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Need advice for building keyword-based search result landing pages

Discussion in 'XenForo Questions and Support' started by jim83, Aug 19, 2016.

  1. jim83

    jim83 New Member

    Hello everyone.

    I've basically finished just converting my vB5 forum over to XenForo and I'm extremely happy with the switch!

    However, there is one thing that vB5 was able to do (with their widget feature) that I can't seem to figure in XenForo, but I feel this was an important feature for my site, so I'd like to get something working.

    In vB5, I basically created a bunch of pages that essentially were thread views (a list of topics that would display thread titles/authors/last post date, etc exactly like a main forum node display page). However, the threads displayed on this page were generated based off of a series of keywords.

    These landing pages were dynamic, that meaning if someone created a new topic and included a keyword in their first post, the landing page would then show that new topic at the top of the list, and the rest would be shifted down. These pages would display no more than 20 threads at a time, but it was a great way to create landing pages for every category of keywords that my site concentrated on.

    I'm thinking about creating these individual landing/category pages manually, and then just dropping in code to generate the forum lists. Does anyone know how something like this might be accomplished? Would I need to upgrade my site to include the enhanced search add-on? Or, might it be that what I want to do is not possible in XenForo?

    Ideally, I'd like to be able to use up to maybe 15 keywords using operators and matches settings such as "x OR y OR z", "x AND y OR z", and even "-x y OR z"

    Can anyone offer any help on this? Thanks in advance!
    Kerby and Digital Doctor like this.
  2. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    It would require custom development or a third party add-on to create pages with dynamic content based on various criteria.
  3. Digital Doctor

    Digital Doctor Well-Known Member

    I like this idea - do you know of a live vb5 site that uses this ?
  4. jim83

    jim83 New Member

    You're about a week late--those custom search landing pages were live on my old vB5 site.

    I planned on keeping that old site live on a different domain until I totally switched over to XenForo, but here's the thing...

    In order to generate those custom search pages (and actually get them to display accurate search results) I needed to upgrade my server to a VPS and install something known as Sphinx Search. During the transition, I moved XF to my primary domain, and VB to a secondary domain as a backup that I could refer back to, but the Sphinx Search actually crashed the server when it was no longer connected to VB. I was getting hundreds of error emails from the server--one about every 15 seconds telling me that Sphinx was having issues restarting and reconnecting. I eventually had to just completely remove the old VB site and totally restore the server back to its default state.

    As far as I'm concerned, XF blows VB out of the water in every way and now that I've switched, I'm never looking back. But I'll be honest--for all its flaws, I do miss vB5's drag and drop widget system. In order to build my search landing pages, what I did was create a new page. Then, I dropped their "search" module where I wanted it to display on a page and edited that module. The options they give you were things number of results to display, view options (classic thread view or thread preview I think), sort options (date started, last post), which forum(s) should the results be pulled from, etc. You could also enter a string of keywords separated by the operator OR. Or, if you wanted to bring up topics like "free energy" you could do something like "energy free OR tesla" and using that search routine, it would bring up results that found any thread that contained the word "energy" AND "free" or "tesla" --but not just threads that contained a generic word "energy". The post would have to contain the word "energy" AND something else (like "free" or "tesla". So it was pretty accommodating and probably accurate about 95% of the time.

    The system wasn't accurate 100%, but it was more than passable. To me, something like this is way better than tags. With tags, you have to add those manually. Using custom search pages, topics get sorted by keyword/category automatically. I don't know how many people actually used my categories pages, but you can bet it was a great help in the SEO department.
    Digital Doctor and Kerby like this.
  5. Digital Doctor

    Digital Doctor Well-Known Member

  6. threadloom

    threadloom New Member

    Thanks for bringing this up @jim83 and @Digital Doctor. This may share some common elements with our upcoming SEO module. I'll share this with our team.

    @jim83 If you're comfortable sharing, do you remember what kind of impact this had on your traffic when you first implemented it?
  7. Kerby

    Kerby Active Member

    I'm interested in this. How can I get infos about this? Will it be released for XF and when?
  8. Digital Doctor

    Digital Doctor Well-Known Member

    In b4 VBSEO comparisons :)
    threadloom has a discussion thread here.
  9. threadloom

    threadloom New Member

    We're in the design phase getting feedback from SEO industry experts. We plan to offer this for testing to our Early Access customers, but it's currently slated to go out after our search ads product. There's info in the thread @Digital Doctor linked to, as well as on our website, http://www.threadloom.com. Or feel free to PM me.

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