What About SEO & SSL?

That, as they say, is a very good question. The simple answer is that the phpBB 3.0.x, 3.1.x and 3.2.x forum software need nothing (I repeat NOTHING) done to make them a better target to search engines.

So, lets explain a little further.

What is SEO?
  • Search Engine Optimisation or SEO is the simple activity of ensuring a website can be found in search engines for words and phrases relevant to what the site is offering. In many respects it's simply quality control for websites. Having said that, if there was ever an industry that was little understood by outsiders it's SEO.
So, how do I get found by search engines?
  • Write fantastic, useful content that uses words and phrases used by people who search for your products and services.
  • Make it easy for people to share and link to it.
  • Keep doing it!
Not exactly rocket science is it?

What about adding meta key words?
  • Who better to ask than Google.
    Q: Does Google ever use the "keywords" meta tag in its web search ranking?

    A: In a word, no. Google does sell a Google Search Appliance, and that product has the ability to match meta tags, which could include the keywords meta tag. But that's an enterprise search appliance that is completely separate from our main web search. Our web search (the well-known search at Google.com that hundreds of millions of people use each day) disregards keyword metatags completely. They simply don't have any effect in our search ranking at present.
    from Google themselves
OK, but what about the nonsense URL's that phpBB produces. Surely they can't help my rankings?
  • Lets ask Google again
    Q: Does that mean I should avoid rewriting dynamic URLs at all?

    A: That's our recommendation, unless your rewrites are limited to removing unnecessary parameters, or you are very diligent in removing all parameters that could cause problems. If you transform your dynamic URL to make it look static you should be aware that we might not be able to interpret the information correctly in all cases. If you want to serve a static equivalent of your site, you might want to consider transforming the underlying content by serving a replacement which is truly static. One example would be to generate files for all the paths and make them accessible somewhere on your site. However, if you're using URL rewriting (rather than making a copy of the content) to produce static-looking URLs from a dynamic site, you could be doing harm rather than good. Feel free to serve us your standard dynamic URL and we will automatically find the parameters which are unnecessary.
    Again, from Google Themselves
Then theres SSL

Is it worth having SSL solely for SEO Purposes? Short answer? No

Oh, you wanted a longer answer.
  • Google will know
    For these reasons, over the past few months we’ve been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search ranking algorithms. We've seen positive results, so we're starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. For now it's only a very lightweight signal — affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content — while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.
    Google Themselves yet again
That quote is from a year ago, and has not been updated since then. If Google say it carries little weight, who are we to argue.

So, if your forum is just that, a forum, SSL is more expense and trouble than it is worth.

So there you have it. To get good rankings you need good content. THAT IS ALL.