How To Make Your Forums Search Engine Friendly

No video on this one (not until I get my mic fixed – need to do a screen capture video for this one) yet.

Today I want to cover the topic of making your forum search engine friendly, specifically PHPbb, since it’s a common open source forum and is easy to modify.

Why would you want to optimize your forum anyway? Simple. To get more traffic from the search engines. And that’s what we all want, right?

You see, forums the way they’re setup aren’t all that search engine friendly. The urls look something like this – yoursitehere/forum/viewforum.php?f=1 and the ? character is a red flag for search engine spiders. They look at a url like that and get scared, don’t crawl much if any of the forum, and hence the forum doesn’t rank well. (Major search engines have improved their ability to crawl these types of URLs, but it’s still better to go with static urls instead of dynamic.)

So basically you want your urls to look something like this yoursitehere/forum/topic-of-post/ instead. When search engine spiders see a url like that, it looks like any other static page on the Internet and they will easily and happily crawl those pages. And as a result you get your forum pages indexed and ranked well by the search engines.

While a forum isn’t likely to rank well for any competitive terms, it is likely to rank well for very specific, long tail searches. For example, if you search Google for the term “seo mod phpbb forum” you’ll get a forum result giving you directions – a forum that’s been modified to rank well in the search engines.

So if you’re ready to get started, I’ll give you a few places to go checkout on how to do this. One tip – make backups before you start making any modifications just in case you make a mistake.

Here are a few good resources that can help you make these modifications to your forum. If you’ve never done this before, I’d recommend setting aside at least an hour. The actual modifications don’t take that long, but you’ll want to take some time to carefully read all the directions.

Happy Modding – see you for the next lessons.

Want to learn how to get more traffic to your website, get my monthly traffic building newsletter – Traffic Transformation Monthly – mailed to your address every month.


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