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How to Win at Google

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Hi, all! I'm Scott from Wikia Entertainment. We're working on a project to help some of our best wikis recruit new members into the community by improving content placement in Google. Since the new Harry Potter movie is coming out in a month, there are some tricks I'd like to suggest. We've been studying search trends and figuring out the best way to get indexed higher in search results, and put together a page that breaks down some interesting information.

How to win at Google/Harry Potter Wiki

Now, that might be a lot of data to take in, and I don't want to overwhelm, so I'll try to simplify.

The Keywords section shows the terms that are most searched for on the wiki, and how the articles for them on this wiki perform in Google. The sections below include a number of suggestions for how we can greatly improve our page rank. Here are the most important ones I'd like to help out with before the movie comes out.

  • Main Page optimization: Google suggests less than 100 links on a page for best results. There are 193 right now.
  • The category structure set up for characters is quite complex. This is enormously helpful for Google since every article in a category links to the category page, and vice versa. The top searches for Harry Potter Characters unfortunately doesn't send anyone to this wiki because of the way this is named. The same goes for the Films and Real books categories which would perform much better as Harry Potter Movies and Harry Potter books.

This is quite a lot to take in, so I'll stop there for feedback. Please respond here with questions, concerns, ideas, etc. The Wikia Entertainment team would love to start helping out and attracting new members who don't know about this wiki yet. Thanks! —Scott (talk) 18:26, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

We could probably lessen the # of links of the main page. The news should also be updated. Changing category titles though doesn't make sense as it wouldn't be IU anymore. -- DarkJedi613 (Talk) 21:55, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
Have to agree with DJ on the category naming. We worked hard on the category structure. Would having redirects of the type you suggest work instead? - Cavalier OneGryffindorcrest(Wizarding Wireless Network) 07:02, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, redirects are preferable, I think. I kind of disagree with the suggested pagetitle, because Harry Potter Wiki - Half Blood Prince movie, Daniel Radcliffe excludes anything that has to do with the books and some "googlers" might think its a movies-only wiki. I guess we can only win from all the other things and should start the improvements before the beginning of July. -- Seth Cooper Moon (Owl Post) 13:08, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm with Cav and DJ when it comes to the character categories. I also think that redirects are a good idea, but since redirects are hidden pages, I'm guessing that they aren't indexed by Google, and thus do not show up on search returns. Disambiguation pages might work instead. We already have "Harry Potter films," which could be changed to "Harry Potter movies," though I worry this would create inconsistency. "Film" is used over "movie" throughout the wiki, presumably "film" has a more formal tone than "movie," and is more widely used in Britain. "Harry Potter series" can be moved to "Harry Potter books" without any trouble. As for "Half-Blood Prince," this currently redirects to Severus Snape, but I suppose we could create a disambiguation page which linked to the articles on Snape, the book, the movie, etc. Another thing that struck me is that the Ron and Ginny articles might perform better on Google if they were titled "Ron Weasley" and "Ginny Weasley," as opposed to "Ronald Weasley" and "Ginevra Weasley," so perhaps we want to reexamine our policy on article titles. Starstuff (Owl me!) 02:06, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

Characters alternative

I totally appreciate the work that went into the categories for individuals. There's clearly a lot of work that went into it. How about this as an alternative: a member of the Wikia Entertainment team started building a character portal. We had great success with this on South Park, creating a page with over 400 characters from the series. What we ended up with was this huge impressive gallery of character pictures with links to the articles about them. It worked as a great recruiting tool on fan forums because it's fun to browse through, and did well in Google because it had all the character names on the page. People like to click on pictures, and having everything all in one place is easier to navigate for those unfamiliar with category structure.

I propose building this up, calling it Harry Potter Characters, and linking it in the character templates so as to provide a sufficient amount of links pointing to it. What do you think? —Scott (talk) 16:45, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

Sounds like a good idea to me. I like the gallery format, but I am concerned we might not be able to find images for every character, since HP is primarily a novel series, and some characters were cut from the movies or are only mentioned in passing. We also have a series of character indexes for each book; these could be cleaned up and linked from a central disambiguation page called "Harry Potter characters." Starstuff (Owl me!) 04:27, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

Main page links

Okay, so I took the liberty of trimming some links down on the main page. I took the international language links out because those are already on the left sidebar. I took all the links out of the two featured sections and left just the link to what was being featured. I have a tool on my browser that counts all the links that Google can see (some of them are omitted, such as the ones in the sidebar, etc.) and it was 201 links before, and 84 links after. Here's a comparison of screenshots for before and after.

Also, I took entries out of News that were older than 6 months, but now there's only one item there looking kinda lonely. We still have a few links to go before we're near the 100 link limit, so that might be a good place to use those. Please let me know if there are any questions. —Scott (talk) 17:16, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

Please do not make changes to the main page without consulting the users of the wiki. -- DarkJedi613 (Talk) 03:29, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
Now that I've actually had a chance to look at the changes you made. I disagree with most of them. Removing the links out of the selected picture/featured article defeats the purpose of them. They're supposed to be a launching point for people to click through and go into other articles. There were some other extraneous links, I added a link to the list of HP wikis in other languages. Sure its on the sidebar, but that requires the languages to be linked, which seems to be really broken on Wikia. And I'm tired of requesting them to be linked, and even when they are the main page never works.
I think the description of the selected picture should be more about the picture, less about the person. Therefore less links. But as I stated above the links should still be there. -- DarkJedi613 (Talk) 03:41, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
Hey, it's looking good! The page is down to 125 links, so it's a lot closer to where Google recommends it should be. So, I'm tracking the progress of several Entertainment wikis to see how our SEO improvements have helped us in search. As of last week, a search for Harry Potter shows our wiki on the third page. Given the vast scale of what you folks have built here, I think we could very easily end up on the first page of search results. What do you guys think about linking the Character Portal as described above? —Scott (talk) 21:23, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
Still. Harry Potter Wiki articles still rate fairly high especially on articles where there is npt much information located elsewhere. (objects,places) ShirleyALuna Lovegood(The Quibbler) 10:09, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

new movie on front page

I noticed that the front page doesn't have any mention of the new movie. It would help our search engine rank as there are a lot of searches related it it right now. What do you think about adding a short blurb about it in the new section? —Scott (talk) 14:53, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

So, what do you guys think of this blurb for the front page?
"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, a film based on the novel of the same name, is scheduled for release on July 15, 2009. Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger return to the familiar life of Hogwarts for their 6th year. The story focuses on Lord Voldemort's past, and Harry's preparations for the final battle amidst the mysterious Half-Blood Prince."
Are there any other keywords that would be important to have on the front page for search? —Scott (talk) 15:21, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

I am just wondering whether a mention to the new fil on the front Page is actually necessary. people coming to this Wiki can't only want to find out details on the film. ShirleyALuna Lovegood(The Quibbler) 10:41, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Hi Shirley! The idea behind it is that Google will crawl the information on the front page of our site and include it in their cache. People who are just searching Google for information about the upcoming movie, will be more likely to find us. With almost 4,000 articles here, imagine the delight someone will experience at getting lost in the rich world you folks have recreated here. These people are your future editors/community/friends. —Scott (talk) 14:27, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

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