"Forum" vs "Forums"

sactown

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IMO --- Think about what someone is likely to search for...

BMW Forum or BMW Forums ? Well, the first is included in the second, so I would lean toward forums.

As you can see - it does make a difference in rankings


View attachment 54734
Interesting. So in my case I own both domains and the unused one would redirect to the other. But I hadn't yet done a Google Trends comparison on the two terms so thanks for inspiring me to check. Interesting results. I ran it for both Ford and BMW for comparison. Seems from this perspective Forum takes the lead.ford forum search compare.pngBMW forum search compare.png
 

sactown

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Ironically what prompted me to post apart from the comments by haqzore were thoughts about how I search the Internet for information and resources. While search results will still lead me to forums it's never because I've used 'forum' as part of a search term. That raises a question in my mind on how much value the word has as part of a search term. Would I get better results if I included it? I can't answer that because I never use it and I suspect neither does the average user. I can say categorically no one else in this household does but that's obviously too small a sample to be of any real value.

One other thought which has already been touched on; I would question its value further if your forum listing was tabbed rather than your landing page. If you are thinking about providing further tabbed resources such as articles or classifieds it makes more sense in my mind not to have any of the tabbed content as part of the URL.

There's probably no right or wrong answer to this, just shades of grey because your domain name might ultimately be determined by what's actually available.
You're right, there's no right or wrong answer, it's maybe better or worse. The discussion is certainly helping to make a more informed naming selection.
 

Jeremy8

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I think - if anything - the bias would be toward us Admins WANTING to use "forum".
We are used to "forum". It was our standard for many years.

And when we lean away from "forum", its due to experience and seeing things evolve from the inside out.

The general public, today, is no longer used to it.
I don't agree that "forum" is standard. I've seen "forums" in URLS and site names more than "forum". That's the only reason I prefer it, because I feel like it's more common.

Search terms aren't a good indicator though. You might search for a "car forum," but websites are more likely to be called "the car forums."
 

sactown

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I don't agree that "forum" is standard. I've seen "forums" in URLS and site names more than "forum". That's the only reason I prefer it, because I feel like it's more common.

Search terms aren't a good indicator though. You might search for a "car forum," but websites are more likely to be called "the car forums."
Within my limited sphere of interests the singular has been more common. But it would be very easy for me to fall into the sample size fallacy in this regards, your experiences are the opposite of mine and just as valid.
 

DigNap15

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I have a forum (XF) and I am starting to think that the use of the word forum is preventing me getting new members.

I am thinking about changing it to Community or Group

The under 40's do not know what a forum is.

(Google does not like forums either)
 

sactown

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I have a forum (XF) and I am starting to think that the use of the word forum is preventing me getting new members.

I am thinking about changing it to Community or Group

The under 40's do not know what a forum is.

(Google does not like forums either)
If I may ask, what market is your website geared towards?

Also I haven't heard that Google is penalizing forums, can you point me to further info on that?
 

DigNap15

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If I may ask, what market is your website geared towards?

Also I haven't heard that Google is penalizing forums, can you point me to further info on that?
My forum is a general and mainly political one here in New Zealand.
Its all over the web that Google does not rate forums as they believe that the content is full of one liners and unreliable information.
On Google I am onpage 10, on Bing and DuckDuckGo I am on page 1.
 

afaast

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I ended up choosing the singular "forum" when setting up an e bike forum - https://ebikesforum.com. In my opinion the plural "forums" tends to imply that your website shows a list of other forums from around the internet.

The search terms with "forum" in them were more popular than any other term I could find apart from "review". But I'm not really a reviews site although I could move into that at some stage. This is what made me lean toward having "forum" in the name. Although you certainly don't need to have forum in the name.

The current most popular terms worldwide in trends when comparing "forum" "group" and "community" are in this order:
1. e bike forum
2. ebike forum
3. electric bike forum
4. electric bike group
5. e bike group
6. ebike group
7. electric bike community
8. e bike community
9. ebike community

In terms of google not liking forums, I would say that it's more to do with how the content is structured on a forum. There's often so many similar threads on a forum with thin content that it's hard for a search engine to understand what the thread is about. I know it's hard work but sometimes making an article or putting together a help guide out of a bunch of random posts is worth the effort.

For example, someone linked to a help guide that I wrote from another popular e bike forum, and now that page is my most popular page on the entire forum. So it's all about having good content which people will naturally link to. Also a unique topic or content not found anywhere else on the internet helps as well.
 

mysiteguy

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Google doesn't like or dislike forums. It ranks them like it does other content. Good authoritative content ranks well, and good forums are often some of the best sources of authority on a topic. There's competition for every keyword, and no one should assume they ought to rank for a word/phrase.
 

DigNap15

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Google doesn't like or dislike forums. It ranks them like it does other content. Good authoritative content ranks well, and good forums are often some of the best sources of authority on a topic. There's competition for every keyword, and no one should assume they ought to rank for a word/phrase.
I'm sorry, but I beg to differ.
If someone searches for a New Zealand forum on politics then mine should come up, before forums that closed down five years ago.
How many forums on politics do you think there are in New Zealand, (not many) and yet I am on page 10
I don't have time to play Googles games with keywords, number of H2 headings, number of pics etc etc.
Google (Youtube) are now evil, and that is why I am defunding them
 

afaast

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I'm sorry, but I beg to differ.
If someone searches for a New Zealand forum on politics then mine should come up, before forums that closed down five years ago.
How many forums on politics do you think there are in New Zealand, (not many) and yet I am on page 10
I don't have time to play Googles games with keywords, number of H2 headings, number of pics etc etc.
Google (Youtube) are now evil, and that is why I am defunding them
Hmm you're right, a quick search for "New Zealand politics forum" came up with a FB group. That's using Startpage.com so supposedly I'm not trapped in any filter bubbles.
 

DigNap15

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Hmm you're right, a quick search for "New Zealand politics forum" came up with a FB group. That's using Startpage.com so supposedly I'm not trapped in any filter bubbles.
Yes, and if you do that same search on DuckDuckGo I am at the top of page 1
With Bing I think I am about 5 or 6 on page 1
Google page 10
 

afaast

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Yes, and if you do that same search on DuckDuckGo I am at the top of page 1
With Bing I think I am about 5 or 6 on page 1
Google page 10
Wow, you are 1st result in DuckDuck and 55th result in Google. Can't beleive I'm number 1 or 2 in Duck Duck for many of my main search terms, rather than page 2 or greater in Google.
 
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zappaDPJ

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Yes, and if you do that same search on DuckDuckGo I am at the top of page 1
With Bing I think I am about 5 or 6 on page 1
Google page 10
You do seem to have been able to demonstrate an interesting and potentially worrying anomaly. I've been using a number of search engines concurrently for a long term project I've been working on and I rarely come across that degree of disparity.
 

Nev_Dull

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I prefer "forum" because, the word refers to a place for discussion, usually on one subject. Unless your site houses multiple fora dealing with very different topics (e.g., pets, computers, cooking) it makes semantical sense to stay with the singular.

That said, I don't use the word forum as part of my URL, because, as others have said, it limits user expectations to one thing. It's like opening a store and calling it the "Running Shoe Store". You're not likely to get a lot of traffic looking for dress shoes or work boots. I also don't use the "forum" as part of the site name, or really anywhere other than in the description of the discussion area itself, simply because that's the only place it's relevant.

Despite the example DigNap15 provides, I also don't think Google particularly cares whether content is on forum. We don't know enough about the voodoo behind their algorithms to make those kinds of claims. I suspect Google cares more about activity levels, linking, and popularity when it comes to content than it does the URL or name of the site.
 

Wes of StarArmy

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I guess a real world example is how Burlington Coat Factory had to fight the idea that they only sold coats, and eventually charged their name to just Burlington.

It seems like the new major brands prefer short, catchy brand names with no real-world meaning. So you don't see things like Zillowhouses.com it's just Zillow. It's not Doordashdelivery or GetFoodDelivered.com, it's just Doordash. If that's what seems to be successful you could just call your forum by its name. Could even be Beamer.zone or something :p
 

sactown

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Thanks everyone for the great discussion. Regarding my original question the evidence points to forum being the better option among the two. But there remains the question if there are better names outside my original options but at that point I'm running into the issue of what's available.
 

zappaDPJ

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But there remains the question if there are better names outside my original options but at that point I'm running into the issue of what's available.
These days with so many domains in use or parked for ransom you really need to think out of the box. I tend to feed unavailable words into an online thesaurus for alternatives and inspiration.
 
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