Google and wikis (was Re: [Mediawiki-l] logo only shows up on some pages)

Gordon Mohr (@ Bitzi) gojomo at
Sat Feb 11 19:16:04 UTC 2006

Martin Jambon wrote:
> On Fri, 10 Feb 2006, Matt Morgan wrote:
>> Side note: I'm new to MediaWiki, but I'm having a really hard time
>> googling for help. If I include "MediaWiki" in the search string, the
>> results seem to return every third wiki out there, rather than help
>> about MediaWiki. Any tips there?
> I also noticed serious flaws in the Google results when searching for 
> some wikis. Google seems to have problems with the "wiki" keyword:
> Shouldn't a search for `mediawiki wiki' (w/o quotes) return:
> ???

It does, in position #12. And the higher results are mostly 
reasonable, too.

> `mediawiki' alone works, so that's fine, but not expected.

Their secret and proprietary ranking algorithms tell Google that 
people searching for [mediawiki wiki] should get the other results 
higher, as compared to plain [mediawiki] results. Tweaking the 
algorithms to do otherwise might help some cases, but hurt 
elsewhere. They're optimizing with regard to a lot of variables, 
so local anomalies aren't surprising. And can we be sure their 
ordering for [mediawiki wiki] isn't optimal for generating the 
most satisfied users (or most ad revenue)?

Overall, they seem to be doing great ranking wikis and 
URLs/content with 'wiki' in them. There's no evidence of any 'flaw'.

> I personally have a problem with the wiki I am running:
> `bioinformatics wiki' should return some link to in 
> the top ten Google results, if not first.

How modest! :) You do appear somewhere around 60-70.

And, you are named in the 'snippet' shown for the #1 Google 
result, a Wikipedia page, perhaps helped by the way you bumped 
your site to the very top of the list of related links in an edit 
January 31st.

> So I really don't know what I can do, I was used to much better results 
> from Google for my non-wiki pages, without forcing anything. Does anyone 
> have a similar experience? Any fix?

It looks like your site is less than 3 months old. So step #1 
would be: just wait. It takes a while -- sometimes 6 months or 
more -- before Google trusts new sites with a prominent ranking:

Separate from the sandbox effect: as your site gets deeper 
content, more organic links from diverse sites (not just backlinks 
you've pushed out yourself), and longer visits from happy users, 
you should also expect it to find its "true" higher level.

- Gordon

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