In October 2018, Fandom began the process of migrating wikia.com domains to fandom.com. As of April 11, 2019, all wikis have been migrated to fandom.com or wikia.org, with the exception of a few test wikis and cases that require being handled separately.
This page outlines the reasoning behind why we made the change, the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) results of the initial migrations, and the schedule for the remaining migrations.
Why did the domains change?
Wikia rebranded to Fandom in October 2016. The domain migration completed that process. When it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)—that's a term that refers to how well your website ranks in search engine results—having the brand name and the domain name be the same ensures stronger SEO across the platform. Google search favors sites that clearly define themselves as something specific. In this case that’s Fandom, a community site based largely around pop culture topics.
How did the change impact communities?
The only visible differences you should have noticed is the new URL and the fact that, whether logged in or logged out, the domain now has HTTPS support. The existing wikia.com domains all redirect to fandom.com, so any bookmarks or links across the web continue to work as they do now.
Now that the domains have been migrated, for a short period (up to 6 weeks) you can expect to see an initial traffic decrease as Google ingests and adapts to the change. Luckily, in our initial migration of 3,200 communities in October 2018, we found that on average the new fandom.com domains ultimately performed better than the wikia.com domains and overall traffic to Fandom increased. These results are illustrated this chart showing data from pre- and post-migration from the test:
Although we can’t share page views with you, this chart represents traffic to wikia.com (the blue line) and fandom.com (the orange line). The blue line for wikia.com accounts for September 28th to October 4th, about a month before the migration and far enough away from Labor Day (early September in the United States) so as to not skew the data with holiday traffic. The orange line for fandom.com accounts for December 14th through December 20th, about a month after the migrations were completed and still before the typical traffic upswing that comes over holiday break.
As you can see with these data points, the domains that were migrated to fandom.com are, on average, performing higher than they were on wikia.com. Google favors the fandom.com domain due to its consistency with the brand name, so on average you can expect more readers on your community as a result of the domain migration.
There are some domains that, unfortunately, are not ranking as high as they once did. This is the result of content quality or content architecture issues that are very much resolvable. If you’ve noticed a longer-term decrease in traffic on a migrated community, please feel free to contact us for assistance.
The final migration began in January and largely concluded on February 22nd. We have seen similar results to October's migration test, so we expect overall traffic to be higher than wikia.com levels by the end of March/beginning of April.
Are all communities moving to Fandom?
No. Some communities that don’t quite fit under the definition of fandom.com have a new domain at wikia.org. The communities moved to wikia.org are ones that focus on medical subjects, advocacy, history, politics, and religion. Examples of wikia.org domains include cancer.wikia.org, lgbt.wikia.org, world-war-2.wikia.org, and bible.wikia.org.
This new domain reflects the fact that not every community is about a pop culture, hobby, or fandom-related subject, with many based around creating awareness of or spreading knowledge about important historical or social topics.
We don’t have any plans to open up wiki creation on wikia.org, but new wikis created in the future that qualify for wikia.org can be migrated by Fandom upon request.
Final migration schedule
The following was the schedule of fandom.com migrations:
- October 2018: an early domain migration test to study the impacts of the change.
- January 16, 2019: we performed a "smoke test" with another small set of domains, this time lower traffic ones, to ensure that the technical process we used for the migration in October continued to work as it should.
- January 21, 2019: the final migration began and was conducted in batches.
- February 4, 2019: the original deadline. By this point 90% of traffic (several thousand communities) were migrated to fandom.com, but we had to slow the process down for the remaining wikis because we ran into an issue where Google advertisements were not displaying on the new domain. This had no impact on your communities or your traffic, but because of the revenue impact and on the advice of Google we rolled out the migration of the remaining 10% of traffic slower to ensure that the advertisement issue was resolved.
- February 22, 2019: the domain migration was largely completed except for wikia.org candidates, a handful of test wikis, communities that will need to be handled separately from large migrations, and communities that are a mix of other factors.
- April 11, 2019: wikia.org candidates were migrated to their new domain.
While wikia.org is covered in the previous section of the page, here's what the rest means:
- Test wikis. This refers to wikis that are used by our automated and manual QA tests. Until we have nothing left on wikia.com, we want to keep running tests on wikia.com to make sure nothing breaks.
- Communities that need to be handled separately. There are a small handful of wikis that we are excluding because they require further evaluation on the Fandom platform. One example includes Answers wikis, which we are in the process of sunsetting.
- Other factors. The remaining ~6,500 wikis are a mix of factors. These include international language wikis with an additional subdomain level (ex: ja.name.wikia.com), as well international language wikis with invalid language codes in the URL where we need to figure out the valid one it should use in the language path.
Of the 300,000+ wikis on Fandom, all but a small handful have been migrated, with the vast majority of them (around 600) being test wikis.
I have a question that wasn’t answered here
If you have any questions or concerns about this process that were not addressed on this page, please feel free to send staff a message at Special:Contact or directly via email at email@example.com. We will do our best to answer those for you!