bbPress has some basic features for SEO (just as WordPress does), and you will need to use some specialized plugin for complete SEO. And this is the way it should be, because specialized SEO plugins are necessary tools for best SEO results.
GD bbPress Toolbox Pro plugin adds some SEO related features to bridge bbPress with SEO plugins in some areas, and to add some things that SEO plugins usually don’t have. GD bbPress Toolbox Pro adds some control over generating page title and excerpt for topic and reply. Excerpt is used by all SEO plugins to generate meta description tag. So, add your SEO plugin, include GD bbPress Toolbox Pro and you will be ready to set bbPress for proper SEO.
Right now, most SEO plugins don’t have proper support for the bbPress forums, and don’t understand the topic thread structure, forum and topic connections, additional things like Views. Whatever SEO plugin you end up using, it will not be enough for good forums SEO.
What bbPress does?
bbPress serves filtered content for topics and replies for excerpt. But, this might not work as expected when used by some SEO plugins due to the order in which SEO plugins builds meta tags and requesting excerpt value. So, instead of proper content, excerpt is made by building whole topic page (wasting a lot of resources to do it) and getting some generic text each topic or reply has. And you end up with bad meta description. bbPress forums, topics and replies don’t have field for excerpt, only content. Excerpt is then generated based on content.
Biggest problem when it comes to building excerpt (content for meta description tag) is when it comes to single forums. To build excerpt you need content, and forum itself has no content. Using topics to build excerpt for forums is not a good idea. So, forum excerpt is a real problem. What you can do is to open forum on admin side and add content that will be used for description/excerpt.
When it comes to title tag added to the page header, bbPress generates solid titles and this, for the most part, works well with all SEO plugins.
Update content for SEO
Excerpts for single forums
You can’t build excerpt automatically for forums, because usually, you don’t have any content for forums. If you have set a content for forum to serve as description, you will be good to go, and description meta tag can be generated based on that.
If you want to set different excerpt for each forum with more targeted description, bbPress doesn’t have excerpts for forums, topics or replies, and you can enable that with the help of GD bbPress Toolbox Pro and the Content Objects feature.
Once you enable excerpt for forums with the help of Content Objects, when you edit the forum, you will see the Excerpt meta box.
Excerpt for single Topic or Reply
Since topics and replies do have content, description meta tag can be generated. You can still do the same thing as for forums, and enable Excerpt and manually add it to each topic or reply (or at least to some), but that will be very tedious work.
But, GD bbPress Toolbox Pro has a dedicated SEO feature that allows you to further control data exposed for topics and replies, so check out that feature, configure it and pay attention to settings related to private content to avoid exposing private topics and replies content to search engines.
Enabling excerpt override here will also solve issues that some SEO plugins have with bbPress content, so it is highly recommended to enable it for both topics and replies.
Extra settings for private topics and replies
Use SEO Tweaks feature to set private topics and replies to
Other SEO features
It is highly recommended to use Rich Snippets feature in GD bbPress Tooolbox Pro to add rich snippets used by the search engines.
Setting up SEO specialized plugin
There are many SEO plugins you can use, and if they are updated on a regular basis they will also support custom post types and with that bbPress. Test how the SEO plugin handles bbPress pages to make sure you have proper description tags, titles are formed well and you don’t have duplicated content.
Make sure your SEO plugin can handle custom post types and bbPress, if it can’t, find another plugin.
From our testing, most common problems most SEO plugins have with bbPress are solved by the SEO features GD bbPress Toolbox Pro implements.
SEO is not something you can turn on and leave as is. There are plugins to help you, but if you want best results you need to work on that, especially with forums. Making sure that each page on the forums has valid descriptions, proper title and other meta tags that search engines might use is very important, and will require you to test these things and adjust SEO plugin and the way it works with forums.