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Can anyone critique my on-page SEO for my forum?

Discussion in 'General XenForo Discussion and Feedback' started by surfsup, Oct 6, 2012.

  1. surfsup

    surfsup Well-Known Member

    First off I was thinking of removing the xenporta and just focusing on each section - Goal is to become #1 for each forum section name when someone searches it in google.

    Since this is still new software for us, i'd like to get you guys opinion on whats the best route to go.

    Forum here.
  2. 0xym0r0n

    0xym0r0n Well-Known Member

    Not relevant but your notifications pop up on the bottom right needs to change the z-index number so it appears above the "Carpet cleaning" video not below it.

    Good luck with the #1 for each forum section. Some of those terms will be a constant battle in my opinion. Removing xenporta might be a good move though. I'm not expert but I'm going to say you'll want google to see all those keyword sections on the first page.

    Might also help to get articles going that link back to those sections. Lots of referencing!
    surfsup likes this.
  3. melbo

    melbo Well-Known Member

    In my opinion, portals are something that admins think are cool. Most users just bookmark the direct link to the forum and never 'see' the portal page anyway. Exceptions could be gaming or sport sites where there is a collection of stats on the front page?

    When I land on a portal, I often have a tough time finding out where I'm supposed to go next. If it takes more than 3 seconds to find the forum, you might as well not have it. $.02
    Brandon Sheley, surfsup and 0xym0r0n like this.
  4. surfsup

    surfsup Well-Known Member

    Anyone else? :)

    I removed the portal and made the redirect so far
  5. MagnusB

    MagnusB Well-Known Member

    Portals is a good way to boost the rank of your frontpage, so you have dynamic content there, not just a more or less static list of forums. Even if your users doesn't see it, spiders do.
  6. melbo

    melbo Well-Known Member

    Makes sense.
    I actually went the other way after my conversion to XF. I dropped any sort of main page altogether and made my .com point directly at my forum. After years of watching GA traffic for all my pages, my non forum stuff wasn't getting more that 5% of my traffic so it made sense in my situation to drop it. Actually, I didn't drop it but converted those static-ish 27 pages to XF pages (enhanced by ragtek) and created 301 redirects for link continuity.
  7. Forsaken

    Forsaken Well-Known Member

    This whole concept that you must cater to search engines to increase your page rank is completely wrong.

    Most sites don't have much use for a portal as it only displays already accessible content, and really offers no benefit other than a landing page. If the users do not use the portal it shouldn't be there, as sites are for users, and not search engines.

    Do portals help with boosting rank? Perhaps to a completely minuscule degree, and there would be no penalty for not using one. Most portals add fragmentation, as the same (essentially) content is displayed two places, which is against Google's suggestions:

  8. Carlos

    Carlos Well-Known Member

    Then, how is it that any one of YOUR sites get ANY new users, or new members?

    If the person can't get visitors with a portal because search engines can't really slurp new content or crawl for new content, then perhaps its a better idea to change so that you can cater to the search engines. Which in turn means more new visitors, more new potential members, and unique visitors.

    Once he gets a lot of new users, new visitors, and he can self-sustain his community without worrying about how users will find them... then he can go back to having a portal. Otherwise, if the portal can't be indexed the same way content is... Then this is a good idea.

    Now, I'm not saying that portals can't be indexed, crawled, or slurp'ed. I'm just basing my comments on what people are saying, including in this thread. And with your quote; google thinks that your portal info can be seen as a duplicate to the one that you have on your forum which isn't accurate as per the whole portal ideals [xenPorta and vBadvanced comes to mind here]. Because the article isn't in two different places, it's in one place. Unless your software is vBulletin 4 - where you'd have to make a new thread that directs to CMS [posts] for integration. Systems like this is where Google is right. Google thinks it's two of the same article each time. So, you have 1,000 CMS articles, and 1,000 of the same content [where the actual replies are], it turns into 1,000 duplicates. This is where googlebots gets confused on which link is the actual article.
  9. Forsaken

    Forsaken Well-Known Member

    I'll address the bottom part first:

    It does fall under duplicate content as the portal displays the same information that is displayed in the thread. Posts generally aren't all that large in the first place so the content is more often than not displayed in its entirety. This is different from a blog that displays an excerpt and often more content per post. There isn't much confusion on part of Google, the issue is that the content is displayed twice, which is something they recommend against. Google can generally tell which site had the original content, and between a blurb and the actual content page.

    Catering to search engines does very little in comparison to catering to the user and working on quality content. Search engines will 'slurp' up content, and users create content, making it more logical to focus on organic traffic and on engaging user interaction with the site. This is also the quickest way to make a site successful.
  10. Carlos

    Carlos Well-Known Member

    Okay, I am a little surprised by your agreement. You've never well... agree to some degree with any one of my posts. :cautious:
    Yes, but you're ignoring the bigger picture. You want organic traffic from search engines which turns into the above quote. If you just rely on users doing the uh... "dirty work" for you, then you set yourself up for disappointment. What happens when your forum is in a very, very quiet season? As is the case with many niches such as Call of Duty? Summer is ALWAYS the quiet window for users in that niche. So, the only way to self-sustain is letting the search engines BRING you that traffic in that little window.

    Let's think for a second. Okay? This guy is running a TRUCK forum, which supposedly a strong niche no matter which period. But like I said, summer is always quiet for communities. Always, always, always. If you allow your site to rely on users sharing your content, then what happens when there is no major news about trucks? Site dies for a week or two, a month or two, in many cases a whole quarter. That means 3 months, while your competitors come in and swoop your niche.

    The keyword here is: Self-Sustain.

    That's what this is all about. That's what Surfsup is looking for; a self-sustaining traffic machine.
  11. melbo

    melbo Well-Known Member

    So what is the benefit to having a portal from a user's point of view?
    I've been on forums with a portal and seen posts that say "we have a front page?"
  12. 0xym0r0n

    0xym0r0n Well-Known Member

    I use a portal to display threads and information that a user would not otherwise be aware of because they tend to stick to particular sections on the site.

    I've got the news section to display the latest and 3 most recent threads with replies.

    Never used it for SEO purposes just trying to encourage my users to explore more.
  13. Carlos

    Carlos Well-Known Member

    Well, it works for a "general purpose" site like www.metalgearfans.com or www.reddead.us but having a portal on a domain name such as www.codforums.com or www.reddeadforums.com is an extremely bad idea. It serves no purpose for the user, or the search engine.

    The whole point of a portal is to be a news aggregation service for general enthusiast sites.
    0xym0r0n likes this.
  14. melbo

    melbo Well-Known Member

    Ok, like an old Yahoo home page with little box widgets all over with aggregated stuff... I understand the concept and can see it's use for a certain kind of site. Since something like 70% of my readers come into a specific thread via Google, I don't see it working out for my kind of site.
  15. x3sphere

    x3sphere Active Member

    The solution to this duplicate content issue is to pick a canonical source. So if you want the portal page to show up in Google, make sure the articles that also show up on your forums include a link to the associated portal page.
  16. MagnusB

    MagnusB Well-Known Member

    It can help your front page getting better ranking, cause the regular old forum index is very boring to search engines. I wouldn't say that it causes fragmentation, most sites are doing this, they are displaying snippets here and there and click to read more. It is as anything, if you want it, use it, if you don't, don't. Neither is a requirement for success.
  17. surfsup

    surfsup Well-Known Member

    Well its been almost a month since were without a portal, so far so good.

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