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#1 2022-04-02 11:17:20

namanlp
Member
Registered: 2022-04-02
Posts: 5

Improving Website SEO

Hi Everyone,

So, I came across Arch Linux website and I also visit Archwiki regularly. But I found one thing missing : Search Engine Optimization ( SEO )
SEO will be very useful for Arch Linux users as Archwiki articles will be more readily and easily found on various search engines.
I had a brief look at https://github.com/archlinux/archweb ( feel free to redirect me to correct website repository, if it's not the one ) and I guess I have to put a bit effort into it. I know a bit of django, but never made a project int it before.

So, before jumping into code and creating merge requests, I created this thread to know

1. If anyone is already working on it.
2. How readily will my merge requests accepted if I start working on it.
3. Where should I start : Arch Linux website or Archwiki
4. Any specific thing that administrators want.

Waiting for your reply.
Thank You.

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#2 2022-04-02 18:42:40

jasonwryan
Anarchist
From: .nz
Registered: 2009-05-09
Posts: 30,001
Website

Re: Improving Website SEO

Arch already returns the top results across a broad range of categories, for both the wiki and forum.

What, exactly, are you proposing?


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#3 2022-04-02 18:54:17

Slithery
Forum Moderator
From: Norfolk, UK
Registered: 2013-12-01
Posts: 5,247

Re: Improving Website SEO

[disclaimer]
All of the rest of this post is my personal opinion, and nothing to do with the Arch team.
[/disclaimer]

SEO is just a gimmick. The only people that need to use it are those whose websites doesn't have decent content to begin with.
Searching for anything Arch related will already rank the relevant pages in the top results.

Why do you think that it's needed?

Also having this as your first post on the forums makes it seem like you're trying to sell something...

Moving to 'Forum & Wiki discussion'. For now...


No, it didn't "fix" anything. It just shifted the brokeness one space to the right. - jasonwryan
Closing -- for deletion; Banning -- for muppetry. - jasonwryan

aur - dotfiles

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#4 2022-04-02 19:38:05

ayekat
Member
Registered: 2011-01-17
Posts: 1,509
Website

Re: Improving Website SEO

If I search something for Arch, I use the Wiki search function (or if the search doesn't yield what I want, I search on $searchengine with `site:wiki.archlinux.org`).

If I need something else that is not specific to Arch, I use $searchengine, and try to get information from as-upstream-as-possible.

I don't quite see the need for forcefully/artificially redirecting more Web users to the Arch Linux pages. What would be the goal of that?


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#5 2022-04-02 20:11:04

jonathon
Member
Registered: 2016-09-19
Posts: 121

Re: Improving Website SEO

Slithery wrote:

Also having this as your first post on the forums makes it seem like you're trying to sell something...

For context, this is one of the Garuda maintainers looking for a way to contribute something to Arch; Naman says he has a good understanding of SEO so this is one possible contribution.

Like others in the thread, I'm also not certain where SEO techniques would make a difference to search results, but perhaps if there's something to help relevance (e.g. highlight wiki content over old forum posts) it could still be useful?

I guess examples would be useful, assuming there's potential for implementation (there's not much worse than putting in some effort and then it being ignored).

Last edited by jonathon (2022-04-02 20:11:33)

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#6 2022-04-03 17:59:25

namanlp
Member
Registered: 2022-04-02
Posts: 5

Re: Improving Website SEO

Slithery wrote:

Also having this as your first post on the forums makes it seem like you're trying to sell something...

Yes I am selling peanut butter, wanna buy? big_smile

[/kidding]

No, I am not selling anything, I just wanted to make Arch Linux website a bit "better".

SEO is not just for better ranks, it is very important for better "management" of webpages and providing context of what's inside to users. I felt that SEO is required for Arch Linux website, when I was searching for yay on DDG. See

https://i.ibb.co/ZLTWmRc/image.png

see how there are random strings of text instead of proper description of yay in description. Similarly, see result of paru  on google

https://i.ibb.co/qChgBgF/image.png

Also, pavucontrol on DDG

https://i.ibb.co/QMPTZmB/image.png

This should be replaced with description of relevant packages, in my opinion. Plus, it will also improve the rankings of Archwiki pages.

jasonwryan wrote:

Arch already returns the top results across a broad range of categories, for both the wiki and forum.

You sure?


https://i.ibb.co/nnhM9Dj/image.png

That's despite Archwiki has dedicated page on java.

(Sorry for too many screenshots btw)

Slithery wrote:

SEO is just a gimmick. The only people that need to use it are those whose websites doesn't have decent content to begin with.

Well, most of the modern websites I have seen like Google, FB, twitter, youtube, KDE , firefox, VLC etc. uses it. To verify, you can simply open the source of given website, and search for meta tags. If they have attributes of "description" or "title" or "og:description" etc., that means the website uses SEO techniques.

Also, I don't see any reason to deny it.

ayekat wrote:

If I search something for Arch, I use the Wiki search function (or if the search doesn't yield what I want, I search on $searchengine with `site:wiki.archlinux.org`).
If I need something else that is not specific to Arch, I use $searchengine, and try to get information from as-upstream-as-possible.
I don't quite see the need for forcefully/artificially redirecting more Web users to the Arch Linux pages. What would be the goal of that?

Yes, I have to use similar things. For example, I want to search for a package, I first go to DDG, then go to https://archlinux.org/packages/ and search for packages, then, I go to https://aur.archlinux.org/ and search. Wouldn't it be better if I could search the packages directly from search engine? Also, it would be even better to read description from search results itself instead of opening different packages manually.
Secondly, we are not "Artificially" increasing the traffic. We are just improving the website to return more relevant results and descriptions of articles.

Finally, thanks @jonathon for providing context.


Mod Edit - Replaced oversized images with links.
CoC - Pasting pictures and code

Last edited by Slithery (2022-04-03 18:12:54)

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#7 2022-04-03 18:09:07

jasonwryan
Anarchist
From: .nz
Registered: 2009-05-09
Posts: 30,001
Website

Re: Improving Website SEO

If I want to search for a package, I use pacman.

Who is going to write all this metadata?

As I said, I'm happy with the way Arch performs, and I see zero value in getting in to an arms race with all those spammy sites that promote "easiest way to install stupid AUR helper.'


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#8 2022-04-03 18:40:10

progandy
Member
Registered: 2012-05-17
Posts: 4,880

Re: Improving Website SEO

namanlp wrote:

I had a brief look at https://github.com/archlinux/archweb ( feel free to redirect me to correct website repository, if it's not the one ) and I guess I have to put a bit effort into it. I know a bit of django, but never made a project int it before.

The arch linux website It is not one single project, but consists of multiple projects (the main site, the wiki, the aur, ...) which all use different software. The repositories for the three mentioned parts are archweb, aurweb, archwiki hosted either on github or the gitlab instance: There are also other parts like the forum or the feed planet.

https://gitlab.archlinux.org/archlinux
https://github.com/archlinux

jasonwryan wrote:

Who is going to write all this metadata?

For the AUR it might be possible to fill the description metatag from the package description if that is desired.

namanlp wrote:
jasonwryan wrote:

Arch already returns the top results across a broad range of categories, for both the wiki and forum.

You sure?

If you use google, then that statement is true.

Last edited by progandy (2022-04-03 18:50:56)


| alias CUTF='LANG=en_XX.UTF-8@POSIX ' |

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#9 2022-04-03 19:25:08

namanlp
Member
Registered: 2022-04-02
Posts: 5

Re: Improving Website SEO

jasonwryan wrote:

Who is going to write all this metadata?

It is already written for packages, that is, description of packages (both for official repo and AUR). For website and wiki, I can try to write metadata for some pages.

progandy wrote:

The arch linux website It is not one single project, but consists of multiple projects (the main site, the wiki, the aur, ...) which all use different software. The repositories for the three mentioned parts are archweb, aurweb, archwiki hosted either on github or the gitlab instance: There are also other parts like the forum or the feed planet.

https://gitlab.archlinux.org/archlinux
https://github.com/archlinux

Thanks for info. I will have a look.

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#10 2022-04-08 09:23:02

mpan
Member
Registered: 2012-08-01
Posts: 826
Website

Re: Improving Website SEO

More authoritative answers are already given, but I will allow myself to add a comment. Recently I am working on shifting towards the position, that in community-facing projects it’s better to not blatantly reject contributions perceived as being worthless. My comment will be dismissive, but I want to provide a sincere explanation of why it is so.

I did a quick survey.⁽¹⁾⁽²⁾ Low sample size (15) and freeform, interactive format makes it qualitative, not quantitative. Unanimously everyone agrees that they see no need for improving Arch websites SEO and everything can be easily found.  Three people extended that notion, considering Arch Wiki to not even be a suitable result for the audience, which is not already finding it.⁽³⁾ A single person would accept such a contribution, because it is given for free, but still finds that pointless. A few people expressed a concern that it would actually harm Arch Wiki.⁽⁴⁾

From my observation over the years it’s pretty clear that the idea of SEO bears strong negative connotations to the majority of people gathered around Linux and FOSS.⁽⁵⁾ That seems to stem both from actually experienced issues and from misconceptions. Whether the reasons are well founded or not, it prompts backlash. I do understand that it’s just a tool: it’s up to the user to decide, how to use it. If one skims over my posts on the forum, it’s pretty clear that even here I care about such basic things as providing possibly well described links in related context.⁽⁶⁾ But I am not blind: website promotion of any kind is usually done to fill the results with one’s own content, without any care about the users and if they will receive valuable information. Methods employed are equally questionable. Ranging from design being driven with SEO as the primary goal, with little regard for quality, to ordinary spam. That of course creates a Red Queen’s race environment, which may be interpreted as both a support for your idea and opposition to it: we must employ it to survive, yet employing it makes things even worse.

Now: don’t get me wrong on this one. There is a subset of SEO techniques, based on more or less official search engines’ recommendations and educated guesses, that are sound. It does work to some degree. But, just like the entire marketing, the overwhelming majority of the topic is pure snake oil. With claims made without any backing evidence or even good reasoning. Peddled to victims, who want to get just that 0.1% in front of the competition, so they will pay anything that is nicely packaged. Even if its as effective as astrology and reading crystal balls. This brings even more negative reactions to your offer.

Finally, implementation. While some pages on the main website could see improvement by just modifying templates, Arch Wiki and the forum are user-created content. You have no way to force contributors to format what they deliver in a way suitable for SEO. Unless you are willing to become an official SEO Patrol Officer that monitors changes daily and corrects them, this is simply not going to happen. And, thinking realistically, you doing that for any extended period of time is also unlikely.⁽⁷⁾
____
⁽¹⁾ In #archlinux-offtopic. Evening US time, and morning and afternoon Euro time. Participants related to Arch Linux, but not necessarily using Arch as their primary OS. Questions and answers as a freeform talk conducted in public, so responses are not mutually independent.
⁽²⁾ Disclaimer: while inspired by, the survey was not conducted for this topic. It was done to challenge my own perception.
⁽³⁾ With one voice that any such effort should rather be focused on providing good quality videos on YouTube.
⁽⁴⁾ Changes may lead to issues with accuracy. Influx of random visitors means more vandalism. Penalty from search engines if overdone.
⁽⁵⁾ In the most inclusive sense; not limited to users of Linux distros.
⁽⁶⁾ If it’s still working in 2020s is a separate issue, but I do that habitually.
⁽⁷⁾ And there are more urging menial jobs to do in the community, if you are up to such things. For example: the security team is getting burned out, having to manually analyze CVEs and fill entries for the AVGs.

Last edited by mpan (2022-04-08 11:55:52)


Sometimes I seem a bit harsh — don’t get offended too easily! PGP: 7C848198AE93D3BB

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#11 2022-04-09 19:47:34

namanlp
Member
Registered: 2022-04-02
Posts: 5

Re: Improving Website SEO

mpan wrote:

From my observation over the years it’s pretty clear that the idea of SEO bears strong negative connotations to the majority of people gathered around Linux and FOSS.⁽⁵⁾ That seems to stem both from actually experienced issues and from misconceptions. Whether the reasons are well founded or not, it prompts backlash.

That's kinda understandable. Also, feel free to contact me in future for any website related help like SEO or Styling or any other way I can help. I am always here for positive development of Arch Linux.

See Ya Around !

Last edited by namanlp (2022-04-09 19:48:04)

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#12 2022-04-09 21:39:27

Trilby
Inspector Parrot
Registered: 2011-11-29
Posts: 26,706
Website

Re: Improving Website SEO

My two cents that may be worth less than that - I agree that there is generally a negative connotation associated with "SEO", and I share in a general distaste in the term.  But I also suspect that this may be in part due to "SEO" meaning so many different things.  I suspect most community members who would cringe in response to hearing "SEO" would be much more interested in ensuring the HTML returned by web requests to our servers is properly formed and conforms to relevant standards or best practices for web content e.g., using html5 semantic elements properly, having informative 'title' tags ... it's a *rule* for our forums, suitably using "alt" tags for images to support usability on less-common devices and / or assistive technologies.  All of this might overlap to some degree with some SEO techniques.

Of course the purpose is different.  One is to make quality and standards-compliant content - as a nice side effect that may make it easier for search engines to properly index that content.  The other is prioritizing rankings in search engines as a goal in and of itself by pandering to what google says they want (like every website including their "analytics" tracking software) rather than simply adhering to more "democratically" decided public standards.

Last edited by Trilby (2022-04-09 21:41:28)


"UNIX is simple and coherent..." - Dennis Ritchie, "GNU's Not UNIX" -  Richard Stallman

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#13 2022-04-10 20:21:38

namanlp
Member
Registered: 2022-04-02
Posts: 5

Re: Improving Website SEO

Trilby wrote:

I suspect most community members who would cringe in response to hearing "SEO" would be much more interested in ensuring the HTML returned by web requests to our servers is properly formed and conforms to relevant standards or best practices for web content e.g., using html5 semantic elements properly, having informative 'title' tags ... it's a *rule* for our forums, suitably using "alt" tags for images to support usability on less-common devices and / or assistive technologies.  All of this might overlap to some degree with some SEO techniques.

+1
That's exactly what I meant.

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#14 2022-05-09 09:15:43

Ferdinand
Member
From: Norway
Registered: 2020-01-02
Posts: 236

Re: Improving Website SEO

Sorry for bumping an old discussion, please ignore at your discretion.

I was just browsing through and this really baffled me; a nice, competent person offers to help improve the presentation of Arch web pages in search engines, and we basically decline the kind offer?

It seems to me that valid points have been made, and I fail to see how this could be not good?
The worst case scenario is likely that we'd see no effect and nothing changes, so why not welcome the initiative and see what a better scenario could be like?

So, I wish to make an argument:

Problem: I think it's fair to say that the competent and diligent patrons of this forum lays down much work in helping people who have followed unsupported and misleading guides they have stumbled over, more or less randomly, around the web.
Solution: To alleviate that, surely it would be helpful, not only to have a better presentation of our web pages, but also improve the raw ranking of the pages?

As an example, I'll search for "upgrade arch linux".

I gather the most desired search result would be the section Upgrading the system from the System maintenance page on the Arch wiki - but search results points to pages, not sections, so ideally we should find a way to get hits for our page sections? Anyway, here's how our System Maintenance page ranks in competition with the rough stuff: (this is a mix of search engines that are privacy concerned or have their own databases - I forgot the URLs to google and bing a long time ago):

  • Startpage:: System Maintenance page is hit # 2

  • Ekoru: System Maintenance page is hit # 6

  • Qwant: System Maintenance page is hit # 8

  • DuckDuckGo: System Maintenance page is hit # 15

  • metaGer: System Maintenance page is hit # 19

  • mojeek: System Maintenance page isn't anywhere on the first 10 result pages. Not even anything relevant, although there was a link to the forums somewhere

  • Exalead: System Maintenance page isn't anywhere on the first 10 result pages. Not even anything relevant, although the top hit is a forum post from 2012 tongue

Also check the descriptions of the hits; a page that often ranks high is How to Update Arch Linux from How-To Geek:

DuckDuckGo wrote:

Apply a System Update on Arch Linux To begin an update of all installed packages, open any terminal app and pass the following command: sudo pacman -Syu You'll be prompted for your password before the command can proceed. This command checks for available updates. If there are any, it will list the packages, along with their new version numbers.

Ekoru wrote:

Whether you’re on pure Arch or an Arch-based distro like Manjaro and Garuda Linux, we’ll show you how to safely update your system with one or two simple commands. Keeping packages up-to-date is important on any Linux distro.

On the contrary, the System Maintenance page is promoted as:

DuckDuckGo wrote:

Upgrades are typically not applied to existing processes. You must restart processes to fully apply the upgrade. The archlinux-contrib package provides a script called checkservices which runs pacdiff to merge .pacnew files then checks for processes running with outdated libraries and prompts the user if they want them to be restarted.

Ekoru wrote:

Make sure to have the Arch install media or another Linux "live" CD/USB available so you can easily rescue your system if there is a problem after updating. If you are running Arch in a production environment, or cannot afford downtime for any reason, test changes to configuration files, as well as updates to software packages, on a non-critical duplicate system first.

I'm no good with web pages, let alone SEO, and I may quite possibly have misunderstood both intentions and substance in the above posts, but this topic seemed to end in a rather unfortunate way, and I think maybe we should have been a little bit more inviting?

Last edited by Ferdinand (2022-05-09 09:22:02)

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#15 2022-05-09 11:17:58

mpan
Member
Registered: 2012-08-01
Posts: 826
Website

Re: Improving Website SEO

Did you see my response above? I provided there some explanations.

Adding a bit to address what you have said: Arch was always accepting contribution, but the help offered is neither consisting of positive things only, nor is being done exclusively by that nice person. That’s not “let me edit wiki pages”, as for that no permission is needed and namanip is free to do that. That’s a heavyweght change, possibly even including forking Mediawiki and certainly requiring effort from other people. Persons, who may have work thrown at them, have a right to object. So are people, who are worried about being negatively affected by the proposed changes.

Last edited by mpan (2022-05-09 11:18:51)


Sometimes I seem a bit harsh — don’t get offended too easily! PGP: 7C848198AE93D3BB

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#16 2022-05-09 15:45:39

Ferdinand
Member
From: Norway
Registered: 2020-01-02
Posts: 236

Re: Improving Website SEO

Well, yes - I did read your response - but maybe I didn't understand properly the problems you pointed to. Especially...

mpan wrote:

While some pages on the main website could see improvement by just modifying templates, Arch Wiki and the forum are user-created content. You have no way to force contributors to format what they deliver in a way suitable for SEO. Unless you are willing to become an official SEO Patrol Officer that monitors changes daily and corrects them

I'm afraid I was under the impression/imagined that the proposed SEO work would consist of primarily scripting automated changes to metadata based on content updates, and not massively changing or forking mediawiki or manually patrolling content changes.

mpan wrote:

Persons, who may have work thrown at them, have a right to object. So are people, who are worried about being negatively affected by the proposed changes.

I agree very much to this of course, and meant no offence - I am afraid the case may indeed be that...

Ferdinand wrote:

I'm no good with web pages, let alone SEO, and I may quite possibly have misunderstood both intentions and substance in the above posts

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