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Information: The template was of the form: [[United Federation of Planets|Federation]]
This would allow the use of {{Federation}} to be used and thus replace either a piped link or a redirect.

According to a later edit summary, the "Federation" template has been created "to improve google ranking". The obvious questions are:

  • Says who?
  • Do we need to improve our google ranking, or is that some outside wish for better advertisement visibility?
  • Do we need a strange template for that purpose? Aren't piped links good enough any longer?
  • Don't we want to use the full name of an entity (here: United Federation of Planets) anyway, in an encyclopedic context?

--Cid Highwind 10:57, February 17, 2010 (UTC)

I'm curious as to how this would improve the google ranking at all really. -- sulfur 11:07, February 17, 2010 (UTC)
As am I. - Archduk3 13:28, February 17, 2010 (UTC)

The only difference between [[A]] (where A is a redirect to B) and a template call that results in [[B|A]] is the actual URL that gets added as the link target and will thus be "linked more". The target content (here: the UFP article) and the link text string (here: "Federation") are absolutely the same.

If I understand Google's way of working correctly, using this template (or the piped link) throughout might boost our ranking for the search term "United Federation of Planets" at the cost of our ranking for just "Federation". We're already ranked #3 or #4 for that term, so I'm not sure we despearately need any further "improvements" in that regard. -- Cid Highwind 13:50, February 17, 2010 (UTC)

If anything, we need better rankings on "Federation". We're only #8 there!  :P
In short, I don't see how this helps us at all. It obfuscates things (at best). -- sulfur 14:40, February 17, 2010 (UTC)
Eschew obfuscation!! :) -- Renegade54 15:59, February 17, 2010 (UTC)
Ah sorry, I didn't see this discussion - thanks for bringing it to my attention.
I admin several wikia-hosted wikis, and we've seen dramatic improvements in Google ranking using this technique. For example, on the Smallville wiki... we used to use a similar redirect ("Clark") to point to Clark Kent's page ("Clark Kent"). This divided the links within the wiki between the full article ( and the redirect ( ). As a result, neither page was ranked very highly on Google when you searched for variations of his name.
After we switched to consistently point to the full article, the Google page rank dramatically improved. Now the wiki pages rank highly for the major characters on the show:
We tried for a while to get people to type out the full link (e.g. the equivalent of [[United Federation of Planets|Federation]], but it was tough to get everyone to type out the full article names. So we started using the equivalent of {{Federation}}, and everyone adapted to that new standard quickly. This really helped get all the links pointing to the same page.
This technique definitely will not hurt the Google rank of Memory Alpha as it pertains to the word "Federation"... in fact, it will help since the links to the article aren't divided between the main page and the redirect.
I've seen results using this on other wikis, and have been surprised at how quickly it can make a different. The basic idea here is that Google likes it better when you link to the full page every time, like this: [[United Federation of Planets|Federation]]. The template approach is just a fast way to achieve that.
Looking forward to hearing your collective thoughts here... thanks for hearing me out. --Kanamekun 11:28, March 14, 2010 (UTC)
I kinda agree with Sulfur- I don't understand how this is helpful or desireable. It seems to make things needlessly complicated in order to help Google- do we work for Google or ourselves? Maybe I just don't get it- I don't know.--31dot 11:43, March 14, 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure how this is helping Google... they don't really care which pages come up where. Improving Memory Alpha's search ranking helps drive more traffic and potential editors to the wiki... that's the only real goal here. --Kanamekun 11:48, March 14, 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for the explanation. However, while it's true that any search engine optimization wouldn't be done "to help Google", the question is whether it's really done "to help ourselves", or not. For example, I see that we're #3 already, without any tricks - and I don't think we should make editing more complicated just for SEO. Instead, if google rank is a general problem with redirect pages, that problem should be solved in the MediaWiki engine instead. Also, what still remains is the question if we shouldn't change any links to simply Federation to the full United Federation of Planets instead, anyway. -- Cid Highwind 13:44, March 14, 2010 (UTC)

I agree it'd be best if this was addressed through MediaWiki... but that's not really something that we can easily control.
In any case, just sharing a technique that's been hugely successful in raising Google traffic on other wikia wikis. It sounds like there's some resistance here around using a template to do that. So for now, I'll just make sure that links use the full link ([[United Federation of Planets|Federation]]) as opposed to the redirect ([[Federation]]). --Kanamekun 19:04, March 14, 2010 (UTC)

One major argument for using the redirect link [[Federation]], and not the piped link [[United Federation of Planets|Federation]] is that the former allows us (at least theoretically) to find all occurrences of the informal title being used, and to replace it with the correct, formal title where necessary. Replacing one with the other robs us of that possibility, and just for something that has no real use for us (may I repeat that we already are the #3 result for that search term, and no amount of search engine optimization will get us past Wikipedia, anyway?).

So, long story short - thanks for bringing that to our attention, and perhaps there's a redirect that should be handled that way - Federation, though, is most probably not one of them. -- Cid Highwind 21:16, March 14, 2010 (UTC)

Wait, I'm totally confused. Is the consensus that we don't want editors to use piped links ([[United Federation of Planets|Federation]]) to point to official article names in general? You'd rather have us use redirects, like [[Federation]]? --Kanamekun 21:28, March 14, 2010 (UTC)
Not quite. More a case of... Use the official title where it is suited and the redirect version if only the shorter version is really needed. This doesn't mean "get lazy and always use a redirect or create one where there isn't one already". The big thing is, having that redirect allows us to see how things are linking. That allows us to see potential problems and fix them if so deemed necessary. -- sulfur 21:33, March 14, 2010 (UTC)
Ah ok, you're not buying into the idea that any of this stuff will improve our Google search rank.
I've brought up a lot of pages from the 2nd and 3rd page of search results, to the top few slots... it can have an enormous impact on traffic.
Ok, I'm feeling chastened. I'll just let the suggestion drop... --Kanamekun 21:45, March 14, 2010 (UTC)
No, that's not it at all. There is a potential advantage. "Federation"/"United Federation of Planets" is not one of those places. Some other keywords? Maybe a template like this would be useful there. That's what Cid's been driving at (and I agree). MA is not going to surpass Wikipedia for 2nd, and 1st is a list of images related to the keywords. -- sulfur 22:14, March 14, 2010 (UTC)
I wouldn't necessarily dismiss MA's chances of surpassing Wikipedia... it's already beating Wikipedia for several keywords: (this is probably b/c Wikipedia's Locutus page is just a redirect)
The MA page is often noticeably better than Wikipedia's page... I think it's only a matter of time before MA starts to crowd out Wikipedia for an increasing number of terms. --Kanamekun 23:11, March 14, 2010 (UTC)
Yes, for certain things, it will definitely be ahead. Especially things that don't have significant articles on WP. For an article like "Federation", it's not a big deal to follow WP. -- sulfur 23:15, March 14, 2010 (UTC)