SEO for xenforo

Mr Lucky

Well-known member
I was being snarky. Not a serious answer.
Some serious answers would be useful.

SEO is tricky with UGC, but I think there is a lot that can be improved in the software. I think SEO experts would recommend that content is hugely important, but if you can't do much to change it (without upsetting your users) then we have to look at what is practical and I think there is more that can be done with the software.
 
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djbaxter

Well-known member
As I have been saying since the 90s, all SEO for forums starts with on page SEO — and it's not initially about user generated content but about things like
  • site title
  • site description
  • titles/names of categories
  • description of each category
  • titles/names of nodes
  • description of each node
  • make sure that the descriptions are always visible, not tooltips or popups, and that they are visible to non-logged in guests (searchbots)
  • do the same for subforums/subnodes
  • to an extent, the order of your nodes: move the chatter stuff to the bottom, not at the top of the categories
  • check the box for specific nodes to NOT index the chatter stuff — index the meat of the site, not the silly stuff that doesn't even represent what your forums are about
  • always use seo-friendly URLs
These are all opportunities to get a variety of defining and relevant search terms in front of search bots. In today's world of search term generated search results, this is critical.

Set up a Google Search Console account for your XF site and manually submit a sitemap to kickstart crawling.

Create a robots.txt file like this to filter out duplicates:

Code:
User-agent: *
Disallow: /whats-new/
Disallow: /account/
Disallow: /goto/
Disallow: /posts/
Disallow: /login/
Disallow: /members/
Disallow: /admin.php
Disallow: /tags/
Disallow: /editprefix
Allow: /

Sitemap: https://{your domain}.com/sitemap.xml

Then review your GSC results on a semi-regular basis looking for where you need to improve titles and descriptions.
 

Ralle

Well-known member
I installed XF2SEO because I had a few needs. It’s all about titles and descriptions not being implicit. My site is about Warcraft 3, but every node title doesn’t contain that name as it would bother a human but would be ideal for a search bot.
I have a Node called “Maps” where people can download maps for the game. Everyone knows it’s for Warcraft 3 but when people search for “Warcraft 3 maps” they won’t find my site as well as it should. So this add on allowed me to add all the implicit titles and keywords without spamming the forum list. I could also add words such as “multiplayer, campaigns” and so on. It makes a lot of sense for the important entry points to your site.

I made my own front page add on which has a particularly long title to catch anyone searching for the site. You don’t want to make too long and spammy “Site title” as combined with a thread title it would become far too long. So that made a lot of sense.

Those are the things that I have inplemented search wise so far. I hope it gives a good sense of what SEO actually is. I guess it can be summed up to not leaving anything to be implicit.
 

CivilWarTalk

Active member
So, perhaps these are the questions we should really be asking...

Does XF need further technical SEO refinements by an SEO expert?​
Or:​
Do XF owners need to do a better job maintaining their forums with an eye for SEO content, and perhaps bring on an expert SEO advisor to improve their layout and content to optimize their site?​
Maybe both questions are valid...
 

Ralle

Well-known member
I would say both. But it depends. Many people have a forum for their product support. The product itself is the reason people visit. The forum is a secondary part of their site. A service.

My forum however IS the product and IS the site. In that case I would say definitely both. But the XF2SEO add on does a good job. But you can’t use it unless you know a thing or two about SEO. The things I eluded to earlier.
 
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