SEO compared to other well known tools


There are a lot of tools in vBulletin to increase SEO, and specially Google Bots are very fine tuned to understand how to crawl vbulletin or wordpress.

Is there in a roadmap something planned to help google crawl a discourse setup?


(Sam Saffron) #2

We already provide a special highly crawlable and SEO optimized Discourse for crawlers (in NOSCRIPT tags). I really should blog about it.

I am against needing special magic extensions that make Discourse Google friendly, this is something that belongs in core. Not against adding a site map as well as any other improvements we need.


Yeah, I mean, maybe a sitemap is enough. One of the best thing happened to vBulletin boards was a bulk sitemap generator.

Thanks Sam for your rapid feedback, you guys never sleep :smile:

(Myway) #4

Hey there @sam,
Please correct me if im wrong but as far as I know Meta tags play big role in SEO… In addition to that I will try to give a basic SEO analysis of this thread.

Meta Tags:
Title Discourse Length: 9 characters

Ideally, our title should contain between 10 and 70 characters (spaces included).
We gotta make sure our title is explicit and contains your most important keywords.In this forum thread, we can use the theread title as as meta title in this way we also can achieve that each page has a unique title.

Meta keywords Count: 0 keywords
Most the SEOs say meta keywords has no influence on website positioninn and it is kind a true but it is as important as H1 tags in the page… Since we dont use tags,what we can do here is first we can put category name of that thread belongs and we can examine meta description and pull the words has more tendeancy on. (more than 4 chars)

Meta description Length: 0 characters
Our meta description should contain between 70 and 160 characters (spaces included) but we have none. Meta descriptions also allow us to influence how our web pages are described and displayed in search results. A good description acts as a potential organic advertisement and encourages the viewer to click through to our site. We can ensure that our meta description is explicit and contains your most important keywords. Also, each page should have a unique meta description relevant to the content of that page. In this case we can double mention the thread title in the description and spread some fancy eye-catching words…

Since I mentioned headings, they are very important to our SEO… even though we use them in a way that seems to be not in the correct form…It kind a becoime long post so please excuse me for taking your time…

Ps: We can take the necessary SEO implementions in a new thread… :slight_smile:

(Lowell Heddings) #5

Google pretty much ignores meta keywords and description and laughs at anybody who practices “SEO”.

Just to illustrate my point, my web site, which gets 6+ million uniques via Google each month, had the exact same meta tags on every page of the site since 2006 or so. (I just removed the meta tags recently).

There’s a very simple strategy that Google recommends: Make pages designed for people. They will figure out the rest.

(Myway) #6

Geek, you may not believe in SEO and confuse friendly design with it but as far as I see in the URL of Discourse, creators/developers are aware of SEO need for the platform… I dont know whether you use Google webmaster tools or not but the existing settings of Discourse will be suggested to change by Google itself like too short titles, dublicates of desc etc…

Let me also give you an example of SEO so Google will have better laughs at us… :slight_smile: (Check the source code)

<meta name="description" content="Oracle Application Express (APEX) is an easy to use platform for developing data-centric web based applications. Although it has been around for years, many ...">
<meta name="keywords" content="oracle, apex, application express, tutorial, learn, training, demonstration, video, tip, get started, apex web development, database, beginners, introduction...">
<meta itemprop="name" name="title" content="How to Save Ink and Make Web Sites Print Better" />
<meta itemprop="description" name="description" content="Printing out web pages you want a hard copy of can be a little hit and miss. Unlike other documents, it is not easy to tell exactly how many pieces of paper will be needed, and whether or not there will be any awkward clipping. Add to this the problem of wasting ink by printing out unwanted images and ads, and it is little wonder that many people resort to copying and pasting into a word processor. But by using browser add-ons and bookmarklets, you can gain control over what you are printing." />

(Jeff Atwood) #7

I built Stack Overflow, which is huge, and indexed madly by Google. Meta tags are not used by Google.

What large web sites have you built where you found meta tags to be useful?

(Myway) #8

Oopss, does it really matter what “I” have bulld? If I have very big sites like yours or experienced will my words have more weight?

I believe we are just focussing on how we can get and achieve the best as a forum platform… So back to subject, I believe discourse has weaknesses on SEO part and some of them already mentioned… Before going further, I would like you to watch below video because I want you to believe in Meta tags and hopefully we can go on same page…
.[quote=“codinghorror, post:7, topic:3914, full:true”]
Meta tags are not used by Google.
What large web sites have you built where you found meta tags to be useful?

(Brandon Rampersad) #9

I see alot of tools as a bad thing because that means that SEO wasn’t considered when making the forum. default discourse is very SEO friendly compared to vbulletin but not so much because it uses a javascript mvc which makes it hard to crawl.

(Jeff Atwood) #10

It is very easy to crawl Discourse… try disabling JavaScript and see for yourself.

Topic List with JavaScript disabled

Topic with JavaScript disabled

Category doesn't appear for search engine web spiders?
(Brandon Rampersad) #11

Googling shows that google indexes threads very well but users not so much. (Not sure if thats by design). All users pages have the description “Loading… Discourse. empty.” on google.

(Jeff Atwood) #12

Yes, we didn’t handle user pages quite yet… but will soon!

edit: category pages and user pages now show up properly in <noscript>

(Alexander) #13

From that video ('s closed captions):

You shouldn’t spend any time on the meta keywords tag. We don’t use it. I’m not aware of any major search engine that uses it these days.

But we do use the meta description tag. […] if we don’t know what would make a good snippet, and you have something in the meta description tag that […] maybe it matches what the user typed in or something along those lines – then we do reserve the right to show that meta description tag as the snippet. […]

Now, if the meta description is really well written and really compelling, then a person who sees it might click through more often.

My takeaway is that Google does not use meta description tag content as a factor in either ranking, or determining which results will be shown for a given query; but the frontend may choose to display that content as the excerpt (“snippet”) rather than something derived from the query and page content. Thus an eyeball-grabbing meta description could effect more relative clickthroughs once a user sees your page listed on a SERP, but it won’t affect whether or not your page shows up on that SERP in the first place.

Anyway, taking a different tack: From a developer point of view, what would we put in the meta description tag that would be more useful than whatever Google could make out from the page contents and user’s query? Mishmash of “best of” content or something?

(Lowell Heddings) #14

The primary reason to build a solid Meta Description tag, and the only reason I implemented one on my site, is so that Facebook and other social sites will have a correct description to use when people link to your pages.

The fact that Google might sometimes use it is just a bonus.

Again, it all comes down to building sites for real people, and Google will figure out the rest.

(Alexander) #15

Ah right, always forget about that use.

(Mason Wheeler) #16

+1. I’ve always been a bit uncomfortable by the whole idea of SEO. It just sorta feels uncomfortably like “gaming the system.” (Most likely because that’s exactly what it is!) I always figure, if you create relevant, useful content that people care about, it will find its way to the people who are searching for it, and experience bears this simple maxim out more often than not…

(Lowell Heddings) #17

Exactly. I’ve completely ignored all SEO advice for years, and have had really good luck.

The only “rule” that I’ve ever followed is to not have the same content on multiple pages - which isn’t really valuable for the readers, so it’s a no-brainer to follow.

These days, Google seems to focus heavily on user experience features:

  • Is your content easily visible when you first load the page, or do you have to scroll past ads to see it?
  • Does the user have to skip through an ad to even see your page?
  • Does your page load quickly, or does it take 3 minutes to load because of all the ads and widgets cluttering your page?

(Roger Siegenthaler) #18

Couldn’t agree more, google also looks at how many incomming links you have which is probably the weightiest factor for everything…

I see having built-in analytics support as being much more useful because the amount of data google gets from that must be staggering to say the least (trending support on google+ and all the doozle) :smile:

(Dan Neumann) #19

If you google around for a while and you can see how much meta description is flatly ignored. Smarmy little googlebot even prefers to show your website’s Javascript “Loading…” placeholder text than the meta description.

Since googlebot is going to just read off your website’s text anyways, I think it’s more important to have clear markup hierarchy.

For instance, here’s an example of a hierarchy that’s unclear to google:

Here’s the page’s first bits of content:

Google decides to use the text of the first question as the description.

Yet look at the description for Python:


And here’s the page.

It seems that google can’t choose between what looks like the first element in a list (which it loves to use if there’s no clear description block) and what looks like it might sorta be the description.

That said, if someone decides it’s a sure-why-not feature, it’s very trivial to implement.

(Alexander) #20

That seems like something to keep an eye on.