Advertisement:

Author Topic: SMF SEO Unfriendly?  (Read 67441 times)

Offline humbleworld

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 886
    • best article
SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« on: February 26, 2008, 06:02:31 AM »
I bumped into a hot discussion in digital point in which one poster says "SMF is not friendly to search engines."

Being an SMF fan, I don't know how to depend SMF. But I am keeping my hope afresh that SMF 2.0 would earn sweet smile from Google spiders.

Once I read your comments, I will summarize them and I will get back to digital point and unleash my "rebuttal."

Offline capabmx

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 724
  • Gender: Male
    • The Hangout Spot
Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2008, 06:53:01 AM »
There are some mods that might do what you are looking for:
action=search;basic_search=seo
Always looking to take on a web design/ programming job :], PM me if interested.

Offline humbleworld

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 886
    • best article
Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2008, 07:08:20 AM »
There were several unfavorable reviews on SEO MODs that I've read lately. A website was even ruined because of one SEO MOD that didn't work well.

I hope to see a built-in SEO capability within SMF 2.0.

Offline capabmx

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 724
  • Gender: Male
    • The Hangout Spot
Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2008, 07:54:08 AM »
Actually if you go to Admin > Features and options > basic settings; and scroll down you will see a check box to enable search engine friendly urls. Make sure it is checked. Also, a lot of whatIread about SEO4SMF was people installing it incorrectly.
Always looking to take on a web design/ programming job :], PM me if interested.

Offline Kindred

  • The Mean One
  • Support Specialist
  • SMF Legend
  • *
  • Posts: 58,130
  • Gender: Male
    • Kindred-999 on GitHub
Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2008, 09:27:13 AM »
also, those people who complain about "SEO" unfriendly are mostly full of... well, you know what.

I have never altered my URLs or any other form of "SEO" on my sites, and we get google and other spiders regularly...
Some people just get fixated on what "they think" (or even worse, "What they have been told").

but, if you feel that you absolutely must have it, SEO4SMF works quite nicely when installed correctly.
Please do not PM, IM or Email me with support questions.  You will get better and faster responses in the support boards.  Thank you.

Offline capabmx

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 724
  • Gender: Male
    • The Hangout Spot
Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2008, 10:04:16 AM »
I agree 100 percent. SEO is actually a waste of time. If your forum is doing well, you will have bots hitting it very frequently. Also the pretty urls and everything. I guess it is a personal preference, but in my opinion, the more time you spend donig things your members really want, the more members you will get. Sometimes taking requests can help 100 times as good as trying to doeverything possible to get your website noticed. :].
Always looking to take on a web design/ programming job :], PM me if interested.

Offline 青山 素子

  • Server Team
  • SMF Super Hero
  • *
  • Posts: 17,066
  • 戦場ヶ原、蕩れ!
    • srvrguy on GitHub
    • @motokochan on Twitter
    • Nekomusume Moe
Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2008, 02:52:13 AM »
I agree 100 percent. SEO is actually a waste of time.

SEO itself isn't a waste of time, but most of what people think of "SEO" as is just a waste of time. Unfortunately, those who know least about proper SEO are usually the loudest and most visible. Most of the stuff they shout about has little proven value. For instance, "friendly URLs" have been proven to have little measurable affect on actual rankings, but the self-proclaimed experts push them like they are the solution to everything.


Sometimes taking requests can help 100 times as good as trying to doeverything possible to get your website noticed. :].

Agreed. Word-of-mouth is the best marketing. That is exactly what SEO is, by the way. It's marketing. Keep this in mind when someone tries to give you a technical solution to it. Technology helps, but it must be tailored to your situation.

The most important things in SEO practice revolve around content and links. Focusing on stuff like keyword density, the right keywords, the right kinds of backlinks, etc are very important. Technical solutions should look toward helping with those items, not being standalone things.
Motoko-chan
Director, Simple Machines

Note: Unless otherwise stated, my posts are not representative of any official position or opinion of Simple Machines.


Offline godsdead

  • Semi-Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 21
    • Antichav
Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2008, 09:06:10 AM »
Hmm, i still haven't been able to get my forums onto the Google Search engine, 3 weeks i have been trying, i have installed the SEO4SMF, Using a custom theme.. It wont change my meta tags, i guess this is because im using a custom theme, i cant seem to get any Help on this anywhere!

Does anyone here know how i can fix this?


Thanks =]
Anti Chav [nofollow]

Offline SleePy

  • Site Team Lead
  • SMF Master
  • *
  • Posts: 30,291
  • Gender: Male
  • Thats his happy face.
    • jdarwood007 on GitHub
    • @jdarwood on Twitter
    • SleePy Code - My personal site
Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2008, 12:33:02 PM »
I never used SEO4SMF and I got my site on google in a little over a week. But thats because I cheated and put a link to my site in the copyright of another site I administrate ;) So all the crawlers found a new link.
By that time though I had thought a lot about my content, I had prepared my main pages to get rid of the junk and show the content.
My site and forums are googled very well (and get way more yahoo crawlers though). But being a small site with little activity or content, it does fine in search results.
Jeremy D — Site Team / SMF Developer
Support the SMF Support team!
Profiles:
GitHub

Offline 青山 素子

  • Server Team
  • SMF Super Hero
  • *
  • Posts: 17,066
  • 戦場ヶ原、蕩れ!
    • srvrguy on GitHub
    • @motokochan on Twitter
    • Nekomusume Moe
Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2008, 01:56:23 PM »
Hmm, i still haven't been able to get my forums onto the Google Search engine, 3 weeks i have been trying, i have installed the SEO4SMF, Using a custom theme..

If you keep changing your URLs, you'll never get indexed. Pick a method and stick with it.

It could be that you started getting indexed, then installed SEO4SMF and changed your URLs, which just caused you to be removed because the URLs started returning errors, and now the crawlers have to start over.

This is why I advise against special stuff to change the URLs. If it breaks, you're in trouble because you have to be re-indexed if you can't fix it.


It wont change my meta tags, i guess this is because im using a custom theme, i cant seem to get any Help on this anywhere!

Look at index.template.php in the theme's folder. Note that none of the major search engines even consider META data in ranking anymore. The last one to do that was AltaVista back in 2002 or so.
Motoko-chan
Director, Simple Machines

Note: Unless otherwise stated, my posts are not representative of any official position or opinion of Simple Machines.


Offline godsdead

  • Semi-Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 21
    • Antichav
Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2008, 06:20:54 AM »
Well, the site was all from scratch anyways, its totally new..
I mean, the meta data such as description and keywords are still used, i mean when you view your listing on google that description is whats on the site, i guess if its got exactly the same description and keywords as the defaut SMF then its goign to think its a basic forum with the default skin still, screw it ill just edit it manually lol =]
Anti Chav [nofollow]

Offline 青山 素子

  • Server Team
  • SMF Super Hero
  • *
  • Posts: 17,066
  • 戦場ヶ原、蕩れ!
    • srvrguy on GitHub
    • @motokochan on Twitter
    • Nekomusume Moe
Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2008, 10:44:19 AM »
I mean, the meta data such as description and keywords are still used, i mean when you view your listing on google that description is whats on the site, i guess if its got exactly the same description and keywords as the defaut SMF then its goign to think its a basic forum with the default skin still, screw it ill just edit it manually lol =]

The meta description is shown in results but it isn't considered in any way for ranking at all. Content is what matters to ranking.

Quote
And it's worth noting that while accurate meta descriptions can improve clickthrough, they won't affect your ranking within search results.
Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Improve snippets with a meta description makeover

Also see:
Death Of A Meta Tag
Do Meta Tag Keywords Matter Anymore?
Motoko-chan
Director, Simple Machines

Note: Unless otherwise stated, my posts are not representative of any official position or opinion of Simple Machines.


Offline f39

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
    • Devil May Cry 4
Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2008, 01:14:21 PM »
I personally found that SMF wasn't quite as optimized "out of the box" as it could have been. Although, after editing some of the template files, applying the odd rel="nofollow" tag here and there, and hiding any unnecessary content from guests and search engine spiders - I found that things improved greatly.
My SMF Forums: hxxp:forum.gearsofwarx.com/ [nonactive] | hxxp:forum.halowarsx.com/ [nonactive] | hxxp:forum.residentevilnews.com/ [nonactive]

Offline humbleworld

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 886
    • best article
Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #13 on: February 29, 2008, 07:55:08 AM »
I personally found that SMF wasn't quite as optimized "out of the box" as it could have been. Although, after editing some of the template files, applying the odd rel="nofollow" tag here and there, and hiding any unnecessary content from guests and search engine spiders - I found that things improved greatly.

Can you elaborate how to do that? I wish to improve my sites, too.

Offline ForumMustang.com

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 470
  • Gender: Male
  • SMF French Translator
    • forummustang on Facebook
    • Ford Mustangs
Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2008, 02:36:12 PM »
 I do a lot of web searches and a few years ago, the first results came mostly from forums. Today things have changed and they come from blogs. The reason is because they are much more optimized. If it works for blogs why would it be bad for forums? You don't need your site to be SEO friendly to have more pages indexed by search engines but it does help to receive more visitors. The modifications I made on mine did help to bring more visitors. Of course, we need more than SEO mods to start a new forum but the more visitors we can receive the more chances we'll have to get our forums active. The content is king but if no one can see it what is the point? SMF should be improved on this point and not wait for the competition to start working on SEO features to stay in the top. Mods are good for that but they may stop being supported and what will we do if it happens and we want to upgrade?

Offline Kindred

  • The Mean One
  • Support Specialist
  • SMF Legend
  • *
  • Posts: 58,130
  • Gender: Male
    • Kindred-999 on GitHub
Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2008, 07:12:37 PM »
ONce again <yawn> the same old rhetoric...

SEO does very little, if anything, to help your site with the search engines.
Traffic is king. and link-backs are emperor.

Seriously...   a bunch of people complain that SMF (or XYZ) are bad seo and people jump on the band wagon without looking into the situation.

Once again...   not only have I never used SEO, but I used the joomla bridge, which makes the URL even more arcane and the content even further buried in the system (theorietically... which is, according to the SEO "believers") and yet...  my forum regularly comes up as one of the top two sites for searches on the content that we supply...
Please do not PM, IM or Email me with support questions.  You will get better and faster responses in the support boards.  Thank you.

Offline 青山 素子

  • Server Team
  • SMF Super Hero
  • *
  • Posts: 17,066
  • 戦場ヶ原、蕩れ!
    • srvrguy on GitHub
    • @motokochan on Twitter
    • Nekomusume Moe
Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2008, 07:35:17 PM »
Blogs are going higher in the search results because more people are linking to blog posts and linking using snippets of the post content. Forums are usually very standalone, which means you'll get fewer deep links and therefore a well-linked blog article will beat a forum article with the same content that has few links.

As I have said repeatedly, most of what is being pushed around as "SEO" is totally useless. Messing with tags that no search engine considers anymore, adding CPU load by rewriting URLs that aren't considered, and the other usual "tips" are useless and just waste time. Proper SEO is customized to the site and audience that you want to capture, it isn't a simple plugin and some switches to flip.
Motoko-chan
Director, Simple Machines

Note: Unless otherwise stated, my posts are not representative of any official position or opinion of Simple Machines.


Offline ForumMustang.com

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 470
  • Gender: Male
  • SMF French Translator
    • forummustang on Facebook
    • Ford Mustangs
Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2008, 08:11:27 PM »
ONce again <yawn> the same old rhetoric...

SEO does very little, if anything, to help your site with the search engines.
Traffic is king. and link-backs are emperor.

Seriously...   a bunch of people complain that SMF (or XYZ) are bad seo and people jump on the band wagon without looking into the situation.

Once again...   not only have I never used SEO, but I used the joomla bridge, which makes the URL even more arcane and the content even further buried in the system (theorietically... which is, according to the SEO "believers") and yet...  my forum regularly comes up as one of the top two sites for searches on the content that we supply...

I have no proof that SEO is useful and the same applies to you. What makes you say SEO does very little if anything?
The website in my profile has the forum in the root and a Wordpress blog in a sub folder. The blog was very rarely updated and nothing was posted there since a few months. Before I made the forum "more SEO" no visitors came there from search engines and the blog received most of the traffic. I also have another blog with very few incoming links and deep links and this site receives more traffic.
Of course some forums like this one don't need "SEO" but most of us with our small websites, we do.
A mod rewrite is useless if it's only to have clean URL's but if it includes keywords from the topic titles it does help in search queries. What amount of CPU resources does it really take to have a mod rewrite? I don't think a non profit website like Wikipedia would use this technique if it was that bad and useless.
Blogs probably get more deep links than forums but it's not the case with mines so I can confirm SEO does help. Some paying forums are also using blog techniques like trackbacks and other pinging features why can't this be used with SMF?
SEO is not all about clean URL's and there is a lot to it. I am not a specialist but I do know a lot can be done to improve this already great software.
I heard duplicate content is bad and if it really is how come there is so many duplicate pages for the same topic?
Look at this one. The original address is http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=225022.0
Then each post have their own like:
http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=225022.msg1444063#msg1444063
http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=225022.msg1446707#msg1446707

Wouldn't it be easy to modify that to have the following URLs instead?
http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=225022.0#msg1444063
http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=225022.0#msg1446707

The previous and next links on the top have different URL's for the same pages. Why can't there be links to the real topic URL?

I confirm SMF is great but very SEO unfriendly.

Offline 青山 素子

  • Server Team
  • SMF Super Hero
  • *
  • Posts: 17,066
  • 戦場ヶ原、蕩れ!
    • srvrguy on GitHub
    • @motokochan on Twitter
    • Nekomusume Moe
Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2008, 08:44:07 PM »
I have no proof that SEO is useful and the same applies to you. What makes you say SEO does very little if anything?

I think he was talking more about those little "SEO" mods that seem to be so desired yet are almost complete trash. If SEO was that easy, you'd see everyone doing it. Yet, I see top results for many queries from sites that don't seem to follow these "rules". Maybe it is just me, but it certainly seems like there is more than some little tricks going on.


The website in my profile has the forum in the root and a Wordpress blog in a sub folder. The blog was very rarely updated and nothing was posted there since a few months. Before I made the forum "more SEO" no visitors came there from search engines and the blog received most of the traffic. I also have another blog with very few incoming links and deep links and this site receives more traffic.

How is the structure of the page? Is the content more concentrated in one area? Can guests visit your forum? Were people linking to your forum?


Of course some forums like this one don't need "SEO" but most of us with our small websites, we do.

Perhaps, but the whole cargo cult of "add friendly URLs, toss in some robots.txt rules, toss some meta keywords around" is complete and utter bull. Serious.


A mod rewrite is useless if it's only to have clean URL's but if it includes keywords from the topic titles it does help in search queries. What amount of CPU resources does it really take to have a mod rewrite? I don't think a non profit website like Wikipedia would use this technique if it was that bad and useless.

Keywords in the path of the site don't help at all with ranking. It's been proven and I'm not going to pull out my sources yet again to smack it down. Keywords in domains help (because of the way they are weighted) but they are useless in the actual URL. If you're building a site from scratch, it might be helpful for visitors and for you in maintenance, but that is it.

I highly suggest you look at keyword density on those Wikipedia pages. You are likely to find the article term in the actual article quite heavily. That is what helps the article rank, along with the thousands of incoming links to the various pages on that domain (it helps the whole domain, even the articles with little linking). The keyword-rich URLs are there because it helps navigation (easier for a visitor to see if an article exists by typing the word in the URL).


Blogs probably get more deep links than forums but it's not the case with mines so I can confirm SEO does help. Some paying forums are also using blog techniques like trackbacks and other pinging features why can't this be used with SMF?

Trackbacks might be interesting to use. I'm sure someone can work out a mod for it. I certainly don't see that as a core feature due to the very very few that would use it. Pinging on every post or topic could quickly get you banned.





And now to the older material:


I heard duplicate content is bad and if it really is how come there is so many duplicate pages for the same topic?
Look at this one. The original address is http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=225022.0
Then each post have their own like:
http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=225022.msg1444063#msg1444063
http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=225022.msg1446707#msg1446707

Wouldn't it be easy to modify that to have the following URLs instead?
http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=225022.0#msg1444063
http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=225022.0#msg1446707

The previous and next links on the top have different URL's for the same pages. Why can't there be links to the real topic URL?

I confirm SMF is great but very SEO unfriendly.

Because of pagnation. We can't always determine what page the message referenced will be on because the admin might switch the number of posts per page. The message id is added to the topic ID to address this. No matter how many topics are per page, that URL will get you to that message. If you look at the source on an updated (1.1 Final or newer) theme, you'll see we request that those types of URLs not be indexed.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2008, 12:48:46 AM by Motoko-chan »
Motoko-chan
Director, Simple Machines

Note: Unless otherwise stated, my posts are not representative of any official position or opinion of Simple Machines.


Offline ForumMustang.com

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 470
  • Gender: Male
  • SMF French Translator
    • forummustang on Facebook
    • Ford Mustangs
Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2008, 09:24:21 PM »
Yes, I imagine this would be very complicated to correct but the last topic links are displayed everywhere and every days search engines find new URLs for the same pages. Couldn't the last messages links be replaced by the last topic ones or a link sending to the last page where the last topic is, in the board index?
Forums with a set up of 20 posts per page that will make 20 different URL's for the same page plus the other URL's from the previous and next links. That is a lot of duplicate content.
And what is the point to have a link to a post placed in the title of the same post? Maybe so people can click to go to the same place over and over until the server crashes  :D