Xenforo 2: Ultimate SEO Plugins Review

Discussion in 'Forum for discussion of ANTICHAT' started by Cthulchu, 11 Mar 2018.

  1. Cthulchu

    Cthulchu Elder - Старейшина

    22 Nov 2007
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    Hey folks.
    The original of the article: https://www.xenforo.rocks/threads/seo-addons-ultimate-overview.19513/

    Being an experienced SEO, working on large enterprise sites with hundreds thousands of daily traffic, I'm looking for the best SEO solutions for my XF instance.

    I found tons of BS while looking, so why not making a professional review for all the addons and claims I encounter? Let's do it!

    Ok, here's what I do. I google "Xenforo SEO addons" and check every result.

    1. Add-on - SEO addon People here claim XF doesn't need any SEO plugins. It's a lame statement. SEO setup depends on specifics. You can rarely create a universal solution that would also be better than any case-specific solution. tl;dr: XF's default SEO is about 4/10. Even as a universal solution. Could've been a lot better. You'll get some implicit arguments below. Really, guys. Memorize it. SEO is not embedded into XF! It's like saying that Morale is embedded in a religion. Everyone who says it has no clue what SEO is. Ok, let's get closer to it.
      • XF does microdata? Guess what? Microdata is not a bloody binary thing. It's not like you either use or not use it. Get your arse up, go to schema.org and take a glance at how many data types they have. How many of them do you think XF is using? Let's take a glance? https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool/u/0/#url=https://www.xenforo.rocks/categories/xenforo-2-x-x.178/ Wooow! The blessed XF Uses One type on a category page! What an amazing achievement! One type out of tens of thousands! And they call it microdata support. Amazing. Not gonna go further on this one. You'll get bored. You are bored now. [​IMG] Ok, I'll be quick with this one. Here are some datatypes XF ignores due to know little to nothing about SEO: ItemList - schema.org ListItem - schema.org Organization - schema.org logo - schema.org image - schema.org ImageObject - schema.org Article - schema.org etc, etc. And these are just classes. Each has tons of attributes that could've been used.
      • XF natively supports what was it? Sitemap? Hoooly hell. Ok, there are peeps who think sitemap actually has anything to do with ranking. No. It helps indexing. Indexing != Ranking. Take any site, delete its sitemap and measure organic traffic drop. Wanna know what will happen to the organic traffic? Nothing. XF, next time add keywords metatag. Sitemap is generally obsolete. It's native functionality makes no sense currently. It's useful to manipulate priorities, reindexing delays and hreflang, but 90% of SEOs don't even know about these things. Surely XF doesn't either.
      • XF has friendly URLs. Bravo. Good job. This is the only useful thing. Thanks, XF.
    2. What Are The Best SEO Add-Ons For XenForo all is BS except the tag one. The tag solution may actually be quite useful as alternative linking of articles, but vast majority of people fail to make those tags crawlable by bots. Remember: Bots Don't Click Fcking Buttons. Nor do they click lis. Or Inputs. They click <a>s. That's it. Also internal logic of this tagging solution is most likely poor enough to be useful.
    3. [xenMade.com] SEO (SEO2) the only useful thing here is alts and titles of images. Not enough tags though. Misses post title. Obviously misses the ability to set titles and alts explicitly on imageinsert, but that would've been to complex, I guess.
    4. VBSEO-Style Addition to Thread and Forum Categories - SEO Benefits - Good Job! Finally someone who thinks.
    5. Resources Looks like lots of addons, let's take a look at each:
      • [Rivmedia] Lazy Loader XF2 They say it's just async image loading, but it's not all that's it. Most likely they do image loading onscroll as 90% of JS beginners tend to do. Well, guess what? Google doesn't issue scroll events, so your bloody lazy loading will never be triggered by google hence what? The images won't get indexed. Still, there's a tiny chance this particular lazy loader is implemented correctly. Will have to take a closer look at it.
      • [Rivmedia] Guest Redirect & Profile unlink Useless. For search engines 403 would have the same effect as nofollow. Redirect in this spot can be harmful though.
      • [Rivmedia] Simple Redirects Mod Alias and Mod Rewrite are not simple enough for you? Well then maybe you don't wanna use a custom engine for your forum. Make a web 2.0 forum. Don't bother with XF.
      • [Rivmedia] Minimum Message Length This is a good one.
      • [Rivmedia] SEO Meta XF2 This is a very good one.
      • [Rivmedia] SEO Auto Linker This is a very good one. You may think it's spammy, but not really. It's awesome for promotion when used appropriately. And they have this limit of max links of the same rule on one page, which makes it a lot less spammy. Good Job!
      • [Rivmedia] Webmaster Central - Completely useless. I mean, it's not useless, GTM is awesome (not for SEO though), GSC is important too. But it's fairly easy to do it manually once and forget about it. Moreover, you actually only need GTM there. Everything else can be embedded via the glorious GTM.
      • [Rivmedia] HTML Minify XF2 - again, not worth paying for, but can sliiightly increase page load speed. Oh and make your source code look ugly as hell. But it's not important. Right?
      • [Rivmedia] Language Extras - It's useful. I would use hreflang for it rather than a bit obsolete lang, but lang will do too. And full implementation of hreflang on XF would be a huge pain.
      • Unfortunately it's all Rivmedia made. It's quite a number of plugins. It's months of coding for sure. And selling it for 75 pounds is a good deal. But there are many more improvements that could be applied to XF2 SEO-wise, Rivmedia. Consider making more addons. If these get monetized, of coarse.
    6. There also was a plugin that displayed similar topics. Can't find it. Please link to it :)
    Ok, Looks like this is all.
    Let's take at what I couldn't find:

    • No addons on hreflang (but I guess it's just too complex and no one has multilang forums)
    • No addons on error reporting. JS/HTTP errors. But it's solvable. JS can be logged with GTM/third-party SAASes and HTTP can be analyzed in the access log. But people don't know how to use this stuff properly.
    • No plugins (and no native support, XF) for this: Indicate paginated content - Search Console Help
    • No plugins (and no native support, XF) for proper schema implementation.
    • No plugins to work with sitemap properly. Nothing to create priority rules, no changefreq rules, no lastmod. Here, read up: sitemaps.org - Protocol
    • A plugin with a pack of what humanities call "semantic html" bb-tags.

    And many more things. btw, I wanna test how bold and italic look like. Yeah, as expected, XF doesn't have a clue about what semantic HTML is. Bold is b Italic is i. XF, read about the difference between b and strong also between i and em. Hint: one is semantic, the other is not. kek.

    So, folks, if you have a desire to make a few really useful SEO plugins for XF (since XF sucks at it), contact me. I'll help with ideas, algorithms and testing. Will only take 20% of the profits ;)


    Stuff to think about:


    You might've noticed how forums become less and less appealing to people. I believe the reason is that the grade of SEO techniques used on forums haven't evolved as fast as that of ecommerce and even info blogs.

    For some reason there are little to none forum owners who'd treat SEO seriously. Unfortunately.
    BabaDook likes this.