Having a high ranking on Google is an essential way to attract readers and contributors to your wiki. There's a lot that you can do to get a higher Google ranking -- and improve your wiki at the same time!
How Google worksEdit
Your wiki's Google ranking is based on three things: rich content, use of keywords and high-quality links.
This is the most important part of creating a wiki -- sitting down and writing some interesting content. That's what readers and contributors are coming to the wiki for, and that's what Google picks up on. The more content you have, the more likely your wiki will show up in search results.
Use of keywordsEdit
When Google indexes your pages, they take into account where the search phrase is on the page. If a phrase is in the page title, in a big heading, or repeated multiple times on the page, then it'll rank higher than another page that has that phrase in small type at the bottom of the page.
Part of your ranking is based on how many pages link to your wiki, and how high those pages are ranked. When important websites link to your wiki, that's a very helpful "vote" for you, so it's good to get as many links from popular sites as you can get.
However, it's also important to remember that when you link to your own pages, that also counts as a link to Google. Create as many pages on your wiki as you can -- even stub pages are okay, as long as they link to each other.
If you're spending a lot of time worrying about getting other websites to link to your wiki, consider whether you could use that time more effectively by simply adding more content.
The following tips will help you raise your wiki's Google ranking, but the most important "trick" is just to work on your wiki, and make it bigger and more interesting.
Step 1: Name your wiki after the topic.Edit
Your page rank is partly based on what's in the title bar at the top of the page. So if you want your wiki to show up when people search for "charles dickens", then "Charles Dickens Wiki" is a better title than "Scroogepedia".
Search for your topic's name on Google, and you'll see that the top ten results almost always have that phrase in the page title. That's where you want to be.
Resist the urge to give your wiki a clever name, or a cute URL. "Ugly Betty Wiki" is always going to rank higher than "Modepedia".
Also, the "-pedia" thing is tired.
See Help:Pagetitle for more info.
Step 2: Move the main page.Edit
This trick also helps to maximize the boost you get from having the topic in the title bar.
First, move "Main Page", and give it the name of your wiki. Having "Charles Dickens Wiki - Charles Dickens Wiki" at the top of your main page will give you an edge.
Then, go to MediaWiki:Mainpage, edit that page, and put in the name of your wiki there.
Step 3: Start building content.Edit
Before you do anything else to promote your wiki, you have to get down to the business of creating some pages.
Start with 50 pages as your goal. That seems like a lot, but just go ahead and make a bunch of stubs. If it's Charles Dickens Wiki, then throw together a page for each of his books, and start making pages for the characters. Each page can be two sentences and a category tag. If you're fast on the keyboard and you know all the character names, you could throw together 50 stub pages in one evening.
You know your subject, so coming up with those early stub pages is as easy as making a list of names. If it's the Solar System Wiki, then make a page for each of Jupiter's moons -- that's 63 pages right off the bat. If you've got a God of War Wiki, then make a page for each of the monsters.
Don't worry about making those pages perfect, or even informative. Just get them started. The only thing you should worry about is putting them in relevant categories, and making sure that a reader (or a Google searchbot) can get from the main page to every page on the wiki just by clicking on links.
Plus, adding all these stub pages will give your contributors something to work on when they show up! A wiki page that's half-finished is always easier to work on than a wiki page that hasn't been created yet.
Building content is your #1 priority. Can't stress that highly enough. Don't move on to the next steps until you have at least 50 stub pages on your wiki.
Step 4: Submit your URL to Google.Edit
If other sites are linking to your wiki, then Google will find you eventually, but you can sometimes speed up the process by submitting your site to them directly.
"Add your URL to Google" is the page you need. You may want to bookmark that, cause you'll be using it again.
You can find it from Google's home page by clicking on "About Google", then "Submit your content to Google", and then "Add your URL".
All you do is cut and paste the URL for your wiki's main page, type in the word that it wants you to type, and hit the "Add URL" button. (Don't worry about the "Comments" line; you don't need to type anything there.) Now your URL is added to their list of websites to look at. It usually only takes a couple of days for a page to be listed.
At this point, you can look for some of the major players in your topic area that allow people to post links.
For a TV show or movie, you can submit your wiki to IMDB. Go to the page about your topic, click on "Miscellaneous links", and then click "Update" to submit your own link. (You'll need to log on as an IMDB user.) It can take a week or two, but the link should show up. When it does, submit that page to Google.
Other good prospects for TV shows are TV.com and TVguide.com, both of which allow people to post links in forum postings. Go to the forum on the show that you're interested in, and post a brief description of your wiki, with a link.
You can also submit your site to the Open Directory Project (dmoz.org). Just search for your topic, select the appropriate category from the list that comes up, and then click "suggest URL". You can submit the URL, and a brief description of your wiki.
It can also be helpful to have links from other wikis -- and, due to the nature of wikis, you can post those yourself. But be careful with these -- if the people who are on that wiki think you're being overbearing about it, they'll block you and remove your links. Be cool about it, and only post links that are relevant.
You can create a page for your wiki on WikiIndex. Those don't always get indexed by Google, so submit that URL as well.
If you've got a science-fiction topic, the Sci Fi Channel's SciFipedia is another good place.
Beyond that, do a search for your topic, and see if there are other wikis where you can post relevant links. Don't spend too much time on this -- you don't want to get distracted from building your site -- but it's worth a few minutes.
Step 7: Add more pages.Edit
How many pages do you have by this point? See if you can get up to 100.
Step 8: Post on blogs and forums.Edit
Do a Google search for your topic, and see what comes up in the top results. If blogs or forums come up near the top, then post comments there, with a link back to your wiki.
Try to make your comments intelligent and relevant; that'll make them more likely to stay up.
Step 9: Create pages for other websites.Edit
If there are other fan websites on your topic that you admire, create a page about that site. Take a screenshot of the main page for an illustration. Write a few sentences, and post a link to the site.
Once you've done that, write to the webmaster of that site, and send them a link to the page you've created about them. Invite them to come to your wiki and add more to their page. They may end up adding a link to your wiki, which would bring a Google boost and more potential contributors.
Step 10: Don't give up!Edit
From here on, all you have to do is keep adding content to your wiki. You've done everything that you can do to bring attention to your site, so now you can focus on making it bigger and better. By now, if you've got a good title, 100 pages and a bunch of links, you should be moving up the Google listings. If more contributors haven't joined you yet, then they'll be coming soon.
So just keep building your wiki -- and when contributors start showing up, make sure you say hello to them, and welcome them to your site. You've put a lot of work into building the wiki. Make sure the new contributors know how much you appreciate their help!