Improving a wiki's SEO
This page intends to teach Miraheze users how to improve the search engine rankings (i.e., SEO, aka search engine optimization) of the wikis they contribute to.
|This page is an essay, containing the advice or opinions of one or more Miraheze contributors. Essays are not Miraheze policies or guidelines. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.|
|This page is still in need of new information! Though you will find the existing steps helpful, it's not a completely finished guide yet. You may propose changes on the talk page, or add new information directly with the edit feature if you wish.|
Improving your wiki's SEO[edit source]
Simple steps[edit source]
- Do not do things that will annoy your users, even if you think it boosts SEO. It's not clear exactly what Google uses to measure if people are annoyed with content (they claim it's just anonymized data, without specifying what data), but they seem to succeed so far. There's more to SEO than making good content, but none of this will work at all if your content is terrible. High-quality and useful content that stands out from other websites on the same topic will be successful in SEO and beyond.
- You will want to set up WikiSEO before you get started, and read Google's official SEO guide.
- Google usually analyzes how pages look on mobile, not on desktop. That's because there are more mobile users than desktop users.
- Having fewer unnecessary redirects is good for SEO. It's also better to not link via redirects.
- Think of what your page is about, then think of what keywords you would use to find this page if you were searching for it. Name the page using those keywords and include them in the article, but only where it feels natural. If there's nowhere that would make sense to put a keyword without introducing awkward wording, repetitive text, overly-complex sentences, etc., it's best to just not include it. Search engines are already able to identify common typos and alternative spellings.
- Wikis that persistently publish terrible content may receive lower rankings even on their higher-quality content. For this reason, do not leave up entirely blank or nonsensical articles. Either restore them to the last good version (if one exists) or delete and then re-write them (so that they don't get indexed while they're still terrible).
Long-term improvements to your wiki[edit source]
- On Fandom, links to non-existent pages just appear as text, not as links, to logged-out users. Before that, they had the nofollow attribute. Both of those improved SEO, probably because search engine spiders don't like a lot of 404 pages + they will only crawl a set amount of pages (usually around 100-200). They also added rel=nofollow to uncrawlable (? the meaning of this is unclear) links in their pre-UCP code, which is still publicly available on GitHub, but their post-UCP code is closed-source, so the current status cannot be confirmed. This has been implemented in Miraheze as an opt-in feature that can be enabled by turning on the RemoveRedlinks extension in ManageWiki.
- This form of wiki category organization appears to benefit SEO.
- You should add content to any page that you think content would be good to put in. That also includes categories. Empty pages are bad for SEO.
- Pages that take too long to load are penalized in search results. For this reason, you should reduce junk code, remove extensions that you never will use, etc. You can also minify your images using https://tinypng.com, and in terms of actual visible size (i.e., width x height), don't make them larger than needed. Using the
webpfile format is also a good idea for performance, though when people are downloading your files, they might not like that. However, do note that Miraheze automatically converts most
webpimages back into
pngimages unless the
webpversion is being deliberately fetched by CSS, JS, etc. You may wish to serve compressed and properly resized images in
pngformat on articles that you are certain will be referencing the full image size. The
webpformat used to not be supported by MultimediaViewer, but it is now works after the 1.39 MediaWiki upgrade. However, it is subject to the same limitations described earlier.
- Use an alt tag to accurately describe images, and give them a relevant file name. For example, see the Miraheze Genshin Impact Wiki's page on the character Nahida (alt tags to be added). Also read: https://ahrefs.com/blog/alt-text/, https://ahrefs.com/blog/image-seo/ (mentioned in the ref tag as a citation but a good resource too)
Special situations[edit source]
Moving from another wiki host[edit source]
If you used to host your wiki on another platform, but the wiki there has since been deleted, there's an easy way to remove the old wiki from search results on Google! Just use the official outdated content removal tool from Google. Bing also has a similar feature.
Helping other wikis[edit source]
According to Fandom, if Fandom wikis were to link to other sites and wikis within the Fandom network, instead of sites like Wikipedia, they could help stop signaling that sites like Wikipedia are the authority. On Miraheze, wikis could link to each other and to their own pages, instead of to sites like Wikipedia and Fandom, and therefore be able to decrease the perception of Wikipedia and Fandom being authoritative.
Further reading[edit source]
- Backlinko SEO Hub (suggestion: read all the sections, including ones such as "What is SEO?" etc. etc. - you will likely learn something new even if you think you already understand the topic)
- Ahrefs Blog
- Ahrefs SEO guide
- Fandom staff - https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/615786602454581249/1066953547058524180/image.png
- In the #best-practices channel on Fandom's Discord server: https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/615786602454581249/1066939638322835456/image.png
- Fandom: https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/615786602454581249/1066939043436302356/image.png
- Fandom SEO staff: https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/407537962553966603/1065004276390314044/image.png
- Fandom: https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/615786602454581249/1066939042979119234/image.png
- Fandom staff: https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/407537962553966603/1065004277015265320/image.png
- Fandom's SEO staff: https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/407537962553966603/1065004275274612777/image.png
- Fandom staff: https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/1064985119137484911/1064987924585795644/image.png
- Fandom's Discord: https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/1064985119137484911/1065349925224857691/image.png, https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/1064985119137484911/1065349925459730522/image.png
- ItemCard template on the Genshin Impact Miraheze wiki
- Tested on genshinimpact.miraheze.org