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Why thread tagging is important?

Discussion in 'Forum Management' started by Moshe1010, Aug 20, 2015.

  1. Moshe1010

    Moshe1010 Well-Known Member

    Kind of out of synch with development lately, so i'm wondering the following:

    1. What benefit is there in thread tags? SEO? if it's for SEO, is there any "proof" that it really helps?

    2. Who should be able to add tags in threads? or in other words, why would users waste their time to add tags in threads?

    Can we do it automatically by picking up keywords from the thread? or define a list of keywords that would be tagged automatically if they are recognized in the text?

  2. ŽivaAkcija

    ŽivaAkcija Well-Known Member

    i dont even tags any therad on my forum, specialy i dont bother with tags on other forums.
  3. TheBigK

    TheBigK Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure why tags are used, but they are popular. I used to let our authors add tags; but that led to tag-spamming!
    ŽivaAkcija likes this.
  4. jauburn

    jauburn Well-Known Member

    For me, the jury is still very much out on the value of thread tags. I raised my concerns in the original announcement thread, given that the large forum I used to run (vb3) had thread tagging capability but almost no one used it. I've given it a new chance with 1.5 and my much smaller forum, but as before, almost no one is using it. I doubt it has any value whatsoever to SEO.
    ŽivaAkcija likes this.
  5. ForestForTrees

    ForestForTrees Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, I think that all information about SEO benefits of tags, whether pro or con, will be purely anecdotal. I first became convinced of their benefit from a WordPress site I run on the same topic as my forum. I found that it (in particular the tag pages) did as well or better than the forum did for any keywords that were tagged, despite being a far newer site with far less PageRank and far less traffic.

    Search engines seem to be using other signals more and more, but the link graph will always be a valuable source of information for them, and the more we can improve it (including with anchor text) the better we can do with SEO, particularly with long tail searches (where forums can thrive). Of course, it's also terrific for usability and helping people find great old threads related to their interests.

    One of the core issue that tags solve is that most forums have some really amazing threads and quite a few weak ones. Unfortunately, once the amazing threads fall of the first page of threads for any subforum, they have almost no inlinks with any pagerank. By tagging our best threads, we can create a network of links between our best content. By adding a tag cloud to a high pagerank page, we can send pagerank to the entire network of "best threads."

    Anchor text is another big benefit of tags.

    I did a series of 4 or 5 in depth posts in a thread called "XF SEO tweaks." The following is the first post in that series. After that first post, the topic of the thread more or less turned to tagging, so if you start there and keep reading, you'll get a good overview:
    XF SEO Tweaks

    I will say that I've become less focused on curated lists of tags. Especially on a larger site, you want a big list of tags so that your users will bother to add the tags. It sounds like @Alfa1 has gotten this working well on his big board.
  6. Alfa1

    Alfa1 Well-Known Member

    It depends on your community. If you teach youyr community to tag properly and if you rewards proper tagging and are somehow able to get rid of bad tags then tags are just as useful as forum nodes.

    Ever had the problem that a thread fitted in multiple forums? So no matter where you place it, it is always missed by some. Tags are the answer. For example: if you post a suggestion here in the suggestion forum, then you can simply check tags for similar suggestions and discussion. No matter if the tagged content is in the suggestion forum or not.

    If tags are applied properly they work much better than the search engine. If you search for something with the search engine then your results will often be very polluted. You will have to browse your search results to find the content that you need. With tags you will often find exactly what you need. If content is tagged properly.

    Tags have the potential to partially replace nodes, so that users can browse tags instead of nodes and post to tags. This would allow us to put threads in multiple locations. But that would need custom development.
  7. jauburn

    jauburn Well-Known Member

    The trouble with the discussion about the benefits of using tags is that those benefits are of interest primarily to the forum admins, yet it's the users who should apply them (unless you want to undertake the Sisyphean task of tagging all your forum's threads yourself...good luck).

    And users, in my experience, typically don't give a rat's axe about tags or their benefit to some future search. They also don't want to be "educated" on proper tagging. They want to post their stuff, get some responses, and move on.

    Tags are an admin playtoy, at best, IMO.

    ...and I notice that this thread isn't tagged.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2015
    sbj and Walter like this.
  8. Mr Lucky

    Mr Lucky Well-Known Member

    It would depend how they are used. If tags mean the site has greater useability and they can find what they want on that site (thanks to good use of tags which make searching easier) then those people might stay on the site, click through to more pages and there could be way fewer bounce backs to the Google after the initial page visit.

    Voila! Good for SEO.

    But it all depends on how the tags are used. Overtagging or tag spamming would be bad for in-site searches.
  9. jauburn

    jauburn Well-Known Member

    Too much of an if scenario for me. I mean, the real issue--and the one that SEO evangelists never can quite address--is just how much payoff you get for the level of effort (or money) you put in. The mantra of the search engines is that you should spend time creating valuable content rather than trying to juice the standings of your pages. After many years at this, I agree. You can waste hours/days/months/years on the SEO thing, all for some perceived benefit, at best.

    I bet the largest, best-indexed forums out there spend next to no time on SEO. I can point to half a dozen biggies off the top of my head that don't even bother with "pretty" or descriptive URLs. What they have, though, are content and reputation. There's usually no shortcut to these things. But the SEO gurus, "tag" proponents, etc., continue to think there is--and are more than happy to sell you on the belief, too.

    Just step back and think about it: If any of these SEO shenanigans actually "worked"--getting one of the pages of a lesser site ranked above a similar page from a site with clearly more authority and reputation--then the search engines would not be doing their job, and they'd have to rejigger their algorithms to penalize the page from the less respected site by downplaying whatever gimmick the site used to get it above the similar page of better sites.

    I'm sure tags can be helpful for searches and grouping related content on a site like this, frequented by admins who are actually likely to use the feature. But in terms of helping SEO, I'd have to see some before-and-after statistics clearly attributable to the introduction of tags before I believed it.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2015
  10. Mr Lucky

    Mr Lucky Well-Known Member

    I agree that SEP is no longer about page optimisation, but I do think as well as content and back links it's about use ability and visitor experience. You do what you can to make that good.
  11. Mr Lucky

    Mr Lucky Well-Known Member

    That should read SEO
  12. teletubbi

    teletubbi Active Member

    I don't give much attention about seo.
    But tagging is a great way to improve the search and avoid new threads with same content.
    We have about 30k of threads. A lot of them travel story's. It is much easier to have them tagged than to have a lot of nodes. And this nodes need again children nodes to archive the same result as with tagging.

    More nodes gives the forum on the first sight more structure. But people get lost in it. Also a lot of threads can either belong to this node but also to another or even to another also because of the content.
    So users are confused where to put it.

    Now I am dealing only with 3 nodes.
    One for the public, one for users who get a numbers of post before they can see it and one what is for adult and more private content.

    So users have only to choose, if they have the sufficient rights, whom they want to show. Except the adult material. There is only one place.

    But I believe there might be forums who don't get an advantage out of this.

    For us I can say it is an advantage.
  13. Mr Lucky

    Mr Lucky Well-Known Member

    Yes, this actually reinforces my point that tagging is all part of SEO

    Good user experience and avoidance of duplicate/similar content.

    I didn't mean to imply that Google goes "oooh look, this forum site has lots of thread tags, let's rank it very highly..." :)
  14. Daniel Hood

    Daniel Hood Well-Known Member

    I don't know about SEO purposes but I think it can have a huge end-user benefit if everyone would use them. For example, I tag all my resources and threads with "XenMods" hoping that when someone is viewing [XenMods] Multi Prefix (as an example), they may click "XenMods" as the tag to view some related content.

    Another use case is, I love when people tag their suggestions on this forum as when I'm looking for some stuff to include in updates (let's use Moderator Essentials as an example), I would look at moderation | XenForo Community to see about possible suggestions to include. Basically, it's another great way to discover content.
    Alfa1 likes this.
  15. Olly Wood

    Olly Wood Member

    Tagging threads would be good for SEO if they were added to the Keyword metatag for the page.

    Not all search engines are as efficient as Google, and they need help in picking out keywords, I suspect Google would just ignore them.

    I cannot envisage them being of a massive benefit or disadvantage to anyones SEO.
    Anthony Parsons likes this.
  16. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright Well-Known Member

    I believe Google ignores the keywords meta. Stack Exchange do a lot with tags for an apparent SEO benefit.
    Anthony Parsons likes this.

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