SEO advantages of new features - noindex and questions

Mr Lucky

Well-known member
Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but this seemingly teeny feature in advanced options looks like being a huge help with SEO. It's hard to tell what Google "thinks" but since about 2011 it seems "thin content" is not a good thing.

So you can noindex what may be irrelevant pages (e.g. member introductions, off topic area, test forum. This has the effect of your site have fewer pages to index (see crawl budget) but the ones it does index will be the more relevant ones to your niche.

But here comes the really good bit:



Screenshot 2020-10-07 at 11.14.09.png

Question threads with no replies are no indexed! Combined with question threads this is excellent for SEO

So if there is no reply to a question, it isn't indexed. Again cutting down on the number of pages but also this helps with overall engagement average and here's why:

Scenario 1​


  • User finds a topic (question) on Google they are interested in
  • Clicks through to site
  • The question is not answered
  • They immediately click back to Google
The user didn't find what they wanted and immediately clicked back to the search results to fine a better site. Google will analyse the click back and minimal time on page as low engagement. Low marks for that page (and possibly your site as whole?). Better to noindex this page

Scenario 2​


  • User finds a topic (question) on Google they are interested in
  • Clicks through to site
  • The question has an answer (marked as solution!)
  • They read the answer, it is a good one because the OP approved enough to mark as solution or it got lots of votes
  • They decide yours is a good site and stick around.

Google loves the engagement provided

So thank you xenForo for these features!

(this could be improved with the abilty to nonidex thread types, e.g. questions outside question forums - suggestion maybe on the way)
 
Do you think maybe that even if a reader gets the answer they could just click back as quick as if they didn't get the answer which google would then see as negative still? Or maybe the reader can click through and not get what he was looking for but is intrigued by your site anyway and has a look around
 

Mr Lucky

Well-known member
Do you think maybe that even if a reader gets the answer they could just click back as quick as if they didn't get the answer which google would then see as negative still? Or maybe the reader can click through and not get what he was looking for but is intrigued by your site anyway and has a look around
Yes, those are possible scenarios, but Google can't know - he (or she) is not telepathic. Yet.
 

Kevin

Well-known member
Where is this?
Modify a node ("forum"), click on the "Advanced Options" drop-down section bar, scroll down, change the "Allow search engine indexing" option to "Index threads based on criteria", a new filter section will slide into view.
 

briansol

Well-known member
My concern is with noindex options conflicting with sitemap index. Will throw a warning in search tools.
 

briansol

Well-known member
I don't see any changes to the site map as part of the feature announcement, but i haven't tested it
 

Mr Lucky

Well-known member
I don't see any changes to the site map as part of the feature announcement, but i haven't tested it
In which case the noindex becomes pointless.

It should function like Yoast does with Wordpress, noindex removes the page from sitemap or, as you rightly mention, there is a conflict, Google will may nag you.
 

jgaulard

Active member
Wouldn't a post have fewer responses if it's noindexed and unable to be found in search? Isn't that the point of beginning a new thread? For people to find it in the search engines and then to reply to it on the website?
 

Mr Lucky

Well-known member
Isn't that the point of beginning a new thread?

Well yes, in my OP I should have actually said threads with no replies and older than x days, or years.


For people to find it in the search engines and then to reply to it on the website?

I suppose different forums work differently. On mine, I don't get people registering just to reply to a thread - but I do get your point, it's maybe not a perfect system

What I'm assuming is that other members would reply to a question if they can, and if they can't then that post is just sittening there after say five years with people finding it on Google and then bouncing straight back to a serach - that is not good. But yes, there could be a situation where someone finds it on Google and is the rare individual who can provide the answer.

BUT, looking again at the nodes thread index criteria, I need to get my head round it because maybe it isn't (yet) ideal for best SEO.
 

jgaulard

Active member
I suppose different forums work differently. On mine, I don't get people registering just to reply to a thread - but I do get your point, it's maybe not a perfect system

What I'm assuming is that other members would reply to a question if they can, and if they can't then that post is just sittening there after say five years with people finding it on Google and then bouncing straight back to a serach - that is not good. But yes, there could be a situation where someone finds it on Google and is the rare individual who can provide the answer.

BUT, looking again at the nodes thread index criteria, I need to get my head round it because maybe it isn't (yet) ideal for best SEO.
I agree. I completely understand your point of view. Well said.

On my website, I like to discourage new threads that only consist of one line. I encourage longer, more well thought out threads, so I don't have to concern myself with noindexing any thin content. If a new thread is very short and meaningless, it gets deleted and the member is informed of the reason. They're then invited to actually put some effort into what they're trying to do. My site is new though, so I can get away with that. On an older forum, I would simply delete threads that are light on content and that haven't garnered any responses in years. There's no need for them.
 

briansol

Well-known member
my take on it is that limited number of replies doesn't necessarily mean it's thin content or not valuable. In fact, most of my one post threads are the most informative as they are articles and then locked to deter spam.
 

jgaulard

Active member
my take on it is that limited number of replies doesn't necessarily mean it's thin content or not valuable. In fact, most of my one post threads are the most informative as they are articles and then locked to deter spam.
I completely agree. I love those forum posts that resemble articles or blog posts. I just had one written on my site:


Look how long and beautiful that is. I won't lock the post because I would love to see some responses. If anything is spammy, I'll delete that spam.
 

briansol

Well-known member
similarly, some of my worst content is the most reacted and replied to - eg, funny meme's with 1000s of replies.
 

bryanb

Member
Modify a node ("forum"), click on the "Advanced Options" drop-down section bar, scroll down, change the "Allow search engine indexing" option to "Index threads based on criteria", a new filter section will slide into view.
I'm feeling like a big dummy, but I can't find this - using v2.1.12. Where exactly? :)
 

Rudy

Well-known member
my take on it is that limited number of replies doesn't necessarily mean it's thin content or not valuable. In fact, most of my one post threads are the most informative as they are articles and then locked to deter spam.
Agreed, although @Mr Lucky was applying this only to Questions threads that remained unanswered for a long period of time. I also have a lot of posts, some of them sticky and locked, which provide useful information but have few or no replies. Things like buying guides, how-to articles, tutorials, etc., where they don't need any replies. I'm thinking of ways to improve them even more now that we have Articles at our disposal. (Or I guess I'm saying that I'm testing the limits of my stupidity by thinking of all the ways I can use these new thread types. 😁)
 
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