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Author Topic: SEO and SMF advice?  (Read 1876 times)

Online drewactual

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SEO and SMF advice?
« on: February 07, 2019, 08:53:59 AM »
My site, fortunately, doesn't need to worry a lot about search engines as the traffic is primarily a group of people who've been together a long, long time (since the late nineties as an online community).  However, i still track such things. 

Google's 'search console' has had the site ranked as high as #8 before.  During the 'season' this usually drops due to some pretty heavy hitters firing back up, but it usually climbs back in after the season... this year, however, i'm dropping like a stone.  I've gone from low to mid 20's to 51 in about a month and a half.

I grasp that the metrics change, but...

at any rate, I've gone through the pages in the last few days tagging items of value with things that better describe what the site is about- for instance:

- index.template: the title tag using SMF out of the box is good, but it lacks a good description meta according to metrics used- so... i hard coded it.  Also introduced an H1 with verbiage akin to the title tag and meta:description, immediately followed by both an h2 and an h3 both expounding on the h1, and then titles of the boards are now H2's.  The 'last post' of each h2 is now h3. .... i have some validation to do, but it's pretty close right now.

- boardindex: the cascade from^ and the message title's are h3's

message.index:  the cascade from index.template, and at first i made the title's an additional h1 and the message itself h2's, but decided to NOT do this at all and removed them. 

today my intent is to delve into ETags and see if i can manage cache's and headers better. 

it will take some time to see if my little adjustments will make any impact whatsoever, i'll report back if they do. 

What are some tricks any of you guy's know of that makes a page's content (specifically SMF driven sites) report more relevant information to the search engines?  If you have some I'd surely appreciate the sharing, along with 'how to'. 


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Re: SEO and SMF advice?
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2019, 09:08:30 AM »
What I've gathered from my own forum, Google likes consistency, mobile friendliness, SSL, and varied content that stays and grows. It all comes down to time really. I run a forum that's been public for more than a decade, and still Google is picky on what topics it includes in the results - but we do have good coverage, and we are easy to find with the right keywords these days.
And SEO wise, I'm pretty much running SMF as it is out of the box. Just some links and mods that add relevant content, but do nothing to alter the behaviour of SMF. We don't even do "friendly URLs".
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Online drewactual

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Re: SEO and SMF advice?
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2019, 09:15:54 AM »
pretty urls were a nightmare for me- i dropped them.  i don't know if it was because of existing threads or what- but it was a nightmare to get it to work right, and then another to get rid of it altogether. 

i read that google is placing emphasis on canonical url's and that if one isn't specified this will harm you terribly, and though they've already started they aren't supposed to be fully in that 'mode?' until March of this year... this isn't a problem with SMF.  Glory be. 

i've used the header tags in the past, and primarily for structure purposes- not because search engines liked them- but that is the why's of the route i'm taking now.  it's the only thing i can think of at the present.  the site is fast enough (right at a second), uses SSL, and is responsive (now)... one of the things i find curious about their 'responsive' metric is their computer is the grading device, not a set of eyes.  I'm good either way, don't get me wrong, but there are absolutely ways to make the indexes 'think' your theme is responsive.  understand, i didn't make mine responsive for the index, but for the people instead. 

Offline njtweb

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Re: SEO and SMF advice?
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2019, 06:16:55 PM »
pretty urls were a nightmare for me- i dropped them.  i don't know if it was because of existing threads or what- but it was a nightmare to get it to work right, and then another to get rid of it altogether. 

i read that google is placing emphasis on canonical url's and that if one isn't specified this will harm you terribly, and though they've already started they aren't supposed to be fully in that 'mode?' until March of this year... this isn't a problem with SMF.  Glory be. 

i've used the header tags in the past, and primarily for structure purposes- not because search engines liked them- but that is the why's of the route i'm taking now.  it's the only thing i can think of at the present.  the site is fast enough (right at a second), uses SSL, and is responsive (now)... one of the things i find curious about their 'responsive' metric is their computer is the grading device, not a set of eyes.  I'm good either way, don't get me wrong, but there are absolutely ways to make the indexes 'think' your theme is responsive.  understand, i didn't make mine responsive for the index, but for the people instead.

Changing your URLs was the death knell. You had established rank with the existing URLs. When you change indexing starts  all over like a newly introduced website to the net. Happened with my established hockey site 10 years ago. Biggest mistake I ever made. Once you start ranking, leave it as is. Google also penalizes for duplicate content.

Online drewactual

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Re: SEO and SMF advice?
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2019, 08:28:25 PM »
well, i'm using pretty url's again, and NOT for the (real or perceived) SEO reason, but because my users can better find threads.  it also seems to have some impact while sharing on social media platforms that display the link- maybe it's perceived as more transparent? I dunno...

right now i'm sitting at #16 for my niche w/google... 3 month average of 29... this is where i was prior to changing to pretty url's, so it bounced back some... also, i see a lot of the efforts with h1, h2, h3, and h4 usage in the descriptions whilst monitoring how the page displays.  i guess that maybe is googles flavor of the month or something...... explanations of content? ... anyway, it ultimately did bounce back.  why i can't really say for sure.

Offline chappyboy

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Re: SEO and SMF advice?
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2019, 11:39:42 AM »
Speed, bounce rate, and how much the people spend on your site - these days it's super important like it wasn't before. So if the forum is active, and people are discussing a lot, you should be good.

Online drewactual

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Re: SEO and SMF advice?
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2019, 02:58:08 PM »
i'm thinking proper use and distribution of h1's, h2's, and h3's have helped me.  it's one of the things SMF out of the box doesn't address as thoroughly as i think it could- and because it was more valued for formatting 'back when'. 

i dug through the display.template and made thread titles h2's, and contents of individual posts h3's.  it seems to have helped.. it certainly helps (without doubt) how the search engines present the result with h1-FORUM TITLE---h2-Thread Title----- h3-what amounts to be an extract/blurb....

Offline kpawan

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Re: SEO and SMF advice?
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2019, 04:47:02 AM »
Make sure your website does contain the sitemap and robots.txt files and There should not be any broken links on the website. if there are any you should redirect the page to the relevant one. Furthermore, I think you have done the basic improvements.

Offline Shambles

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Re: SEO and SMF advice?
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2019, 05:32:58 AM »
Doncha just love it when these "experts" come along just to post a quote they found on the intermiwebs.

Offline GigaWatt

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Re: SEO and SMF advice?
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2019, 10:15:24 AM »
Shambles, if there was a like button, I'd like almost every single post you make :P :D.
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Offline Steve

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Re: SEO and SMF advice?
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2019, 05:21:53 PM »
Careful ... you'll give him a big head ... :P
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