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SEO + Sources of revenue for GForum and more

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SEO + Sources of revenue for GForum and more
Search Engine Optimization + New sources of revenue for Gossamer Forum

Good, so you have GForum installed, a community site running and hoping it will some day become famous, or better yet, that some day you¡¦ll make money out of your efforts.

In the following lines we will try to explain EVERY single detail there is to make the most out of your Gossamer Forum installation. Pay close attention, because what you read here can have a significant impact in your web page traffic in the short term.

First things first, how many forums or web pages are on the Internet right now? What makes you think yours will be easily found by search engines/crawlers? Or.. how will you know (in case a crawler finds you) if your page will rank good enough to be listed among the top 10 results? If you are interested in knowing how changes you do in your templates affect your ranking then keep reading. Most of the tips you see here were obtained from reading the source code of the ASPSeek search engine (which is VERY similar to google) and is a variant of mngosearch.

I will not go into the details for EVERYTHING, just those that require certain amount of work or configuration.

Things to change in GForum:

Instead of having your site display something like:
Mysite.com Forums ¡V Post Subject
Change it to Post Subject ¡V Mysite.com Forums
Do this in the templates for single posts AND the category and forums templates.

Search engines WILL look for the searched keyword in the title. If it comes first, then it will be more relevant when trying to determine the rank

Forum/Post Category Tree
Every time you enter a forum or a single post, you¡¦ll see a Category tree, something like:

Home: Gossamer Threads Inc.: Announcements:
Gossamer Links status update

If you want your results to be more relevant, simply use the last part of the Category three:

Gossamer Links status update

And instead of using font size=4 (as in the original templates) use the H1 tag to close the font tags, almost every search engine will look for H1,H2 and H3 (Heading HTML) tags when calculating rankings. If, you would like to provide means to ¡¥navigate¡¦ back, it is a good idea to insert an image (could be an arrow pointing left) before the subject text:

[<-] Gossamer Links status update

ALT Tags
Have your forum main image/logo display an ALT tag for the post subject you are viewing. For example:
Go to a single post in the Gossamer Forums. Look at the gossamer logo. Position you mouse over the logo. What happens? Nothing ļ What you want, is to have the subject of the post you are just viewing to show as an alt tag for the forum image. Search engines will take this into account when calculating page rank.

META Tags (Description)
Meta tags are NOT usually considered when doing page rank, due to past abuse of this tag. Instead, Search engines use the contents of the META Tags to display as the description text when displaying search results. So, why is this important? Because if you display ALWAYS the same description for all your pages users will not find the info in your page relevant, however, if you carefully insert the subject of the post in your Description Meta Tag Followed by an invitation to discuss the topic, then you¡¦ll have a lot of users following the link in hopes of finding relevant information.

META Tags (Keywords)
Again, this feature was abused in the past, so not much relevant now, HOWEVER, a small score is assigned to it when doing pagerank, so use it, just don¡¦t abuse it..


Now, this is a KEY part. this is the single most important thing you can do to achieve maximum exposure. Read carefully because this requires certain knowledge of web servers technologies and such. IF you want to do all the optimizations in this document, you¡¦ll find people in the forum willing to do them for you (for a fee of course). Just ask if in doubt.

Now, to understand how a search engine ranks your page there¡¦s some things we need to know. First, what will a search engine consider a relevant candidate for inclusion in the top 10 results of a search? What will the crawler look for or what will NOT be indexed?

  1. It will look for the file extension

  2. It will determine the ¡¥level¡¦ where the page was found. (Both, the number of jumps it took to reach the page (link following) AND where in the directory structure the page is located

(e.g http://forums.mysupersite.com/forum/xxx/xxx/xxx/)

  1. It will look for keywords in the URL

  2. It will NOT index URL¡¦s longer than 128 Chars.

  3. It will look for the robots.txt file

  4. It will look for the domain extension (com, org, net) believe or not org¡¦s have higher relevancy in google (that¡¦s because .org¡¦s are NOT usually optimized for search engines and are non profit orgs)

  5. It will look for text close to the BODY tag (no more than 200 chars away)

So, now that we know what a crawler likes, how you optimize GForum for it?

Use the mod_rewrite module in apache, and also the search engine optimized templates from Gossamer.

Gossamer provides a set of regular expressions to use with mod_rewrite. They also provide the search engine templates for free. Now, if you want to optimize even more follow this steps, which take into consideration the 7 points outlined above plus some more ideas.

  1. Don¡¦t use mod_rewrite in your mod_perl server. Instead, use a transparent reverse proxy in front of your mod_perl server, and have the proxy do the mod_rewrite stuff. That way, you leave the mod_perl server just serving cgi scripts.

  1. Modify the mod_rewrite regular expressions and templates provided so the following is achieved:

Instead of having mod_rewrite do:


Have it do something like:


notice the changes?

  1. the domain www is not there. Why? This is simply an unproven method that we are testing, we think that pagerank for a host called .site.com will also help the pagerank for other hosts in the domain (e.g www, images etc)

  2. there's no forum directory anymore.. contents are in the root tree.

  3. The category and forum directories in the URL's were removed

  4. the post subject now has an .html extension.

  1. URL length is considerably reduced.

How do you achieve this? Well.. if you already have Search Engine optimized templates and mod_rewrite you need to keep backward compatibility. So, simply ADD a new set of regex to mod_rewrite like this:

RewriteRule ^(.*)P([0-9]+)(/|\.html)?$ http://mperl.http.adm:9100/cgi-bin/gforum.cgi?post=$2&t=search_engine [P,L]
RewriteRule ^(.*)P([0-9]+)-([0-9]+)(/|\.html)?$ http://mperl.http.adm:9100/cgi-bin/gforum.cgi?post=$2&page=$3&t=search_engine [P,L]
RewriteRule ^(.*)C([0-9]+)(/|\.html)?$ http://mperl.http.adm:9100/cgi-bin/gforum.cgi?category=$2&t=search_engine [P,L]
RewriteRule ^(.*)F([0-9]+)(/|\.html)?$ http://mperl.http.adm:9100/cgi-bin/gforum.cgi?forum=$2&t=search_engine [P,L]
RewriteRule ^(.*)F([0-9]+)-([0-9]+)(/|\.html)?$ http://mperl.http.adm:9100/cgi-bin/gforum.cgi?forum=$2&page=$3&t=search_engine [P,L]
RewriteRule ^/?$ http://mperl.http.adm:9100/cgi-bin/gforum.cgi?t=search_engine [P,L]
RewriteRule ^(.*)gforum.cgi http://mperl.http.adm:9100/cgi-bin/gforum.cgi?%{QUERY_STRING} [NS,L,P]

RewriteRule ^/(.*) http://mperl.http.adm:9100/$1 [P,L]
ProxyPassReverse / http://mperl.http.adm:9100

The above last two lines are required just once (in case you have an older set of mod_rewrite regular expressions)

the next step, would require some modifications to the search engine templates, they are hardcoded to work with the /forum/ directory. I could forward my set of search engine optimized templates that already work with the above configuration. Simply drop me a PM if you need them

Now... all of the above tips work beatifully not because I made them up, but because I took the time to carefully review the source code to several search engine/crawlers like mngosearch and ASPSeek to understand behavior. The only problem with the above optimizations is that if you have a low traffic forum (which you will have if you are just starting your proyect) is that the amount of pages that search engines will index will be very few. And growth will be slow.

Now, what if you could 'instantly' make you forum full of content overnight? Well.. the good news is you can. Look in the plugins section for Goforum and you'll notice a plugin called NewsArc. What this plugin does is 'mirror' Usenet newsgroups into your Gossamer Forum instalation. That way, you could mirror an entire newsgroup into your forum so when you are crawled by a search engine you'll have hundreds of pages with a very high posibility to rank in the top 10 results of nearly every search engine.Since there is a newsgroup for almost every imaginable topic in the world, you will only need to identify which newsgroups you wish to include (attachments are supported by the way) and, to make things even better. The NewsArc plugin is bi-directional. That means, that users can post to your local forums and have that post automatically appear on the Usenet newsgroup you are mirroring with a nice signature saying: message posted from the xxxx.com Web To Usenet gateway.

Once you do the above steps, making money with your forum is just a simple matter of having Google Adsense ads in your page, and the VibrantMedia text links. That way, you could in a very short period of time recover the investment for both, your forum software and the newsArc plugin.

On a final note, we'll be giving away Three free copies of the NewsArc plugin for the 8th and 9th and 10th user sending us a private message to the sktg account.

The user's receiving the plugin can freely comment on the Plugin.

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Re: [sktg] SEO + Sources of revenue for GForum and more In reply to
This is very nice idea, but there are double content filters. Google has pretty good ones. All the sites using content exchange will be penalized by search engines. It is only question of time.

Last edited by:

domino: Sep 9, 2005, 8:14 AM