RM 2.2 Resources Rank Lower Than Threads - SEO Issue

Anomandaris

Well-known member
Before I start I want to note that I have considerable SEO experience and just to prove it, here's my main site:

1638232581298.png

I started focusing entirely on SEO in December 2019 and was able to grow my site quite a bit, enabling me to work on my site as a full time job now.

I noticed last year that my resources were always getting less traffic than threads with similar content. I was having a hard time ranking resources, but threads would rank up easily.

I also noticed that the resource with a 600 word description of the resource would often rank below the attached thread which only says "User posted a resource _____" with a short little quote of the resource content itself.

I also noticed that the attached discussion thread would be indexed by Google while the resource itself would not appear in Google results sometimes, I checked all my resources in Google Webmaster tools and was surprised to find that about 1/3rd of my resources were not indexed at all by Google, but 100% of the attached threads were.

I ran a test for 3 months, in which I made a thread and a resource with the same content & titles. I locked them and never touched them again.

At the end of the 3 months:
Views:
the thread received 9,000 views and the resource got 3,000
Keywords: The thread ranked for keywords in the top 1-10 positions but the resource was ranked in the 20-100 range

Conclusion
You may lose 2/3rds of potential traffic by using a resource instead of a thread.

Because I put a lot of effort and money into SEO, it seems like a waste to invest in the resource page.

I don't know why resources rank lower, if it's a technical SEO thing or maybe Google has a hard time understanding the page structure, but for threads that get replies, it certainly makes sense that each reply makes Google think it's "fresh" and is part of the reason why they rank higher. This doesn't apply to the resource itself because replies don't appear on the main resource page.

Solution
You can still use the resource manager no problem with that, but...
Focus your high quality content in the thread's first post, not the resource page
Focus on-page and off-page SEO efforts on the thread, not the resource page

I wish I knew this 2 years ago before I spent thousands of $$ and hundreds of hours doing on page SEO for resource pages. So hopefully this will help someone out.
 

Mr Lucky

Well-known member
Thanks.

If this is the case and I have no reason to say otherwise, then it really is worth trying to find out why because it should not be like this and so I’m sure you’ll agree your solution is still a workaround rather than a true solution.

My resources (which were tutorials and reviews) have just all been converted to article threads. I am interested to see if there is any improvement although I’m not great at analytics :(
 

Nulumia

Well-known member
I'm always interested in this stuff for my upcoming SEO addon. I think this comparison would be a little unfair, if the thread received replies (which would definitely be a factor to consider in why it's ranking much more). Basically there's keyword cannablization/duplicate content which is never a good thing. In that kind of situation, I do think the thread is usually going to win.

Otherwise since Google has to determine which one to rank, then it's deciding based on other factors.

The schema markup for resources vs threads is somewhat different:

Resources:
HTML:
<script type="application/ld+json">
    {
        "@context": "https://schema.org",
        "@type": "CreativeWork",
        "@id": "\/resources\/full-body-workout-in-15-minutes.26\/",
        "name": "Full Body Workout In 15 Minutes",
        "headline": "Full Body Workout In 15 Minutes",
        "alternativeHeadline": "A Full Body Workout In 15 Minutes",
        "description": "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Quisque eleifend enim vitae sapien ultrices varius. Suspendisse id ornare turpis. Praesent eget nisi at nisi elementum eleifend nec non turpis. Etiam vitae sagittis metus, sit amet...",
        "thumbnailUrl": "\/data\/resource_icons\/0\/26.jpg?1638260119",
        "dateCreated": "2021-11-30T03:15:19-05:00",
        "dateModified": "2021-11-30T03:15:19-05:00",
        "discussionUrl": "\/threads\/full-body-workout-in-15-minutes.209\/",
        "author": { "@type": "Person", "name": "Nulumia" }
    }
</script>

Threads (resource discussion thread):
HTML:
<script type="application/ld+json">
    {
        "@context": "https://schema.org",
        "@type": "DiscussionForumPosting",
        "@id": "/threads/full-body-workout-in-15-minutes.209/",
        "headline": "Full Body Workout In 15 Minutes",
        "articleBody": "Nulumia submitted a new resource:\n\nFull Body Workout In 15 Minutes - A Full Body Workout In 15 Minutes\n\nLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Quisque eleifend enim vitae sapien ultrices varius. Suspendisse id ornare turpis...",
        "articleSection": "Resource Submissions",
        "author": { "@type": "Person", "name": "Nulumia" },
        "datePublished": "2021-11-30T08:15:19+00:00",
        "dateModified": "2021-11-30T08:15:19+00:00",
        "image": "https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/fbc549013ec640beaf38e45ca2e23d2d?s=384",
        "interactionStatistic": { "@type": "InteractionCounter", "interactionType": "https://schema.org/ReplyAction", "userInteractionCount": 0 },
        "publisher": { "@type": "Organization", "name": "Site Name" },
        "mainEntityOfPage": { "@type": "WebPage", "@id": "/threads/full-body-workout-in-15-minutes.209/" }
    }
</script>

Some of the main differences are, firstly that the type is between "CreativeWork" and "DiscussionForumPosting". Threads also have the "articleBody" snippet, "interactionStatistic", and "mainEntityOfPage: WebPage". Google has said multiple times that Schema does not play a part in ranking. However John Mueller has hinted in typical vague Google fashion that schema helps them to determine elements and content on the page as a way to better determine relevancy.

If schema helps Google to produce a better rich snippet in search results, that snippet may rank higher, and thus lead to more impressions and clicks. If a page isn't optimized for schema, Google has a harder time producing rich snippets and thus may lead to indirect lower ranking, placement and traffic. So as usual, it's likely we have to read in between the lines here.

At the very least, we can know that they're saying that schema isn't directly factored in their algorithm. (Yet.)

Anyways back to the OP, one method could be to nofollow/noindex the discussion thread, forcing all ranking to take place on the resource itself. And also do so unless otherwise needed, on the resource updates and other auxiliary pages. Remember, link/keyword dilution.

I'm actually working with a site right now where their articles are basically resources without discussion threads, and auxiliary pages noindexed. We then highly optimize these resource pages for max SEO value and keyword density, along with internal links elsewhere on the site with anchor tags pointing to these resource "articles" to reinforce them.

Since we've done so much content change in the last month, I don't have accurate results right now of these resources vs threads.

I think the proper test would have to be (and I'll likely find out some of these results with that project):
1. Create a batch of articles in the form of resources, and deactivate all the auxiliary pages and discussion thread.
2. Create a batch of threads in the same/similar genre, with same keyword density, word count etc.

Basically write them all without the idea of which will go where, and then distribute later to avoid bias.

Then any outreach, link building and internal linking would have to be done equally for both, and then wait and monitor.

Lastly regarding the Schema, I haven't found much good info on whether the markup examples can play a part in ranking difference. However I also haven't delved to the depths of any SEO chatter/forums to find out yet, and that info would be anecdotal at best.
 

Nulumia

Well-known member
I have updated information on this issue and have been able to boost other sections similar to XFRM to beat out threads in the same manner. XFRM results are still pending. I will share results once 100% confirmed as I believe it would also be a benefit for Xenforo and users in general who experience this in their rankings.
 
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