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Discussion in 'Notices & Announcements' started by Admin, Jan 4, 2016.

  1. Admin

    Admin Forum Administrator
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    Other than word of mouth and mentions in social media, one of the ways in which a forum can attract new members is to come up within the first couple of pages of search results from Google, Bing and Yahoo. In order for that to be an accurate predictor, it is necessary to figure out what search terms someone is likely to use if they are looking for what we've got. If you were looking for a forum for people who were fifty years old or older, which words would you enter into a search engine? Here are a few that I have been tracking, as well as our positions in the search engine result pages (SERPs), with Google being the most important search engine, followed by Bing and then Yahoo, as far as the number of people who use them. I don't look beyond the twentieth result because people rarely look beyond the first two pages of results.

     
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  2. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    Yep I search for Over 50's discussion forum

    ..or over 50's Chat forum ( and sometimes add country specific)
     
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  3. Terry Page

    Terry Page Veteran Member
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    I don't really know anything about how search engine rankings actually work Ken, but I understand that Google themselves can skew the results to favour sites paying for ads with them, though that may only be a rumour?

    I found this forum by word of mouth, and have noticed that if I did search for forums this one didn't often come up in the first page of results. I use the words senior and forums mainly, and sometimes add words like best, reviews or list etc. I have rarely used the words Club or only.
    I don't usually add Over 50 either as that doesn't seem needed if you use senior which to me would be older than fifty or even 60, :rolleyes: that though is possibly because I am in my 70s.

    I do notice the other two forums I have joined seniorforums and Buzz50 usually come top or high up on the listings, whatever words I use
    Can you improve the search rankings in some way by using keywords or the equivalent of tags that you put on photos?

    I guess if you do get higher up the search list and attract a lot more members the quality could drop, because they are not being introduced by the current membership, which I consider to be the cream of the seniors culled from other forums.
     
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  4. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    It all depends what you want in a forum. I prefer quality people over quantity. I really like knowing all the people I'm talking to and not just answering questions on different subjects.

    A few more members here and I would consider this the perfect forum....I don't come on here with a knot in my stomach because someone is attacking me for my views.

    What do you want for this forum, Ken?

    I've searched many forums and there really isn't too many good ones.. SF used to be good but there are cliques now and heaven help you if you say the wrong thing, lol.
     
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  5. Bonnie Thomas

    Bonnie Thomas Very Well-Known Member
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    As the newest newbie here, I only found my way to the board by a friend's suggestion.
    Searches never brought it up.
     
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  6. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Yes, that's how I found this forum also, Bonnie.
     
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  7. Terry Page

    Terry Page Veteran Member
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    I agree with all you say here Chrissy, SF went to the dogs and Buzz50 is simply too successful and large to feel part of. I think Ken's mainly hands off approach works well, treat people like adults and they usually behave that way.

    I do prefer the layout/software that SF uses though, it seems easier to negotiate somehow, but that's a minor niggle :rolleyes:
     
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  8. Terry Page

    Terry Page Veteran Member
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    Yes Bonnie I feel word of mouth works very well, you are a welcome new member of the Crème de la Crème

    wsw.jpg
     
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  9. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    It has been a few years since I have done anything other than sporadic advertising with Google. At the time, it seemed to have the opposite effect, as the sites that I was advertising on AdWords seemed to drop in their natural positions in the search engine results. I got the idea that they decided that if my sites came up high naturally, I might quit advertising.

    I do get some visits from people searching on terms that include the word "only" as well as "club" but, for the latter at least, I suspect they might be people who have been here before and remember the name but didn't save the URL. When a web site is new, it is hard to compete for the more common search terms so it is good practice to try to rank on some of the less competitive search terms. With less competition, a site can compete in these search terms and get visits from those who do use them.

    "Over 50" and "over fifty" are very competitive, actually. A lot of people do search on them, and there are a lot of sites competing for them. Among the variables that affect the SERPs in all of the search engines, particularly Google, are longevity and domain specificity. Sites that have been around longer are more likely to show up in searches, and sites that include the search phrase in the name tend to do better than those that don't. Although some of the search engine gurus claim that domain specificity is no longer effective in Google, a look a the results show that it is. Since "seniors only" is in my domain name, I tend to do well on searches using those terms, and have almost from the beginning.

    On the other hand, it's hard to compete with sites that have been around for several years. Seniorforums.com has history as an active domain in 2003 and 2004. Then it seems to have died out and the domain was probably purchased by the current owners in 2011 since it shows up again in early 2012. Buzz50.com has been around since 2007, so those two domains have several years on us, as SENIORSonly.club began in January of last year.

    That doesn't mean that I can't compete with them, but that it's harder to do so. My wife and I both did search engine optimization for a living before they had a name for it, so I know how to do it. If I wanted to compete in a hurry, there would be a monetary cost but, for this forum, I don't intend to make any money off of it so I am not inclined to spend a lot of money on it. We have a good group of people right now, so there's no big rush to get bigger. Besides, forums that grow too quickly sometimes implode.

    So I will just be doing things that don't cost a lot of money, since I am confident that we will slowly climb our way into the first couple of pages of the SERPs without a paid campaign. I have paid to place the forum in some of the more reputable directories, but I'm not going to use AdWords or pay-per-click schemes. As a caveat, from time to time I get coupons from Google for a free $50 or $100 worth of advertising, so I might use them every now and then.

    It is safer to let a site place well naturally. Interestingly, Google sometimes penalizes domains for participating in paid link schemes while, at the same time, running AdWords, which is itself a paid link scheme. In reality, they like to scare people away from using someone else's paid linking schemes. Anyhow, this forum is being spidered constantly, and I have noticed that we've already been linked to and mentioned in a few blog entries here and there, and we've been steadily moving up even in some of the more competitive search phrases.

    This thread itself is a part of the plan since, by mentioning the search phrases that I am targeting in a natural way, they will be indexed by the search engine spiders, which will itself help us to rank for these search terms. I thought some of you might find it interesting to see how the rankings change over time. There will be fluctuations, up and down, but I trust we'll gradually do better.

    I don't want people to attack others for stating their views. As long a differing viewpoint is seen as a challenge rather than a threat, we'll do okay. To answer your real question though, I want this forum to remain a comfortable place for people to be. However, every web site owner hopes that their site will become more popular, and I am not any different in that. Since all of us have interests that differ from other people, the more people we have the more likely we are to find people with similar interests. When a forum grows gradually, I don't think that it has to get out of hand, and I certainly wouldn't want it to.

    @Terry Page, Seniorforums.com uses vBulletin, which is one of the older active forum softwares. When I was deciding which software to use, that is one of the software programs that I considered using. However, a lot of longtime vBulletin users were unhappy with its latest update, and a lot of them were migrating to Xenforo. In the end, since I couldn't decide which I liked better, I opted for the one that was less expensive.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
  10. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    SF has gone down a lot in members and lurkers. When I first joined in 2013 there would be 30 people online at one time and 800+ lurkers and bots.

    Now there usually is only a handful, maybe 15 on a good day and guests and bots are about 200 and this is fairly consistent and I look every day.

    They might have a huge member list but it's the same people posting every day and it isn't that many really.
     
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  11. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    Yeah, since there's no real downside to it, other than increasing expectations, a lot of people never purge their member list, so there might be people who haven't logged onto the forum in years. I haven't purged our list either, but we've only been around for a year. Next year, I'll probably purge the ones who haven't logged in during the past year.
     
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  12. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    image.jpg I know quite a few conservatives from an old forum I used to be on, I'll mention this forum to them.

    One of them, Maria even had her own forum for awhile, Yankee Patriot on proboards.

    In fact she is more than just conservative. I also have some very nice liberal friends from a forum 11 years ago.

    This is Maria. :)

    John (Falcon) knows all these people also and would recommend them highly I'm sure. We all started out on a forum called Wired Seniors about 12 yrs ago. It was a huge forum, I've never come across a forum that was set up in the way this one was. One day it just closed.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
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  13. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    Liberals are welcome too. In fact, if we're honest with ourselves, most of us have things that we are conservative about, and others in which we are liberal.
     
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  14. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    I know I do, Ken. We have some wonderful liberals on here already.
     
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  15. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    I think having a mix makes for interesting dialog unless one wants to be confrontational.
     
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