User:Collei/Improving a wiki's SEO

From Miraheze Meta, Miraheze's central coordination wiki
Improving a wiki's SEO
This page intends to teach Miraheze users how to improve the search engine rankings of the wikis they contribute to.

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short, is the process of enhancing your web page to make it rank higher in search engines. This is an introductory guide to improving your wiki's SEO and links to additional resources to improve your SEO further.

Improving your wiki's SEO[edit source]

Background knowledge and setting up your wiki for SEO success[edit source]

  1. 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.[1] 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.[2]
  2. You will want to set up WikiSEO before you get started, and read Google's official SEO guide.
  3. Google usually analyzes how pages look on mobile, not on desktop. That's because there are more mobile users than desktop users. Therefore, make sure your site is good on mobile. However, Google still considers desktop users, and some of your readers will be on desktop, so don't neglect desktop users altogether.[3][4] Make sure to design a good user experience by making sure your wiki is accessible to people with eyesight or hearing issues (astigmatism, farsightedness, colorblindness, blind people that use a screen reader, deaf people, etc.), loads fast on slow connections, and is easy to use.
  4. Having fewer unnecessary redirects is good for SEO. It's also better to not link via redirects.[5]
  5. 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 re-write them (so that they don't get indexed while they're still terrible).[6]
  6. Use ManageWiki to make the user namespace, template namespace, module namespace, talk namespace, and project namespace noindex and nofollow. People aren't really looking for these pages on search engines and pages that aren't useful to searchers being indexed is bad for SEO. [7]
  7. Your main page should be moved to have the same page title as your wiki, and you should set MediaWiki:Mainpage to be whatever the name of your main page is after moving it to your wiki's title. This is because a page's URL has a slight but meaningful improvement on the page's rankings when it accurately describes the content, so naming your main page to be the same as your wiki makes it more likely that the main page will show up when someone searches your wiki's name.

Writing and maintenance for SEO in the long run[edit source]

  1. Links to non-existent pages that aren't nofollow are bad for SEO because search engines only follow 100-200 links on your page, and you don't want to waste this on 404 pages that they won't index.[8][9][10][11] There is also the obvious factor that it frustrates users to follow a broken link. Hiding red links for logged out users has been implemented on Miraheze as an opt-in feature that can be enabled by turning on the RemoveRedlinks extension in ManageWiki, but the extension is currently broken and I've submitted a a proposed change to fix it, which has been accepted, and the change will be added to Miraheze soon.[12]
  2. Group your wiki categories so that every category has a parent category. For example, the "Items" category should be under the "Gameplay" category which should be under a category named after your wiki (the category named after your wiki should be the category that all categories eventually lead up to if followed long enough, and doesn't need to have a parent category). This ensures that once a search engine discovers one page and finds categories from it, if it follows the links on the page, it will be able to find all other pages on your wiki. Of course, enabling WikiSEO will generate sitemaps that should also help search engines discover important pages, but this method helps search engines establish that these pages are actually relevant and being used. [13][14]
  3. Tying into the above, it's a good idea to add links to other pages on your articles for SEO and user experience.
  4. Ensure that you don't have broken redirects, double redirects, broken links, etc. on your wiki. Go to Special:SpecialPages on your wiki and look under the maintenance section to find special pages that list problems like this.
  5. 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.[15]
  6. Use an alt tag to accurately describe images, and give them a relevant file name.[16][17] Also read:, (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, use the official outdated content removal tool from Google to remove search results of your old wiki. Bing also has a similar feature.

If you're migrating from a wiki host like Fandom, Fandom usually refuses to delete your old wiki unless the wiki violated their policies, even if there is full community consensus to move, as they consider it bad for their profits to allow a move to take place. As such, you may experience SEO issues at first because Fandom usually outranks Miraheze wikis unless Miraheze wikis have better content and optimization.

Further reading[edit source]

Make sure to read all the sections, including things you probably already know, like what SEO is. You'll likely still learn new things.

References[edit source]