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  • Board Marketing methods..

    What are some good methods you use to get people onto your boards? What partners do you trade links with? Are search engines a big part in your traffic?

    I'm finding it hard as a newer board owner. (my board is UBB now, switching soon ) I'm curious to know some of these answers from the pros Part of my problem is, my board is geared to my local high school, but I would very much like to see the whole state get in on it, if not the country and world! Any suggestions?

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  • #2
    Hi John,
    Yeah, I know what you mean. Establishing a board is very hard. I`ve tried many things from outright advertising to special offers on my forum and parner site. I`ve got the best partner I could think of but it`s still not going my way. What I try to do now is highten the pagerank for google so that a large number of targeted visitors will come to my site and if that doesn`t work, then what will work? Currently I`m having luck and I think I can get some top placement in my demographic in about a month or two. And as you have a "small" targeted audience I think you should try the same. Get your page to top rank on "state* high school". So just get as many directories and sites pointing to you while you have that phrase somewhere on your page and I think it should work out

    *your state

    But if you want ALL the traditional advice, try
    http://www.sitepointforums.com/showt...unity+building

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    • #3
      I can't seem to get google to index my board. It may be because of UBB.. (I'm switching soon) I would love to be indexed on search engines to come up before any other local pages that have to do with my city. That would be pretty cool. Humm..

      Anymore ideas?

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      • #4
        Yes, that`s because of UBB and Perl. vB dellivers html pages to the spiders and browsers. If you don`t get many replies here, then do a search about "marketing" or "promotion" on this board or Sitepointforums.com as this has come up many times before.

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        • #5
          Wow.. I didn't know that! vBulletin is amazing! That's basically what I needed to know. I'm very familiar with search engines and marketing, and I just couldn't understand why my board wasn't being indexed!

          I'll make sure to check out more of that forum @ sitepointforums.com

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          • #6
            Actually until recently, people didn't get indexed with vBulletin. There are no HTML pages to index. It was easier with UBB and its flat files.

            However that has changed. This isn't the trick to getting listed in Google though.

            The trick is to get a link to your pages on other pages. These are given a higher priority for indexing by GoogleBot than those submitted via the URL submitter. The larger the page the better it is for you.

            Personally if you really want to get listed everywhere do this:

            Pay Inktomi the 30 bucks to index your index.php page (nothing else for now).
            Get the page listed in Yahoo try for your local regional listing if they won't put you in the main directory. Pay the Express fee if you can.
            Get your page listed in DMOZ.
            Apply for the FAST Partner program so they index your site.
            Submit to Looksmart. Again pay the submittal fee.
            Get listed on Goto...

            Don't worry about rankings right now. Just get listed.

            Once you are listed you are in. Their spiders and bots will return to visit your page on a regular basis (Inktomi does it nightly if you pay the fee). Now is when you start working on your optimization. You can improve your keywords and their density. But remember people are reading this and if it is too dense it will look like spam or a scam.

            Focus on the top half of your page. That is everything visible without scrolling at all. This is what the spiders will pay attention to. Make sure your graphics have appropriate ALT attributes, all of your Links (<A> tag) have the title attribute set.

            Then make sure the first text is similar to your description that you submitted the site with.

            The last thing you can do is make sure your text descriptions are nice and long... This adds text to your page. If you have a forum called "Everything about Cars" and the description is "Post things about cars here" you won't get a good ranking.

            Finally make sure your navigation is sound. I am still working on mine, especially where vBulletin drops elements like the navbar on certain screens.

            This is not an overnight process but it does work... Using this process I have gone from less than 1200 links indexed in the major search engines to over 15,000 in 3 months. I am still working on the descriptions for some of my forums. And getting the robots to go where I want them to is proving to be a pain. But it is progressing nicely.
            Translations provided by Google.

            Wayne Luke
            The Rabid Badger - a vBulletin Cloud demonstration site.
            vBulletin 5 API - Full / Mobile
            Vote for your favorite feature requests and the bugs you want to see fixed.

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            • #7
              wluke:
              Ok, so you are saying the opposite of what I`m saying
              PHP is server side, and the server processes the page (into html)once a browser visits the page, right (there are no html pages on the server but it will make one once a viewer is there)? Then why didn`t they cach the vBulletins some time ago?

              I`m also wondering how it can be easier to index a UBB when all the links to the UBB page will point to the clean url, and then when a browser comes to that url it will process the script and come up with a useful page. But when a simple spider comes, it will not understand anything and index some meaningless code.

              These were my theories until now, could you please clear this out for me Wayne?

              Sorry to take this off topic but I think John has gotten the answers he needs.

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              • #8
                Actually the spider doesn't care what technology is behind the displayed page it is all HTML when all is said and done.

                When you write a post in UBB, creates an HTML file. There is no script needed to read that post at any time. The URL is similar to
                www.board.com/ultimatebb/forum11/12345.html

                That is a fairly straight URL and spiders like this.

                Now on the default vBulletin you write a post and it is stored in the database. To retrieve that post you have to run a script:
                http://www.board.com/forum/showthrea...threadid=12345

                Now the spider can pull this up as well. However until recently they are programmed to discard any URL's that contained ? or & in them. The reason being is that up until a couple of years ago most of the pages with these characters in the URL were fleeting and didn't last a long time. This lead to a lot of Link Rot in the indexes. Another problem is that companies were only reindexing every 3-6 months as well. This also led to problems. So if you got rid of the potential problems (dynamic URLs) before putting them in the database it was easier on everyone.

                The spiders can read the pages correctly as long as Apache or another webserver can serve them properly. They were just programmed to disregard them.

                Well now times have changed. People not only want fast efficient searches but relevant ones. Also more sites are using databases to drive the content on their sites resulting in a lot of valid dynamic URLs. The first company to reprogram their bots to accept the dynamic URLs was Google. This forced a lot of their competitors to follow suit to remain competitive. As time goes ore and more companies are properly indexing URLs.

                This makes it easier to get vBulletin indexed over UBB now. There is another rule that the spiders follow when out scooping up links. They can only go so deep. Most companies restrict this to a depth of three.

                Now look at the sample URL's above again..
                (here they are for you again)
                www.board.com/ultimatebb/forum11/12345.html
                http://www.board.com/forum/showthrea...threadid=12345

                Now let's chop that off to a depth of three....
                www.board.com/ultimatebb/forum11/
                http://www.board.com/forum/showthrea...threadid=12345

                When you do that there isn't anything to index in forum 11 on the UBB even though there may be 1,000 different threads in there. None the HTML is found and nothing else renders properly. There is an index.html in each forum directory but it is empty and contains nothing useful.

                However on vBulletin, everything is run from one directory and generated dynamically so it is still indexed because it is in the three levels.

                Of course this is a very basic explanation and a lot more variables can be thrown into this. But it should give you a general impression.
                Translations provided by Google.

                Wayne Luke
                The Rabid Badger - a vBulletin Cloud demonstration site.
                vBulletin 5 API - Full / Mobile
                Vote for your favorite feature requests and the bugs you want to see fixed.

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                • #9
                  Thanks for the very nice explanation Wayne, I got to know more than I asked for

                  Are you also saying that we can expect to get pagerank on our subforums in vBulletin?

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