If you are running a public or external community, optimizing your community website for search engines is a critical factor is making your community a success. In this article we'll cover how you can verify your community on Google Search Console and make required technical optimizations for search engines.

Verifying your community on Google Search Console

Before we move to the details, check out the following intro to Search Console.

There are several techniques with which you can verify the community on Google Search Console

If you choose to verify by using HTML tag, simply copy the HTML tag as shown below.

Next you need to paste this tag in the advanced settings on community theme editor:
Admin Panel > Theme > Advanced 

Optimizing community website with SEO Boost app

Tribe's SEO app allows you to configure advanced settings for your community and precisely control how search engine bots index your pages. It allows you to set the noindex, title, description, and og:image of user profile page, group page, and topic page.

1. Ability to add noindex meta tag to the community, Groups, topics, and users if you don't want it to appear on search engines. This is useful when your community is live, but not yet open for public or you are simply building a completely private community. Or maybe because of GDPR you do not want your users to be indexed on search engines, then you can use this option. 

2. Control the pages that would be indexed by search engines with robots.txt file. The example below shows that the community has disallowed search engines from indexing user profile data.

You can learn more about robots.txt file here - https://moz.com/learn/seo/robotstxt38.

3. Update the sitemap of your community site which would help search engines discover the web pages efficiently.

This sitemap can be added in the Google Search Console.

4. Make granular changes to any content in your community. If SEO app is enabled and you click on 'edit' for any post or question, you would see 'Advanced SEO settings' under 'Show Admin Tools'.

This gives you the following options:

  • Add Open Graph image.  Learn more about OG tags here - https://neilpatel.com/blog/open-graph-meta-tags/56.
  • Edit the default `meta title` and `meta description`.
  • Add `noindex` tag. This is useful when your community is public and discoverable by search engines, but you would like to selectively hide some posts from the search bots.

5. Selectively optimize the member profiles -- edit the user profile and open up the Admin tools to change the title, description, and set the OG image. You can also add noindex  tag certain member profiles to restrict search engines from crawling the profiles.

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