Follow TV Tropes
This is a project dedicated to raising TV Tropes's position in search engines mainly by improving the wiki and spreading the word about it and a successor of this thread (see it for some valuable thoughts).
Did you know that according to Alexa, we are under the top 5000 in global traffic and engagement and are losing about 800 places in 90 days (#5216 by the start of this thread)? In July 2019, we had 2383th place. By the end of previous year, we had 2061th place (with some other fall previously, but we'll find out what that was later). To put it simply, with a showcase of 2019:
This thread's goal is considering ways in which we could improve our search engine position which would involve improving the wiki. One of the ideas is making and/or expanding work pages on currently popular or memetic works, or those which have been experienced by a Youtuber with millions of subscribers. Of course, check Alexa for what can be improved in existing content as well. If you have your own suggestions for what can be done, don't be afraid to share them and do them - this is an inclusion-and-expansion-oriented cleanup thread unlike others. If you've done work related to this thread, don't be afraid to share that as well. And if there's anything you see as a possible problem for our traffic, please share your concerns as well.
I know this sounds strange and you may think "No big deal, we'll live", but I think this is a fairly serious matter and improving our ranking could bring more readers and editors, so if you were willing to join, it would be great. I'll probably keep working on pages Characters.Rugrats links to and make pages on games when I get the chance.
Edited by Piterpicher on Feb 16th 2020 at 1:11:44 PM
I wonder what happened in July-August. That seems to be when things got bad.
NTC 3 suggested that we may experience drops when it's election season, per this post. It's an interesting theory, but the previous fall wasn't nearly as drastic. I have also considered whether Characters.Rugrats getting split hurt our popularity, as the main character page was originally split on August 11th.
Characters.Rugrats brought 23385 inbounds, Characters.Rugrats Kids brought 37, Characters.Rugrats Adults brought 24, Characters.Rugrats Others a measly 2 (I know the subpages have only been made in August, but this is still noticeable, see SP example later). Obviously a page which is just three links ain't going to be too popular, especially a short one which has been split so suddenly. By comparison, Characters.South Park was split a long time ago (October 2012), and even new split pages are more popular than Rugrats (Characters.South Park PC Principal, which is the newest, was created in October 28th, 2019 and has brought 64 inbounds. That's about 4 times as effective as Characters.Rugrats Kids.)
The three character pages have been merged and the South Park pages may be merged too, but the drop didn't stop. I have also considered the possibility that our website being almost completely in English and the expansion of the non-English web being a problem, but English is known by billions of people at rudimentary level at least, so hard to say. I think there could be other things, but it's hard to say. Do you think you know a way to improve our situation?
Edited by Piterpicher on Feb 15th 2020 at 12:39:24 PM
I don't have any real ideas. I saw in the other thread the possibility that more steps being taken to maintain wiki quality could be unappealing to outsiders, but catering to them is definitely too much a cost. If the framework of the website as a whole was touched up, that might help, but I'm well aware that needs the admins to do anything about it.
'Sup, glad to see the thread is live.
I do have one thing to mention though: As I said on the other thread, there are a lot of factors that can decrease wiki-traffic beyond the actual quality of the articles:
All that said, cleaning up is definitely one way we can improve our wiki, even if the chaotic environment of the early days is what got a lot of readers. People like our funny side, so we shouldn't shy away too much from being comedic, so long as we can still maintain good quality standards at the same time.
Isn't that when we implemented the new Unreleased Works rules? They basically completely stop-gapped the troping of anything new.
If that is the reason, would removing the "no release date" rule raise the traffic again or would it do nothing?
(Not promoting that we should do that yet, but just trying to unravel the consequences)
Edited by Albert3105 on Feb 15th 2020 at 7:00:41 AM
IDK, it's a possibility at least.
I think it could. I have considered the possibility that the upcoming works thread could have hurt our rankings, as these unreleased work pages tend to be popular, and I don't really know if they truly hurt the wiki, the fact that people only brought it up in 2019 or something shows how it's a recently found problem. I get that they think it was a good idea, but as the results show, it might not have been for our readers, and that is the group we're making the wiki for. Readers don't give much of a hoot about policies or cleanup unless it gets in the way of content.
By the way, I mentioned making pages on games played by popular YouTubers. I'll probably get working on a page on Raid 2020, as it was reviewed by AVGN.
Edited by Piterpicher on Feb 16th 2020 at 10:58:13 AM
I still want to make pages for certain 'tubers, though these guys aren't gamers, they are pretty popular and fast growing channels with a lot of creative, tropeworthy content, so I think it'll be worth it. I don't know many video games though, so there's not much I can do in that department; most obscure games I know are the ones played by Pikasprey, and some of them might be crossing the P5 a little bit, so...
Edited by MacronNotes on Feb 19th 2020 at 1:45:34 PM
Speaking as a moderator here, we must be concerned primarily with the quality of TV Tropes and ensuring that articles comply with our rules. Search rankings and popularity are way too abstract. We don't make policy decisions based on how many people they will attract or turn off; that's at a much higher level. The site owners are the ones concerned with traffic, and have made a lot of changes with that in mind, such as the recent addition of video examples.
Patently, a lot of people like speculating about unreleased works, and having articles for them would undoubtedly push us higher in search rankings. The question, then, is whether that's worthwhile when set against the cost of allowing the articles: namely, extremely poor quality. We had similar debates years ago when we excised Troper Tales and Fetish Fuel. They were very popular areas of the site but they were killing our reputation.
I'm unclear what is meant by "popular Youtubers", though. Are we suggesting that we need indexes of "Games played by Joe Stinkybutt?" That's against our general content guidelines, although we seem to have a few exceptions, like ZeroPunctuation.Reviewed Games. Or is it that we should relax our guidelines about what sort of Youtubers qualify for TV Tropes articles? I've set my foot down about that repeatedly: you must produce some kind of original, creative content to get an article here. Just doing reviews, Let's Plays, vlogs, or reaction videos does not meet the standard. If that were it, I would qualify for an article, and I LP'ed like three games ever, without even picture-in-picture.
The assertion that layout or style changes are costing us readers is ludicrous, by the way. Every time a site anywhere on the Internet makes changes to its appearance, half of the users complain that They Changed It, Now It Sucks!, half like it, and then everyone gets used to it. Someone seeing us on Google search results who has never been here before is not going to say, "Holy crap, that looked much better three years ago," and disengage. They'll see what we are now and accept it as-is.
Edited by Fighteer on Feb 16th 2020 at 10:57:20 AM
I think that "games played by popular Youtubers" just means creating work pages for the games if they don't have one already.
Also, I agree that maintaining a high standard of quality is more important than Alexa rankings. Rather have a well-written but niche website than one that's rampant with speculation and natter.
I know that lot of popular mobile games don't have pages. I'm guessing either they don't have enough to page or mobile game are considered too disposable to "care about".
Well, obviously, we should have articles for as many works as possible within our content standards. That goes without saying. Someone has to put in the effort to write them, though.
Edited by Fighteer on Feb 16th 2020 at 10:53:52 AM
I personally think the price of "extremely poor quality" (the word "extremely" seems extreme itself here) can be a small price to pay for popularity. I get the deletions of Troper Tales, Fetish Fuel, other stuff like Wall Banger, etc. as they didn't seem to affect us in terms of popularity (more in terms of actual reputation) this badly and were very much off-mission, but pages on unreleased works are a different thing, as they will have pages eventually, just without the search engine boost. Besides, I don't think the articles were that crap (VideoGame.Super Smash Bros Ultimate was okay despite being made pre-release and before the cleanups for instance), and if they are, someone will clean them post-release (many pre-release articles do have to be cleaned up anyway as people may have to remove mentions of "in the trailer", "in the demo", etc).
Plus, I don't think readers are really going to care that something is pre-release. This kind of quality creep that dropped us over 3000 positions and brings only a small bit of quality that readers may ultimately not care about is probably more harmful. It's kind of like the amount of colors displayed on-screen. 256 colors is a fairly varied palette and many games with it look pretty to this day, 32768 should definitely be enough, but now we live in the days of 16777216 even though the human eye can hardly see the difference, plus a 256-color pic can weigh 60% less while looking at most 3% worse (like this◊ vs. this◊), or how I have my computer use 24-bit 44Khz audio when I could use 24-bit 192Khz (turned on the option in the settings, don't know if there's an option for color) and it doesn't sound bad at all. This is the kind of situation I see here: one key aspect (quality) is like 3% better but the thing is still more than great without it, at the cost of another aspect (filesize/popularity) taking a nosedive. Many websites can still function well despite being niche (tcrf.net never really got to the top 100000 as far as I know, and in fact is falling lately as well), but we did taste a good position, why give it up for something that will ultimately bring dimishing results which readers don't care about and may scare them off?
I'm still working on the Raid 2020 page by the way, is there something others would like to do?
Edited by Piterpicher on Feb 16th 2020 at 5:45:21 PM
I only mentioned the "clean up may not be the miracle solution" thing as a single possibility- I'm still going to clean up as many articles as I can whether or not it's somehow decreasing our popularity rankings.
The best thing we can do is to keep creating interesting content.
The policy you're saying is hurting us, btw, is more or less just us emphasizing something that has always been a rule, and just better enforcing the "no speculation" thing. If readers are that concerned with us no longer posting unsubstantiated rumors to these pages, then they were just looking for speculation in the first place.
I think the bigger policy change wasn't "no speculation," it's "a work is absolutely not allowed to have a page unless it has a trailer and a release date." That policy works fine for films, but for a lot of other mediums that don't drop their release dates early, this stifles the creation of new pages that do in fact have a lot of tropable material. I brought it up here, but discussion stalled.
I'm having trouble articulating my thoughts here, but my point is that people come here looking for a page on whatever cool new thing they just heard about. If there's no page, they're gonna be turned off, but if there is a page (even if it's a bit bare bones), they'll stay put and be more invested.
Well, I know that some works were cleaned up pre-release without the cleanup (YMMV.Pokemon Sun And Moon had lots of Memetic Mutation entries removed despite being made pre-policy and pre-release, I remember that, there was also a lock, but what was done overall isn't as harsh as what's done now). And what are your thoughts on one aspect being 3% better with another becoming way worse? And besides, even if there's a bare-bones but acceptable page, readers may stay and read other pages, as TV Tropes isn't just reading one page but a satisfying chain, that's why pages like TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life or Browser Narcotic exist, after all. A lack of page will give the reader looking for it neither. Discar put it well (though films also bring inbounds).
Edited by Piterpicher on Feb 16th 2020 at 6:17:47 PM
Ah, fair enough.
Well, that's why we need to keep creating new pages regardless.
Personally, I'd be totally fine with relaxing the "3 tropes minimum" rule for works, as long as sufficient description exists.
I still believe the effort here is misguided. I don't care if we're not as high as we once were as long as we still have an active, live user base and viewership and we remain solvent.
I assume that rule would only be relaxed for unreleased works? Because released ones almost always have at least three.
And I did anticipate your "No big deal" response above. That's your opinion, but I think this is an area we can improve in more than quality (again, a slight quality drop versus a severe viewership drop). It's probably better if we're good in several areas rather than good+ in one but really weak in another (even if I'm that kind of person).
Edited by Piterpicher on Feb 16th 2020 at 6:58:32 PM
It's one thing to have articles for unreleased works to capture search engine hits, but another to allow editing of them. Anyway, do we have any actual evidence that this is responsible for the decline, or just guesswork?
Also, we already had a complete debate about the unreleased works policy, and this topic is not an excuse to renegotiate it. If some people (*cough*) want to treat it as such, well... that is a place moderators can and will act.
Edited by Fighteer on Feb 16th 2020 at 1:54:13 PM
To be honest, it's hard to say what actually caused the colossal drop, but the upcoming works policy seems like a solid lead. The upcoming work thread was created on March 1st 2019 and the Creating a Work Page for an Upcoming Work page was created on June 5th 2019. Both dates were near the noticeable falls as the effect likely wouldn't be instantaneous, but other than that, this is a theory. The other theory is that Characters.Rugrats being split on August 11th accelerated the fall by a fair amount as it was the best keyword. We merged it back, but the fall didn't stop. I have also considered whether the non-English web expansion could have been the culprit, but that would need further investigation, a year ago we were #817 in the US and now we're #2108.
So I do have to rely on guesswork which is ironic as we mentioned the upcoming works thread (I wasn't the one to bring it up here, though, and no one brought up search engines or traffic in the Wiki Talk thread from what I can tell). I and maybe others just have to find a plausible theory as I'm not an SEO professional, with no SEO college degree or cases of websites saved by me.
Edited by Piterpicher on Feb 16th 2020 at 8:52:45 PM
Eh, there's a whole separate thread to discuss and debate policy, so let's not do it here and now.
If we do eventually come to the conclusion that the unreleased works policy should be less strict and start creating (preferably locked) pages for works with no launch date, it's cool with me, but for now we need to do the best with what we got.
I'll try and create pages for those 'tubers this week (and finish that damn Rugrats page...)
Community Showcase More
How well does it match the trope?