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  #1  
Old 06 Mar 2003, 19:32
Overgrow's Avatar
Overgrow Overgrow is offline
 
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Thumbs up Converting guests from the archive -> repeat members

Now that I have my forum archive listed in Google, how do I make sure those guests come back?

You will see this problem on most vBulletin sites using the archival hacks. While they may get listed in Google and may get tons of guest traffic from the search results, how many of those search-guests are encouraged to register or even view another page on the site?

I've seen so many sites recently where the guests outnumber the members more than 10:1! Obviously the result of poor guest->member conversion.

First, let's examine the mistakes made in the typical archive results page. No offense meant to my example site as you are using the standard templates:

http://www.explosivelabs.com/forums/...ead/t-470.html
Explosive Labs is simply a random example of sites using one of the archive hacks.

-Results page with logo looks like a typical vBulletin page. It does not imply that the user is only getting half of the experience.

-Most importantly, all of the breadcrumb links go back to the archive. This makes no sense as you want the users to go forward into the real forum and not stay isolated in the archive.

-The "Click Here" for original thread link is nearly the same color as the table background and does not stand out AT all. And it is the only way on that page for the user to find your real site!


Now let's take a look at a few examples of other sites that are more ambitious when trying to turn guest-searchers into fulltime members.

http://www.phpbuilder.com/mail/php-g...00091/2272.php
PHPBuilder is one of the oldest forum archives in Google. I've been using it for years and it is still one of the most effective. The page draws the user into the other content of the site. Also, since it only displays one post in the archive at a time, it forces you to click into the normal thread to read the replies.

http://forums.devshed.com/archive/5/2002/01/1/27968
DevShed is one of the best computer related communities and sites that I've found. They use my old vBSpiderFriend to manage their archive. It returns very good Google rankings for the archive due to high keyword density and placement. I believe it also brings search-guests into the rest of the site because ALL of the links go to the real forums. There is no link back to the archive from the threads because there is no need. You don't want users browsing your archive-- when they find their answer they should be compelled to click into the rest of the site.

http://www.overgrow.com/edge/showthread/t-249754.html
My new archive results page. Advantages:

-Eyes first hit on the breadcrumb trail that leads back to the real forums and not back to the archive

-Large, labeled search box that encourages people to search the FAQ

-Quick link to the FAQ for more information next to the thread title

Everything leads back to the real site and there is an easily recognizable search box that encourages people on a quest for answers to find them with my search engine. If you've recently found yourself with an influx of guests but not many new members, putting a little attention into the archive template will pay off greatly as people are encouraged to register and return.

Hope that helps someone~
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Last edited by Overgrow; 06 Mar 2003 at 19:35.
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  #2  
Old 07 Mar 2003, 03:20
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limey limey is offline
 
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Great points.


Block Disabled:      (Update License Status)  
Suspended or Unlicensed Members Cannot View Code.

Having trouble getting the category to show on the forumdisplay...

Last edited by limey; 07 Mar 2003 at 04:28.
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  #3  
Old 07 Mar 2003, 18:07
FlyBoy73 FlyBoy73 is offline
 
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Yes, definitely. Great point. Now, who wants to make some $$ editing mine a bit?
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Old 07 Mar 2003, 18:14
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Overgrow Overgrow is offline
 
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Hey nice imitation limey!

I didn't build a new navbar, I simply used the existing archive's navbar and moved it up top. I changed the archive's code in functions.php to breadcrumb with the proper forum links instead of the archive links.

I see no reason to have a breadcrumb trail through the archive at all. Instead I put a generic "Back to the archive" link at the bottom of every page so spiders don't think they're orphaned.
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  #5  
Old 07 Mar 2003, 18:28
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Overgrow Overgrow is offline
 
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One more small thing.. Be sure to edit the archive template and move the thread[title] to be the FIRST THING in the <meta title>, instead of the forum name. It's inefficient to have it any other way since you are trying to get the highest search rank possible for that thread's keywords-- they need to be the first thing in the title.

(Of course I think you should do that sitewide.. ever noticed when you minimize a bunch of windows from your site, they all start with the same text, your forum title? Doesn't it make more sense to have them start with the thread title or page title so you know which minimized window is which?)
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  #6  
Old 08 Mar 2003, 02:55
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limey limey is offline
 
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Overgrow: again thanks for inspiring me to change my archive. I think the $thread[title] alone is going to be something the search engines will eat up!

Now off to try to rework my navbar
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  #7  
Old 08 Mar 2003, 11:54
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Dean C Dean C is offline
 
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Good tips Overgrow Thanks

- miSt
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  #8  
Old 10 Mar 2003, 03:40
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JulianD JulianD is offline
 
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Thanks for your great tips overgrow! I'm planning to launch my new site very soon and i'm subscribing to this thread for reference!
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  #9  
Old 10 Mar 2003, 04:59
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Velocd Velocd is offline
 
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I would suggest trying to integrate my "Similar Threads v2 (or v1, which might lack speed but offers a more strict filter)" hack, being that the archive hack probably generates with low queries and fast page output anyway, there shouldn't be much of a performance decrease--I would think, unless you have a gigantic forum. Being that you ultimately want to attract the visitor to your register page, if they visit an archived thread and are unsatisfied with their findings, they might simply click back and wander off somewhere else. But, if there is a listing of similar threads in plain visible sight, there is a possibility they will wander onto those threads, which places them in a tree of threads branching out everywhere.

I have yet to use the archive hack even though I'm writing this, but after reading your post Overgrow I just might consider an installation soon.
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  #10  
Old 10 Mar 2003, 17:17
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Overgrow Overgrow is offline
 
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Thanks for the good words, everyone.

Vcd> Is there an online example of your v1 hack? I've never been keen on Similar Threads simply because I've never seen vb3's version pull anything up that was relevant. Thanks~
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  #11  
Old 19 Mar 2003, 14:56
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Overgrow Overgrow is offline
 
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I've updated my Archive results page again. Improvements are including the main site nav-bar and the bottom site links-- both of these are to help with internal link structure and PageRank. The top bar should draw visitors into the site.

Also I've added a big Click here link when there is an image attached to the post so that the user knows they are missing the full experience.

http://www.overgrow.com/edge/showthread/t-255769.html
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  #12  
Old 19 Mar 2003, 16:07
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Does changing the tempaltes affect the ability to be spidered/crawled?

- miSt
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  #13  
Old 19 Mar 2003, 16:15
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Overgrow Overgrow is offline
 
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Not at all, I've got Google, Teoma, Wisenut, and Inkitomi on right now. Improving certain parts of the archive, most importantly putting the thread title first in the meta-title and using an < h1 > tag for the thread name, will improve your result ranking on Google. Other changes I've made are to improve PageRank (internal links labeled well) and to increase the number of guests that hit one page and then convert to full members of the site.

ps. a Search Engine forum here on vB.org isn't a bad idea.. ie, how to improve your vBulletin site's Search Engine ranking. Google/Yahoo listings are the #1 reason for my site's success.
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  #14  
Old 19 Mar 2003, 21:21
RDX1 RDX1 is offline
 
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Can't access your archive...
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  #15  
Old 20 Mar 2003, 15:13
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Dean C Dean C is offline
 
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Well i agree with you there Overgrow but dedicating a forum to it might be too much. General Hacking Discussion and The Lounge cover discussion about search engine rankings

- miSt
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