Search engine optimization of discussion forums is not a very well explored topic in the SEO circles. The forums still look the way they did ten years before and grow into bulky megasites that are neither friendly to the information seeker or search engines. In fact, come to think of it, not much has changed when it comes to forums.
There is a great post at Webmasterworld which outlines some important factors for better indexing and rankings of forums in search engines. The factors included are:
- Get rid of duplicate content
- Get rid of any links that do not point to content you want indexed
- Get active metatags on your board
- Get all the text not needed off the board
- Get rid of stars and numbers to bloat member status
- Clean up your header
- Get links to your content
- Create a sitemap and keep it updated
- Put links to your content on vanilla html pages
- Get linking pages high in your code
- Get links to content higher up the page in the code
- Give many possibilities for people and bots to see content using different routes
Now, that is a whole lot to chew on. However, there seems to be a need to change the way forums are managed to make them more easily navigable and useful. Forum discussions at Webmasterworld.