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Incorporate better on-page SEO into forum threads

Use on-page SEO more smartly to allow threads to be better indexed by SEs

     
7:01 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

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For a site by and for webmasters, these pages are surprisingly poorly designed for SEO. Using better built-in on-page SEO methods would help the threads to show up better on search engine results pages; that would certainly benefit the forum as a whole.

Starting at the top, the thread pages are lacking a description meta tag. Surely one could be auto-generated, perhaps from the first paragraph of the initial posting and/or the 'description' field.

The thread 'subject' shows up as the page title (which is good, although the title should be: "[subject] | WebmasterWorld Forum"). But the subject should also be enclosed in an H1 tag when it appears on the page, which it is not (it now only appears in a 'b' tag. And while we're at it, 'b' is deprecated in favor of 'strong').

The 'description' field which the initial poster can fill in should be put to better use (right now that field content is only put into a 'span' tag!), and both the 'Subject' and 'Description' fields could benefit from some better (and sterner) help text. If it were me, I would even make that 'description' field a required one, and display its contents in both the 'description' meta-tag and H2 tags on the resulting page.

Each reply should also have the option of getting its own subject, which could also be enclosed in h2 tags.

And why not let the original poster have an option (or requirement) to add "tags" to the post - keywords which could be made to stand out for search engines, and which would make it easier for the threads to be found, both by on-site search and by SEs? (And as a bonus, those tags could appear as links to on-site search results for those tags, in an area titled "Search for similar threads".)

Enough of the users of this forum know plenty about SEO and could use those options to benefit both the site and their own posts at the same time, and those who don't yet have a grasp of SEO would start to get their feet wet.

I'm not an SEO expert, but others here are, I'm sure, and can probably add other suggestions as well.
 

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