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How to win at Google/Marvel Database

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Marvel

Keyword dataEdit

Data collected on May 5th. "Average monthly searches" data is from the Google AdWords Keyword tool. "Wiki monthly hits" is from Analytics data. "Wiki rank" is from doing a Google search for that search term and counting.


Search term Avg monthly searches Wiki rank Wiki monthly hits Success rate
Spiderman 9,140,000 130 0 0
Iron Man 4,090,000 194 16 .00%
Marvel 4,090,000 15 76 .00%
Spider Man 2,740,000 156 0 0
X Men 2,740,000 83 204 .01%
Wolverine 1,220,000 39 196 .02%
Captain America 368,000 63 16 .00%
Marvel Comics 301,000 10 704 .23%
Marvel heroes 90,500 500+ 0 0
Peter Parker 49,500 85 0 0
Marvel characters 40,500 9 192 .47%
Marvel universe 40,500 5 280 .69%
Sabretooth 27,100 17 11 .04%
Old Man Logan 3,600 5 2,428 67.4%
Victor Creed 3,200 7 1,100 34.4%
James Howlett 2,400 4 52 2.2%
Peter Parker Earth 616 0 1 0 0


As a comparison -- see Muppet Wiki's keyword data.

Keyword analysisEdit

In general, pages do well when the name of the article is the same as the search term. Marvel Database articles tend to use the birth name rather than the superhero name, so we do well for birth names and badly for superhero names.


Search term Wiki rank Success rate
Victor Creed 7 34.4%
Sabretooth 17 .04%
James Howlett 4 2.2%
Wolverine 39 .02%


Unfortunately, people are searching for superhero names -- there are 5000x more searches for Wolverine than for James Howlett -- so we're missing out on millions of potential searches.

When a page is split up too fine, we lose on everything:


Search term Wiki rank Success rate
Spiderman 130 0
Spider Man 156 0
Peter Parker 85 0
Peter Parker Earth 616 1 0


This is happening because there are three relevant pages on the site -- Spider-Man, Peter Parker and Peter Parker (Earth-616). The first two are disambiguation pages; most of the internal links on the site are going to Peter Parker (Earth-616).

Searches for Spider-Man and Peter Parker are bringing up the disambiguation pages -- but those are low-value pages, not well-linked and with not much text. All of the "link love" on the site is going to Peter Parker (Earth-616), a search term that nobody is searching for.

If you don't count people searching directly for "marvel wiki", the #1 search bringing people to Marvel Database right now is "Amina Synge". It's great that we can be a resource on minor characters, but we're missing out on Spider-Man, Wolverine and Iron Man. There are about 12 million people searching every month for Spider-Man information; Marvel Database gets none of that traffic.

One factor is that there are very few pages on Marvel that link to Spider-Man. There are 2,100 links to Peter Parker (Earth-616), 400 links to Spider-Man and 100 links to Peter Parker. Some of the PP E-616 links say "Spider-Man (Peter Parker)", but most of them don't.

CompetitionEdit

Marvel Database's main competition is ComicVine.

According to Quantcast, ComicVine is ranked #7,185, with 532,000 visits a month. Marvel Database is ranked #16,630, with 207,000 visits/month.

Other competitors: Toonopedia (#24,721), SamRuby.com (#56,949), Marvel Directory (#65,004), Spiderfan.org (#148,359).

For major search terms:

Spider-Man Google search:
  • Spiderfan.org: #13 in results
  • Samruby.com: #22
  • Spider-Man Crawl Space: #28
  • ComicVine: #40
  • Marvel Database: #156
X-Men Google search:
  • Uncannyxmen.net: #8
  • Xmenfilms.net: #15
  • Xmenindex.com: #22
  • ComicVine: #23
  • Marvel Database: #84
Wolverine Google search:
  • ComicVine: #18
  • Marvel Directory: #20
  • Marvel Database: #39
Captain America Google search:
  • Captain-america.us: #5
  • Marvel Directory: #6
  • Toonopedia: #7
  • ComicVine: #11
  • Marvel Database: #63

ComicVine's content is comparable to Marvel Database. They have 194 links on the main page, most of them not SEO-helpful. ComicVine's big advantage is that their page is called "Spider-Man", and it has lots of text on it.

How to winEdit

Article namesEdit

The most important thing that we can do is to rename the superhero pages to reflect their superhero names, rather than their birth names.

  • James Howlett (Earth-616) --> Wolverine (Earth-616)
  • Peter Parker (Earth-616) --> Spider-Man (Earth-616)

For Captain America, we could do something like:

  • Steven Rogers (Earth-616) --> Captain America (Steven Rogers, Earth-616)
  • James Buchanan Barnes (Earth-616) --> Captain America (James Buchanan Barnes, Earth-616)

The important thing is to make the phrase that people are searching for the first words in the page title. Any method of disambiguating is fine, as long as the first words in the title are "Captain America", "Iron Man", etc.

Main page linksEdit

In Google's Design and Content Guidelines, they suggest: "Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number (fewer than 100)."

Matt Cutts, who works on Search Quality for Google, wrote a blog post explaining why they recommend having fewer links on a page:

"If you end up with hundreds of links on a page, Google might choose not to follow or to index all those links. At any rate, you’re dividing the PageRank of that page between hundreds of links, so each link is only going to pass along a minuscule amount of PageRank anyway. Users often dislike link-heavy pages too, so before you go overboard putting a ton of links on a page, ask yourself what the purpose of the page is and whether it works well for the user experience."

Google's algorithm counts a link to a page as a "vote" for that page. That vote is then split up and distributed among all the links on that page, and passed on to the linked pages. As you add more links to a page, the votes get spread out more, and the power of those votes gets weaker.

According to PageRank Checker:

  • Marvel.wikia.com : 5/10
  • Category:Administration : 5/10
  • Marvel Database:Introduction : 5/10
  • Special:Statistics : 5/10
  • Category:Article Request : 3/10
  • Gallery:Cover Art Gallery : 3/10
  • Iron Man : 3/10
  • Spider-Man : 3/10
  • Wolverine : 3/10
  • Peter Parker (Earth-616) : 2/10
  • Category:Characters : 2/10
  • Stan Lee : 2/10
  • Peter Parker : 1/10

(As a comparison, check out Muppet Wiki's PageRank data.)

Everybody links to the main page, so the main page PR is always going to be the highest on the site. Article Request and Cover Art Gallery have a higher PR than Category:Characters, because the main page links to them, and it doesn't link to Characters.

The position of the link on the page also matters. Introduction, Administration and Special:Statistics all have a high page rank, because they're the top links on the page.

There are 134 links on the main page, counting images. (Links in the skin don't count; those are set to no-follow.)

This includes:

  • 15 links to Project pages
  • 4 links to Special pages
  • 4 links to Help pages
  • 5 links to Template pages
  • 7 links to Gallery pages
  • 9 links to non-content Categories (Admin, Images, Article Requests, Cover Image Needed, etc)
  • 20 links to inadequate content in the Todo List
  • 18 links in the Blogs section
  • 31 links in the Cartoons and Comics footer

There are no links to major content pages like Spider-Man, Wolverine, etc. The words "superhero" and "comic book" don't appear on the main page at all.

We could easily cut out most of the current links without losing much substance. The Todo List has been updated seven times in the last year -- it's apparently not a well-used feature. The links to Help pages, Special pages and Project pages could be cut down to a few links -- maybe a link to a good Help portal. The Cartoons footer could be cut. The Blogs feature isn't attracting much attention; taking that off the main page would cut 18 links.

The other advantage to cutting these links is that it would reduce the amount of clutter on the main page, and make navigation easier for new readers who want a clear path to the best content. They could be replaced by some text and links that describe the most popular and important characters.

PagetitleEdit

Changing the pagetitle can also add a boost on important search terms. Muppet Wiki changed the pagetitle to say Muppet Wiki - Muppets, Sesame Street, Jim Henson -- and saw a nice boost for some search terms.

For Marvel Database, adding the words Comics, Superheroes, Movies and/or Characters wouldn't hurt. "Marvel Comics - Marvel Database" would help more than "Marvel Database" does on its own.

Recommendations summaryEdit

  • Rename superhero articles to the superhero name instead of the birth name.
  • Cut out as many unnecessary main page links as possible -- footer, Todo List, project pages, templates.
  • Add text and links on the main page about the most popular characters.
  • Add words to the pagetitle -- definitely Comics, maybe more.

TrackingEdit

  • Expanded footer was turned off May 4th.
  • Peter Parker (Earth-616) was moved to Spider-Man (Peter Parker) on May 13th.
  • Marvel Comics Superheroes box replaced the comics footer on the main page on May 17th.
  • Main page was updated on May 21st.
  • Character portal on main page was expanded to 12 on May 23; character pages for those 12 moved to hero names.
  • Pagetitle changed to Marvel Comics Database on May 27.


Search term May 5 May 13 May 17 May 22 May 23 May 29 July 7 July 10
Captain America 63 76 59 51 49 10 38 40
Elektra 234 71 76 74
Emma Frost 12 12 10 9
Fantastic Four 26 28 30 32
Hulk 199 85 70 78
Iron Man 194 479 454 443 337 176 81 55
Marvel 15 14 16 16 16 14 12 13
Marvel characters 9 10 10 5 5 5 5 5
Marvel Comics 10 8 8 7 6 7 12 13
Marvel heroes 500+ 500+ 500+ 500+ 40 29 54 48
Peter Parker 85 82 83 78 74 87 24 20
Sabretooth 17 18 15 16 14 8 23 23
Spider Man 156 116 113 117 53 60 211 105
Spiderman 130 99 88 124 50 98 --- 94
Thor 209 237 86 51
Wolverine 39 39 36 36 57 19 50 44
X Men 83 200 238 122 110 94 146 110
 % from Google 40.5% 46.3% 50.3% 47.4% 46.3% 46.8% 46.7%

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