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Discussion in 'XenForo Pre-Sales Questions' started by JackieChun, Dec 13, 2013.

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  1. JackieChun

    JackieChun Active Member

    I noticed that XenForo doesn't include the forum name in the thread title. Just topic and board name. Does the admin panel include an option to change that? I am worried that omitting forum names from titles will have bad consequences for SEO.
  2. Chris D

    Chris D XenForo Developer Staff Member

    The breadcrumb, directly above the thread title, details the forum and parent nodes.

    This is laden with HTML5 micro data so often when a thread is indexed, its breadcrumb information usually is too.

    So there's no SEO concerns there.

    The forum name is also listed under the thread title, which is also in the meta description of the page.

    If you're still concerned, you could always edit the template yourself. All you would do is edit the title tag for the thread template to include the forum name template parameter.

    EDIT: Here's an example of how the breadcrumb data is used by Google:

    So, even in search results, it's very clear where the thread is.
    Divvens, AndyB, MattW and 1 other person like this.
  3. JackieChun

    JackieChun Active Member

    Chris, I understand your answer but am not convinced. Let's say a a thread named Strategy Guide is posted in a forum named Warcraft. A Google user that searches for 'warcraft strategy guide' will not see this thread in the results, or at least not in the top results. Top results will be dominated by exact title matches.

    So it's a legitimate concern, especially for people looking to convert from IPB, which includes the information by default. At the very least, the admin should be give a choice on this, without messing with the templates.
  4. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    By all accounts XenForo routinely outperforms other forum software when it comes to SEO.
    oman, Jeremy, Divvens and 2 others like this.
  5. MattW

    MattW Well-Known Member

    Since moving to XenForo, we are now the top results for our key words:

    Amaury and Brogan like this.
  6. JackieChun

    JackieChun Active Member

    Irrelevant to the scenario with thread titles described above. Furthermore, ranking for a specific keyword will rarely have much to do with moving to a different platform.

    This is a subjective claim. It could be outperforming them on some parameters and falling behind on others. Plenty of debating about this on other forums.

    I understand full well how breadcrumbs work. The consensus in the SEO community is that breadcrumbs do not beat the title tag in importance. Google wants you to structure your data, and it does have benefits, but you should really be doing what's good for your content, not for Google.
  7. Chris D

    Chris D XenForo Developer Staff Member

    If you do some testing yourself by searching for some threads at existing XenForo boards, I'm sure you'll see the desired results.

    There isn't an option to display the forum title in the thread titles for, hopefully obvious, reasons. The information is already there. Google finds content in the entire page, not just in the title. So a search for "Warcraft Strategy Guide" will easily find a thread titled "Strategy Guide" in the "Warcraft" forum. And as the forum title is already in the breadcrumb, and already in the page description, it will have no trouble finding the right results.

    And I don't know what it's like to edit templates in IPB, but in XenForo it certainly can't be described as "messing about". It's very easy to make the change, and there's an incredibly intelligent template comparison system so your custom changes are kept across upgrades with updated core changes being easily merged in with your custom changes.

    It really is very easy.
    Amaury likes this.
  8. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    No, it isn't.

    There is plenty of evidence to support it.
    Amaury likes this.
  9. Chris D

    Chris D XenForo Developer Staff Member

    This took about 30 seconds:

    Amaury likes this.
  10. MattW

    MattW Well-Known Member

    Really? Given the key words are in the thread title.

    So let's try this then:

    Amaury likes this.
  11. JackieChun

    JackieChun Active Member

    Nice try. Your site is ranking for the number itself, not for the "keyword."


    I hope you're not paying money for this kind of SEO.
  12. JackieChun

    JackieChun Active Member

    You win the "Yes, there is, no, there isn't" argument, because I'm simply not going to get involved in that. You're free to collect the pats on the back from the guys who converted successfully (a few of them are my friends), and I'm happy for them. But that's the definition of subjective. What works for some boards doesn't work for others, and what works for some threads will not work for other threads.

    Chris, there is no way to test it other than recording the ranking of individual threads, converting, waiting a few months, and then checking them again, and even then you can't control for what Google will do next. I'm not going to take the risk, because I am pretty sure I know the answer to whether title tags are more important than breadcrumbs. Google doesn't exactly disclose to the world their page ranking algorithm, because that would be a recipe for abusing it. But there are a lot of smart people out there working on figuring out at least parts of it. And they all agree that where the information is in the code has paramount importance.
  13. MattW

    MattW Well-Known Member

    3rd result, and above Pistonheads.....I'll take that for the price of XenForo. Pays your money, takes your chances. It makes no difference to me if you go with XenForo or not, I was simply trying to answer your question with my own personal examples.
    Amaury likes this.
  14. JackieChun

    JackieChun Active Member

    Great, would you like a free breadcrumb with that? Because that sure ain't what's ranking you at #3 (hint: and it's not XenForo).
  15. Chris D

    Chris D XenForo Developer Staff Member

    No, it doesn't:


    I can't find a setting in the current IPBoard demo either to control it. But I've never used IP.Board so I may have missed it.

    Are you sure it's "default". I presume by "default" you meant that there's a toggle included somewhere by default because it's certainly not enabled by default.

    But we're in danger here of getting into a needless debate about a subject that is very much open to interpretation.

    If we want to simplify things, to answer the original question:

    No. There is not an option in the Admin CP to change that.

    The two alternative solutions are:
    • Edit the template to include the forum name inside the h1 tag (very easy to do, and easy to manage across upgrades)
    • Add a default thread prefix for the forum. That way, you don't even have to have the forum title in the H1 tag. It could instead just be a key word that relates to the forum.
    Amaury and Shelley like this.
  16. JackieChun

    JackieChun Active Member

    I'll check IPB later, but I'm pretty sure it includes the forum information in the title, because two of my forums run IPB.

    Agreed. And frankly, I was surprised to see a question in a pre-sale forum answered this way, especially by staff. If a potential customer walks into my store with a question and a concern, I usually don't answer it with "Your concern is not a real concern, oh, and by the way, my product is clearly superior, just ask that guy for proof!"

    Thank you. That's really all the information I was asking for. I know how to edit templates, just prefer to have features that are important to me built in.
  17. Chris D

    Chris D XenForo Developer Staff Member

    To be fair to Brogan, he isn't incorrect. XenForo at its core has been designed to be SEO friendly and it does that well. He didn't claim your concern wasn't valid, and by the time he responded, I'd already given you the correct answer so there was no need for him to elaborate.

    The IPB screenshot above, by the way, was from a demo I just created with them so it certainly doesn't appear to be default, but as I say, there may be a toggle I've missed. The IPB Admin CP scares me :(

    Glad you got the information you wanted.
    Amaury likes this.
  18. Matthew Hawley

    Matthew Hawley Well-Known Member

    I too am suprised by @Brogan 's answer. I thought it was unprofessional. Not like him.
    JackieChun and TsuChi like this.
  19. Chris D

    Chris D XenForo Developer Staff Member

    Am I missing something?

    I don't see why Brogan's answer was unprofessional.

    I had already answered the question. If anything, Brogan was just affirming my original post which contained pretty much the only answer the original poster needed. Nothing unprofessional here.
    Amaury and Shelley like this.
  20. Divvens

    Divvens Well-Known Member

    We began with xenForo, and as we built and added content Google started loving us. Most of our topics and content are weekly hot topics, they change every week, such is the nature of the manga/anime we are a fansite of. Recently, Google has been giving us a lot more love and on the days that the topic is at its peak interest, we are ranked first on search words that users use during that time period.

    Out of the box, with no modifications for SEO whatsoever, from a forum that received 3000 unique visits per month, we now receive 45,000 to 50,000 visits per month. I'm just stating here, that the simple tools xenForo comes to you with that license price is much worth it, I've run a vBulletin forum before, and out of the box it didn't have the same results. IPB, I haven't tried, but xenForo I can vouch for. Google keeps changing the way it displays results and keeps changing its alithogram, Google itself advises breadcrumbs with HTML5 micro data. Google no longer pays attention to only page titles, but also content and anything related inside content to the search queries.

    There's something always new in the world of SEO, I stopped paying too much attention towards SEO and just concentrated on making my members happy and building content unique to our site, and let xenForo handle the rest. I personally think many of the long time webmasters need to start bracing the change, it isn't the same as before and the Google Bots are also becoming smarter, 1000's of articles can have the same title but one stands above them all, why? Because Google bots have got smarter and "content is king" is the only thing that has been holding true in the SEO world since the beginning.

    However, if the Title and SEO related to the title is your only concern, @Chris Deeming has already provided methods and has shown how easy it is to customize and play around with xenForo. While something like this is important to you and you want it to be a toggable option, it has no importance to me (and I guess many of the other happy xenForo customers), so I believe that such a thing being in "core" wouldn't be required, while those requiring it can easily edit required templates to suit their needs.
    Amaury and Shelley like this.
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