Tolkien Gateway

Forum:Search Engine Optimisation

Tolkien Gateway > Council > Search Engine Optimisation

Now that the forum is working again (I think?)...

I've noticed that TG does not appear very high in the google results for some common searches: [1][2][3][4][5][6]. Most worryingly it consistently ranks below which, sadly, we are forced to be in direct 'competition' as an English language collaborative Tolkien encyclopaedia, even though we are more complete. Why should we care? Well, better google rankings -> more hits -> more readers -> more editors -> a better encyclopaedia! I'm no expert on SEO, but I think there are a few simple steps we can take:

  1. Links on Wikipedia. Wikipedia, with it's massive amounts of internal and incoming links, is one giant google bomb, and getting linked from it can really bump up a page's PageRank. I'm absolutely NOT saying we should spam Wikipedia with TG links on every ME article - but linking to good TG articles from Tolkien-related Wikipedia articles is an established and accepted practice. But they're not going to do it for us: editors here should be proactive in checking that all our good articles are linked to from their respective Wikipedia article (there's even a template for it).
  2. Diacritics. Our article titles include diacritics and punctuation, as they should, but people invariably search without diacritics. A lot of search engines aren't very good at recognising that "Voluspa" could also mean "Völuspá", and that "Dor Lomin", "Dorlomin" and "Dor-lomin" could all refer to Dor-lómin (although Google is usually fine with it). So it's vital that we create redirects that can tie these phrases together for the search engine. Again this isn't a new policy, I just want to stress its importance and encourage editors to be diligent with redirects when working on articles with diacritics, hyphens and other variant spellings that might cause confusion.
  3. <meta> descriptions in the head. This is a quick one for Hyarion. When the site was redesigned way back when we appear to have lost the default MediaWiki <meta name="description" />, which search engines present to users in search results. As a consequence TG appears in Google results without any descriptive text, making it easy for reasons to skip over, which in turn means less hits and a steadily declining page rank. The best thing to do would be to somehow have the lead section from the article (if it's not too long) put in the description tag. Failing that, a simple "Tolkien Gateway is a... blah blah blah" is better than nothing.

That's all I have right now. Two things editors can do, one for Hyarion. Also, Hyarion, I don't know if you're aware of Google's webmaster tools, but they can do all sorts of useful things to get better SEO. —Aulë the Smith (Tk·Cb) 09:01, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

I still see no improvement in Search results on the basis of the examples Aulë noted. — Mithrennaith 16:29, 16 May 2011 (UTC)