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Forum topics as sitelinks

     
10:21 am on Sep 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

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For an increasing number of searches, I'm seeing that forums are receiving more and more of a boost. Most recently, I spotted a list of no less than four topics organised as sitelinks in the SERPs. Is user-generated content really the way to go?

Regarding 'freshness' of the content, some of these topics date back to 2007...

12:37 pm on Sept 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I've been noticing this, too. There's only a few kinds of searches where I even want to trust forum threads for information. And many of the discussions have the keywords in my query but no real information or resolution to the question. But it is a noticeable shift.
2:18 pm on Sept 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I've noticed that yesterday too, but some of the topics included as sitelinks date back to 2002! with spelling mistakes on the title. Since then there must have been millions of forums with topics about the same subject.

As G is able to track dates, if it's not even from 2009... why bother showing it?

P.S. I'm glad the date is shown, 'cos as a user I would certainly skip that result.

5:44 pm on Sept 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing it a bit too.

Another thing I'm seeing is more results being based off my past history. I've done a lot of "site:webmasterworld.com query" searches and today many of my normal searches (without site:webmasterworld.com) have put WebmasterWorld at #1 and those have also had the sitelinks for threads on here.

7:00 am on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing this for my forum now. I wonder if this is some kind of indicator of site authority if the algos choose to do it on your site?

I'm seeing it no matter how far down the page the result is. Up to four other forum threads listed under the made result link. I'm almost certain it's increasing CTR for my results when it happens. I'm not complaining.

1:18 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Google Makes It Easier To Find Forum Posts [googleblog.blogspot.com]
This new addition to Google search results applies to sites that tend to have a large number of posts on a specific topic. When several different discussions on a site are relevant to your query, we indent them under the primary result and include the date of each post.
1:32 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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As G is able to track dates, if it's not even from 2009... why bother showing it?

Why not just have everyone delete all content from their site that is not from the current year? ;-)

Is user-generated content really the way to go?

As opposed to machine generated? If you think about it, there are a lot of smart "users" out there... often with better hands on information than the opinion of one news reporter (basing their story off, guess what, user-generated input from real people, research that is also based off feedback from users, etc).

Tell you what, based off my searches over the years, I often find my answers hidden deep in forums.

1:52 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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"Tell you what, based off my searches over the years, I often find my answers hidden deep in forums."

Your not alone, too many times I've searched for a question, find someone has posted pretty much what I've asked only to find thread is full of sarcastic folks telling the thread owner to use Google >:(

3:27 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I did a product search to buy and the first page is nothing but foum post. Some in 2002 to me this is not what I searched for I searched to buy the product not have to wade through a bunch of forums.
2nd page finally I can begin looking to buy.

This may be OK in some search terms but filling the 1st page with a bunch of forums in not my idea of a good return.

If I was looking for information on the product this is great but when I search "buy x product online" and get 1st page full of outdated forum post I feel is not a good return at all.

I can see forum spamming taking on new heights

4:18 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I did a product search to buy and the first page is nothing but foum post. Some in 2002 to me this is not what I searched for I searched to buy the product not have to wade through a bunch of forums.
2nd page finally I can begin looking to buy.

All the more reason to click an ad ;)

5:32 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I'm liking this, just checked one keyword where I have ranked number 2 from about 2005 for the same post. It's now showing that topic as the main result and topics within the last few weeks indented. Looks like it would be quite useful for users.
6:59 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Yes I too have noticed that forums come up in searches where you are asking for information (as opposed to searching for something to buy).
I often find that forums are a goods source of information as it is from enthusiasts eg computer repairs.
But I also query the number of old results eg 2002 is old !
I think that Google is not really a good place to find the answer to a specific question, this is why Yahoo Answers etc are exisiting.
10:12 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I am just curious if Google is doing it for standard off-the shelf forums, or for custom-built as well? Did anyone actually see custom-built forums as indented sitelinks?
10:16 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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End of forum content in near future ? (surely ignore few trusted results)

blogspot, wordpress were all gimmicks !

10:35 am on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Seen this too for my forum. Not sure what impact it'll have.

Does anyone else find Google has issues with pagination? If I have a ten-page discussion running from 2006 to 2008, Google will show the result for the first page and say 'last post October 2006' or something - when in fact there's much more recent, and relevant stuff on page 10. Maybe I need to reverse post order for Google . . .

9:21 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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roddy,
Atleast google is smart for this pagination (maybe the site you are reporting does not updates there sitemap priority ? for updated topic content, this should definetly fix the problem)

Reverse order is definetly good idea if you have proper quality visitors/members, we ended up with 1 line replies below every proper article.

8:06 pm on Oct 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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In another discussion, I describe a serp where I'm seeing both what I'm calling Sublink Clusters [webmasterworld.com] for the #1 result (5 results, 4 indented with meta descriptions and not forum results)... and then further down the page (in the #6 position, probably Universal Search testing), a forum result, with 4 smaller forum thread listings beneath.

For this particular query, the forum threads normally wouldn't rank, and Google is digging fairly deeply into forum content to satisfy the query.

With the forum results, Google is structuring its results page like an outline, and while the indented threads shown might be the best relevant pages for the forum returned (ie, as the top sub-heads under that main heading), they're definitely not among the best in the overall results shown. This may or may not be the case for other forum results, but it is in this one.