[pmwiki-users] WikiWords and Google

Patrick R. Michaud pmichaud at pobox.com
Sat Mar 4 15:21:44 CST 2006

On Sat, Mar 04, 2006 at 09:59:41PM +0100, kirpi at kirpi.it wrote:
> I happened to read here [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CamelCase_and_Wiki] that
> [WikiWords] are recognized by search engine spiders and indexers as
> single words, thus ranking pages incorrectly...
> Of course you might say to me "Ask Google and friends!", but for the
> moment I just ask you all: does the phrase above means that, just to
> be practical, it is better to drop the use of WikiWords and use [[]]
> instead? (The need for Google's correct ranking is given for granted,
> here.)

I think the overriding concern should be "what is easiest for the
authors", and I'm pretty sure Google would agree on this one.

Google's algorithms really emphasize quality of page content over all
other factors, and so whatever makes it easier for authors to frequently
add useful content to the site and link to relevant topics is what will 
have the largest impact -- far more than the choice of how the words
are structured.

And I'm not sure I buy the argument that CamelCaseWords will cause
the search engines to rank things "incorrectly" -- a search engine looks
at the entire text of a page to determine rank, not just the links or
title.  It's the surrounding words, context, and quality of links
that determine the rank.

So, my view would be that if it's easier for authors to write using 
WikiWords, use that.  If it's easier for authors to use [[page links]], 
use that.  If it's about the same ease for both mechanisms, don't
worry about it.

At least for Google, I think that having a site where there's a 
lot of useful and frequently updated content will count far far more 
than the structure of the words used to generate links.  So, do what's 
best for the authors, and the rest will take care of itself.  


P.S.:  One can also take a cue from the fact that PmWiki now ships with
WikiWords disabled that I think that [[...]] links are generally easier
for most authors to deal with.

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