: 青山 素子 on April 02, 2011, 05:37:14 PM
Based on all the random short replies of licora, I'm guessing it's a spammer/spambot.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: redone on April 03, 2011, 01:02:08 AM
SEO is pointless really for forums, the SEO benefits come from the user generated content the forum environment gives.

Now- actual content in say a CMS environment then that's a different issue. I have seen sub-domains ranking on the top for competitive keywords terms. So user friendly urls are vast becoming less and less important. I have also ranked above sites with forum topics using the out of the box SMF format.

~RedOne
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: licora on April 03, 2011, 02:04:40 AM
Based on all the random short replies of licora, I'm guessing it's a spammer/spambot.
You are wrong. I am not a spammer or spambot. How did you find it?
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Anna Hussie on April 05, 2011, 12:02:59 AM
Different people have different opinion about this.Some people say that this is useless but some are very optimistic.So that is depend on you that how you believe. 
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on April 05, 2011, 12:06:46 AM
Actually, no...  It is not a matter of belief. SEO is fairl well documented exactly as arantor points out
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: kat on April 05, 2011, 06:17:20 AM
As everyone seems to be using it, why would one site get any more out of it than anyone else?

To use Google as an example, they say that the site gets a higher ranking from the number of people who click the links.

The more clicks it gets, the higher up the page it goes.

BUT... If some company offers Google a few quid/bucks to put their site higher up the page, do you think Google would turn that offer down?

I think not.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on April 05, 2011, 07:14:03 AM
Actually, k@, I think they would refuse... Because reputation is everything to a company like google, and if it ever got out thatbthey had accepted money for ranking, they would be finished
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Aleksi "Lex" Kilpinen on April 05, 2011, 07:35:24 AM
Actually, k@, I think they would refuse... Because reputation is everything to a company like google, and if it ever got out thatbthey had accepted money for ranking, they would be finished
Actually, I do believe Google used to do that. ;) They were "sponsored results"....
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: DoctorMalboro on April 05, 2011, 08:27:01 AM
Actually, Google still does that
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Aleksi "Lex" Kilpinen on April 05, 2011, 08:43:28 AM
No I don't believe it does, these days they are actual ads separated from the search result.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: DoctorMalboro on April 05, 2011, 09:35:14 AM
Try pausing adblock :P
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: kat on April 05, 2011, 03:55:03 PM
They didn't let their reputation stand between them and people's privacy, either.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on April 19, 2011, 10:21:20 AM
Just for kicks, http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/04/19/utter_non_it_angle_rubbish_but_hey_the_readers_love_this_crap/ (there are a few naughty words in the article)

Let me explain what the article glosses over: a major newspaper here in the UK uses pretty URLs for its site (not a forum, but the principle) on the view of boosting SEO - but as they now discover, just having the number is enough and everything else is fluff - so if you use pretty URLs yourself, you're equally susceptible to being spoofed like this - the consequence of which is that you can have all kinds of dodgy terms linking to your site and not even realising it.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Aleksi "Lex" Kilpinen on April 19, 2011, 10:29:21 AM
There was a similar case in the news here some year or two ago, where one of the major newspapers' netsite had a "vulnerability" where you could actually make the page title say whatever you wanted. It picked up the title from the text part  of the URL and the contents from the number in the end of it.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on April 19, 2011, 10:42:02 AM
Oh, that's really bad, possibly even an XSS vulnerability there.

At least this one isn't strictly a vulnerability. The main reason I point it out is that SimpleSEF (and maybe Pretty URLs, not sure) keeps the id in the URL, so that everything else could occur just the same as in this article.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: SlammedDime on April 19, 2011, 11:37:59 AM
Yea... I'm thinking, now, about adding some code so that if the requested URL doesn't match what the topic or user should be, perform a 301 redirect to the proper URL.  Won't require any extra database queries I don't think.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Paracelsus on April 29, 2011, 06:54:37 PM
Arantor,

But what if we see a forum like a blog, ie, where each topic is a blog article, being the opening post the blog article itself, the replys the blog comments, the topic title the blog article title and the forum board the blog category/tag...

Couldn't a forum be efficiently SEO'd in this way?
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: 青山 素子 on April 29, 2011, 07:13:52 PM
Only if you start each topic with an eye to SEO. When anyone can start a "blog post", you'll lose the benefit of keyword-optimized text fairly quickly. That's basically the problem there. Sites that rely on user-created content are hard to SEO because people choose bad topic titles, use weak post text, etc.

You can try and work on tertiary optimizations, but the high value stuff will be unattainable simply because you have no control over the content of user's posts.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Paracelsus on April 29, 2011, 07:32:00 PM
Well, the topic titles can be edited, users can be instructed to try to make better posts when they create a new topic... It can be difficult with forums like SMF Community, but in smaller and more specific forums it is "doable".
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: 青山 素子 on April 30, 2011, 12:24:44 AM
Sure, but it really hurts the organic nature of a forum if you dictate posts content and format.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: SlammedDime on April 30, 2011, 12:46:08 AM
I derno... I made a blog post on my WP blog the other day and within 3 minutes it was already #3 on a google search for a non-specific term search (today it sits at #2, search 'suhosin +perdir').  I'd like to see any forum pull that off, even with decently constructed topic titles/posts.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Dannii on April 30, 2011, 03:20:32 AM
That's because Wordpress pings a bunch of sites when you blog (http://codex.wordpress.org/Update_Services). There's little reason why a forum couldn't do that too.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: SlammedDime on April 30, 2011, 11:08:17 AM
Yes, however the bulk of a topic is not in the first post, and you surely wouldn't want to use a service like that for every post, but topics only, so it becomes pointless because you're sending out a ping letting people know about little to no content.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Paracelsus on May 01, 2011, 08:41:33 AM
Sure, but it really hurts the organic nature of a forum if you dictate posts content and format.

It depends. It's reasonable to edit a topic with the title "Help!!!!!!!!!!!" to something more appropriate like "Need help solving problem X", at least I think it is. The post content may be more difficult but it depends on your community. And although one may argue the bulk of the topic isn't on the first post it is usual to see google ranking blog articles to some keywords through their comments and not the article itself.

So, the thing is, could a forum topic with an "optimized" title+post content rank on google as well as a similar "optimized" blog article? If not, maybe it means there are certain optimizations outside the scope of title and content that need to improved in forums (compared to blogs for example).
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Vekseid on May 19, 2011, 09:09:18 AM
I derno... I made a blog post on my WP blog the other day and within 3 minutes it was already #3 on a google search for a non-specific term search (today it sits at #2, search 'suhosin +perdir').  I'd like to see any forum pull that off, even with decently constructed topic titles/posts.

Your blog is also not putting out ten thousand messages a day at the same level of influence. Google knows of some sixty thousand urls on my site, of which it indexes about thirty thousand (or so it claims). It can only read so much, so fast, in order to abide by its own spider rules. New content can show up just about anywhere, and the front page only tells Google where to look.

I have seen Google do some really creepy things with forums.

For example, Google knows that I am the owner of my forums. It gives my own posts more weight, especially with regards to technical details of the site itself, because of that.

Google knows what a forum is, alright. It gets treated differently. I do think Google can get better at it - my main search terms are still Pokemon related for no logical or sensible reason. But it's got a pretty keen awareness of what goes on in a forum and how forums work, and it really really likes forums once they've gotten an initial bit of link juice and Google decides it's not a spammer haven. One of my sites is PR3 essentially because of the amount of unique content it generates, rather than links to it.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: seo_corporation on May 23, 2011, 12:28:39 PM
 :)I agree to your post and the statements about content on a website , a forum or blog.
yeah, indeed Content is the king and quality is the queen. Google loves fresh  and original content for ranking a website higher in SERP ( Search Engine Result Pages), After the recent panda update the quality of the content becomes the top priority . Google is penalizing sites with a purpose of aggregating content for the sole purpose of tricking search engines. It is also penalizing sites having links from content farms. But according to my experience Google has  different parameters for ranking a websites, blog and forums . As you said people at Google are smarter than both of us so they might have realized that forum is a like a crowd in which everyone has right to speak their minds so I think google might be giving less priority to the quality of content in case of forums.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Fiery on May 26, 2011, 11:01:13 PM
All I have to say is you can be listed at the top of the search engine and its not going to do you any good if your site is not well built, complete, and has good content.  People are not dumb, if they get to your site and it isn't all of the previously mentioned things they will leave.  Remember first impressions are very important; people aren't going to assume your site will be better down the road, hence they will be less likely to stop back.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: timetraveller on June 10, 2011, 09:57:52 AM
This is an interesting topic.

In my field of interest there is a site right at the top of the Google search return which is much less populated, has far fewer hits etc. etc. than many others on the same topic. So how did they get to the top?
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on June 10, 2011, 10:15:55 AM
Google uses 200 different factors in ranking. Age of site, number of links going into it, reputation of those links, speed of the site, number of errors encountered when crawling, and many more...
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Clickout on June 11, 2011, 05:15:18 AM
forum seo is highly unpredictable but if you have a technical forum, then probably the messages contain relevant and unique content. That's why the nature of the forum is a big factor in ranking.

I've included Google's +1 button in my forum iPooL (http://www.ipool.tk/) :)

Google says that the number of +1's achieved by a particular page is counted for determining the rank of the page.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Bookmama on June 22, 2011, 01:12:28 PM
...

I especially agree with the notes on "friendly urls". Using something such as that is expensive (in computation time), so it should be avoided. As for the readability and "friendlyness" of them, let's make a few real-world examples.

First, the standard SMF URL:

hxxp://www.example.com/index.php?topic=394582

Here, you only really have to remember the topic ID number. It's not as easy to memorize as some things, but it's not super-humanly difficult.

Now, a sample "friendly" URL:

hxxp://www.example.com/topic/should-britian-eat-so-much-fish-394582.html

I think that perhaps this might be easier to memorize than some of the more common topic titles, but you suffer a bit here from the length and time. Four hours later, if you try to pull the page up on a different computer you not only have to still know the topic ID, but now you have to try and remember the words too! Was it Britian or England? Eat or Consume? Of course, if the rewrite is working correctly (pulling only the ID at the end), the following should take you to the same topic:
...


You actually remember URLs from one computer to another?  I bookmark or use History (on same computer).  If forced to switch computers, if I posted in the thread, I look at my post history.  If I didn't, then I use the forum search. 

But maybe that is just me.  If you tell me your phone number and read all 7 digits to me, odds are I reverse some of the digits when I try and write it down.

Overall I disagree with the analogy that forum SEO is like taking a diagnosis to the doctor.  I think it is more like applying for a job with a psychopath and trying to increase your odds by looking at their previous hiring practices.  Frustrating?  a waste of time?  perhaps... but if you really want the job and 90% of the people hired have worn red to the interview... are you really NOT going to choose red (or look at the statistics).
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: JhonOrton on September 20, 2011, 12:47:45 AM
I will not agreed with you at this point.. The search Engine Optimization is essential for your website. You know Google have so many factors for giving high rank to your websites. Such as your website relevant content. you website has to be according to the Google webmaster guideline, and must me Google and user friendly. And further you should get links from high pr websites and blog as well.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: timetraveller on September 21, 2011, 06:38:45 PM
Where do you get the +1 button from?
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Suki on September 21, 2011, 06:45:49 PM
Where do you get the +1 button from?

http://www.google.com/+1/button/
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: busterone on September 21, 2011, 11:00:15 PM
I will not agreed with you at this point.. The search Engine Optimization is essential for your website. You know Google have so many factors for giving high rank to your websites. Such as your website relevant content. you website has to be according to the Google webmaster guideline, and must me Google and user friendly. And further you should get links from high pr websites and blog as well.
You must not have read this topic carefully. Forcing SEO optimization on a forum is a complete waste of time. Google will crawl and index a forum without absolutely any SEO tactics. If there is no real content, then you waste your time attempting to fool Google.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: darren1981 on September 28, 2011, 06:34:37 PM
hahahha another seo debate... I am all for SEO.. it's not worth a online fight lol.. but you put 2 sites / forums side by side.. do loads of seo to one and none for the other.. see what the search engines think of that.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on September 28, 2011, 07:27:40 PM
They will not think anything....
Seo is pointless for forums because the content is determined by the post content, not by evensemifixed pages.

If you put 2 forums side by side, the one with more on topic postswithuseful content will win, Reba less of any silly seo attempts
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: sohailmalik64 on October 14, 2011, 04:27:14 PM
Can any one please do some mathematics out of all this dicussion like

with pretty url / without pretty url    seo advantage = 1.3 ????

can some one please because to grasp this whole discussion seems a bit daunting
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on October 14, 2011, 04:28:39 PM
there is no math to do

with or without "pretty url" is all the same to the search engines.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: James-- on November 06, 2011, 02:48:31 AM
Forum SEO is not a myth. Just like website SEO, you need to do a little bit of extra work to make a forum search engine friendly.
The search engine friendlyness of a website or forum is something else then optimize a forum. A SEO friendly forum is good for spiders and search engines to crawl and navigate, while with optimization you're trying to get more relevant visitors by doing things like linkbuilding and make your content better.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on November 06, 2011, 08:48:15 AM
Sorry... That is mostly bs...
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: 青山 素子 on November 06, 2011, 12:20:57 PM
While you can take steps to make the forum easier to index, the bulk of SEO is focused on value-added content. As a forum contains a majority of user-contributed content, it is very difficult to focus the content to optimize search.

Basically, while you can do some tiny low-value optimizations, high-value optimizations aren't possible due to the nature of a forum.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Dblog on November 16, 2011, 03:29:37 PM
only reason why i would go for SEF urls in a forum is because i hate seeing PHPSESSID in query based urls
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: 青山 素子 on November 16, 2011, 09:27:44 PM
That part shouldn't show up on a properly configured server. See, for example, this very site.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Dblog on November 16, 2011, 10:03:53 PM
even on this very site, it shows up as P=xsnxsnsfcnfewfffnefe if you are visiting this site with cache cleared browser.
after you visit 2nd link, it wont appear but if i link something to someone from here as reference, in social netowrking sites or emails, they visit this site with P=xxxxxxxxx or if someone lands here 1st time from search engine, they get those urls too

thats nasty ???
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: busterone on November 17, 2011, 12:01:00 AM
Nasty? Who gives a real crap how it looks anyway? All that matters is does the link work and do they see the material linked to.  I personally do not care if a link I click on has a PHPSESSID it in it or not.  All I care about is if the link I click works and I get to the page content I am seeking.   
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: reefforum on November 27, 2011, 04:58:26 PM
Forum SEO is a myth?  I suspect that statement has to do with SMF being SEO unfriendly.  Just google any word and type the word forum in front of it.  How many of the results on the first page are powered by SMF?  NONE.

I do enjoy using SMF but the simple fact is when google searching for any type of forum, the first page has no SMF powered sites.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on November 27, 2011, 05:06:52 PM
untrue...

smf is not seo unfriendly...
and several smf forums are #1 or #2 on my searches...  although, I suppose it depends what you are searching for and how well you can define your search.  adding the word "forum" to your search only works if the word "forum" factors into to the search terms on the site you are searching for. None of the forums that I use have the word "forum" in the site title or the term I am looking for.

Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: 青山 素子 on November 28, 2011, 11:05:19 AM
May I note that if you search on the title of this very topic, the first result returned is this topic? This is true with Google, Bing/Yahoo!, and even Yandex. Baidu doesn't return this topic, however. It seems to ignore "forum", but also focuses on Chinese-language resources over other languages.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: reefforum on November 30, 2011, 12:17:39 AM
Just try it for yourself.  google any of these:  car forum, dog forum, woodworking forum, paint forum, construction forum, exercise forum, weightloss forum, cooking forum, etc. 

The sites on the first page dont necessarily  have the word forum in them, but NONE are powered by SMF. 
So is forum SEO a myth?  Perhaps SMF users believe that and none of them are on the first page of google results. 
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on November 30, 2011, 12:20:25 AM
and yet.... if you google "40k", the 40konline forum, which has been running SMF for 8+ years is fourth down on the list (after wikipedia and games-workshop (the company which created 40k))

So, your argument falls flat....
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: busterone on November 30, 2011, 01:04:31 AM
And another possibility is that some or many of these results are due to Black Hat SEO, where they hire unscrupulous SEO firms that promise 1000's of backlinks, but what they really do is spam the crap out of every forum, blog, and guestbook that they can get their grubby claws into. My spambot traps catch 100's of these a day, coming from these SEO sites, and they are always plugging someone else's site, forum, or blog.  It isn't that the forums are optimized for Search engines that gets them to the top, it is more that so many use unscrupulous tactics.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: reefforum on November 30, 2011, 12:28:48 PM
and yet.... if you google "40k", the 40konline forum, which has been running SMF for 8+ years is fourth down on the list (after wikipedia and games-workshop (the company which created 40k))

So, your argument falls flat....

I hope my argument falls flat since I have SMf and I am comfortable with it now and I really dont want to pay for VB.

Any other examples? 
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Suki on November 30, 2011, 12:45:31 PM
if I search for "miss all sunday"  my site appears on the first page in google, just below the wikipedia and wikia pages.

on yandex it shows on the first page for my country and on yahoo it shows as second.

I have done 0 "SEO" work, I use simplesef to easily identify the topics by name rather than ID and that's about it.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: ~DS~ on November 30, 2011, 01:08:50 PM
I'm sorry, reefform, but I have to agree with Kindred and the others. A simple iapplecafe on google shows me first page of lists, my forum and my social networks. SEO is a myth after all.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on November 30, 2011, 01:35:07 PM
there are things that you can do to your forum site to make it better....

1- have good content.  You can't control ALL of your users' posts, but you can have at least one section that has really good content, even if you have to post it yourself.

2- work with Google Webmaster tools...   get a sitemap, have google catalog the pages that you want (and 2.0 is much better than 1.1.x in this respect)

3- get appropriate back-links...   just spamming everywhere with your forum links will actually do harm... but if you get your site linked to on other related sites, with some link keywords, it helps.

4- be around for a while...  and be stable. It can take time to work your way up the google lists. If you are constantly moving your site around, and changing URL structures, this will hurt your ranking. If you have to change URL structures, add in some 301 redirects in your .htaccess. (as I did when we moved off of Joomla and to a portal/forum - all of the URLs changed)
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: reefforum on November 30, 2011, 01:38:21 PM
I'm sorry, reefform, but I have to agree with Kindred and the others. A simple iapplecafe on google shows me first page of lists, my forum and my social networks. SEO is a myth after all.

But you are searching for the exact domain!  your site better show up if you are typing in the exact domain or somehthing very similar to it.  you search for 40k, and 40konline shows up.  You search for iapplecafe and iapplecafe.com shows up.  now search for "apple forum" and see where your site is. 

type simple machines and this site shows up, now reset your browser and search for "forum software" and see if this site is on the first page. 
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on November 30, 2011, 01:46:44 PM
well, then, perhaps you should re-think your domain name?

but, then again... I can still prove you wrong.
https://www.google.com/search?q=swooping+hawk+exarch&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

Search for "swooping hark exarch" (one of the models created by Games Workshop for warhammer 40K)
40konline is 4th on the first page of results, again...

searching for exact terms...
"Discipline of the Autarch" brings up one of our articles as the first result.

even using your original example,
searching for "Eldar forum" brings up our eldar sub-forum/board first on the list....



So...   it would seem that your complaints have been completely disproven.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: reefforum on November 30, 2011, 04:48:21 PM
40k online excluded.  Lets see some other "proofs" 

You are actually a marketing coordinator for SMF?  If so, I understand you believe in SMF and as I mentioned I like SMF and just spend months learning it and am very comfortable with it.  I just like to see more large and popular forums that are powered by SMF. 

I dont think many people even know what "swooping hark exarch" is. Maybe 40konline is one of few places that term is mentioned. 

Lets try some more common searches:

Toyota forum
Honda forum
Pet forum
Bird forum
Fish forum
Body building forum
Fashion forum

There is no room for argument.  There are simply no results on the first page that are powered by SMF.

Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Illori on November 30, 2011, 04:51:33 PM
maybe the issue is that people that use smf dont have forums on those topics, we have no control over that

but if you look at http://www.google.com/search?client=opera&rls=en&q=chevy+avalance+forum&sourceid=opera&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8#hl=en&safe=off&client=opera&hs=gQY&rls=en&sa=X&ei=LqXWTpmKKufn0QHZqoX2AQ&ved=0CCMQvwUoAQ&q=chevy+avalanche+forum&spell=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=19fe89c48a8fd3e4&biw=974&bih=905 you will find an smf forum on the first page
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: kat on November 30, 2011, 04:53:42 PM
As the software isn't required to show that it IS SMF, how would anyone know, anyway?

When people search for a pet forum, they don't give a ****** what it's powered by.


People who want forum software will search "Forum software".

Try searching "Forum software". ;)

OK, we're not top, but we ARE on the first page.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: reefforum on November 30, 2011, 04:56:06 PM
As the software isn't required to show that it IS SMF, how would anyone know, anyway?

When people search for a pet forum, they don't give a ****** what it's powered by.


People who want forum software will search "Forum software".

Try searching "Forum software". ;)

OK, we're not top, but we ARE on the first page.

I am sorry but we are NOT on the first page for "forum software".  Reset your browser and try it. 

When I search for "forum software",  simplemachines.org is on the second page. 
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Illori on November 30, 2011, 05:04:35 PM
and your point? smf is a forum software we are not creating something for everyone to use just so they can get on page 1 in google, we are creating something for people to use as they wish. we dont tell them how to use their forum nor should we. if you think another forum software is better for your needs then use it, we are not stopping you.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: kat on November 30, 2011, 05:06:17 PM
I am sorry but we are NOT on the first page for "forum software".  Reset your browser and try it. 

I did.

It is. :)
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on November 30, 2011, 05:15:08 PM
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 http://www.witchforum.net/forum/index.php, which is, indeed, an SMF site.
I search for "Razorback forum" and immediately, top of the list, get http://www.hogville.net/yabbse/index.php, 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.


--edit--
hmmm... actually, narrowing your search
"Scion forum" returns http://www.scionride.com/forum/ 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 simplemachines.org only third down...   definitely first page.

Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: 青山 素子 on November 30, 2011, 06:25:23 PM
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 (addictedtoanime.com)
BIng: ?

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

Term: "real life chobits"
Google: #2 (bwys.org)
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 (40konline.com)
Bing: #1 and 2

Term: "focus xr5 forum" (bit more specific than "Ford forum")
Google: #1, 2, AND 3 (fordxr5turbo.com)
Bing: #1 and 2

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

Okay.... How about something more generic?

Term: "piano music forum"
Google: #3 (pianostreet.com)
Bing: #3

And sports?

Term: "Liverpool FC Forum"
Google: #1 and 2 (redandwhitekop.com)
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 addictedtoanime.com:


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.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on November 30, 2011, 06:46:14 PM
:)  exactly, Motoko.... thanks for all that!

Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: reefforum on November 30, 2011, 07:25:44 PM
sweet.  I'm staying with SMF then :)

Any more?
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: 青山 素子 on November 30, 2011, 07:43:25 PM
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.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Aleksi "Lex" Kilpinen on December 01, 2011, 12:54:23 AM
My forum has been around about 6 years. Only 2-3 years of it on the current domain and IP.
If I search for any of the multitude of topic titles ( we are a very general discussion forum ) I usually see my forum on the first page of results, most commonly as the first result even.

I've done NOTHING to improve SEO. Nothing at all. I use Google webmaster tools / analytics to track traffic, and similar general data, but that's it.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Paracelsus on December 01, 2011, 04:07:48 AM
40k online excluded.  Lets see some other "proofs" 

You are actually a marketing coordinator for SMF?  If so, I understand you believe in SMF and as I mentioned I like SMF and just spend months learning it and am very comfortable with it.  I just like to see more large and popular forums that are powered by SMF. 

I dont think many people even know what "swooping hark exarch" is. Maybe 40konline is one of few places that term is mentioned. 

Lets try some more common searches:

Toyota forum
Honda forum
Pet forum
Bird forum
Fish forum
Body building forum
Fashion forum

There is no room for argument.  There are simply no results on the first page that are powered by SMF.



Ok, try googling: sporting forum and then compare with the one on my signature. ;)
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Aleksi "Lex" Kilpinen on December 01, 2011, 06:37:35 AM
Lets try some more common searches:

Toyota forum
Honda forum
Pet forum
Bird forum
Fish forum
Body building forum
Fashion forum

There is no room for argument.  There are simply no results on the first page that are powered by SMF.
"Common" is exactly the problem in your searches. First of all, try to do searches without adding "forum" in them.
Second, a "Fashion forum" is a very general term, and may not refer to a discussion forum at all - but still be used in a wide range of sites.

What you should do if you really want to see how well google treats SMF, is get a specific search - like "Forum SEO is a myth", and see that whoops - this site is the first to come up. Or "New private beta download policy" and, surprise surprise, this forum is the first result, even though those words are probably very very used around the web.

Some more examples "Want to start a topic here?", "Sub Forum Cover", "How to change the upper bg color of topics?", "BBCode pre-parsing" --> All give me results from simplemachines.org on the first page of Google.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: kat on December 01, 2011, 07:10:40 AM
I just searched for my forum...

TOP ENTRY!!!

NO SEO, at all.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: MtnDon on December 25, 2011, 08:45:28 PM
I did a Google using general terms that would describe our forum. We came up on twice in returned results in the first ten results. Been using SMF since Nov 2007
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: paulvincent on February 09, 2012, 02:54:56 AM
Not much of a myth though cause some have been having good results using forums for SEO. But take note of the word SOME cause not everyone, despite doing the same tasks had had similar results.

It's basically unpredictable.


Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: rightofatilla on February 09, 2012, 09:24:45 PM
Just try it for yourself.  google any of these:  car forum, dog forum, woodworking forum, paint forum, construction forum, exercise forum, weightloss forum, cooking forum, etc. 

The sites on the first page dont necessarily  have the word forum in them, but NONE are powered by SMF. 
So is forum SEO a myth?  Perhaps SMF users believe that and none of them are on the first page of google results.

Type in "conservative forum".  Right now, mine is #3.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Vekseid on February 27, 2012, 01:06:50 AM
I'm at #6 for 'roleplaying forum'.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: pawpoint on February 27, 2012, 10:10:48 AM
I agree with a lot of what you said, especially the pretty website with the keywords in the title being rubbish, I have often been told that I made a mistake not doing that, but I am still on page one for my chosen keywords without it. Total myth!
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: teos55 on April 23, 2012, 10:17:38 AM
 Read the article several times, running smf 2.0.2 default theme  with optimus brave mod installed. ( very recently)

I have so many duplicate meta descriptions, duplicate title tags  according to Google WMT (cannot blame optimus brave, I haven't checked this, before hand) even though I see :

<link rel="canonical" href= .....>  when checked with "view source" function of chrome ...

see : http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=474245.0

Maybe opened in the wrong place :-)
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: kat on April 23, 2012, 11:12:57 AM
Maybe opened in the wrong place :-)

As this topic's about how SEO is a giant con, you're probably right. ;)
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: teos55 on April 23, 2012, 11:27:28 AM
Ok,  no seo thing in the forum but what about sitemap and robot.txt in Google wmt side ?
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: 青山 素子 on April 23, 2012, 02:31:26 PM
Ok,  no seo thing in the forum but what about sitemap and robot.txt in Google wmt side ?

Meta descriptions don't affect any SEO. They are only used in "site:" searches or where other text on the page isn't relevant to the search terms.

As for robots.txt, SMF implements a "noindex" tag on pages that aren't content, such as the login pages. You'd only need a robots.txt for non-SMF content.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: teos55 on April 23, 2012, 02:36:58 PM
thanks alot for clerification.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: sirwilliams on May 08, 2012, 04:10:26 PM
SEO or not SEO , its not important
SEO + Satisfy and useful content = Best Benefit of anyone.

I care about Optimize and Satisfy Visitor to be my customer
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Mr. Jinx on June 03, 2012, 11:11:06 AM
Although I agree with all points in Arantors startpost, I wouldn't say SEO is a myth for forums.
There are things that realy help search engines understand how to crawl your forum.

For example, I sometimes search on google, and end up on a 'print' layout page of an SMF forum (index.php?action=printpage). Same might happen with things like mobile content.
First of all you don't want users to go to a print page, but the full content. Secondly google may see this as duplicated content.
To prevent this you'll have to use a good robots.txt which tells the indexer to keep away from certain 'actions'.
The canonical tag also helps preventing the indexing of duplicated content (which is default in SMF 2.0).

I'm also not 100% sure about the H1 tag missing in SMF. Every SEO company seems to recommend atleast one H1 tag so the indexer know where to find the most important header on a page. Ofcourse, there are topics with a bad tiltle, but that is up to the users and moderators. Those topics with a good title and H1 tag will be easier to find in google.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on June 03, 2012, 11:33:39 AM
In the case of the print-page view, Google takes the view that the content is more important than it is on the regular layout. This usually happens when there is so much crap on the main thread that it obscures the content (e.g. some custom themes, lots and lots of mods of stuff everywhere), and the print-page is much more content friendly. The print-page link is also indicated as being nofollow in 2.0 anyway.

There is an h1 tag in SMF as standard, in fact. Just that most people shove images into it rather than text.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: preatis on July 06, 2012, 11:59:58 PM
The more time you spend on optimizing <meta keywords> or worrying about how your URL is constructed and looks to the human eye is time you really should be spending on content people would care to read. That's one of the biggest bang for you buck you'll ever imagine. Content is king. Keywords and URLs are peons. Think about it this way. Let's say I have a page that had the absolute best keywords and the best URL you'll ever see (put on your imagination caps please). But the page content was this:
(https://www.simplemachines.org/community/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fupload.wikimedia.org%2Fwikipedia%2Fen%2F7%2F74%2FBunny-pancake.gif&hash=abed3ab19ad41f2967de3e08104e1ca0)
How is that effective or useful? Focus your content on being useful, informative, linkable. That's one of the best directions SEO has taken. Content is king. Pictures of bunnies with pancakes on their head isn't quite so much.


UM YES SIR! The reason why I agree is I did that. 5 Page site, 350-900 characters per page, HIGH competitive area and industry..  That's why I got the forum...  Place rare content on it, invite pros, and use the content on the site.. There's your content...
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on July 07, 2012, 12:01:48 AM
And that is exactly why forum SEO is a myth: it is, and always will be, the content on the page that draws users in.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: leandros21 on August 13, 2012, 04:01:50 PM
All search engine bots are looking daily almost all internet
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: kat on August 13, 2012, 04:19:21 PM
As are Spammers... (https://www.simplemachines.org/community/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.katzy.dsl.pipex.com%2FSmileys%2Fc018.gif&hash=a3556647d4a48faa83032d551bdcffb1)
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: 3fence on September 14, 2012, 05:03:34 AM
Search engine optimization or SEO expert is a crucial element in making website be found by the right people. I got so many helpful information at sadspammer.com
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: kat on September 14, 2012, 05:16:17 AM
See what I mean? Yet another one.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: busterone on September 14, 2012, 05:45:59 PM
They never stop do they.  :D
They only see the part- "SEO", and then unleash their stuff.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: redone on September 14, 2012, 08:26:41 PM
It was partly relevant many years ago in terms of content, links with other relevant sites etc. These days the search engines don't need help finding urls, working out content and deciding between crap sites and good ones.

SEO forumwise is about worthless.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: 青山 素子 on September 15, 2012, 01:37:14 AM
I got so many helpful information at sadspammer.com

sadspammer.com is an awesome domain name. It's also not taken as of right now, if anyone wants to purchase it.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Gringoboy on October 26, 2012, 04:45:39 PM
Hello
I'm new to making forums, so please bear with me. Wonderful software and a very easy install :)
I installed my new forum yesterday and so it's still in the 'tweaking' stages. I'm using the latest SMF 2.0.2, with the default theme.
Naturally I have contacted those that may be interested in joining and by the end of today we have 5 members, including me, lol. On the basis that you have to start somewhere.
I've read as much as I could in this thread, but got a little confused as to how is the best way for people to find my particular forum on Google if they are so inclined (it's an expats forum).
I haven't as yet added any meta tags/keywords so that I can be found.
What would be the best way to get the word around then?
Is it something one does manually? Or let the crawlers do?
I have no problem in doing the footwork, so to speak, without becoming a pest, but am a little confused as to the opinions expressed here.
Cheers and thanks for reading.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: live627 on October 26, 2012, 08:04:48 PM
Hey, it's not a bot this time! Hi there!

This thread is rife with spammers who dump their SEO propaganda.

The main thing to worry about is getting good useful content on your forums. Spiders will  inevitably crawl your site, meta keywords don't make a difference to forums. Of course, word of mouth does wonders I hear...
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: mrintech on October 27, 2012, 03:56:38 AM

I haven't as yet added any meta tags/keywords so that I can be found.

Check out this MOD for adding META DESCRIPTION: http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2659

META KEYWORDS are useless

:)
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: 青山 素子 on October 27, 2012, 12:01:50 PM
Both are completely useless. None of the meta tags are used to influence ranking in any way.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Gringoboy on October 27, 2012, 02:08:04 PM
Many thanks for the tips on this subject and now I am beginning to understand.
I have a business website which simply displays what I do, where I am, how to contact me etc, which I suppose is fairly static to some extent and therefore needs keywords.
Unlike a forum which (hopefully) changes content on a regular basis and therefore keywords/meta stuff is not so relevant??As the content is the key?
Cheers!
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on October 27, 2012, 03:29:34 PM
no... keywords are mostly ignored by search engines at this point, because - way back when - companies started stuffing keywords with all sorts of terms, so much so that they ceased to have any useful functionality.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: ApplianceJunk on October 28, 2012, 12:03:39 AM
So what your trying to say is forum SEO is a myth?
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on October 29, 2012, 12:00:57 PM
So what your trying to say is forum SEO is a myth?

It's like you read the topic! :o
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: ApplianceJunk on October 29, 2012, 12:24:08 PM
If I could only read life would be so much easier. :)
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on October 29, 2012, 12:28:54 PM
/me was more pointing out that it is slightly ironic ;)
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: ApplianceJunk on October 29, 2012, 12:43:32 PM
So what your trying to say is forum SEO is a myth?

*sarcastic
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on October 29, 2012, 12:45:32 PM
/me hoped it was sarcasm ^_^
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: live627 on October 30, 2012, 04:06:33 AM
Reallly?? So I don't have to drop thousands just so SEO company X can push my website to #1 "guaranteed"?

/troll face sarcasm (we need emotes for those sooooo much :P)
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: timetraveller on November 05, 2012, 05:31:33 AM
So is the trick just to make sure you have good, regularly updated content and let the crawlers do the work for you?

How do they know that your content is relevant to your subject if you don't use the keyword much? To be precise, my site and forum is about a person and as it's very clear that it's about a person we don't bother to use his surname very much - which would obviously be the keyword if we were using them. Do the same principles apply to the site as a whole as well as to the forum?
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: ronifinder on November 12, 2012, 04:34:06 AM
Honestly, I don't care about SEO or anything like that on my blog. It just a waste of time, but a good way to get easy money by people who "believes" in SEO magicians...

Yes you are absolute right..SEO is a magic tool, which is used to promote their business easily in online marketing...
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: kat on November 12, 2012, 07:05:34 AM
That is precisely NOT what he was saying, Spamtard.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: BFriendly on November 21, 2012, 09:43:19 PM
Does anyone have any A/B testing to support any of these assertions?  Does anyone even know what A/B testing is?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A/B_testing

It's just such a stupid assertion, I'm very reluctant to become stupid myself by addressing it.  Ever see a "tie" in the google search results?  Ever have Google just throw up some results all randomly arranged, refresh the search and the results are completely different?

Of course not.  To think otherwise is just plain stupid.  And yet, to assert that there is no such thing as "forum SEO" is exactly what you are saying.   "It's random." and that's dumb.

Google is an algorithm, which if you don't know is a set of rules.  In order to present results that Google thinks is relevant, it has to apply rules to something; some kind of variable.  Otherwise it's just random.

So, stop saying SEO is a myth.  That's just stupid, and you dumb-down unsuspecting readers to that stupid level when you say it.  Maybe YOU don't know what factors are in play, what rules are in effect, what standards Google uses to determine which site gets placed where on the list, and maybe THEY (these evil SEOs you go on about) don't know either.

"They" claim they understand what variables and rules are in play, and how to manipulate them for positive effect.  And maybe they are wrong.  But YOU claim that there are no variables, either because they don't exist (which makes Google's results completely random), or because "they" don't know, which makes them wrong and you too.  Google's rules and the variables they apply to do not cease to exist just because someone you don't like doesn't know something.

I deal with "SEO skeptics" all the time.  They assume that because they don't understand something, it must not exist.  Funny how something stops existing based on a single person's willingness to disbelieve in something.

And please don't respond with any pseudo-SEO straw man arguments, "I heard some guy say that boiling chicken bones gave him good placement in the SERPs, therefore ALL SEOs say that, and since they are all wrong, SEO just doesn't exist.  The fact of the matter is that the rules and the variables change constantly, and the thing that you failed to properly understand 3 years ago has been irrelevant for the last 2 years, so please get off it.  If you don't put constant effort into researching the current state of SEO technology, you are going to be obsolete in less than 6 months.

Admin here, is running around denying that this newfangled thing called "Medicine" exists, because these dishonest people called "surgeons" cut holes in you to make you bleed for no particular reason, and put leeches on you to draw out the poison.

That was 200 years ago, Grandpa.  You are living in, and railing against a past that never happened, and using that flawed perspective to distort other people's futures.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: live627 on November 21, 2012, 10:06:09 PM
okay... I think you have missed the point here? The OP is talking about FORUMS ONLY. Which is a totally different playing field than your average website, and the SEO rules differ, in consequence.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: busterone on November 22, 2012, 12:52:02 AM
BFriendly - You have totally missed the point. As was said in the previous post, this topic is talking about SEO in forums only, not other types of websites. A forum is dynamic and user input.  None of the supposed SEO tactics will work on a forum without destroying the very nature of what a forum is. You cannot force your members to post search engine friendly topic titles, keywords in their posts, or any of the other types of tactics that are considered search engine friendly or optimized. Even If you go behind your members' posts and edit everyone's topic titles and posts to reflect such results, you will very quickly have no members and no forum.  A forum is a different animal altogether from a static website.  You obviously did not really read the first post of this topic very closely. I suggest reading it again.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: BFriendly on November 22, 2012, 04:03:28 PM
BFriendly - You have totally missed the point.

okay... I think you have missed the point here? The OP is talking about FORUMS ONLY. Which is a totally different playing field than your average website, and the SEO rules differ, in consequence.

Actually I did read the post.  I understood it better than either of you.  You both seem to think that there is this "special universe" that exists for forums.  And this special universe is a 3rd case; one that is neither governed by defined (by Google) variables and Google's algorithm for the express purpose of presenting the User a set of results that are "relevant" according to how Google defines that word, and random chaos.

I think you should re-read MY posts, and ignore everything stated in the OP because it's worse than wrong, it's de-evolutionary, and anyone that reads it will be dumber than when they started.

I'll say it again.  There is either SEO, or there is random chaos.  You seem to think there is a 3rd alternative.  There is no 3rd alternative.  It's either one or the other.

So then you might say "Well okay, Google DOES look at certain variables pertaining to forums, and presents those results based on an algorithm (so the results aren't random), but the variables and the algorithm for forums are different than...

Yeah right.  Different than what?  Different than "standard websites" ?  Different than image-focused websites?  Different than video websites?  Different than .gov websites, websites in spanish, websites hosted in the Pacific rim?

Are you trying to tell me that the millions of rules that Google has for the millions of variables for all the various different types of websites are somehow different than the millions of rules that has for websites that "sort of" resemble forums and somehow the millions of rules for the first group allow for SEO and somehow the millions of rules for the second group do not?

Got any A/B testing to back that up?  Care to define any of those rules?  Define those variables?  Tell us all what factors make-up a "forum" website and which factors make-up a "non-forum website" ?  And also how you know this?  Got any secretly leaked internal white papers from Google?

Also please explain how the variables in non-forum websites can be influenced by SEO techniques and those in forum websites cannot?  Please provide the A/B testing to back this up.

Here's what's really going on.  You folks have been influenced by an online personality with 45,000 posts and a serious belief in his own halo effect.

Quote
As was said in the previous post, this topic is talking about SEO in forums only, not other types of websites. A forum is dynamic and user input.  None of the supposed SEO tactics will work on a forum without destroying the very nature of what a forum is. You cannot force your members to post search engine friendly topic titles, keywords in their posts, or any of the other types of tactics that are considered search engine friendly or optimized. Even If you go behind your members' posts and edit everyone's topic titles and posts to reflect such results, you will very quickly have no members and no forum.  A forum is a different animal altogether from a static website.  You obviously did not really read the first post of this topic very closely. I suggest reading it again.

All of that is a load of crap.  You haven't the faintest idea of what SEO is.  Like your Grandpappy, you are railing against a concept you failed to properly understand 3 years ago, and that concept has been irrelevant for 2 years.  You are enslaved to obsolete wrongness, lol...  For example, your post indicates to me that you don't know the difference between onsite & offsite SEO.  As I mentioned in my first post, which you failed to read and understand properly, the fact that you don't understand something doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Off-page SEO:

If, all other things being equal, two completely identical websites were running and CNN.com sent a big fat backlink to website "A", do you think it would outrank "B"?  Or are Google's search results random?

On-page SEO

Two websites, both completely equal.  Site "A" has a page load time of 0.003 seconds.  Site "B" is hosted on some crappy, low-end server, with page load times of 2.732 seconds.

Which site gets placed higher in Google's search results?  Or is it completely random?  Does Google look at both of these sites and say "Hay!  These are both forums.  I think I'll throw these sites up any old way."
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: busterone on November 22, 2012, 10:55:52 PM
What you are describing is server load time- not keywords, meta tags or search engine friendly topic titles. I agree 100% that two identical sites, one on a fast server and one on a crappy overloaded server will get different rankings. That is common sense, and I don't argue that point whatsoever.

The idea that you can "stuff" your forums topic titles and posts with keywords, etc. is nonsense. It then ceases to be a member input forum. That is my whole argument. There are tons of topics here where people have come in asking how they can increase their rankings after reading the crap that so many so-called SEO sites claim that they can get for you. In my experience, most of it is a load of horse manure meant to get your money.

Backlinks do have a relevance, I don't argue that at all, however, Google places way less emphasis on backlinks than these SEO experts claim.  In my work fighting forum spam, it is obvious that most of these sites use black hat tactics- in short they spam every one that they can to obtain worthless backlinks.
That is how the term Spam Everyone Online was coined.

There are obvious things one can do to help rankings for a forum, but the most commonly accepted ideas that have been perpetuated are not helpful at all.
Content will always be king no matter how much you argue otherwise. 
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Gerald2000 on November 23, 2012, 07:38:02 AM
Forums get an advantage because they usually have a lot of freshness on their pages, if you combine that with linkbuilding and a little onpage SEO you'll always win.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Mr. Jinx on November 23, 2012, 12:06:32 PM
BFriendly, you couldn't be more clear. I totally agree!

In the case of the print-page view, Google takes the view that the content is more important than it is on the regular layout. This usually happens when there is so much crap on the main thread that it obscures the content (e.g. some custom themes, lots and lots of mods of stuff everywhere), and the print-page is much more content friendly. The print-page link is also indicated as being nofollow in 2.0 anyway.
You can call it crappy html or whatever, but if you are going to optimize that, aren't you doing SEO ?
The nofollow tag to prevent this, isn't that also optimizing just for search engines?

What you are describing is server load time- not keywords, meta tags or search engine friendly topic titles. I agree 100% that two identical sites, one on a fast server and one on a crappy overloaded server will get different rankings. That is common sense, and I don't argue that point whatsoever.
Maybe that is why people don't agree in this topic. If you are talking about keywords and optimizing content for getting better search results, then SEO for a forum is pretty useless. However,  I think you can call everything that gets better results in search engine's "SEO".
Optimizing your site to get faster page loads is one of them. You can do this by getting faster hardware, but you could also optimize your page.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: kat on November 23, 2012, 12:32:53 PM
/me refuses to pander to the evil that is Google, anyway. ;)
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: ahrasis on November 23, 2012, 03:19:29 PM
I believe SEO do exist. It means optimization. Every little bit that can help though is not the major one, can be utilized to optimize search engine tracking on a particular forum. While it is denied by some, it is pertinent to note that it has been a major request from many for it.

Even SMF provide in its Core Feature: Search Engine Tracking - Enabling this feature will allow administrators to track search engines as they index your forum. There must be a reason for this as well.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: 青山 素子 on November 23, 2012, 03:47:09 PM
BFriendly, you can talk about A/B testing all you want. The problem is that it's near impossible to actually do such testing as there are too many factors outside the user's control. With traditional A/B testing, you control the whole chain from source to output. In search-engine land you have factors such as outside linking, domain name and path name choices, traffic, the actual user-contributed content and such. Even if you can control most of those factors, you then run into stuff like duplicate content penalties, trust factors, and other things that are fully outside your control. It is impossible to control all the inputs to the search engine, so it's next to impossible to conduct controlled A/B testing.

Now, keep in mind that the topic title is a bit of hype. Of course it is recognized that there are things that can be done to affect how well search engines can gather information and how easy it can be made to parse it.

The problem is that most of the traditional "SEO" voodoo techniques are useless in the domain of a community forum because of one key thing: the forum owner does not control 100% of the content posted. Keep that in mind as it's very important.

So, let's go through the points in the original post and see why they are there:

Quote
1. You're Trying To Game The System

This doesn't cover any specific technique, so it's not really a point. However, a lot of the "voodoo" techniques are aimed at less "honest" methods and are trying to game the system. It's usually best to not even consider anything that doesn't seem above-board.

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2. SEO works on carefully crafted content.

Remember what I said above? In a forum, the content is generated by users. It cannot be carefully crafted. Posters won't give a flying **** about things like keyword density, writing style and format, or anything else that is the mark of excellent (and valued!) content. Well, some posters might, but the majority of posts will not be written with this in mind. Users provide the content, not owners. If the forum owner is going to post 100% of the content, it might as well be a blog in that case, instead of a forum. In that case, things can certainly be crafted.

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3. Sitemaps are next to useless on a forum.

Agreed with the reasoning. Forums aren't really ideal for sitemaps because they are designed to be clean trees. Plus, the big SEO feature of sitemaps, marking the importance and freshness of a URL, are difficult to implement on a forum where any single post/topic/whatever can get a response and be important and fresh even with an old URL. Why? Because the forum owner doesn't control the content.

Not that you shouldn't make a sitemap if you want to get better deep crawling quicker, but it isn't useful for rankings.

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4. Pretty URLs doesn't help.

Aside from their dubious utility with modern search engines and their even more dubious relation to result rankings, they make less sense on a forum because of things like duplicate topic titles (how do you make a unique URL then? Stick a numeric ID in the URL!) and the fact that posters won't be thinking of SEO when making up their topic titles. Remember, users, not forum owners, are providing the content.



So, yeah. Things like good page markup and easy-to-crawl page structure are great and SMF has been focusing on that. Grooming content and making features that rely on groomed content for search engine rankings? Not so beneficial when the content is contributed by those that don't care about SEO.


Even SMF provide in its Core Feature: Search Engine Tracking - Enabling this feature will allow administrators to track search engines as they index your forum. There must be a reason for this as well.

It exists to distinguish between human "guests" and search engine crawlers.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: busterone on November 23, 2012, 10:21:19 PM
Precisely.
Quote
Maybe that is why people don't agree in this topic. If you are talking about keywords and optimizing content for getting better search results, then SEO for a forum is pretty useless. However,  I think you can call everything that gets better results in search engine's "SEO".
Optimizing your site to get faster page loads is one of them. You can do this by getting faster hardware, but you could also optimize your page.
I think that is where a lot of the confusion and disagreement comes from. The bolded part of your quoted post is exactly the point I have been making, and of course, one of the original points made by Arantor in the first post.
Naturally, optimizing your php/html/css for faster load time definitely helps, so in essence, it can be called SEO.   

It is the voodoo techniques that we all have been negating, specifically carefully crafted topic titles and keyword laden posts. As 青山 素子 said, if the forum owner is going to post all the content to suit the SEO voodo, or go behind his members and edit them to achieve this, then it shouldn't be a forum, but a blog.
After all is said, the key element is that in a forum, the owner does not have 100 percent control over the content being posted. Unless your members are posting stuff against your forum rules that you have to delete, you actually have very little control whatsoever. A rough estimate is maybe 5% at best.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: ahrasis on November 24, 2012, 02:52:59 AM
Funny. I think if that is so and truly a myth SMF also shouldnt be supporting SEF.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: live627 on November 24, 2012, 02:55:13 AM
Funny. I think if that so a myth SMF also shouldnt be supporting SEF.
it is there because people want it.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: ahrasis on November 24, 2012, 07:49:14 AM
So, people want a myth and SMF is giving it to them?
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: 青山 素子 on November 24, 2012, 11:42:47 AM
Way back when, static looking URLs were a bit important as some search engines could not understand dynamic ones. This is why SMF offers the option.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: ahrasis on November 24, 2012, 07:43:22 PM
So? Because people wants it, it is in SMF though it is a myth? Funny.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: 青山 素子 on November 24, 2012, 09:27:04 PM
So? Because people wants it, it is in SMF though it is a myth? Funny.

The built-in "SEF" URLs were created for older search engines that, back until a few years ago, didn't crawl dynamic-looking URLs all that well. Google has always done well, but the old Yahoo! bot among others didn't like query strings all that much. For those users that wanted to get better crawling with those search engines, they could use this option. It isn't so much about optimization as about being friendly, hence it being called "SEF".
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: ahrasis on November 25, 2012, 09:13:19 PM
SEF - Search Engine Friendly is meant to optimize search engine. What you just said, supports that fact. SEF is part of SEO.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on November 25, 2012, 10:19:20 PM
Ahmed, you have missed the point.
SEF urls are useless for search engines, these days.

The fact that they are still in SMF is a historical left over from when it did make a difference, not and endorsement.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: 青山 素子 on November 25, 2012, 10:21:20 PM
SEF - Search Engine Friendly is meant to optimize search engine. What you just said, supports that fact. SEF is part of SEO.

As I've tried to explain: there is a difference between doing something to make it easier to be indexed and doing stuff to try and influence your ranking in the SERPs. The SEF URLs are the first, most SEO tactics are the second.

As Kindred noted, that's mostly a historical setting that isn't needed anymore.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: ahrasis on November 25, 2012, 10:35:21 PM
Hah ha... I personally don't use any SEO or even SMF basic SEF. But to say SEO is a myth is against majority opinion and that needs more prove than just opinion(s). If SMF thinks it is that way, than SMF should start removing that in order not to make people confuse about SMF stands on it. Otherwise, I will think SMF in a way too believe and support this myth.

My understanding of SEO is very clear. It is an optimization no matter how small its impact will be. When site owner has finish with major things, this is small small things or very very small things that they will into in order to fully optimize. Contents as majority admitted, is the major things to be looked into first by the site owner. No doubt about that.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on November 25, 2012, 11:56:13 PM
Well, Ahmad, Like many things you seem to post, you have a little bit of information but have made assumptions from that little bit which are mistaken
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: ahrasis on November 26, 2012, 01:38:14 AM
Well, Ahmad, Like many things you seem to post, you have a little bit of information but have made assumptions from that little bit which are mistaken

There should be nothing personal here. You may be right but you clearly cannot prove that and can only state just another opinion. Whether or not it is myth, is not for only certain people to decide but the voice of majority.

What I have said in the above, is already in the OP, where Arantor himself, while saying contents are the king, indirectly admitted that SEO do make the difference (however small that may be).

Quote from: Arantor
Sure, you can modify the layout, the code, whatever, but the most important thing for search engines is the one thing you have little real control over: content. And content is utterly king for search engines.

You can adjust your page to have header tags (H1 through H6), you can adjust the link follow elements, you can do all the so-called tricks, but since you're only affecting a tiny percentage of your content, it actually makes very little difference.

If you are gonna say none of that is true, don't admit it at all. Don't even let the old code haunted anyone who thinks SEO is just a myth. I have simply highlighted few of them and what I think of them (though I may be wrong but hey, I can opine here can't I? ;) ).

We will all see how it will be in the future version of SMF, removed or otherwise.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Gerald2000 on November 27, 2012, 07:50:48 AM
Content is not king in SEO, sure you need some content in order to receive any value from Google but if you dont build links and your competitor does guess who's going down.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Theatre Publicity on November 27, 2012, 11:50:01 AM
fwiw I am much more likely to click on a pretty url than a typical forum url. That's my 2 cents.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on November 27, 2012, 12:07:16 PM
that is silly... why?
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: ahrasis on November 27, 2012, 10:54:34 PM
Of course link is one of the consideration by the search engines other than contents. But simply a link won't do you any good. The best is the content that link to your site.

Just to note that currently at Wedge, this pretty url thing is already been taken into consideration and implemented. This url is one of its sample: http://wedge.org/profile/ahrasis/

"A value is there when people values it as valuable no matter how tiny it is and no matter how others may want to deny it." That is my quote of the day, for today. Lol.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: busterone on November 28, 2012, 10:10:51 PM
Content is not king in SEO, sure you need some content in order to receive any value from Google but if you dont build links and your competitor does guess who's going down.
Links to rubbish content is nothing but rubbish spam. My 2 cents worth.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: ahrasis on November 28, 2012, 11:30:02 PM
Links to rubbish content is nothing but rubbish spam. My 2 cents worth.
+1
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: busterone on November 29, 2012, 01:31:25 AM
Good quality links from well ranked sites to quality content will help tremendously of course. No one argues that point whatsoever.   :)
I know that backlinks are considered to be a part of SEO, but lets look at the reality of what that really is, or more importantly, what they are not.
Backlinks on other sites really have absolutely nothing to do with the real subject of this topic. The subject is dealing with "optimizing" the content within
a forum.  Topic titles, post body content, keywords in posts, and other stuff that people seem to think will help their rankings. At the risk of repeating myself and half of everyone else in this topic- you cannot do those things in a forum without killing the forum. If you own a blog, or a merchandise sales site, or practically any other type of site that you have 100 percent control over, then yes, those tactics may boost your rankings, but not in a forum.

I challenge anyone that thinks otherwise to produce some evidence by showing us a forum that the owner/admin controls the topic titles, the posts, and stuffs the posts with keywords, AND the forum has a healthy and active membership.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: ApplianceJunk on January 26, 2013, 06:52:31 PM
My life is a myth.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: marrylessey1694 on February 15, 2013, 02:07:41 AM
So you're telling me that SEO is just a useless thing?


------------------------------
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Colin on February 15, 2013, 02:27:40 AM
For forums, in a sense yes.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on February 15, 2013, 06:30:09 AM
Especially for spamming.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Itch™ on February 15, 2013, 09:19:40 AM
So you're telling me that SEO is just a useless thing?
SEO works for websites as a whole, however if you only have a forum...it's simply no use.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on February 15, 2013, 09:48:12 AM
that is not quite true.

There are some measures that you can take to improve your search engine "profile"....  but tha fact is that most "classic" seo measures on a forum are rather pointless....   actually, most of what people insist that they "know" about SEo is outdated and incorrect for general websites as well.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: joeyjojoshabadoo on February 15, 2013, 10:28:33 PM
guys i think there are merits to both sides of the argument and i agree with different parts.

I have a problem with my sitemap on an active forum where the sitemap links all point to the index page. Now my question, do you think this is bad for SEO?

Someone said to me before that it was due to pretty url's that this is happening, but surely there has to be some way to make the sitemap links go where they are supposed to without deleting Pretty Url's

Sitemap is here - if i click any of the links they all return to the index page

http://www.dropkickrugby.com/forum/sitemap.xml
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: mashby on February 15, 2013, 10:35:24 PM
Of course they all point back to the index page, but that parameters (the stuff after the ?) make each one different. But because you have prettyURLs installed, those URLs aren't being rendered properly and are taking us all to your index page. All prettyURLs does is make those look pretty, but the end page is still the same in theory. If the content at the end of either is great and people will link to it/find it useful, you'll be fine in SEO land. If you are submitted that URL of your sitemap to Google, I have to assume it's being rejected. We spend so much time on these trivial matters when content is king. I imagine there will be a point in time where something else is king, but I hope to not be alive. Long live the content.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: joeyjojoshabadoo on February 16, 2013, 10:01:33 AM
Hi Mashby, thanks for your thoughts.

our content is the best around in it's area, so is google still finding it despite the faulty sitemap do you think? I like pretty URL's because i think it makes the links and threads more attractive, but is it hurting us in an SEo sense do you think?

I've been contemplating buying that smf packs seo mod but they've been a bit unhelpful to be honest, and i really don't know if we need it, or whether disengaging pretty url's will make the forum a mess.

Really appreciate your thoughts Mashby,
thanks again.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on February 16, 2013, 11:25:21 AM
this one is better than prettyurls --
http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2288
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: joeyjojoshabadoo on February 16, 2013, 01:07:25 PM
will that work with 2. 04 kindred?
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Liam. on February 16, 2013, 01:25:34 PM
It does work with 2.0.4, yes. You may need to use the package manager's emulate feature, however.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: joeyjojoshabadoo on February 19, 2013, 11:42:46 AM
Hi Liam, is that emulate thingy complicated?

Also guys, can I ask, what happens to all of our current URL's if I remove Pretty URLs - will they all just turn to ****** until i implement that one above?

And do you think this will solve the issue with my sitemap links all going to the index page?

Many Thanks guys
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on February 19, 2013, 11:45:15 AM
Quote
Hi Liam, is that emulate thingy complicated?

How can I install a mod that doesn't work in my SMF version? (http://wiki.simplemachines.org/smf/How_can_install_a_mod_that_doesn%27t_work_in_my_SMF_version)

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Also guys, can I ask, what happens to all of our current URL's if I remove Pretty URLs - will they all just turn to ****** until i implement that one above?

They will revert back to index.php?topic=1234.0 or whatever. You will take a hit in the search engines. And you'll take a hit when you add the other mod, too, though if it's close enough together Google should only see one change but you'll still have to wait for everything to get reindexed.

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And do you think this will solve the issue with my sitemap links all going to the index page?

I have no idea, but this is the first time I've heard of Pretty URLs breaking a sitemap.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on February 19, 2013, 11:47:08 AM
I have no idea if it will fix your issue with the sitemap.

emulate is a standard feature in smf 2.0.x. Look in the Wiki. (hint: click the advanced button at the bottom of the package manager screen)

depends what you mean by "turn to ******".  The URLs will look just like the ones on this site - in other words, normal forum URL.
I will note that changing the URLs to prettify them has absolutely ZERO benefit with regards to search engines.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: joeyjojoshabadoo on February 19, 2013, 01:22:28 PM
Thanks for all of your help guys;

kindred- looking at that mod you suggested instead of Pretty Url's, there seems to be alot of issues in the support comments so i probably won't use it.

I have decided that a good working sitemap is more valuable than pretty URL's, and i'm going to get rid of it so that I can get a working sitemap working via the built in SMF functionality. Arantor, on the google hit - most of our search traffic is from the wordpress site so i'm not too worried about that, and with the forum only three months old roughly and getting businer all the time, i want to get this sorted out sooner rather than later.

So guys, what i'm going to do is just Uninstall pretty URL's, and then hopefully the sitemap generated by Optimus brave will work properly ( ie all links will not go back to the index page). Does this sound theoretically ok to you?

Also, one other question - i've read the following on that simple SEF Mod comments from Sologhost;

"Also, this is still a problem with board=65.20 urls.  Don't understand what simpleSEF is supposed to do when working correctly for these types of urls.  In any case, the best thing I recommend doing is not using this mod at all and just use Search Engine Friendly URLS in SMF's Features and Options within the SMF Admin."

I'm having trouble finding this option anywhere, can you tell me exactly where i can find it for after I delete Pretty URL's?

Many thanks again everyone
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on February 19, 2013, 01:25:31 PM
Quote
I'm having trouble finding this option anywhere, can you tell me exactly where i can find it for after I delete Pretty URL's?

Seriously, don't bother.

All it does is convert index.php?topic=1.0 into index.php/topic,1.0.html and that has been known to have *other* issues.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: joeyjojoshabadoo on February 19, 2013, 01:27:57 PM
Ok cool. I can't find the option anyway no matter how hard i look :D

Does the rest sound feasible to you?
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on February 19, 2013, 01:30:06 PM
Quote
Ok cool. I can't find the option anyway no matter how hard i look

That's because Pretty URLs removes it. Uninstalling Pretty URLs will reveal the option again.

The rest? Sounds like it might work.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth PRETTY URLS SITEMAP INDEX ERROR
Post by: joeyjojoshabadoo on February 19, 2013, 03:23:40 PM
wow! Ok guys, i actually just fluked onto a solution for this - hopefully it helps someone else;

My original issue was that all of the sitemap links were linking to the home page - using Optimus Brave and Pretty URL's.

i was about to uninstall PRetty Url's which can cause it's own issues when I just tried to click the box in the Pretty UrL Settings entitled;
Use caching instead of database table for PrettyUrls

When you tick that box, then go to Forum admin, maintenence, scheduled tasks, scroll to the bottom and create the forum map.

Everything now works (sitemap links go to boards and not home index page)- hope this helps you lads who were helping me too - thanks again for all your help on this
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on February 19, 2013, 03:52:30 PM
pretty urls is stuill useless and will still cause problems with some mods...
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on February 19, 2013, 04:05:46 PM
You do realise that some people just like the look of it, right? :P

I have been known to use it myself on occasion, however it was with full awareness of issues (and some custom fixes) because it made the URLs look nicer.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Suki on February 19, 2013, 04:32:39 PM
I have never encountered any issue while using simpleSEF.

It doesn't perform any file edit, it does not rewrite admin or other hidden urls that doesn't need to be rewrite, it will automatically pick up new actions made by any installed mods, providing that the installed mod follows SMF convention for adding new actions, it allows me to rename the English hardcoded actions (this is a key point in a Spanish forum I administrate) without fear to mess something else, heck, it even does take care of UTF8 issues. Lastly, urls are far more easy to read and to know what the context of a page would be before going to it, humans most likely will remember an url with some text on it than an url with just numbers on it.

I don't care about any SEO stuff, I use it for all the reasons stated above, all of them are related to actual humans.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on February 19, 2013, 04:34:16 PM
I would note that we had a lot of issues with SimpleSEF when we used to run it on simpledesk.net to the point where in the end we gave up with it since neither SleePy nor I had the time or energy to sit down and debug it, but that was a long while ago.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: joeyjojoshabadoo on February 19, 2013, 11:48:03 PM
the guy from dreamportal on the support thread for simpleSEF seems dead set against it.

Anyway, pretty urls is working for me now. Just to say, the reason i use it is because it looks good, and more importantly, new users are more likely to click on it if they see it contains stuff theyre interested in - in other forums and on google.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Colin on February 20, 2013, 12:15:17 AM
I suppose if you use raw URL links maybe. Good luck with your forum!
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth PRETTY URLS SITEMAP INDEX ERROR
Post by: joeyjojoshabadoo on February 26, 2013, 12:16:49 PM
wow! Ok guys, i actually just fluked onto a solution for this - hopefully it helps someone else;

My original issue was that all of the sitemap links were linking to the home page - using Optimus Brave and Pretty URL's.

i was about to uninstall PRetty Url's which can cause it's own issues when I just tried to click the box in the Pretty UrL Settings entitled;
Use caching instead of database table for PrettyUrls

When you tick that box, then go to Forum admin, maintenence, scheduled tasks, scroll to the bottom and create the forum map.

Everything now works (sitemap links go to boards and not home index page)- hope this helps you lads who were helping me too - thanks again for all your help on this


false dawn gents - it seems to have only worked for a short while ( with the actual thread names coming out in the sitemaps) and now it's just back to the sitemap just leading to the index page for every link.

Does anyone have any ideas on how I can fix this sitemap before I just give up?

Remember i'm using optimus brave, i've toggled the Use caching instead of database table for PrettyUrls and it has caused the sitemap to work on a few occasions, but always it goes back to all the links leading to the index page.

Thanks for any thoughts
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on February 26, 2013, 12:18:36 PM
It would be nice if instead of taking this thread off topic (as it was originally about discussing the issues with forum SEO), that you could put it in the thread of the mod in question...
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: knightofdoom on February 27, 2013, 02:24:06 AM
Forums are not the not favorites for SEO. However if the forum is on niche search engines will consider it a relevant site to their niche keywords.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Colin on February 27, 2013, 02:28:31 AM
Forums are not the not favorites for SEO.

I don't think search engines play favorites in that sense :).
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: tommytoxen on February 27, 2013, 03:41:21 AM
Forum SEO certainly isn't a myth. If SEO didn't exist then Google wouldn't have an SEO Manager, Google webmaster tools wouldn't exist, nor would Bing have one either.

However, there are many myths regarding SEO. That much I agree with.

Meta keywords for example.. useless. Nobody uses them any more, except perhaps a very remote few low-end search engines. Most search engines just ignore them.

The Google SEO Manager has said Google does READ the meta keywords, but your PR or search engine rankings are not influenced by them whatsoever, they use them mostly to categorize your site on their servers database.

They are handy to have though, but you are recommended just to use 3 or 4 of your targetted keywords.

Now for the URLs. Google does take your URL into consideration for search engine rankings. Not only that, the average search engine user does, too.

Say you go to Google, and you want "recipe for mince pies". Do you type in "recipe for mince pies" or do you type "topic,wr,2,421421=21412pro23,fr23im5t2mt32tm23tm32" ? Of course, you type in "recipe for mince pies".

The site "mincepiesrecipes.com/mincepierecipe.html" will rank #1. The URL "genericsite.com/topic32583r23nf3n2f832nf923fn838fn932f9n33982fn3288nf328" will rank.. well it probably wouldn't rank anywhere.

So those bashing SEF URLS are wrong. Even Google's SEO Manager has stated that having URLs & browser page titles relevant to your page's content is taken into high consideration.

The other myth about SEO is..... you shouldn't really do SEO. Or at least don't go over-board or deliberately work too hard on it. The Google SEO Manager has said the main things they look for is

- Unique content
- Frequent updates of your site
- High quality content
- High quality user experience

As long as your site's URL, browser page title and content are all relevant to each other and your 3 or 4 main targetted keywords you'll be fine. Don't obsess over it.

So all in all, no. SEO is not a myth. It exists. But 99.9% of SEO methods are a complete myth when it comes to SEO.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: kat on February 27, 2013, 06:28:03 AM
You obviously misread the title...

"Forum SEO".
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on February 27, 2013, 07:33:18 AM
and you not only misread the title.... you have misread google's seo doc.

URLs ar enoted as possibly having an effect on human's reading but having little effect on the search engines.
Your data on the importance of urls is outdated by at least 5 years.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: kolaylezzet on March 30, 2013, 05:31:49 PM
Could it be possible to be found higher in the search engine results by just a few tricks without providing extra valuable content? Indeed, it is very easy to verify the existence and value of those SEO advices. Having applied suggested SEO rules, see if there is an improvement or not. But since there is so many SEO specialist, SEO websites, it seems large amount of people believe the usefulness SEO. But changing algorithms of search engine can convert useful tricks into garbage. So if there is a "science" of SEO, existence of its rules must be continuously tested.

Best regards.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Chalky on March 30, 2013, 05:45:35 PM
Could it be possible that the title of this thread somehow attracts cold cooked ham and pork mixed into something from a Monty Python sketch?  8)
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on March 30, 2013, 05:49:43 PM
That, and Vikings.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: kat on March 30, 2013, 05:50:29 PM
My thoughts, exactly.

People don't seem to read the title, either. They seem to miss the word "Forum".
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on March 30, 2013, 05:53:12 PM
Even the non spammers do that too. They seem to think that all SEO is equal, when it clearly must relate to the nature of the site in some fashion, especially given that it is not the site owner that creates the primary site content.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: kat on March 30, 2013, 05:57:06 PM
There must be a lot of suckers around, as there seem to be zillions of SEO spamtards around.

Heh... All these people paying good money to get to the top make me giggle.

If they're all using these faultless SEO techniques, they'd all be top of the listings, which is, clearly, impossible.

Doesn't anyone ever stop and think "Hang on a second..."?
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Chalky on March 30, 2013, 06:07:58 PM
Like if every passenger paid Ryanair for priority boarding  (https://www.simplemachines.org/community/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fchalkcat.com%2FSmileys%2Ffantasticsmileys%2Fgiggle.gif&hash=3796a268215ad57f0678476d70affc72)
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: kat on March 30, 2013, 06:12:11 PM
Exactly.

It's a farce and a con, from where I see it all.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: jackregan on April 05, 2013, 09:33:49 AM
Here is my testimony on SEO...

I read 'Search Engine Optimisation for Dummies' which cost me about £10 ($12 USD I guess). I then applied the techniques I learned and my traffic increased significantly.

There is a lot of scam in the SEO world, but there is a lot that actually works too.

I'd recommend this book...
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on April 05, 2013, 09:51:34 AM
rotfl...


there are some good practices for SEO.
However, with the exception of metatag description and title and making sure that images have a proper alt tag, almost NONE of the supposed SEO techniques will work on a forum, because a forum is not planned content.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: busterone on April 05, 2013, 02:51:20 PM
ROFL, it seems we all have to keep repeating the same things every few weeks.  ;D
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on April 05, 2013, 02:52:00 PM
Except me, I just started the whole mess!
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: busterone on April 05, 2013, 02:53:39 PM
Instigator. . .     :P
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on April 05, 2013, 02:55:15 PM
;D Damn straight.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: jackregan on April 07, 2013, 09:18:54 PM
Well, all I can say is it worked for me :)
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on April 07, 2013, 09:23:39 PM
Let me guess, you spent a lot of time doing work on the site, writing new content, engaging people and generally encouraging people to create more content - as well as advertising better?

There's almost nothing in on-page SEO that you can practically do on a forum.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: jackregan on April 08, 2013, 08:25:21 AM
I'm not sure what you mean by on-page, but I've done the following, and it's worked very well...

-Did a proper Keyword analysis and made sure keywords were in board names, board descriptions etc.
-Added the Pretty URL mod
-Added keywords to the <title> tag
-Added <h2> tags all over the place via the php template files (the css means it looks no different!) (H1 doesn't work for SEO these days)
-Made an XML site map and submitted it to google.
-Used the meta tags properly with my keywords.

..and more besides.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on April 08, 2013, 09:05:49 AM
???  So, you stacked your board names and descriptions with keywords?  How useful is that to your USERS?

pretty urls are useless for SEO. It's fine if you want to use them to make your urls pretty for your users... but they have little to no effect on SEO

Keyword to the title tag?  That is even less useful than the keywords tag.   And yet, since people keep thinking it has some benefit, pretty soon, title tags are going to be completely ignored and will basically be useless. Title tags should not be stacked with keywords. They should be clean, short and relevent.

H1 is still useful... but only when used correctly. You should only have one H1 per page.   By Adding h2 tags "all over the place" you are basically doing the same thing to h2 that was done to H1...  overusing them so that the search engines will shortly start ignoring them.

XML sitemap.  AH! This is actually the first thing that you have listed that really might have an effect.

metatag keywords are mostly ignored at this point. Too many people have stacked the deck in the keytwords tag and search engines have started making less use of that tag and giving it less benefit for ranking.
 
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: jackregan on April 08, 2013, 02:04:24 PM
..and yet my traffic has gone up with no other measures being applied.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on April 08, 2013, 02:44:46 PM
Traffic might be up, but has that resulted in more posts or more money from ads?

I still think you spent a lot of time and effort on things like content and are ascribing it to the wrong thing.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on April 08, 2013, 03:03:45 PM
Also, you can not, for sure, point to a 1:1 relationship between your activites and the increase in traffic.

users comment to their friends about a neat new forum.
users link to your site on some other site....
you get more users...
search engines found you and have finally finished cataloguing your site (which was only partially catalogued before...)


See... any of the items I listed above can increase your traffic and your ranking without ANY action on your part at all.   So, you really have no idea if your work had any effect or not.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: medicMe on July 07, 2013, 03:16:06 AM
I'm not sure what you mean by on-page, but I've done the following, and it's worked very well...

-Did a proper Keyword analysis and made sure keywords were in board names, board descriptions etc.
-Added the Pretty URL mod
-Added keywords to the <title> tag
-Added <h2> tags all over the place via the php template files (the css means it looks no different!) (H1 doesn't work for SEO these days)
-Made an XML site map and submitted it to google.
-Used the meta tags properly with my keywords.

..and more besides.


Was your site already indexed before adding the Pretty URL mod?

How did that initially change your organic search traffic? Did google take you down a notch first then re-index you?

Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on October 16, 2013, 10:41:07 PM
I'd love to know how you would perform SEO on content you don't control.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: busterone on October 16, 2013, 11:45:32 PM
LOL, that is probably the same spammer that has tried to get into my forum at least 3 times. Since I don't see IPs, I am just guessing. The one I have stopped used the same username and was a chinese IP.  SEO spammers have no clue.  :D
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on October 17, 2013, 12:07:55 AM
Definite spammer. Post deleted and spammer post banned
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: socializemetoday on November 28, 2013, 12:12:52 AM
Most interesting.
This  post was made in 2011---when content was not as important SEO-wise as it is today.
Wonder what this article would be like today.
It's probably still very valid. I am not a forum expert---my two attempts were fail efforts as I got spammed silly and had to disable the forums---but I do have a view on pretty links.
In my opinion, they need not always be for SEO purposes.

At the end of the day, what you put online is for readers. And from that perspective, a pretty link (eg forum.yourdomain.com/I_like_chocolates) sounds much better and is much more informative than (eg forum.yourdomain.com/page_34321).

If I were a reader, I would tend to click link 1 rather than link 2.

Personally, I would say that when you think SEO, you think reader/surfer, search engine in that order. SEO is about techniques to attract the search engines and rank higher. However, it is also about making content attractive and accessible to readers.

Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on November 28, 2013, 12:14:20 AM
It's funny, I believe I was making those points when I originally wrote this in 2010 and reposted it here in 2011.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: rumblecloud on December 10, 2013, 04:53:37 PM
To: Arantor Beeblebrox the First

I just want to say thanks for the entire enlightening discussion.

I think I will just enjoy my forum and it's members instead of trying to attract the attention of the roving bands of bots.
They'll find me soon enough.

Have a wonderful day.

r
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: xstock on March 16, 2014, 12:48:09 PM
techniques that worked a few years ago only a few of them work anymore
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: kat on March 16, 2014, 03:38:24 PM
Gee...
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: nishantraj on April 23, 2014, 03:16:32 AM
The logic which has been given here in support of the statement is really impressive. But still its a truth that SEO is now one of the important way of promotion and doing well for the advertisers and firms.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: kat on April 23, 2014, 05:01:44 AM
...and Spamtards. ;)
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: live627 on April 26, 2014, 08:23:26 PM
How many spammers will actually spell out SEO, as in, will they type out the full words, and not the abbreviation?
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on May 09, 2014, 04:06:44 PM
Catching up on reading Coding Confessional this week (and giving out absolution where necessary, for some of these poor benighted people deserve redemption for their transgressions), I came across http://www.codingconfessional.com/comments/Gavk50DwSH13_chPYOGFQQ

Notice the ratio of people absolving (accepting) to condemning (disagreeing) :P
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: kat on May 10, 2014, 05:47:31 AM
I'd add my vote, to that.

SEO=Sucker Every One.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: busterone on May 11, 2014, 08:52:02 PM
We need a FB like button for that one K@    :D

My old one is SEO= Spam Everyone Online
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: kat on May 12, 2014, 04:57:26 AM
Ha!
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: miffynt on June 01, 2014, 10:36:42 AM
Quote
but a good way to get easy money by people who "believes" in SEO magicians...

I agree with you, especially because I good forum do not need SEO. Their own member will be their natural sponsor.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on June 02, 2014, 01:47:03 PM
*chortle* http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/06/02/flaws_open_gates_to_wordpress_enmasse_seo_beatdown/
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: margarett on June 02, 2014, 02:35:53 PM
19 million downloads... That's a LOT of people :o
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: 青山 素子 on June 02, 2014, 06:28:09 PM
That's in total, not currently installed. I expect the actual number of people who currently have that installed is about 50%. I figure you have to account for people who no longer use it and also multiple installs from a single download, and even then 50% is probably a bit high. Still, even 8 million is a huge number of people sipping the snake oil.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Stephanie Huang on June 10, 2014, 04:48:17 AM
With the truth being told, I'm feeling a little bit hopeless. But still, you rock! I would SUPER appreciate it if you could give me any guidance!
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on June 10, 2014, 05:43:12 PM
guidance in regards to what?
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on June 10, 2014, 05:43:35 PM
How not to spam?
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: kat on August 30, 2014, 05:52:02 AM
Companies That Believe SEO Crap (http://www.lyntonweb.com/inbound-marketing-blog/friday-fails-companies-that-believe-seo-crap)

(https://www.simplemachines.org/community/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lyntonweb.com%2Fhs-fs%2Fhub%2F74005%2Ffile-960129279-gif%2FFunny_Example_1.gif&hash=4c77a65c6921966e751392d8a57d02e4)
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Gwenwyfar on October 23, 2014, 07:50:59 PM
Great post :)

I started researching more about SEO the last months and its amazing how people say all sorts of things (that are often just guesses, as you said on another topic) about it as if it was completely accurate. Good to see a good post about that for a change. Hard to find someone to trust in this whole mess.

I made some simple keywords list for my forum and that's pretty much all I've done.

My opinion on this so far is that if other things like presentation/good html/organization matter (the same is valid for non-forum sites) then its again back to: SEO on that doesn't matter all that much. If you're making a good site you'll make good code and organize it well. And you'll make good content for it. You'll try to make your forum be a good place to post in. Same thing for blog posts etc, you're writing ultimately for users to read your content, not machines. If you're trying to write for machines you're missing the point of writing content for your site. You don't need to do these things just because of SEO, that's just a bonus that comes from making a good site.

There's a lot that I don't know on how google uses or gather data, but if they're constantly avoiding "SEO measures" and are trying to detect good content/sites, then isn't focusing on that the best thing to focus on for both users and machines?

Like someone else said on the topic: All the time you're wasting with SEO you could spend making more content or improving your site for your users.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on October 28, 2014, 09:07:14 AM
^^ someone who understands what I was getting at and have been getting at for years with this stuff.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: platinummack on November 22, 2014, 12:42:58 PM
So what is the best way to attract people to you forum? I got the SEO thing. I use social media with massive success and am getting a lot of traffic. I do write incredibly unique and engaging content.

So what about SEO? Does  it have any place in publicizing your forum or no?
If so, what is the best way to go about it?
I understand the titles of the posts will not be SE friendly, but what about using Headlines in the forum's title, or in the Title of the page/home page?

Thanks

Omar
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: busterone on November 22, 2014, 03:18:36 PM
You can use your social media accounts and articles to direct people and search engines to your forum.  That will do a lot more than headlines, keywords, etc. Search bots will find your forum regardless, but if you have good content on your social media pages and link back to your forum, that will help tremendously.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: seosingapore on November 23, 2014, 06:11:00 AM
forum seo cannot get any ranking results unless the website brand is strong.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on November 23, 2014, 06:14:00 AM
forum seo cannot get any ranking results unless the website brand is strong.

Pretty much, yes. Thanks for playing.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: BelMorton on May 04, 2015, 12:42:34 PM
All i know that SEO helped my business website to rank high in google. I asked an SEO consultant last year to help me with my website. Allowing my company to become a top of mind choice for local consumers.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: margarett on May 04, 2015, 12:48:07 PM
That's the whole purpose of this topic: site != forum
In your site, you control the content. In your forum, you don't.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: paulosebin on September 03, 2015, 09:41:14 AM
Very interesting this discussion. It's the first time I contribute here.

Friendly URLs are important, but there are other more important aspects. The URLs need to be friendly, for I discovered that many boards systems, the position of the parameters, open duplicate pages for indexing, the system working the way. Of course organize links with unfriendly URLs is very bad.

But by no means the forum that uses this URL scheme will not achieve good positions. Important to have unique content and that people who post questions in the forum and create unprecedented responses and for this to happen the subject should be as targeted as possible.

It is also important that the forum discussions are cited on the web, generating links. No use having content and legal issue if people do not citram the fórumem other forums, discussions on other blogs, for example.

My name is Paulo Sebin, I live in Brazil. If my English is not good, sorry.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: paulosebin on September 03, 2015, 09:52:16 AM
I would like to supplement with something else.

I said that the friendly URL`s are important, but there are other more serious aspects. But to succeed in optimizing you must have good content is unique system with clean code, quality links on the web, among others.

But to get an idea, on a project in Brazil, the official blog of site, made with Wordpress, I had unfriendly URL, like /?p=12. But after we changed to edit URL manually, the positive result came a few weeks later.

I still think forums should use friendly URLs.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on September 03, 2015, 10:01:35 AM
you are incorrect in your primary assertion so-called "friendly" URLs are close to worthless, as far as "SEO" is concerned...
... and, while backlinks definitely help, having the content that matches the search term in the search engine is really the only part that matters.


And issues with WordPress and SEO are completely and utterly different beasts from Forums.

If you want to use "friendly" urls because you think they make it easier for your users... then go ahead, but don't make any mistake in thinking that those urls have any effect on Search Engines.
Additionally, as has alreayd been pointed out --  if you use the post title as the "friendly" url -- how many posts do you think we would have here that were simplemachines.org/community/help-me
in a forum environment, with USER generated content, it is useless (actually, I would hazard an opinion that it is actually WORSE THAN useless, since you have far too many duplicated or similar post titles.

In a blog, the primary author controls the post-title and can optimize it for simplicity and keywords that people will recognize (still makes no difference to search engines, though)



BTW: Removed the link since it's not actually relevant to the discussion.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: stefan357965 on September 14, 2015, 11:57:02 AM
you are incorrect in your primary assertion so-called "friendly" URLs are close to worthless, as far as "SEO" is concerned...
... and, while backlinks definitely help, having the content that matches the search term in the search engine is really the only part that matters.


And issues with WordPress and SEO are completely and utterly different beasts from Forums.

If you want to use "friendly" urls because you think they make it easier for your users... then go ahead, but don't make any mistake in thinking that those urls have any effect on Search Engines.
Additionally, as has alreayd been pointed out --  if you use the post title as the "friendly" url -- how many posts do you think we would have here that were simplemachines.org/community/help-me
in a forum environment, with USER generated content, it is useless (actually, I would hazard an opinion that it is actually WORSE THAN useless, since you have far too many duplicated or similar post titles.

In a blog, the primary author controls the post-title and can optimize it for simplicity and keywords that people will recognize (still makes no difference to search engines, though)



BTW: Removed the link since it's not actually relevant to the discussion.

But I found on so many places that the backlinks are more important than content, but on my site I wrote good content and made better links than my competitors, but I cant beat them.

Some advices? Thank you!
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Eurekaman on January 06, 2016, 12:03:37 AM
Hi All
Just spent 5 months fine tuning, building my hobby forum...
Ive learned quite a bit about simple machines but I have no idea how to make the forum seen by search engines and the community...
I type my address in google and nothing, freakin sweet bugger all...
I don't want to spend countless amounts of money using a CEO just for a hobby forum and don't want to abandon all the work ive put in over the 5 months.
Can anyone please......help me in a free or low cost option/procedure to get this off the ground?
Cheers
Craig
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Colin on January 06, 2016, 12:12:50 AM
Did you submit your link to google? If there aren't any existing links to your forum and you haven't submitted your site to google then the crawler won't be able to find it too easily.

What is your forum URL?
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: MESWEB on January 09, 2016, 08:13:32 PM
If SEO is myth then Can somebody explain this:
Google not interesting about my site. So I make some changes and Voila
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on January 09, 2016, 08:22:20 PM
I think you read the title, but never bothered to read the post or the conversation.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: MESWEB on January 10, 2016, 03:06:06 AM
So You gonna tell me - Title and description are two different things? This is look like talking about programming HTML inside of topic PHP title.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on January 10, 2016, 07:59:44 AM
no - I am going to tell you that the contents and discussion of the thread explain what is actually meant by the title - the same as any newspaper article.

You appear to have made some assumptions based solely on MISreading the title of the thread...
(and I believe you have just proven my point)

(oh, and yes... as far as "SEO" is concerned, title and description as different things) :P
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: MESWEB on January 10, 2016, 08:37:40 AM
MISreading the title of the thread?? Are you serious? So what means "Forum SEO is a myth" for You?
Answer is simple - somebody wants prove the SEO forum is a bull....t. That's strange for me like Pretty Url does not  help. Lol. So if Pretty url don't helping so how You can explain this:
Look to attachment and You will see keyword in url "forum" and google found this keyword in url. So if someone think urls don't matters then he should hit own head to the wall hard as he can.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Kindred on January 10, 2016, 11:35:55 AM
Once again... You seem to have no idea what was actually said in the thread and are basing your statements off of only the title.

And the title is completely correct.

FORUM seo is a myth. Which is not to say that you can't make some enhancements to improve the way search engines rank your site...   But the concept of optimizing your DYNAMIC forum is basically, silly...

And regardless of what you want to claim, Prettyurls have little, if any, benefit to forums -- or to any site, for that matter. Google does not base rank on the URL structure any more... That comment is about a decade out of date... Just like the use of the "keywords" metatag
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Phphelp on June 28, 2016, 12:19:23 PM
The Keyword thing is really based on search engine.

Google has been giving less and less emphasis on keywords in the URL..

If you watch the video in this link by "Matt Cutts" (Head of google webspam team) and read the information on tests done at the bottom, you will see it does play a role..

http://www.hobo-web.co.uk/search-engine-friendly-urls/

With that being said, (Bing/Yahoo) gives a much stronger ranking to keywords in the URL. I have done tests myself, just by renaming a page from <domain>/<not searched for keyword> to <domain>/<new keyword> and doing a 301 redirect and then that page finally ranks for that keyword.

Bing/yahoo also places a much stronger weight on EMD (Exact match domain) - A few months ago, bought a EMD fresh - just a single page site and wham it's in the top 5 for the match. But can't even be found on google.

Another thing I recently learned, in Google, if you have "nofollow" links on your site, you're just leaking page rank.  The other links don't get more juice, google takes the total number of links say 10 then gives each one 1 point of juice.  if 5 of those 10 are nofollow, then the remaining 5 still just get 1 point of juice. But if you remove the 5 nofollow links then the remaining 5 links get 2 pts of juice each. I'm a little old school and didn't realize google made a change to how nofollow works.

So having nofollow/dofollow links on your forum doesn't help your SEO ranking, just cripples the passing of page rank to the nofollow links. Nofollow to google means (you don't trust the source of the link). But it also reduces the amount people will spam links, since they receive no benefit. Internal no follow links (just hurt you) - Matt Cutts says you shouldn't do that.

Not allowing links - that will help SEO - since all the juice will be passed solely to your internal links.
 
Everyone has their own opinions on what matters and don't matter - But for me I think pretty URLs play a role (bing/yahoo) and to a lesser extent in (google). They key take away, is that it's not a negative.
 
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: bendigital on December 22, 2016, 05:53:09 PM
To say that pretty URLs (or SEF URLs) don't help SEO at all is an extreme.

I believe pretty URLs do help SEO, though not significantly. My source is from the Google itself: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/76329?hl=en

But to have keywords inside URLs is no use. Make your URLs as neat as possible (it's still okay if you can't since it's not significant), but to put keywords inside the URLs for the sake of SEO is not necessary. Google is smart, it knows what your page is about though you don't put keywords in URLs.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Gwenwyfar on December 22, 2016, 05:57:20 PM
Yeah, google is very smart. It seems to think the majority of keywords on my forum are "messages", "message", "topic", "date" and other irrelevant crap, and what's actually on the post content and keywords meta doesn't even come around  :laugh:

Well... at least it ignores the footer and menus!
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: landyvlad on February 03, 2017, 01:11:23 AM
A very interesting article thank you.
How often would spiders generally be crawling any given forum?
If a site goes offline for a few days is that going to crash it down the search page rankings?

Just wondering because I have a forum with a similar name (and same subject matter) as another forum.  We'll call the latter the "old" forum.

The 'old' forum was ranked higher than mine - and fair enough - it is /was much larger, has been going for many years and had a lot of content. I use the past tense because that 'old' forum has been offline for a couple of days now and frankly it's not clear whether it will ever be back.  But it's down for now at least.

So will this result in a rapid demotion of the links to that 'old' forum, or just a slow decline over time?

Thanks
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: 青山 素子 on February 03, 2017, 01:02:10 PM
How often would spiders generally be crawling any given forum?

At least traditionally, it depended on both the internal ranking of the site and how often there is fresh content. Those two factors have had the most effect on how often a site is crawled.


If a site goes offline for a few days is that going to crash it down the search page rankings?

Probably not, unless it was particularly high volume and had a lot of churn on content.


So will this result in a rapid demotion of the links to that 'old' forum, or just a slow decline over time?

Most likely a slow decline at first but speeding up over time as it continues to remain offline.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: landyvlad on February 06, 2017, 02:24:51 AM
Thank you. :)
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: rajanmahajan on March 29, 2017, 03:08:51 AM
Hi.... Arantor.....Your ideas are very interesting and Captivating. You have given some very solid points about the mythology of trying to search engine optimize forum. Can you please tell me that why a new website with low PA DA can rank high against a website that is much older having high PA DA?
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on March 29, 2017, 03:29:58 AM
The algorithm is skewing away from established and towards new things in the ever-growing quest for new. Even though in the case of Domain Authority it should be completely the opposite.

Further proof that Google et al's logic is broken when it comes down to UGC.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Gwenwyfar on May 27, 2017, 08:05:47 AM
This explains all the blog and news-like crap that has been dominating many google searches. I've started jumping on to page 5~10 on more scientific searches and the results have been much better, usually loads of old sites with a lot of info.

And then there's the region blocks for results that apparently never show up in any page...
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Vanilla Lumina on June 03, 2017, 02:53:23 PM
I have to agree, forum SEO is a myth since you cannot control the content solely and it is mostly focused on discussion rather than just content.

Plus, Google personalises search results tailored to match a person's need, so in general SEO is a myth!
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: salenaadam on December 21, 2017, 05:15:52 AM
These are the most common SEO myths :-

1. Meta titles and description
2. Quality Content
3. Link building is dead
4. On-page SEO
5. Keyword density
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: Arantor on December 21, 2017, 05:37:46 AM
I love how this topic keeps drawing spammers.
Title: Re: Forum SEO is a myth
Post by: drewactual on August 20, 2019, 02:48:11 AM
so instead of starting a new thread....

curious thing:  One of the most active boards on my flagship site's is listed on Googles first page, usually a few spots down the list, but not even half way... which is good.  the curiosity is the description says something to the affect "No information provided about this page". 

weird... it climbed well, ranking with the heavyweights of the field, but... without a description? 

^that attests to what has been said in this thread and inline with the founding post. 

but......




so at the first of the year i was ranked in the 30's for 12month average... and i reinstalled PrettyURL's.  briefly: i realize PrettyURL's doesn't matter to a computer... but what and where it DOES matter? Human eyes- when someone reads the URL and understands where it's going to take them it establishes trust, however fleeting that is in this interweb thing.. I read that somewhere, and i've come to subscribe to it....  Using social media as a trampoline, i've ran my own little experiments.  two threads, four URL's- i ran one with pic's and descriptions and with PrettyURL's, and the other the same but with dynamic call... then, on the other social site i did the same thing, but using PrettyURL's on the other thread... guess which one's secured more attention?  This was repeated several times and to similar results.  enough about this...

PrettyURL's, didn't kill my rankings, but something did.  I took that opportunity to reintroduce them, and they dipped further.  They were in the mid-fifties in March/April. 

So I went through and tagged... like mad... each thread's title is an h2, and each threads excerpt is an h3 on board index.  On display.php, each thread (page) title is an h1, and each post is an h3.. i left h2's if someone titled their response.

this brought me back into reason ranking-wise ... - the mid thirties overall over last 3 months. (yeah, i collapsed the range to better grasp what was happening)... the tags worked as this is all that changed. 

but back to this issue with the "No information provided about this page" message... the meta's are set right and formed decently.  the tags ought to do something about that, right? 

well.... I plateaued in the low 20's for a spell, and decided it was time to do something else. 

right now I'm at 13 overall... I'm guessing there is a pretty good delta between 13 and 12.9 as everything has improved (other google metrics) except the overall rank... so... I figured why not try something else in addition to the prior efforts. 

I wrote a simple isset php (that i use in various places on the page) and to include a display:hidden block that is basically a paragraph starting with a concise H1, then a descriptive less than 60 word H2, and followed with an H3 going into details... this changes with each board, along with other cosmetic stuff such as header image, sidebar block image, and so on... it's the very first thing after opening the body....

the prior manner was a hard coded block- with overall site H1, H2, and H3... now, it's specific to the board. 

i'm waiting to see if there are any improvements as a result...

by the way, the issue with 'no information provided about this page' was noindex related- and it's been fixed.  so.. if that impacts it will skew whatever results i anticipate with the H1-via-isset thing...

so.. all of that^ to suggest that SEO is perhaps a fools errand as agreed to here, but in my opinion there is not a thing wrong with forming a page to suit what the 'great and powerful google' deems fit.  PrettyURL's isn't about google or SEO, it's about reaching people, which differs greatly in my opinion...  the h tags seem to be google's flavor, currently, along with responsive design (mobile friendly) and canonical URL's.  I'm thinking there is no 'gaming the game', and the most convincing factor that destroys that myth is 'google can change their weights whenever, however, and render someone gaming the game obsolete' in a matter of hours if they choose..... (it's not that they would 'choose' on the premise of 'catching' people gaming the game, it's that they simply found a better way to do what they do which those focused on 'tricks' will be caught flatfooted when the shift happens)...

i'm not sold in sitemaps making a difference- not a huge one- but... the 'publisher' side of my flagship site led the ranks until i asked google nicely, via sitemap, to "take a look over here in the forum?".. then threads started showing up (as tracked by referrals/analytics) in rankings.... the h tags just about 'had' to have assisted greatly there

I'm typing this as i wait for a sitemap to generate... 40k+ pages entered into the sitemap, and broken down into different 'looks'... i don't know that is helps... but it'll be there if it does. 

i just semi-retired late last May... this website campaign will hopefully generate a supplemental income for me adding to my savings.. so... it is important to me to try to generate something folks will enjoy- but they have to find it first.  i've got a good crowd right now, but more is almost always better in this 'game'... all that said, i ain't paying nobody to do something "improve your SEO!!!" when it truly comes down to, in my opinion, is simply being staged and presented correctly for the engines to parse.  THAT is SEO by my reckoning...       

end rant