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JohnBeckett/Search engine optimization

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Revision as of 18:28, January 9, 2012 by Fritzophrenic (Talk | contribs)

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I have noticed that our wiki does not rate as highly as might be expected on some Google searches, so I have implemented some SEO changes. This page is a summary of progress, and serves to alert those watching Recent changes about some changes that may be seen. If anyone has any suggestions, please add to the comments below.

Summary of adviceEdit

  • Rename Main Page to Vim Tips Wiki (I prefer "wiki" but "Wiki" is used a lot in the html and I think "Wiki" is safer for consistency).
    This means our main page is http://vim.wikia.com/wiki/Vim_Tips_Wiki
    (it was http://vim.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page).
  • Main page should start with important links to useful content, and have some actual text.
  • Main page should not have too many links.
  • Change some default meta data to set page description in html, and a little more (see below).

Meta descriptionEdit

One big problem (now fixed) is that the html for an article includes this line which is used by search engines to rank the page, and to display a synopsis:

<meta name="description" content="..." />

I have discovered that the "..." is generated by the ArticleMetaDescription Wikia extension to MediaWiki. That code strips various things from the html page, then puts the first paragraph into the "...". One of the things it strips is everything inside a <div...>...</div> block. Therefore, I have put a div block around each template that might be used at the top of a page. When the pages are next rendered to html (you can append ?action=purge to a URL to force that), and when they are next scanned by search engines, they should have the first paragraph of the tip text in the description.

That should be a big improvement because before January 2010, the description for each article was totally broken. For example, the html for Go to line on January 22, 2010 included the following description (which comes from Template:TipImported, and note how the ampersands have been incorrectly turned into html entities):

"Tip 751 Previous Next created&amp;nbsp;June 21, 2004&amp;#32;&amp;middot; complexity&amp;nbsp;basic&amp;#32;&amp;middot; author&amp;nbsp;Char&amp;#32;&amp;middot; version&amp;nbsp;5.7"

Surrounding some of our templates with div tags has fixed the problem, and Google is now responding to the updated description. When editing tips, I will tweak the first paragraph so it reads better as the description to improve the Google rank and to better guide people looking at a Google search results page. In the past, I have often deleted "Vim" as redundant, but I might start including it (although it should be redundant for search ranking purposes because "Vim" appears in the vim.wikia.com URL and in the html title of each page (for example, Go to line has <title>Go to line - Vim Tips Wiki</title> in the html source).

Meta keywordsEdit

TODO: Explain how the meta keywords text is determined, and what I plan.

Changes on the Vim Tips wikiEdit

The Muppet Wiki is an example where some of the SEO techniques have been implemented. The following compares some settings for the Muppet and Vim Tips wikis (before the changes to this wiki made on September 16, 2009).

MediaWiki:Description up to 150 characters for <meta name="description" content="..."> in html on the main page

  • Muppet Wiki is a complete guide to Jim Henson's Muppets that anyone can add to, with episodes and characters from The Muppet Show and Sesame Street.
  • Vim Tips Wiki is a database that anyone can edit.

MediaWiki:Pagetitle for <title>...</title> on each html page ($1 = page title)

  • $1 - Muppet Wiki - Muppets, Sesame Street, Henson
  • $1 - Vim Tips Wiki

MediaWiki:Pagetitle-view-mainpage for <title>...</title> in html on main page

  • Muppet Wiki - Muppets, Sesame Street, Jim Henson
  • Vim Tips Wiki

MediaWiki:Mainpage title of main page on the wiki

  • Muppet Wiki
  • Main Page
Vim Tips wiki changes performed on September 16, 2009
  • Moved Main Page to Vim Tips Wiki (Main Page still exists as a redirect).
  • The old Vim Tips Wiki (was pointed to by an old version of the main page, but is no longer used) has been history merged to the above (i.e. it is visible in the history).
  • Added some CSS to MediaWiki:Common.css to hide the "Vim Tips Wiki" heading on the main page (you might need Ctrl+F5 to see the change so your browser reloads the CSS).
  • Changed MediaWiki:Description to the following:
Vim Tips Wiki has help, documentation, tricks, and tutorial guides for both new and experienced users of the Vim text editor.
Vim Tips Wiki

HistoryEdit

LaterEdit

  • Tweak some text on the main page (maybe).
  • Post to the vim_use mailing list and ask people with web sites to add a link to our main page.

CommentsEdit

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