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XF 1.5 Significantly lower number of pages indexed (Google) since moving to XF & new domain

Discussion in 'XenForo Questions and Support' started by dutchbb, Dec 5, 2015.

  1. dutchbb

    dutchbb Well-Known Member

    We moved from vB to XF in September and changed domain name at the same time.

    When I recently checked indexed pages for both domains, the old domain with vB shows 248K while the new domain with XF seems to have stopped at 114K.

    Is this normal? Anyone experienced this? It's been like this for some weeks and there is a dip in traffic compared to before as well.
  2. Mike

    Mike XenForo Developer Staff Member

    That's probably not surprising as there may be individual post links in there, etc. As long as you're redirecting the commonly hit URLs, that should suffice.
  3. Alfa1

    Alfa1 Well-Known Member

    One thing you should really review is your Dutch translation pack. It's really bad and inserts irrelevant words and phrases in all pages of your website that Google is not likely to identify as these are not 'standard forum UI phrases'. This could well reduce your keyword density for all your pages.

    Another issue is that your top listed forum is the English forum which is defined by XF as Dutch language. By listing the forum at the top you are giving it high weighting from Google. Google will in general consider content with a wrong language tag as low quality content.

    Didn't you have thread tags on vbulletin?

    If you want some tips to enhance your SEO then send me a convo.
  4. dutchbb

    dutchbb Well-Known Member

    Ok, thanks Mike, but for example, we have 330K threads and only 114K pages indexed. XFC has <100K threads yet has 240K pages indexed. Granted, our domain only has been known to Google for a few months, so I'm hoping the number will go up. I've noticed Google often indexes around 200K pages of most big board forums. The very large forums often have over 1M pages indexed. I wonder how that algo works.

    Thanks for your input. My target audience is Dutch speaking yes, so it only makes sense to offer the forum in the same language. This has always been the case the past 13 years. I see no reason why a Dutch forum would do worse than an English one. That's why Google has the .com, .be (Belgium) and .nl (Netherlands). On their search engine in the latter countries they will obviously rank sites in Dutch as more relevant. Our site isn't meant to attract international visitors / target an English audience so I don't see why that would influence activity (apart from the fact that you have a smaller demographic of course). Furthermore we have plenty of relevant, good content that people are looking for. Our content to code ratio should be good.

    I must admit that many new Dutch BB forums have popped up in the last 5 years and Facebook hasn't done much good to our traffic either. You might have a point about placing the "International / English forums" at the top though. However it would surprise me if Google actually punishes that.

    We didn't have thread tags in vB no, right now they are enabled and well used. BTW I have been very active in the SEO community back in the vBSEO years. So I know a thing or two about how SEO for forums works, but always open to suggestions. Thanks again.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2015
  5. Alfa1

    Alfa1 Well-Known Member

    This is the start of your HTML for pages in your English node:
    <!DOCTYPE html>
    <html id="XenForo" lang="nl-NL" 
    Your English node is your top node, which makes Google consider it to be more important than other nodes.

    If you wonder what the difference is between XenForo SEO and vb SEO then consider that XF uses microdata markup. It tells search engines what each part of the page should be. With vbulletin Google needs to evaluate it, which with the right tweaks Google does well. So Xenforo is considered differently. More modern and advanced. This is an important difference between your old site and your new site.

    In regard to your translation. A large number of words are translated wrong. For example notable members(belangrijke leden) is translated as remarkable(Opmerkelijke) members. Or 'lightbox' is translated as 'lichtbak' which is storefront advertisement:

    Your media gallery ranks is indexed by google for the term 'lichtbak':
    Surely you do not intent to rank in Google for such irrelevant search terms.
    This depicts how the translation pack is hurting your site ranking.

    I know your forum well and also remember you from the vbSEO days.
  6. Mr Lucky

    Mr Lucky Well-Known Member

    This is news to me. I'm not disputing it, but is this actually confirmed by Google or your own research? Thanks
  7. dutchbb

    dutchbb Well-Known Member

    @Alfa1 Moving the English node to the bottom is something I will try, since it never got very popular anyway. The reason it's up there in the first place was to draw attention to English speaking people.

    Now I disagree strongly about the translation, I spend a lot of time in finding the Dutch words that are best suited based on the context they are used in. Sometimes a direct translation simply is not working. "Belangrijke leden" sounds authoritarian and seems to imply other members are not as important, which is nonsense and offensive. That is why I choose the word "opmerkelijk" which indeed in English translates to remarkable. BUT the word "notable" in English isn't necessarily the same as the word "important". Actual definition by Google of "notable": "worthy of attention or notice; remarkable."

    Lightbox in Dutch (lichtbak) has more than one context, just as in English. It is not just about storefront advertisement. In fact, we would more likely call that "lichtreclame". In fact go to the Wikipedia page https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lichtbak, if you can read and understand Dutch, you will see all the meanings of the word. You can go to the English version and it is very similar.

    I have been working very hard at this translation and will not accept critique about it that is simply not true. Having said that, of course I agree lichtbak (which IS the correct translation of light box) should not be marked as important in the content generated by XenForo, regardless of the language.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2015
  8. dutchbb

    dutchbb Well-Known Member

    BTW I want to point out that we do not have a ranking problem, in fact we still outrank all competition in the Netherlands and Belgium. A Google Belgium search for "bodybuilding dutch" or "bodybuilding forum" both rank at the very top, even above the world's biggest site about the subject, bodybuilding.com.

    The problem is why the index isn't larger, so the chance of someone finding our site increases.
  9. Alfa1

    Alfa1 Well-Known Member

    This the same rationale as the footer links have lower weight than top navigation links. And that pages are read from left to right and top to bottom. I'm sure I have read Google comments about it in the last 15 years. Its one of those things a renowned SEO expert thought & showed me a long time ago. But its confirmed by my own findings. The weight difference is not massive. However things may change with any google update and we are always left to guess and check.
    I do not mean to criticize your efforts as I know how much work it is to translate such packs. I am Dutch BTW.
    Google translations are often really bad. 'Opmerkelijk' is not an accurate translation of Notable. Opmerkelijk means that there is a reason to note the thing or person. This reason can be positive or negative. In Dutch its more often used in a negative sense than positive. The intent of the notable members functionality is to list members of repute in the positive sense. With the translation of the word 'notable' the 'worthy' aspect of its meaning is important and gives it a positive meaning.
    I do realize that you have translated it for your site and may have specific purposes relating to whats optimal for your site. So maybe this is not a good example.

    As the wikipedia article and a google search for 'lichtbak' will show, the term generally relates to a Plexiglas casing with lights in it. Generally used to highlight print and advertising. It does not relate to the image zooming feature that it's supposed to describe.
    What I think is important here is that Google understands it as such and as your big board has tens of thousands of instances of this word, your site is indexed accordingly. This does dilute the performance of your website in Google. Your site may have excellent ranking and you can afford to ignore this factor.

    If you then consider that this is the case for many translated words and phrases then this gives an idea of how large the impact of a language pack can be. Especially for sites that do not have as much authority as yours.

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