Don't confuse this with the wiki description used to promote your wiki around Fandom.

The contents of MediaWiki:Description appears in search engine results for the main page of a wiki.

At its most basic, your wiki's description is the contents of MediaWiki:Description. Changing MediaWiki:Description eventually changes your wiki's meta description — a statement in the head tags of your wiki's HTML.

You can see the relationship between MediaWiki:Description and the raw HTML of a page on your wiki by choosing to look at your page's source code. There, you'll see that the contents of MediaWiki:Description appear inside of the <meta name="description"> tag.

What to say

On a Fandom wiki, the default description begins:

{{SITENAME}} is a database that anyone can edit.

But you should certainly customise it further.

If you're an admin, you can expand MediaWiki:Description, but you should aim to keep your description around 150 characters. Descriptions should include common search terms that casual fans might use when looking for your site on a search engine.

MediaWiki Description Meta Description Relationship

The description for the James Bond Wiki includes relevant terms like 007, movies, and Bond girls.

Changes aren't immediate

While admins can change MediaWiki:Description instantly, the meta description won't be so obliging. It can take days (or even months) for changes to MediaWiki:Description to show in search engines. This is because commercial search engines use caching to deliver quick results to you — but that means you're always "looking into the past" when you search the internet. Updates don't occur until a search engine's code tells it when to "crawl" your wiki again, forcing an update to its image of your site.

Unfortunately, that means that the search engine update process is completely outside of Fandom's control.

Utility of descriptions

Once critical to Search Engine Optimization, descriptions have declined in importance due to unsavory tactics like keyword stuffing. The keywords and phrases used in the description are no longer factored into search algorithms, but informative descriptions can drive click through rate. In other words, they can help influence readers to actually click on a search result and come to your wiki.

See also

Further help and feedback

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.