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Guides

SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ensures your community is as friendly as it can be for search engines to both index and rank properly when people search for things that match your Community focus.

It is not an exact science. Opinions vary on best practices and the "rules" that search engines use change all the time. Invision Community does all the best supported and universally recognized approaches. We are always updating SEO with new releases to ensure things stay on track.

Automatic Features

There are quite a few things that happen behind the scenes in regard to SEO that you do not have to do anything about.

Converter Redirects

If you converted to Invision Community from another product, in most cases the system will automatically redirect links from your old software to the new locations. This uses an HTTP 301 redirect to ensure that the search engine knows to update to the new location.

You can install our converters if you have not already converted, by using the instructions in the following guide

 

JSON-LD Markup

This markup is automatically generated and creates "micro data" that search engines and other systems use to get more information about what they are seeing. Things like dates, titles, images, snippets, etc. can be included so other systems know what they are seeing when they come across a link to your content.

Proper HTTP Codes

When you visit a page that is not found or not allowed you get a 404, those areas restricted get a 403, upgrade in progress returns a 503, and so on. These response codes properly inform search engine spiders what is going on with your site so they can act accordingly.

Site Map

Your site map is an XML-formatted document that search engines use to get a full index of pages on your Community. Normally you would not need to change these settings as the recommended settings work fine for nearly all sites.

There are more advanced settings if you are interested in changing weighting, limiting results, and other options for the site map. Visit Search Engine Optimization to see advanced options.

Friendly URLs

Friendly URLs (FURLs) convert links on your site from something like this:

http://example.com/?app=forums&module=forums&controller=topic&id=1

 

to something more like:

http://example.com/topic/1-my-latest-hobbies/

 

This is important as search engines will index your community based on items such as the URL, and so the example above would be more likely to be ranked under key words such as "hobbies" and phrases such as "latest hobbies".

FURLs are already setup automatically on our Cloud services.

 

Applies to self-hosted customers only

To setup FURLs on your own service, we assume you are running Apache web server. You can setup on other servers but these instructions assume Apache.

You will need mod_rewrite an ability to upload .htaccess to rewrite URLs. Please contact your host to ensure you can do this.

Go to Search Engine Optimization, enable FURLs, and download the generated .htaccess file. Upload to the root directory where Invision Community is installed and then click continue. Your Community will check to see if FURLs are working.

Meta Tags

Meta tags are an item of text which describes the content on a page. We provide you with the ability to add meta tags to any area of the site, either on an individual basis, a type basis, or site wide.

Meta tags are used by all major search engines to index your site in a more correct manner. Keywords, descriptions etc will be used to ensure that your site is shown in the results that are relevant for your site. For example, here on the community we may want our downloads area to be indexed by search engines under the description 'Marketplace' with tags such as plugin, and application.

Consider this more of an advanced, optional feature as the JSON-LD system does take care of quite a bit of meta data exposure to search engines.

You can add meta tags by visiting Search Engine Optimization then clicking on the "Meta Tags" tab. You can add a new tag by selecting the "Add Meta Tags" option and filling in the details as appropriate. You can currently add the following meta tag types to any page, by adding the page address, page title, then adding as many meta tags as you need.

Keywords = words which describe the topic of your page 
Description = A description of the page (you often see these shown in search engine results)
Robots = Allows you to specify robot related tags for search engines such as NOINDEX and NOFOLLOW
Other = There are many other types of tag you can add such as author, copyright, language and more

You can use * as a wildcard to include multiple pages for your meta tags. You can see this in the example image below.

meta-tag-add.thumb.png.72da5ade63132ac64ad153fe4a5c4603.png

 

In addition to the manual tag editor, we also have available a live meta tag editor available where you can edit meta tags directly from the page. The use of this is shown below, and can be accessed via the "launch Live Media Editor" link.

2018-06-07_17-04-11.gif

 

Things to Check

Be sure to check a few other areas to ensure your Community is setup how you want it:

  • Browse your community as a Guest (not logged in) so you can see what a search engine spider would see. If you cannot view an area then it cannot be indexed. Similarly, if you can view an area you want private then check your permissions.
  • Several apps allow you to customize error messages. Rather than seeing a generic "Permission Denied" message when visiting an area they cannot view, you can put in more friendly text prompting the user to join your Community.
  • Enabling HTTPS can help with some search engine rankings and show fewer security warnings to visitors.

Advanced FURL Configuration

A feature that is both powerful and potentially harmful, advanced FURL configuration should only be used if you are comfortable changing the URL structure of your Community. For nearly all sites it is not necessary.

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Here we show an example use case of advanced FURL customization. Say you have a previous system that used the url /oldLogin for your login page. By adding a FURL configuration here this would automatically load the actual Invision Community login page when visiting that URL.

Other uses cases might be renaming certain URLs if you use your Community in a unique way, adding aliases, or capturing older links that might need redirection.

 


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