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We’ve been digging deep into the SEO of Fandom and Gamepedia over the last two years. SEO, as a reminder, is the process of improving the quality and quantity of traffic to web pages through search engine results. It is of vital importance for wikis, since 90% of overall wiki traffic comes from Google searches. Even before the merger of these two platforms, the Gamepedia team noticed that changes to Google’s search algorithm seemed to hurt Gamepedia wikis, while Fandom wikis did better. On average, each algorithm change results in a visibility decrease of up to 10% for Gamepedia wikis and a visibility increase of up to 18% for Fandom wikis.
The algorithm at Google is one they hold as a very closely guarded secret. How changes to it affect Fandom and Gamepedia wikis is not fully understood, but what we do know is that brand strength and domain unity can protect wikis from SEO drops and lead to SEO benefits. With these algorithm changes happening about 4 times a year, Gamepedia wikis could lose up to 40% search visibility in 2021 or gain up to 70% visibility by migrating to Fandom URLs. The initial migration tests will help us narrow down that number, become more exact over time, and understand the associated traffic impact. For context, with the Wikia.com to Fandom.com domain migrations in 2018, we saw the test communities begin to gain search authority and ranking within 8 weeks. That migration continues to undo the damage of Google’s major 2018 algorithm change, which disfavored the Wikia domain while favoring Fandom. It will take testing to know for sure, but we expect similar results for Gamepedia and Fandom domains.
[[File:Wikia to Fandom domain.png]]▼
You can see that illustrated in the following graph: ▼
▲You can see that illustrated in the
▲[[File:Wikia to Fandom domain.png]]
Part of the reason why Fandom does better with SEO than Gamepedia is the difference in size and the breadth of the platform and brand, AKA brand strength. Fandom encompasses the universe of fan interests, including but not just limited to video games. Even though gaming is nearly half of our traffic, association with non-gaming content of interest to fans is huge for surfacing gaming wikis in search results. Even prior to Fandom and Curse merging, Curse was beginning to explore the possibility of expanding beyond just Gamepedia for wikis, recognizing the potential of a broader approach (think Animepedia or Moviepedia). Additionally, the average fan is 2.5 times more likely to know what Fandom is, compared to Gamepedia, based on market research of comparative brand awareness we performed this spring with surveys to Fandom and Gamepedia readers and editors. We are also working on ways to better recommend wikis based on interests, [https://community.fandom.com/wiki/User_blog:MisterWoodhouse/Introducing_Global_Taxonomy as announced last year.]