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Author Topic: SMF SEO Unfriendly?  (Read 67487 times)

Offline ForumMustang.com

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #40 on: March 09, 2008, 09:18:34 PM »
 Of course you can have pages ranked first with no SEO URLs but that's because of the popularity of your site. I am talking about small ones.
 I have another proof of the utility of keywords in text links useful for search queries. Type a search for "powered by smf 1.1.4" in any search engine. Why do you think Simplemachines home page comes in first place when none of the terms appear in the page? It's because of the copyright text links in the footer of all SMF forums. Google even says so in their cache:
Quote
These search terms have been highlighted:    smf
These terms only appear in links pointing to this page: powered 1.1 4
If this doesn't convince you I am sure it will for some of the readers.  ;)

Offline 青山 素子

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #41 on: March 09, 2008, 09:25:31 PM »
Of course you can have pages ranked first with no SEO URLs but that's because of the popularity of your site. I am talking about small ones.
 I have another proof of the utility of keywords in text links useful for search queries. Type a search for "powered by smf 1.1.4" in any search engine. Why do you think Simplemachines home page comes in first place when none of the terms appear in the page? It's because of the copyright text links in the footer of all SMF forums. Google even says so in their cache:
Quote
These search terms have been highlighted:    smf
These terms only appear in links pointing to this page: powered 1.1 4
If this doesn't convince you I am sure it will for some of the readers.  ;)

You're confusing keywords in URLs versus keywords in links there. If you get enough links with relevant text for the link to point to a page, you'll rank for that text. If there are no links with that text but your page name has that (and it's not some gibberish phrase), it won't do a thing.

Good in-context incoming links with descriptive text is always a good thing, that isn't being argued.
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Offline ForumMustang.com

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #42 on: March 09, 2008, 11:26:40 PM »
 I am not confusing anything but English is not my native language and I was probably not clear enough  :)
 When your site has keywords in URLs you have more chances to have keywords in links from people posting URLs without editing them like it happens in most forums, amateur websites and blogs.

Quote
Good in-context incoming links with descriptive text is always a good thing, that isn't being argued.
If you agree to this you will agree to the following:

 I am posting a link I copied from my browser:

1. hxxp://www.domain.com/keyword1-keyword2.html
That link has 2 keywords in the link.
2. hxxp://www.domain.com/index.php?id=14
That link still has a value but has no keywords in the link so it will be less strong.
Do you see what I mean?  :D


Edit: Changed http to hxxp to remove auto-link. - Motoko-chan
« Last Edit: March 09, 2008, 11:38:05 PM by Motoko-chan »

Offline 青山 素子

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #43 on: March 09, 2008, 11:37:34 PM »
1. hxxp://www.domain.com/keyword1-keyword2.html
That link has 2 keywords in the link.
2. hxxp://www.domain.com/index.php?id=14
That link still has a value but has no keywords in the link so it will be less strong.
Do you see what I mean?  :D

Yes, but I haven't actually seen much in the way of direct URL links outside internal stuff in forums. Most webpages I run across use actual text to link. Maybe I'm just not hitting the right sites to see that kind of stuff go on.
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Offline ForumMustang.com

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #44 on: March 09, 2008, 11:44:26 PM »
 I have seen it happen in web pages and blogs but even if it didn't it does in this forum and others and links in forums are also important for search engines to rank the popularity of websites.

Offline ForumMustang.com

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #45 on: March 10, 2008, 02:51:42 PM »
 It looks like some people will benefit from the SMF being SEO unfriendly. The authors of the IPB SEO module are going to release a SEO version of SMF.
 With a price of $150.00 for the IPB SEO module, it would be nice if SMF would be SEO friendly out of the box.
 Don't tell me it would be useless, they offer all the functions you were explaining about the success of blogs earlier in this discussion. I highlighted the most important ones:

Quote
    * * Supports Invision Power Board versions 2.2.x, and 2.3.x
    * * Friendly URL (FURL) support for all IPB pages (more..)
    * * Custom transliteration support for international users
    * * Google Sitemap generator (more..)
    * * New "Search Engine Spiders" group (more..)
    * * New "Spider" skin (more..)
    * * Comprehensive Spider list (more..)
    * * Improved spider activity logging (more..)
    * * robots.txt file included
    * * Configurable global meta tags (more..)
    * * Configurable per-forum meta tags (more..)
    * * Social network integration (more..)
    * * Acronym expansion (more..)
    * * Stats inflation (more..)
    * * Google analytics integration (more..)
    * * Similar Topics block (more..)
    * * Linkback/Pingback/Trackback support (more..)
    * * Ability to block duplicate content from being indexed
    * * Ability to specify lofi as alternate content
    * * Ability to add nofollow attribute to duplicate content
    * * Ability to add nofollow attribute to external links
    * * Ability to block error pages from being indexed
    * * Ability to redirect spiders to a page from error pages
    * * Ability to add many relevant meta tags (more..)
    * * Add proper 301 headers to redirects
    * * Redirect requests of dynamic urls to static urls (more..)
    * * Redirect invalid static url requests to correct static urls

By the way, are they allowed to modify and sell a software with a copyright they don't own?

Offline 青山 素子

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #46 on: March 10, 2008, 05:21:45 PM »
It looks like some people will benefit from the SMF being SEO unfriendly. The authors of the IPB SEO module are going to release a SEO version of SMF.
 With a price of $150.00 for the IPB SEO module, it would be nice if SMF would be SEO friendly out of the box.


And no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary that SMF will rank well out of the box and is friendly to search engines, people will still buy into the hype and purchase useless stuff that claims to help.

It's difficult to budge from a deeply-held position, even with evidence to show that position has no merit.


Don't tell me it would be useless, they offer all the functions you were explaining about the success of blogs earlier in this discussion.

Where did I say that those things caused blogs to be successful? I merely stated that they have unique needs and thus are coded that way.


    * * Friendly URL (FURL) support for all IPB pages (more..)

Not needed in SMF and doesn't do a thing to help rank, as I've explained and even cited multiple references and studies.


    * * Custom transliteration support for international users

Sounds nice, but completely unrelated to SEO.


    * * Google Sitemap generator (more..)

SMF Sitemap mod.

Sitemaps also don't have much to do with SEO. They simply help engines index you better (and often are unneeded). They have no effect on rank.


    * * New "Search Engine Spiders" group (more..)
    * * New "Spider" skin (more..)
    * * Comprehensive Spider list (more..)
    * * Improved spider activity logging (more..)

First and last are built into SMF 2.0 and Googlebot & Spiders mod for 1.0 and 1.1. The skin thing might be interesting.


    * * robots.txt file included

Also not helpful for rank. Newer SMF versions (1.1.0 and up) already alert search engines to not index duplicate content.


    * * Configurable global meta tags (more..)
    * * Configurable per-forum meta tags (more..)

Helpful for the third-tier search engines that still use them, perhaps. Almost all the search engines dropped meta tags for ranking years ago because people saw you could spam in them.


    * * Social network integration (more..)

There are several mods to add links and such to popular social network sites.


    * * Acronym expansion (more..)

Not sure how this is helpful for SEO. I suppose it might be helpful for obscure terms or words like someone searching for "epigallocatechin gallate" to get to info where "EGCG" is listed, or "janus kinase 2" to find a page with "JAK2" in it. Likewise for "interleukin-3 receptor" to find "IR-3L". Of course, I don't think it will handle that, not without an option to add entries. In addition, most searches will probably be by the abbreviation, which will hurt rank if that is completely replaced on the page.


    * * Stats inflation (more..)

Lying about a forum's stats? I fail to see how this would help ranking at all. It might help perception for a little bit until people figure out the trick, then you'll be considered unreliable and drop members over that stunt.


    * * Google analytics integration (more..)

Helpful for those using that service, I guess. Depends on how exactly it works. Also not helpful for ranking.


    * * Similar Topics block (more..)

Related Topics mod. This might actually be a bit helpful of a tactic, but it does push the load up on servers (lots of queries to do this).


    * * Linkback/Pingback/Trackback support (more..)

I've never seen how this works in a forum, so I can't comment.


    * * Ability to block duplicate content from being indexed

Already in SMF 1.1.0 and newer templates.


    * * Ability to specify lofi as alternate content

Sounds interesting, but that is IPB-specific.


    * * Ability to add nofollow attribute to duplicate content
    * * Ability to add nofollow attribute to external links

Sounds interesting too, but not helpful for ranking all that much, especially if you're doing a noindex on duplicate pages already.

For adding nofollow on external links, there is the NoFollow ALL Links mod.


    * * Ability to block error pages from being indexed

Define "error page". All 403 and 404 errors shouldn't be indexed in an engine anyway. For forum error pages, I suppose it could be helpful, maybe. I'm not sure it would affect ranking too much unless you had a ton of errors going on.


    * * Ability to redirect spiders to a page from error pages

If they can hit the page from somewhere else, how would this help ranking?


    * * Ability to add many relevant meta tags (more..)

None of the tags they list would help ranking at all. Some of them will control how often that page is re-visited.


    * * Add proper 301 headers to redirects
    * * Redirect requests of dynamic urls to static urls (more..)
    * * Redirect invalid static url requests to correct static urls

Not needed if you keep the URLs the way they are and actually look at the proof showing that you don't need fancy URLs to get indexed properly.


So, in total I see a few "techniques" that have no help with modern engines, a bunch of other junk that has no relation to SEO (but does bulk up the features list!), and some techniques that might be genuinely helpful but can be done with two or three free mods here (some functions which are included in SMF 2.0).



By the way, are they allowed to modify and sell a software with a copyright they don't own?

As long as they don't distribute SMF itself and just a mod package, they should be fine license-wise.
Motoko-chan
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Offline Dannii

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #47 on: March 10, 2008, 06:28:11 PM »
Ugh, so much bloat!
"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 青山 素子

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #48 on: March 10, 2008, 06:59:24 PM »
Ugh, so much bloat!

You think? It's all about trying to justify the price, really.
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Offline ForumMustang.com

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #49 on: March 10, 2008, 07:06:50 PM »
Quote
Where did I say that those things caused blogs to be successful? I merely stated that they have unique needs and thus are coded that way.
I don't remember the technical term you used but you did say that the success of blogs was due to their deep links created by their "communication" features in the post below. The "communication" features are also called pingback and trackback. Your post has been edited since:
http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=225022.msg1456058#msg1456058
 I have seen many posts from SEO modified forums listed on Technorati but I don't remember which software they were. Technorati and othe websites like that receive many visitors looking for content and pingbacks and trackbacks are very useful  to have your blog or website being seen and talked about. People looking for the latest news don't use search engines, they use websites like Technorati.
 You are saying some of features listed above are already available as mods: (SMF Sitemap, Googlebot & Spiders, Related Topics, NoFollow ALL Links...) I also noticed that and this is how I managed to get my forum the way I want it but to get to have SMF to stay the best free forum software, you shouldn't expect to have external developers to do the job. Useful and popular mods should be integrated in SMF as an option the same way the developers did with popular plugins for Wordpress.
 I have been a big fan of the CMS Xoops for many years until their software became obsolete (I think they improved lately) and I don't want it to happen with SMF.
 
Quote
And no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary that SMF will rank well out of the box and is friendly to search engines, people will still buy into the hype and purchase useless stuff that claims to help.
Yes, SMF will rank well out of the box but I didn't find any evidence that SMF wouldn't rank better if it was more SEO friendly in all the links and explanations you gave me. Your forums may receive good traffic but you can't say it would not receive more visitors if it was more SEO unless you experience it. I did see a big difference since I modified mine with one of the three big search engines and I am happy with the results. The site is breaking traffic records right now after 7 years of existence. And if I have a lot to complain about SMF, it's because I love the work you all did with this software and I want it to stay the best one. I tried my best to convince you and it didn't work but I am done with this topic :D
 

Offline Dannii

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #50 on: March 10, 2008, 07:09:22 PM »
Nah, trackback/pingback support is a method for detecting linking, but it won't itself help. It would be mostly useful if you used SMF as a blog, and I'm planning on writing a pingback mod eventually.

I'll say it again, the biggest difference will be a simple semantic theme, and 2.0 will have one :)
"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 青山 素子

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #51 on: March 10, 2008, 07:32:23 PM »
Quote
Where did I say that those things caused blogs to be successful? I merely stated that they have unique needs and thus are coded that way.
I don't remember the technical term you used but you did say that the success of blogs was due to their deep links created by their "communication" features in the post below. The "communication" features are also called pingback and trackback. Your post has been edited since:
http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=225022.msg1456058#msg1456058

You were probably looking for this post which was above the one you linked. I specifically said that with other people linking directly to individual blog posts helps in some part to bring those pages up in ranking. I also said that the text in the link helps a lot because usually a little quote of the content will be used for the link. Take a look at the entries in blogs like An Antic Disposition, The Standards Blog, or even Boycott Novell (sensational reporting, but their articles are a great example of good quality links).


I have seen many posts from SEO modified forums listed on Technorati but I don't remember which software they were. Technorati and othe websites like that receive many visitors looking for content and pingbacks and trackbacks are very useful  to have your blog or website being seen and talked about. People looking for the latest news don't use search engines, they use websites like Technorati.

Oddly, working in the technology industry I don't think I've ever met someone who uses Technorati. Maybe I'm in the wrong crowd, but it seems sites like that appeal to niche audiences. That's great if you want to bring in that niche, but it won't help you in search engine rankings, which is what i thought we were discussing.


Useful and popular mods should be integrated in SMF as an option the same way the developers did with popular plugins for Wordpress.

And several popular and low resource options will be in 2.0 now. Heavier stuff like sitemaps and related topics will probably stay as mods because they are both heavy in resources and not widely used.


Yes, SMF will rank well out of the box but I didn't find any evidence that SMF wouldn't rank better if it was more SEO friendly in all the links and explanations you gave me. Your forums may receive good traffic but you can't say it would not receive more visitors if it was more SEO unless you experience it. I did see a big difference since I modified mine with one of the three big search engines and I am happy with the results. The site is breaking traffic records right now after 7 years of existence. And if I have a lot to complain about SMF, it's because I love the work you all did with this software and I want it to stay the best one. I tried my best to convince you and it didn't work but I am done with this topic :D

Point to exact evidence that the items you are pushing for actually are the cause of a rise in rank and I'll listen to you. Find some studies to back up your assertions (and don't just link to some "SEO expert" companies that sell services) like I have mine. Until then, we have unfounded points on your side.

Remember that correlation does not imply causation.



I'll say it again, the biggest difference will be a simple semantic theme, and 2.0 will have one :)

Agreed that this will probably make a big benefit if only so that the content is found with more ease, although I disagree that the current theme is all that awful. (Search engines have long dealt with websites before the "semantic" period, they can deal with table-based designs fairly well.)
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Offline ForumMustang.com

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #52 on: March 10, 2008, 08:04:27 PM »
Nah, trackback/pingback support is a method for detecting linking, but it won't itself help. It would be mostly useful if you used SMF as a blog, and I'm planning on writing a pingback mod eventually.
I never used the trackback function but I had some posts submitted as a comment in my blog from a blog that "trackbacked" my post. So this would be good to exchange links. The Pingback function sends a signal to ping websites to let them know your site has been updated and the title and content preview is displayed there.  This would help your site in search engine ranking as it can bring some deep links.

Quote
Oddly, working in the technology industry I don't think I've ever met someone who uses Technorati. Maybe I'm in the wrong crowd, but it seems sites like that appeal to niche audiences. That's great if you want to bring in that niche, but it won't help you in search engine rankings, which is what i thought we were discussing.
I don't use Technorati either but there must be some users visiting their pages if Alexa ranks it as the 463rd website in the world.

Quote
Point to exact evidence that the items you are pushing for actually are the cause of a rise in rank and I'll listen to you. Find some studies to back up your assertions (and don't just link to some "SEO expert" companies that sell services) like I have mine. Until then, we have unfounded points on your side.
The same applies to you before you can say SEO is useless. What studies have you done? What tests have you done? I only believe what I see and for now, I only saw the traffic in my forum increasing.

Offline 青山 素子

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #53 on: March 10, 2008, 08:20:28 PM »
I don't use Technorati either but there must be some users visiting their pages if Alexa ranks it as the 463rd website in the world.

I'm not even going to go into how inaccurate Alexa is on those things, especially the lower you go in the ranks.


The same applies to you before you can say SEO is useless. What studies have you done? What tests have you done? I only believe what I see and for now, I only saw the traffic in my forum increasing.

I never said that SEO is useless. You are welcome to look over my posts. I am merely saying that almost all the techniques you push for ("friendly URLs", "meta keywords") have been proven useless by many independent studies.

In fact, I work on SEO projects for customers where I work. I know what works and doesn't for these things because I look over many techniques floating out there and evaluate credibility. It is difficult since all the major engines are black boxes and the only real way to determine things takes lots of time and study.

I don't need to do big studies, I rely on trusted sources, experience, and proven tactics. These tactics include good keyword-dense (but not too dense) content, working on getting quality incoming links, and proper design (yes, semantic code helps a bit as does leaving text as text, not as images).

Those three things, in that order, are the most important things to do. With these simple things, I've worked to help sites move from non-existent on results or below 200 to the top 20 or even top 10. There are a lot of little things to do as well, but you'll get the most results from your effort by concentrating on items like that first.
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Offline ForumMustang.com

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #54 on: March 10, 2008, 08:46:44 PM »
Quote
I'm not even going to go into how inaccurate Alexa is on those things, especially the lower you go in the ranks.
Yes it's inaccurate but if it's not the 463rd website it's at least #10,000 and that's still a big crowd.
Quote
I never said that SEO is useless.
So you admit SMF can be improved? I believe since the beginning that you know more in the subject than I do but this discussion is frustrating and not going anywhere. I shared my story, now you do what you want with it. I may be wrong and the mods in my forum might be worth nothing but I can still afford the extra resources it may take and it's not harming anything. Unless I see better facts I will leave it the way it is.  ;D

Offline 青山 素子

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #55 on: March 10, 2008, 09:23:01 PM »
Quote
I never said that SEO is useless.
So you admit SMF can be improved? I believe since the beginning that you know more in the subject than I do but this discussion is frustrating and not going anywhere. I shared my story, now you do what you want with it. I may be wrong and the mods in my forum might be worth nothing but I can still afford the extra resources it may take and it's not harming anything. Unless I see better facts I will leave it the way it is.  ;D

Anything can improve, but the question is if the effort to make that gain is worth the time it takes. As is usually said, 90% of the benefit can be made with 10% of the effort. It's not the most accurate statistic, but it illustrates a good rule. Normally, after a certain point you get diminishing returns for your effort.

I do agree with Dannii that the improvements made in the HTML structure for the default theme in 2.0 will be beneficial for rankings because it will make it easier for search engines to index the content. It won't be a cure-all, but it will be a bit of help. In addition, Yahoo! has some interesting technology they recent filed a patent on that might lead to some interesting changes in how search engines work.

As for removing the changes you made, I wouldn't do it. Chaing your URL scheme is very damaging on indexing because it means that you lose the rank you've built up for those links. Unfortunately, unless you are prepared to lose that, you're stuck with the format now.
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Offline ForumMustang.com

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #56 on: March 11, 2008, 12:06:24 AM »
Quote
Anything can improve, but the question is if the effort to make that gain is worth the time it takes. As is usually said, 90% of the benefit can be made with 10% of the effort. It's not the most accurate statistic, but it illustrates a good rule. Normally, after a certain point you get diminishing returns for your effort.

 I agree with you and you certainly seem to know what needs to be improved and even if it's only a little, it will still be better than nothing.  :)
 No, I will never change the URL scheme but I was talking about the other SEO mods I have installed like the related topics, topics mouse over preview in boards, Google tagged, topic or board meta title with forum name... Unless I have a proof they use resources for nothing I will never remove them.
 By the way, why isn't the topic or board with the forum name offered by default in the meta title? A topic called "looking for cute young female" in a forum called "bull dogs forum" wouldn't send the right visitors if the forum name is not displayed in the meta title.
 I heard Yahoo will offer html tags allowing us to show what parts of a page should be indexed and to exclude navigation menus and other useless words. That would be great and I hope SMF will offer this when time comes.

Offline Dannii

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #57 on: March 11, 2008, 01:16:04 AM »
Quote
I never used the trackback function but I had some posts submitted as a comment in my blog from a blog that "trackbacked" my post. So this would be good to exchange links. The Pingback function sends a signal to ping websites to let them know your site has been updated and the title and content preview is displayed there.  This would help your site in search engine ranking as it can bring some deep links.
No, pingback isn't about updating... although some websites do record pingbacks, it's predominantly focussed on what you're linking to, not your posts. It's not supposed to be a link exchange system.
"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 Paracelsus

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #58 on: March 11, 2008, 07:38:59 AM »
Yes, SMF will rank well out of the box but I didn't find any evidence that SMF wouldn't rank better if it was more SEO friendly in all the links and explanations you gave me. Your forums may receive good traffic but you can't say it would not receive more visitors if it was more SEO unless you experience it. I did see a big difference since I modified mine with one of the three big search engines and I am happy with the results. The site is breaking traffic records right now after 7 years of existence. And if I have a lot to complain about SMF, it's because I love the work you all did with this software and I want it to stay the best one.
So you admit SMF can be improved? I believe since the beginning that you know more in the subject than I do but this discussion is frustrating and not going anywhere. I shared my story, now you do what you want with it. I may be wrong and the mods in my forum might be worth nothing but I can still afford the extra resources it may take and it's not harming anything. Unless I see better facts I will leave it the way it is.  ;D

Just for curiosity... from domaintools:

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Whois Record for Simplemachines.org ( Simple Machines )
 
Front Page Information
Website Title:      Home of SMF: Free PHP and MySQL forum software
Title Relevancy    100%
Meta Description:    Home of SMF: Free PHP and MySQL forum software
Description Relevancy:    100% relevant.
AboutUs:    Wiki article on Simplemachines.org
SEO Score:    90%

This means that it can be improved, but I mean, isn't 90% good enough? ;D

Offline ForumMustang.com

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Re: SMF SEO Unfriendly?
« Reply #59 on: March 11, 2008, 07:50:06 AM »
The SEO score is for the home page of Simplemachines.org. we are talking about the forums here and that score doesn't mean anything.