What Forum Software should I use?
I ask because I am skeptical of phpBB. I know that vBulletin frequently comes up in web searches.
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yes forums help a lot. phpBB is fine but lakes a few things. you can easily search for SEO plugins for phpBB. there are plugins to add meta tags to pages, report crawling problems and make better permalinks. just it can triple your sites value.
but why VB gets better results. best forums earn more so they will be able to pay some money to migrate to VB for a little more features.
Most forum systems I have encountered don't have THAT good seo capabilities. But have no fear because you can always install various plugins or manually alter some relevant values. From my experience vBulletin does a good job but it's not free (if that matters to you). Otherwise phpBB and SMF with a couple of plugins would be alright. I have been webmastering three SMF 2.0 forums for a couple of years and they come up in searches fine after some tweaking and one or two good plugins. Have in mind that good quality content updated regularly is what you need to focus on.