This page is an archive of a community-wide discussion. This page is no longer live. Further comments should be made in the Senate Hall or new Consensus Track pages rather than here so that this page is preserved as a historic record. The result of the debate was Wikia's test was inconclusive, Main Page will remain at previous title.Atarumaster88(Talk page) 15:46, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
I'm working on some projects to raise the Google ranking for all of Wikia's wikis -- we have a lot of amazing stuff, and it's not showing up where it should in the search results. It might not seem that important at first, but 50% of the people who come to Wookieepedia are coming in from Google searches. About 25% of people use bookmarks or type the address into their browser, and about 10% come from Wikipedia links. Google is by far the #1 way to attract new readers, which means new contributors and a stronger community.
Until recently, on a search for star wars, Wookieepedia was coming up as #26 -- the third page of results. We've done some back-end work that's helped quite a bit, and now it's up to #13.
There are a couple reasons why those are above Wookieepedia right now -- people link to those pages using the phrase "Star Wars", and those pages have "Star Wars" as the first words in the pagetitle. Google pays a lot of attention to the pagetitle -- the theory is that if "Star Wars" is important to the website, then it should be at the front of the title.
So I'd like to propose an experiment, to see if we can raise the Google ranking. For two weeks, I'd like to change the pagetitle on the main page to say "Star Wars Wiki - Wookieepedia", instead of "Wookieepedia, the Star Wars wiki". This will only affect the main page -- every other page will still say "Wookieepedia, the Star Wars wiki". I'd like to try it for two weeks, to see if the ranking goes up significantly. If it doesn't, then we can forget the whole thing. If it does, then we can talk about whether it's worth doing permanently.
I know that people love the name Wookieepedia, and identify really strongly with it. I love it too, and I'm not trying to get rid of it. I'm just trying to come up with a way to respect the name, and still raise the profile of the wiki so that we can continue to bring in new contributors and build up the community.
What do you guys think? -- Danny (talk) 17:44, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
To clarify, are you talking about the title at the top of the browser window or MediaWiki:Pagetitle (or are these one and the same)? The way we've designed the main page, Pagetitle is essentially hidden beneath the other content right now, so it shouldn't really matter to anyone what it says. Btw, it looks to me like we're #6 in Google results.—Xwing328(Talk) 18:07, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Those are the same -- MediaWiki:Pagetitle controls what's at the top of the browser window. You may be thinking about MediaWiki:Mainpage, which is the title for the main page. So, yeah -- we're talking about the same thing. I'm glad you're seeing it as #6 -- Google servers show different results as they catch up to changes. #6 would be great -- I'm still seeing #13 here. -- Danny (talk) 18:44, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
It seems like a waste of time to me to run a CT for 2+ weeks deciding whether or not to test something for 2 weeks, but that's what us admins have apparently decided to do. —Xwing328(Talk) 19:13, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
This section is an archive of a community-wide discussion. This section is no longer live. Further comments should be made in a new section or page rather than here so that this section is preserved as a historic record. The result was to allow the 2-week pagetitle test.—Xwing328(Talk) 01:59, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
If approved, we will switch the text for the main page at MediaWiki:Pagetitle from Wookieepedia, the Star Wars Wiki to Star Wars Wiki - Wookieepedia. This will only affect what you see at the top of your browser when visiting Wookieepedia and what search engines display if Wookieepedia is one of your search results. On every page besides the main page, the pagetitle will still say "Wookieepedia, the Star Wars Wiki".
I'm not against a test at all. But testing without asking the community is a big no no. So, I say, let's see what comes of this test. If we don't like it, we don't use it. If we do like it, then we of course can go from there as well. Greyman(Talk) 19:18, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
No harm in trying. I don't see what the hubbub is - given all the other things the staff has changed in the past without asking permission, I don't see why this should be any different. jSarek 21:28, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
The fact that they change stuff all the time without asking is the hubbub. Havac 01:08, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
I'd prefer "The Star Wars Wiki - Wookieepedia" for the test, but OK. —Silly Dan(talk) 21:32, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm placing what little trust I have left in Wikia not abusing this test. Graestan(Talk) 21:59, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Per Sarek. Also, if it works the same, per the Dan of Silliness. JorrelFraajic 22:33, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
As long as it is a test. And only a test. I'm already seeing it at Number 5 in a search for Star Wars. If it ceases to be a test, we'll . . . I don't know, sacrifice a Janitor to Kyle Katarn. Atarumaster88(Talk page) 23:19, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Definitely for the test. When I searched, we were #11, still behind those silly ones (no, not Dan :p) --Eyrezer 04:31, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Per Greyman. I also feel I would be remiss if I did not point out that this would be less necessary if Wikia would stop approving pointless spinoff wikis that clog up people's search results. Gonk(Gonk!) 15:12, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
They approved that?! The test makes sense. We can see if it makes any difference, though I'm getting us on the first page of results already. Green Tentacle(Talk) 18:22, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
I don't see a reason why they shouldn't try testing it Kyp 02:39, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
If you look at search results for star wars, almost everything that comes up besides us starts with the words Star Wars. It makes ours stick out a bit being unique, starting with Wookieepedia. If these other changes you all at wikia have made improve our ranking to at least #6 without having to change the title, I personally would be happy with that ranking. —Xwing328(Talk) 19:13, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
I'd like to think the site has made a name for itself on its own. Our reception at Celebration IV was outstanding, with many fans approaching the table or myself (when I had the shirt on) to tell us how much they visit the site. Just as well, Google searches on nearly all Expanded Universe topics bring up Wookieepedia articles first. I think that the information regarding just how much our "Google ranking" makes a difference is being misrepresented in this way—fans are just as much and probably more likely to type in names of characters and places from Star Wars than they are to simply type "Star Wars" in the search. Furthermore, I see this as something of a waste of Wikia man-hours. A wiki that already does better than most other wikis should not be muscled into changing how they operate or what they are called—don't fix what isn't broken. We run our own wiki, we do just fine (contrary to the slander I've heard from Wikia staff before), and telling us what we should do with a wiki that supposedly "belongs to the community" runs contrary to Wikia's own claims. Graestan(Talk) 21:59, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm not opposed to giving most anything a trial run, but I guess I really don't see the dire need to change anything. Per Grae, don't fix what ain't broken. I understand the Google hits change and whatnot, but the Wook just came up #5 for me for a "Star Wars" search. And I would agree that most people do not search just for something as generic as "Star Wars" in the first place. They search for individual characters, which, as Grae has also pointed out, almost always shows the Wook as the number one hit, higher than the Databank in fact. Toprawa and Ralltiir 22:32, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
It seems Wookieepedia has jumped several google places in the past couple of hours. Our placement right now looks pretty close to ideal.Yrfeloran 22:49, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, I've been working a lot on getting our Google rankings to go up... I'm finally starting to see some results, which is great. Asking about the pagetitle is another way to see if we can raise the profile of the site. Ideally, I'd like to see it above IMDB. I'm posting a screenshot of some info from Google AdWords about what people are searching for in this area... "Star Wars" is the most popular search term. There are a lot of searches for Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Force Unleashed and Battlefront, and all the rest are pretty generic. -- Danny (talk) 23:02, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
I see that the change has been implemented. Unfortunately, it appears to have had no effect on the Google rankings, as we're still below IMBD (I believe this is where we were when we started). Is the effect supposed to be fairly immediate, or will it take some time? JorrelFraajic 18:48, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
It could take some time for some to see a change. Wookieepedia has moved up in the rankings a few spots from when I checked it a week or two ago, but I couldn't tell you how much. It was on the first page of results when I searched then, and it is in roughly the same position (iirc) now. Greyman(Talk) 18:51, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
It should take a couple weeks at least. That's why I asked for at least two weeks for the test. It takes a few days for Google to crawl the page, and to see the new page title show up in the database. It'll then take a little while to see things move up. The changes that we just saw recently, going up from #26 to #6 or 7, is probably coming from stuff that I did behind the scenes on May 8th and May 18th. Google is kind of a mysterious black box... We know stuff that will help, but we don't know how long it'll take. -- Danny (talk) 18:59, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Question answered; thank you. JorrelFraajic 21:15, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
It definitely seems to be working. I googled about 2 hours ago and were were #10. When I did it then, we were #6, which, by the way, finally puts us above "Star Wars in 30 seconds with bunnies". Thank goodness! --Eyrezer 02:25, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm still picking it up on the 1st page, 6th entry. JorrelFraajic 16:54, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm seein' 8th, right under "SW in 30 sec with bunnies"188.8.131.52 22:52, 14 June 2008 (UTC)
Back to 13th place behind two YouTube videos and the aforementioned sites. Even the Wikipedia article is way up to 3rd. -- Riffsyphon1024 07:10, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
If nothing else, we've learned that Google is not consistent around the world! I have us at #5 which is fantastic. The four in ahead of us are The Official Site, followed by Episode 4 of the Official Site, the wikipedia article on Star Wars and finally IMDB. --Eyrezer 22:04, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
Since the implementation, we've slipped back down to 13th according to my Googling just now.--Goodwood(Alliance Intelligence) 20:38, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
The interesting thing to know, YouTube stuff will continue to outrank us, because Google owns YouTube, and there are companies that pay Google for the top spots, basically they pay, and are given a specific Meta Tag that google adds to it's searches and it pops up at the top. So basically what you're looking at is industry N.Y.N.E.Comlink 00:37, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Hmm. Back down to second page, 11th entry (1st on 2nd page) - yes, below Star Wars in 30 seconds with Bunnies. Certainly seems like it fluctuates randomly, regardless of what we try. JorrelFraajic 04:03, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Google owns YouTube now? That's news to me. -- Riffsyphon1024 08:26, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
The implemenation of this has either already occurred and been finished, which means Toughpigs needs to make a report, or else it hasn't been implemented. If no action (either a conclusive, straightforward report from Wikia staff or implementation of this test) is taken by 14 July, I will close this thread and end the test procedure as "no consensus, test ended." This is the only warning. Atarumaster88(Talk page) 15:37, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
Okay, here's my summary of what happened with the test. The big caveat for all of this is that Google is a mysterious black box -- I can make some guesses about why the results changed, but there are lots of factors. Google never explains exactly how the search rankings work, because they don't want people to game the system. This page gives an overview of the basic principles, and this page has a lot more detail.
So here's what happened. On a search for Star Wars, Wookieepedia was showing up in the early-to-mid 20s for all of April and May. The rank went up into the top 10 around June 1st, and by June 8th it was the #6 result. We started the pagetitle test on June 11th.
As it turns out, the ranking went down -- by the 15th, it was at #15, and it's stayed in that area. The pagetitle was switched back on June 30th. Today (July 15th), it's at #17.
So it's hard for me to interpret that. I suspect that the dip in rank wasn't related to the pagetitle change -- some other wikis that I've been watching also had a dip around the same time. For example, Marvel Database was at #5 in a search for Marvel Comics on June 1st, slipped down to #8 by June 15th, and is now at #11. I think there's some other factor. Wookieepedia's pagetitle was switched back two weeks ago, and it's still in that #15-17 area.
So it's inconclusive. I think that in the long run, having the pagetitle say "Star Wars Wiki - Wookieepedia" would be beneficial -- but I couldn't prove it in this two-week test, so I won't try your patience by asking for another test.
Meanwhile, I've been working on another project that I think will help Google ranking a lot -- it'll be tested on a handful of wikis starting this week, including Muppet Wiki and Wikizilla. Don't worry -- Wookieepedia isn't part of this new test. :) I won't bore you with the details, but if anybody's interested, they can contact me and I'll be happy to tell you all about it.
Anyway -- I'm sorry that this test was inconclusive. It would be nice to wrap it in a nice bow, but playing with Google doesn't really work that way. Still, this stuff is really important -- if we can raise the search rankings significantly, then that'll bring a whole new group of readers to all of our wikis. I appreciate your patience, and your willingness to try things out. Thanks, guys. -- Danny (talk) 00:42, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.