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Author Topic: Do SMF posts appear in search engines? (Something to be concerned about)  (Read 139777 times)

Offline geezmo

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I've long been concerned about SMF posts not appearing in search engines. My SMF forum has been running for 6 months now and NOT EVEN ONE forum post is in Google. A lot of SMF defenders have, obviously, defended that the problem is not SMF's because SMF URLs are actually search engine-friendly, but the question is, do SMF posts really appear in search engines?

Let's compare posts from an SMF forum and a vBulletin forum:

http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=48256.0
Posted on September 5, 2005

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Migrating Database from PHPBB2 to Simple Machines

Hello!

I *really* like this forums script, and since my World of Warcraft guild has been using PHPBB2 for a pretty long time now, I would really love to switch them to these forums but I don't want to loose all of the posts and member accounts.

Is there a way to migrate the database file from PhPBB to SimpleMachines so that people don't need to create new accounts, etc.? I know the structure is completely different and all, but I would really love to make the switch.

Please advise. Your help is greatly appreciated!

Here's a post on the same date in vBulletin.org, a site that uses vBulletin.

http://www.vbulletin.org/forum/showthread.php?t=95681
Posted on September 5, 2005

Quote
Getting an editor on moderated posts/threads in AdminCP

I asked this on vB.com and have been advised by Jake to ask here...   I have a few forum categories where my team gets to moderate the threads and posts made in them. However, quite often we need to edit these threads not just in terms of content, but in terms of the format of the post, and the fact that we feel they may not be appropriate to validate in the moderated forum but they would be fine in another forum.  It would be nice if there was a way of editing the format of a post/thread whilst within AdminCP Moderation area as well as ammending the forum category to where the post will show - instead of validating it first then editing it straight away.  Is there a way to accomplish this? How difficult would this be folks?  Thanks.

THE TEST: Search whether the threads will appear in Google.

Google Search for an SMF post: "Migrating Database from PHPBB2 to Simple Machines"
Search Results: NONE

Google Search for a vBulletin post:
"Getting an editor on moderated posts/threads in AdminCP"
Search Results: 1

Try the same experiment in other posts and you will see that vBulletin posts appear in search engines but SMF posts sometimes DO NOT.

(SMF posts in 2003 and 2004 appear in Google but some latter posts in 2005 & 2006 do not which means something was changed in SMF that caused search engines not to properly spider SMF.)

I hope I'm wrong in this analysis. I like SMF a lot but if using it would make my site obsolete in the search engines, I'll have no other option but to use another forum software.

I'd like to know what others think.

Offline Dannii

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Re: Do SMF posts appear in search engines? (Something to be concerned about)
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2006, 12:00:06 AM »
I have a tiny site, and have lots of indexed topics: http://www.google.com.au/search?q=site:ftgforums.com&hl=en&lr=&start=0&sa=N

Have you tried the SMFSEO mod?
"Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise."

Offline geezmo

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Re: Do SMF posts appear in search engines? (Something to be concerned about)
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2006, 01:48:45 AM »
Being indexed as a site and having specific threads appear as SERP are two different things.

Let's take the example of your site. In your forum, you have this thread about the "Mind Static Device" posted on January 25, 2006: http://ftgforums.com/index.php?topic=1490.0

As a forum owner, you expect that whenever somebody searches for "Mind Static Device" in Google, that thread in your forum would come up as a search result right?

Now, let's try it in Google: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=%22mind+static+device%22&btnG=Search

The "Mind Static Device" thread in your forum does not appear as a search result, and yet it was posted for more than 9 months already. (Your forum had a SERP for the Mind Static Device wiki page but we're talking about the thread itself that I pointed out above.)

That's my concern. When people make a search in Google, SMF posts don't usually come up as a result, as seen in the "Mind Static Device" thread example.

Isn't that something that us forum owners should be concerned about?

Offline razeor

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Re: Do SMF posts appear in search engines? (Something to be concerned about)
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2006, 02:27:31 AM »
Yeah I have to say I've noticed this too.

On my site there are certain keywords that have been posted about that are fairly rare words and have been there for months. But they dont get picked up in a google search even if using the "site:" command.

As geezmo says it only seems to be SOME posts that don't get picked up.

Does someone know if this is a fixable problem?
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Offline Harzem

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Re: Do SMF posts appear in search engines? (Something to be concerned about)
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2006, 03:00:09 AM »
I'm getting many support questions about how to make google index SMF files. A vBulletin website on the same server that has opened in the same time with same backlinks etc with a SMF forum, gets indexed very quickly on google. But the SMF doesn't get indexed.

www.turkvisit.com was the largest SMF forum of my country, (about 60k members and 500k posts) recently migrated to vBulletin, only due to not being indexed by google. He says he still wants to switch to SMF when the SEO mod is available for 1.1 line, or SMF itself finds a solution.

Offline geezmo

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Re: Do SMF posts appear in search engines? (Something to be concerned about)
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2006, 03:57:14 AM »
Good to know people are noticing this too. This is a serious issue for serious webmasters. You simply cannot afford to have a site that does not appear as a search result in Google.

Harzem, I'm thinking the same thing for my forum. If SMF really cannot solve this problem, I'd no doubt move to vBulletin. I'd rather pay a hefty price just to get more members and activity in my forum then just have earnings from ads to compensate for the cost rather than stick to a free forum which won't get me ad earnings because people searching for my site cannot find it in Google.

I still like SMF but as I said, this is a serious issue that should be addressed asap.

Offline Dannii

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Re: Do SMF posts appear in search engines? (Something to be concerned about)
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2006, 04:02:54 AM »
I can afford to not have a site that appears well in Google.
"Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise."

Offline Harzem

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Re: Do SMF posts appear in search engines? (Something to be concerned about)
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2006, 04:18:10 AM »
I can afford to not have a site that appears well in Google.

I'm also personally never concerned about google, but there are webmasters that really concern. Also many forums are to give information about some issues and they want to be the solution when the issue is searched in google.


Offline geezmo

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Re: Do SMF posts appear in search engines? (Something to be concerned about)
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2006, 01:40:11 PM »
All I can say is that if you're not concerned with your site not ranking high in the search engines, it means you're merely a newbie webmaster or your site caters to only a few people. Ranking in search engines is a must if you want more traffic and more earnings.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2006, 12:08:59 AM by geezmo »

Offline keith021773

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Re: Do SMF posts appear in search engines? (Something to be concerned about)
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2006, 09:44:31 PM »
I have noticed this for a long time.    I put my site up last January and have right at 10,000 posts.  I did a site search for my SMF forum and got 4, that's right, only 4 links to my forums.   And those weren't even posts, there were links to theme stuff.  (It's a site for dads, so it is important to get indexed by google and other search engines to help dads).   

I do want to say that I LOVE SMF.   I think it is a great piece of software, but this one bug/problem really has me thinking.   I want to continue using SMF because I love it that much.   Please help fix this problem..      Thanks for listening to me.

Offline Polymath

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Re: Do SMF posts appear in search engines? (Something to be concerned about)
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2006, 06:13:19 AM »
Soo. Instead of blaming SMF why don't you learn to be a webmaster and go and find what helps your site in Google.
First off make sure google has access to your site, and where it is allowed to crawl. Are you preventing Google from indexing your site?
Do you use a robots.txt file?

Go and checkout Googles webmaster tools and help yourself also.

https://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/docs/en/about.html

I'm not saying I know any better. Or that your not doing it right. I just don't see why its SMF fault. I too would love to be up there but I fully expect I need to  have top content and the hits for it to be valid to be at the top in goggle.

« Last Edit: September 14, 2006, 06:15:53 AM by Polymath »
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Offline keith021773

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Re: Do SMF posts appear in search engines? (Something to be concerned about)
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2006, 11:51:33 AM »
I understand Poly.       My site is very well indexed by using the meta tags..  keywords and description.     I also see that all of the major search engines come to my site everyday, I even see the topics that they are viewing.    But, in the search engines they just aren't there..    I give it plenty of time before I check.   

I am not putting down SMF.  I LOVE SMF forums and I probably won't change software..   I just think that this needs to be addressed..  That's all.     Everything else in SMF is great and I couldn't be more happy.

Offline vbgamer45

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Re: Do SMF posts appear in search engines? (Something to be concerned about)
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2006, 01:32:56 PM »
Now my question is what part of SMF do you think is causing this to happen? How is acting differently than other forum software when it comes to search engines.
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Offline geezmo

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Re: Do SMF posts appear in search engines? (Something to be concerned about)
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2006, 01:36:16 PM »
My site is well-indexed too. Google's spiderbot visits the site everyday, robots.txt file is set up properly, I use sitemaps, I've got decent traffic, my site's up for more than 6 months now, so what else needs to be done? It's not a problem with my site anymore, there's something in SMF that Google just doesn't like, that's why SMF posts normally don't appear as a SERP. Also, if this problem applies to almost everyone using SMF, the problem is not with the webmaster  or site anymore, it's in the forum software.

I too am not putting down SMF, but if it wants to stay on top of the competition, it needs to address this problem. I hate using phpbb but I more hate the fact that phpbb posts appear in Google but SMF posts do not! Aargh!

@vbgamer45, I already sent an email to Google's support. Hopefully, they'd reply and you can use that to tweak SMF's codes.

Offline Harzem

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Re: Do SMF posts appear in search engines? (Something to be concerned about)
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2006, 01:54:37 PM »
@vbgamer45, I already sent an email to Google's support. Hopefully, they'd reply and you can use that to tweak SMF's codes.

Thanks for doing that. Please inform me about their reply.

vbgamer45, I don't know the problem but it can be the individual message links that connect to the same page. Google doesn't like different links to the same content, but SMF has about 21 links to the same page.

site.com/?topic=123.0
site.com/?topic=123.msg1
site.com/?topic=123.msg2
site.com/?topic=123.msg3
site.com/?topic=123.msg4
site.com/?topic=123.msg5
...
site.com/?topic=123.msg19
site.com/?topic=123.msg20


These are all the same page, but different links. Google doesn't like it.
http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35769
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Offline Polymath

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Re: Do SMF posts appear in search engines? (Something to be concerned about)
« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2006, 05:31:43 PM »
hmmm, I now do see what you mean, from the latest posts. Thanks for not jumping down my throat.

I have always just assumed its hard work getting listed often.  Like have a live site for a year or two before things get moving. I don't have a site map..its something I start to do but can't really be bothered with it, but I do think it is more important than keywords are now.

But you guys no more about software that if somethings not right, you will know it, I probably won't.
I have gone with the 'well theres a million forums out there and Im just a new one' attitude.

Watch this thread with interest.

Cheers
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Offline Polymath

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Re: Do SMF posts appear in search engines? (Something to be concerned about)
« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2006, 05:43:03 PM »
Ohh, and there is one thing that annoys me with peoples SMF sites and thats that you cannot view content until your a member. You practically can't go anywhere at a lot of SMF sites, I look at a lot to see what others are doing with theirs.

I know that Google don't like that for a start. You can have all the google listing you like, but if you can't read it, I assume they dump it. Same with Arcades, not even allowed to view them...places like that I don't hang around.
You must have noticed that..   >:(

Just a thought.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2006, 05:47:23 PM by Polymath »
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Offline Ben_S

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Re: Do SMF posts appear in search engines? (Something to be concerned about)
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2006, 08:09:58 PM »
SMF has about 21 links to the same page.

site.com/?topic=123.0
site.com/?topic=123.msg1
site.com/?topic=123.msg2
<>

vB does exactly the same thing.
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Offline Dannii

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Re: Do SMF posts appear in search engines? (Something to be concerned about)
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2006, 09:49:18 PM »
Ohh, and there is one thing that annoys me with peoples SMF sites and thats that you cannot view content until your a member. You practically can't go anywhere at a lot of SMF sites, I look at a lot to see what others are doing with theirs.

I know that Google don't like that for a start. You can have all the google listing you like, but if you can't read it, I assume they dump it. Same with Arcades, not even allowed to view them...places like that I don't hang around.
You must have noticed that..   >:(

Just a thought.
Well an arcade hardly has useful unique content does it? And if you don't let guests browse your forums, then of course the pages won't appear in search engines.
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Offline Polymath

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Re: Do SMF posts appear in search engines? (Something to be concerned about)
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2006, 10:01:37 PM »

 
 Well an arcade hardly has useful unique content does it? And if you don't let guests browse your forums, then of course the pages won't appear in search engines.

My point exactly

 Don't know abiout you but Ive had hits from game searches for the game name.. and as for forums not appearing in search engines thats what I said, they won't appear. But if someone wants to appear I am informing them to remove the block on guests and not complain. I don't know, but even one board locked to guests may not be liked by google.
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