Google Indexing Question

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CGI1984
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Google Indexing Question

Post by CGI1984 »

We recently put our site online (about a month ago) and we are starting to see the Google bot on our site everyday, in fact we see its on the site much of the time, throughout the date.

So far Google only seems to have indexed our Forum Categories and regular Forums so far. No posts to speak of have been indexed as of yet.

Is there a chance we may have done anything wrong that may be preventing Google from indexing our posts as well, or this is just normal for a site that has only been online for about a month?

Thanks.
Last edited by CGI1984 on Thu Feb 20, 2020 9:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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KevC
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Re: Gogle Indexing Question

Post by KevC »

That's pretty normal. It can take weeks or months.

Make sure you've set the bots group to have access to the forums if you want them to index posts.

permissions
group forum permissions
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select the forums you want
bot access
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CGI1984
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Re: Google Indexing Question

Post by CGI1984 »

KevC wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 9:11 am
That's pretty normal. It can take weeks or months.

Make sure you've set the bots group to have access to the forums if you want them to index posts.

permissions
group forum permissions
bots
select the forums you want
bot access
Yes, thank you, have already done that.

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CGI1984
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Re: Google Indexing Question

Post by CGI1984 »

I just noticed that Google seems to be indexing some of our posts, but only showing the Forum category in the search results and not the actual Topic. So, for example, if someone searches for a Topic within one of our forums, then Google will show them the Forum it is in within the search results instead of linking directly to the Topic. I guess this is better than nothing, but is this normal?

It would make more sense for Google to actually index the Topic posts and provide those in the search results instead of just a Forum containing what the person is searching for. Normally when I search for something on Google it leads me directly to the post I am searching for, not just the top of a forum board filled with hundreds or thousands of posts.

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Mick
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Re: Google Indexing Question

Post by Mick »

Again, I think all this comes with patience and is normal. Have you asked at google, maybe they can explain how they do their business? FWIW I’ve got a live test board, about eight weeks old, that’s exactly the same.
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CGI1984
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Re: Google Indexing Question

Post by CGI1984 »

Mick wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 3:10 pm
Again, I think all this comes with patience and is normal. Have you asked at google, maybe they can explain how they do their business? FWIW I’ve got a live test board, about eight weeks old, that’s exactly the same.
Thanks for the input and vote of confidence on that this is normal.

I am not sure, but I don't think it is really possible to get answers from Google directly. I think at best they have some sort of Google community where other people will try and answer questions on behalf of Google, but you wont get a straight answer from the horses mouth AFAIK, but I could be wrong.

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Re: Google Indexing Question

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CGI1984 wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 6:55 pm
I am not sure, but I don't think it is really possible to get answers from Google directly.
You can sign up for Googles Search console (formerly Webmastertools), it will give you lot of detailed information about what it is indexing, problems etc.

https://search.google.com/search-console/about
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CGI1984
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Re: Google Indexing Question

Post by CGI1984 »

thecoalman wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 2:02 am
CGI1984 wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 6:55 pm
I am not sure, but I don't think it is really possible to get answers from Google directly.
You can sign up for Googles Search console (formerly Webmastertools), it will give you lot of detailed information about what it is indexing, problems etc.

https://search.google.com/search-console/about
Thank you. We did that when we created our forum. We also have the Google Analytics extension installed on the site with our Google Analytics ID.

We did have a small problem recently reported by Google (Breadcrumbs missing Field "ID"), but we added some code for that and we are now waiting for Google to finish their validation process of the fix we made. I think Google said it can take them up to a week to review after you inform them you have fixed it.

ADDED:

These were the changes we made for the missing Field ID error: viewtopic.php?p=15418881#p15418881

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Re: Google Indexing Question

Post by CGI1984 »

By the way, I just noticed that for our phphBB forum Google is showing a meta description for the Index page as follows:
Registered users: Google [Bot], Legend: Administrators, Global moderators. Home. All times are UTC+7; Contact us…
It should be showing the information under ACP > Site Description, no?

And can I change what Google shows for the description of the site to something more meaningful?

Also, I have seen how some other phpBB sites come up in Google and they show a nice block of 10 different boards (two columns with 5 boards each) under the site listing and a search box at the very top of the Google listing for the site for use in searching directly on the phpBB site from Google itself. I assume this isn't something that is paid for because it isn't part of Google Ads. Is there a way someone can set this up with Google?

Thanks.

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Re: Google Indexing Question

Post by Marek Muc »

Hi, if Google Search Console shows that a topic has been indexed, then there is not much you can do in terms of phpBB. It takes some time to rank in Google. When I launched my website and entered my domain name in Google, my website was buried deep on page 4-5.

Are you running a phpBB-based board as a standalone website or is it an addition to other content?

If this is a standalone fresh board, let’s be honest – it’s very unlikely that a random Google user would like to visit it so don’t expect Google to show your board in search results very soon

If you want to dig deeper with SEO, I highly recommend moz.com as a reliable and unbiased source.

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CGI1984
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Re: Google Indexing Question

Post by CGI1984 »

Thanks. I am not referring to a topic being indexed, but the useless description that comes up for the main landing/home/board index page of the site. Can't that be changed?

Yes, it is a phpBB-based board as a standalone website. What I did was search for my site by domain name and it comes up in first position (when I force Google to search for my exact domain name). I think your site should be the same.

I am also still curious how a phpBB website gets that nice Google search result looking block with search box.

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Re: Google Indexing Question

Post by Marek Muc »

This is meta description. PhpBB does not put anything as meta description for a topic/post, but after some time Google figures out what to show a user for each post (what it thinks is most relevant to a search query). There is an extension as well (not worth using IMHO):
https://www.phpbb.com/customise/db/exte ... scription/

re. search box - this is not shown for new and thus untrusted websites, but anyway, phpBB.com is a website with more content that just a board, I think it's rare to have that search box displayed for a phpBB standalone board, but I'm not sure on that

How do you plan to attract users to your stand-alone board?

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Re: Google Indexing Question

Post by thecoalman »

First I would check to see what Google is seeing. Install a user agent switcher in your browser, log out of the forum and switch it to Google user agent. you may need to close the browser and/or clear the cache.
CGI1984 wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 6:31 pm
And can I change what Google shows for the description of the site to something more meaningful?
The description for a page should be unique or not have one at all. The site description would only apply to index page.

Also, I have seen how some other phpBB sites come up in Google and they show a nice block of 10 different boards (two columns with 5 boards each)
How or when Google displays this is up to Google.
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CGI1984
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Re: Google Indexing Question

Post by CGI1984 »

Thank you. I installed the user agent extension for Chrome, but when I ran it I only saw the main board index of my site as I normally see it. I am not sure if I did something wrong or what I am supposed to be seeing when I run the user agent extension?

Also, the site description I provided above was the result that came up in the search results in Google for the forum's index page. That is why I feel something is wrong. It is as if Google is not seeing the information under ACP > Site Description and just pulling random text from the CSS of the index page.

Thanks again

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thecoalman
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Re: Google Indexing Question

Post by thecoalman »

CGI1984 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:06 am
Thank you. I installed the user agent extension for Chrome, but when I ran it I only saw the main board index of my site as I normally see it. I am not sure if I did something wrong or what I am supposed to be seeing when I run the user agent extension?
When you use Google's user agent phpBB should detect you as Google and apply bot permissions. Usernames should be plain text instead of links for example. As another example If you had a forum denied to bots but available to guests it should not be viewable.

It's important that you logout first, clear the browser cache and just to be sure restart the browser.
Also, the site description I provided above was the result that came up in the search results in Google for the forum's index page.
Google will usually use the site description if available but not all the time. When there is none available it will pick something from the page.
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