SEO stands for search engine optimization. When applied to Wikia, SEO is basically a way to help your wiki appear higher in search results. For example, if you have a wiki about bacon and someone searches for bacon recipes on Google, the higher your wiki shows up in search results, the more traffic you'll get. Using SEO best practices will help your wiki grow, making it easier for people to find and contribute to your community.
How do search engines scan your wiki? Sites like Google, Yahoo, and Bing send a Web crawler that follows links from one page to the next, indexing what they find. In this case, indexing a page means identifying the words and phrases that best describe the page, then using that information to tie the page to certain keywords. Optimizing your wiki helps ensure that it's indexed properly and shows up for relevant searches.
Now you know a little bit about SEO and how it works — but what should your next steps be? What are some best practices that will help your wiki become search engine optimized? Here are five quick SEO tips:
1. Change the title of your main page to "____ Wiki" rather than "Main Page" or "____pedia."
- This will help the crawlers know what your wiki is about right off the bat. To use our previous example, the Bacon Wiki's main page is called "Bacon Wiki," not "Baconpedia."
2. Keep the number of links on your main page below 100.
- Too many links can slow down Web crawlers. Keeping the number of links on your main page low will also alert the crawler to important pages and keywords.
3. Put the most important links at (or near) the top of the page.
- This is especially important on the main page, but it's a good practice for any page. Crawlers start at the top of a page and follow the links from there. If your first links are help, admins, and rules, that's what they'll assume your wiki is about.
4. When uploading images, use a file name that describes what appears rather than a random string of letters and/or numbers.
- This will help your images come up in search results. It's more likely that someone is searching for Quinn Paul than 123124234q34q23.
- Orphaned or dead end pages either aren't linked from any pages on your wiki or don't link to any other pages. If a crawler happens to find one of these pages, it won't be able to continue scanning your wiki. Alternatively, these pages won't be found by a crawler at all. You want to avoid both scenarios.
This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as SEO best practices — we wanted to get the conversation started and brainstorm more ways to hep your wiki grow. For more in-depth information about SEO, check out Raising Your Wiki's Google Ranking.
If you have quick tips or suggestions for fellow Wikians looking to improve their search listings, please leave a comment below.
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