SEO for Thin Content or Modify Meta Tags

Is there a way to modify the SEO settings for certain topics? For example, sometimes forum content creates what is known as “thin content” (not alot of content on a page). Google penalizes sites with alot of thin content, and it is recommended for to set a “noindex” for these types of pages. Is there a way to make certain topics as “noindex”? Also, is there a way to modify the description meta tag on a topic by topic basis? This seems to be generated automatically, and is not always done well to promote a better CTR in search (google improves rankings based on CTR relative to search volume). Thanks.

Not for topics, but if they are categories, you can make those categories require TL0 and Google can’t see them.

1 Like

You can make these topics Unlisted, this will remove them from search engines. However it also makes them (almost) invisible to users, as you need to find an explicit link from elsewhere to get to that topic now.

Honestly if the topics are short and useless… just delete them. Problem solved :wink:

2 Likes

We create alot of topics with video instructions for customers on our forum. So we want users to be able to easily find these videos. If we make them unlisted, customers can’t find the videos as they won’t show up in the categories or tags. At the same time, however, video pages without much content, are considered thin content by Google (especially when we host these videos from YouTube), and we want to “noindex” these topics. So am I correct that there is no way presently to keep topics on the site, but at the same time “noindex” them from Google? If so, would be great to just have a simple feature like this. I come from the Wordpress world, and the way they do this is simply to have an SEO feature on a post, where you can noindex that post, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be found anywhere on the site. It’s just an SEO meta tag setting.

You could create or commission a plugin to do that, or you could make those videos in categories available only to those who are logged in.

If you’re concerned about not having enough content, you could transcribe the videos and add them below the video embed in the topic.

3 Likes

Actually, we have been looking at the code to see how to modify some of the Meta tags, via a plugin, as they are not really ideal for SEO. Can you please let me know if I’m correct in assuming that we should be using a plugin to modify the template ‘app/views/layouts/application.html.erb’?

robots.txt is now editable for admins so you can plug the urls there.

Just visit:

https://YOURSITENAME/admin/customize/robots

So plug in the URLS there if you wish.

1 Like

Which version of discourse is this in? We don’t have this. We are on discourse 2.3.2 and it’s not available. That URL throws a 404.

This is a feature that was added after the last stable release. It’ll be available when 2.4 stable releases or if you switch to tests-passed.

3 Likes