SMF reply on SEO: discuss their thread. Any oversights?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by eclipse, Jan 21, 2009.

  1. eclipse macrumors 6502a

    eclipse

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney
    #1
    Yep, in the eternal game of SEO comparison between the forums, Simple Machine Forums have replied!
    http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=283613.0

    Only problem is that it's in Martian. Now I have to learn Martian to get into this web game, but one thing at a time because I'm currently busy learning the blunt force of Klingon (XHTML) and then the more subtle narrative of Vulcan (CSS). DON'T get me started on the Joomlaites! :( Now, where was I? Oh yeah, peanut butter....
     
  2. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000

    SrWebDeveloper

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    #2
    You want some feedback on the SEO issues discussed in that topic?

    I'll summarize...

    First, there are no SEO "tricks" or shortcuts to magically improve rankings and the order of tags has no affect on spiders.

    The key for any developer to get the most out of SEO is always code to W3C standards for their meta head tags, plain and simple as that. And for any pages you wish to have indexed, include text in the content.

    This means, specifically:

    1) Setup robots.txt properly to allow/disallow most spiders - it's not guaranteed to work all the time, but it will cut down on bandwidth abuse at minimum and give you some form of control
    2) Include a sensible title tag that includes section names and sub-section names if your site is organized that way (and it should be) such as "Jim's Personal Web Page - Blogs" or "Jim's Personal Web Page - Blogs - Archive" and you can see how that would be helpful
    3) Include the description tag, do not exceed 150 characters if possible, make it a grammatically correct and properly punctuated description of the site or that specific page, i.e. one short paragraph.
    4) Include the keywords tag, each keyword (no more than 300 or so chars total) separated by a space or comma, account for plural and singular versions of the keywords that help uniquely identify your site.
    5) SEO friendly URL's do not in any way improve rankings - it just makes URL's shorter, less prone to injection, and easier for human beings to read them. Yes it is true that some spiders strip arguments making dynamic URL's prone to duplicate indexing (i.e. www.mysite.com/index.php?arg=test and www.mysite.com/index.php?arg=foobar both become www.mysite.com/index.php) BUT remember the page is still indexed based on the CONTENT within that page. People keep forgetting this part and only focus on the dupe indexing issue.
    6) It's up to the developer to properly encode dynamic URL arguments, and like magic, all problems go away with dynamic URLs.


    In terms of forum software, the focus of the link the OP provided:

    1) Each forum title page should be dynamic in nature including category and topic names if possible
    2) Good software creates dynamic keywords based on each post in each thread (pulling keywords from the content) and creating the meta keyword tag in the final rendered page
    3) The meta description should be about the ENTIRE FORUM, not page specific

    Most important thing to remember, why I'm listing it last, for all sites, all types:

    Remember, the content on any page supercedes the meta description tag in all major search engines these days! Spiders back in 1990 used to crawl the HTML source meta tags, now they crawl the rendered page complete with images, javascript and advanced caching techniques. However, continue to use the meta tags discussed here until the W3C deprecates them - this is a best practice, sensible and intended for ALL search engines not just Google.

    -jim
     
  3. eclipse thread starter macrumors 6502a

    eclipse

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney
    #3
    Thanks so much Jim, I'll keep that page bookmarked under my SEO folder and come back here now and then to ask further questions as I begin to interpret it. ;)

    It sounds like there are certain things we should all be doing, but that the page content ultimately helps forum discussions get found, as has been my experience of googling around anyway. Cool.
     
  4. eclipse thread starter macrumors 6502a

    eclipse

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney
    #4
    Hey, I wasn't being rude to Jim, just honest that I don't know everything there is to know about spiders etc. I appreciated his advice and got the sense that SEO meta-issues were not a catastrophic obstacle because spiders search through page content as well as headers.... so I was pretty assured by that.

    Thanks Jim.
     

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