Hope you all had safe and joyous holidays :)
As 2021 kicks off, let’s talk about search engine optimization (SEO) or, most succinctly, Keeping Google Happy. Some of you already know this, but it bears repeating often: search results account for the overwhelming majority of visits to the platform, with 90% of total traffic to the wikis originating from Google searches. It is the primary source of any established wiki’s traffic by a wide margin. There are no exceptions. None. This is a result of Google recognizing that the Fandom platform of wikis is the #1 authority on imagined worlds and, thus, reward your wikis with top search results. It is a fantastic way to attract an audience which is intently interested in the content covered by your wikis.
What does that mean?
A very important part of what we do is Keeping Google Happy. That means adapting to changes in how Google processes the wiki content for their search results, how that processing affects the rankings within those results, and any requirements they add for websites. By doing this, we ensure that you continue to attract new visitors to your awesome wiki content. Failure to do it would result in losing visitors, which would threaten the success of your wikis and Fandom as a whole.
It’s an important issue and has to be approached from a few different angles, especially this year. Starting this Spring, Google will begin to evaluate websites based on criteria they call Core Web Vitals. To keep it brief, Core Web Vitals are three measurements which look at how quickly the page loads, how quickly the page becomes stable, and how quickly the page can be interacted with in a meaningful way. Basically, Google wants to make sure that, when you click on a search result, the page you go to is one you can engage with quickly without issues. Pretty great thing for them to work on, right?
If you score well on Core Web Vitals, that factors into a benefit for how high your page shows up in a relevant search result. If you score poorly, your page is penalized with a lower position on the relevant search result.
What is Fandom doing about it?
Thankfully, we are already getting some Core Web Vitals benefits from the Unified Community Platform work. Performance improvements on our side are already improving how the platform scores within the new metrics.
More work will continue on our side over the next few months to do what we can to improve the performance of page loads, content stability, and interactivity. In particular, we are working on improving the ad experience, server performance, and the site design. We are also looking at how aspects of certain wiki formatting itself affects these metrics and ways that formatting can be improved to not only make pages load more quickly, but also improve the user experience. When we conclude our analysis, we will have recommendations on how communities can be part of these site-wide improvements where we cannot automatically do it ourselves.
You will be hearing from us a lot about this over the next few months. We want to demystify how search engine optimization affects your wikis and we want you to be part of that conversation.
In the meantime, I’m happy to take questions on this.
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