Google/Search and Wikiversity

This learning project explores the topic of search engine optimization by analyzing the results from Google Search Console.

Google search homepage

User:Mu301 has signed up for a Google Webmaster account and this page will be used to document what he has learned about how Google searches and indexes the site and how results from these searches bring people to Wikiversity. You are encouraged to join this learning project by discussing and analyzing the results.

Data and reports


Data for Google searches of Wikiversity was downloaded on the following dates. Each snapshot includes four weeks of results prior to the date. The index status file contains one year of data.

  • Sep. 1, 2009
  • Dec. 31, 2015
  • Jan. 8, 2018

Reports that are part of this project and the associated data dumps are in subpages. The results of these reports are summarized on this page.



Search indexing


Google periodically uses a "web crawler" to scan the pages on our site, rate, and index them. It then uses this information to produce results for a search term that may or may not include Wikiversity pages. The "index status" indicates how many unique URLs are indexed by Google. Duplicates (such as redirects) are not counted.

What is the index status of wikiveristy?


Google has reduced the number of our pages that it is indexing to ½ of what it was just one year ago. If we extrapolate this trend forward it looks like we will hit zero sometime around the middle of the fourth quarter 2018.

According to Special:Statistics we have 25,399 content pages. (Not including talk pages, redirects, etc.) On Dec. 31, 2017 there were 3,921 URLs on our site that Google indexed. That is only 15% of the total. The scope of Google's indexing is unclear. Our robots.txt file only excludes a few select Wikiversity: namespace pages and all of Draft: and User: namespaces.

The total number of URLs from that have been added to Google's index through January 2018. (with extrapolated trendline) Learn more

The data plotted in the graph above is available at Google/Search and Wikiversity/2017/Index status.

Search queries


When someone loads a page of search results that includes a Wikiversity page this is called an "impression" and if they visit a page listed in the results it is called a "click." The "Click Through Rate" (or CTR) is the number of clicks divided by impressions. The "position" is how far down the list of results our page appears. There are typically 10 positions per page of search results.

Which search queries return Wikiversity pages?

  • Dec. 31, 2015: In the previous month Wikiversity has made between 75 to 175 impressions with 0 to 10 clicks through to our site.
  • Jan. 8, 2018: In the previous month Wikiversity has made between 4 to 45 impressions with 0 to 1 clicks through to our site.

There has been a significant drop in activity from Google search to Wikiversity resources in the past two years.

Below are the "top ten" search terms that return Wikiversity in the results. In 2015 1000 Songs/TALLIS' CANON (Thomas Tallis) had the most impressions and brought the most clicks to our site, namely 2. In 2017 MCAT Study Academy had the most impressions, but brought no activity to our site. None of the search queries resulted in more than 1 click. UFO and subpages have brought us 18 "alien sightings" but has since been {{prod}}'ed. The deleted Parapsychology pages had 7 impressions, but brought no search traffic to our site.

What is remarkable below is not what is included, but what is missing. Some of our best resources don't even appear in the top few hundred.

The tables in this section are sorted by impressions.

Queries returning results
(Downloaded Dec. 31, 2015)
Queries Clicks Impressions CTR Position
tallis canon 2 191 1.05% 9.6
abc/m 0 41 0.00% 33
levene test 0 39 0.00% 45
star wars garageband 0 34 0.00% 6.2
levene's test 0 22 0.00% 44
game of life wiki 0 21 0.00% 21
garageband star wars 0 19 0.00% 6.6
tallis' canon 0 18 0.00% 9.8
smith fracture 0 17 0.00% 50
Queries returning rsults
(Downloaded Jan. 8, 2018)
Queries Clicks Impressions CTR Position
mcat topics 0 45 0.00% 30
youtube description template 0 31 0.00% 49
gdansk transport 0 24 0.00% 62
xxvi amendment 0 23 0.00% 11
zecharia sitchin 0 22 0.00% 79
penskins 1 21 4.76% 6.8
vip af gipsplader 0 19 0.00% 220
alien sightings 0 18 0.00% 88
creating effective résumé bucknell 0 16 0.00% 52

Which search results are people clicking on?


The tables in this section are sorted by click through rate and omit results that have zeros or negligible results. For 2009 clicks and impressions are not available.

Here we also see a clear trend that there is far less traffic from Google search reaching our site recently. The decline in clicks and the position of our pages in search results has been substantial.

Clickthrough to
(Downloaded Sep. 1, 2009)
Queries CTR Position
principles of management 9% 2
passive sign convention 6% 1
principles of marketing 5% 3
eta squared 4% 1
programming logic 3% 1
greek vowel 3% 3
marketing principles 3% 3
exploratory factor analysis 2% 1
upper motor neuron vs lower motor neuron 2% 1
generic conventions 2% 1
wiki university 2% 3
common swedish phrases 2% 1
cohen's d 2% 3
partial eta squared 1% 2
airy stress function 1% 1
technical writing course 1% 2
circuit analysis 1% 3
ionize in water to release hydrogen ions and
a negative ion other than hydroxide
1% 1
affective domain 1% 2
circuit analysis problems 1% 2
introduction to information technology 1% 2
oblique plane anatomy 1% 4
introduction to computer science 1% 6
management principles 1% 6
types of interpersonal skills <1% 1
Clickthrough to
(Downloaded Dec. 31, 2015)
Queries Clicks Impressions CTR Position
dopamine recycling 1 3 33.33% 5.3
levene's test assumptions 1 5 20.00% 10
tallis canon 2 191 1.05% 9.6
Clickthrough to
(Downloaded Jan. 8, 2018)
Queries Clicks Impressions CTR Position
ohio scales assessment 1 1 100.00% 8
ohio scales scoring 1 1 100.00% 1
e-notation 1 4 25.00% 29
hgaps 1 4 25.00% 7.5
principles of electricity 1 6 16.67% 12
penskins 1 21 4.76% 6.8


Which pages at Wikiversity are most linked to?


There is a clear downward trend from 2009 to 2015. I'm not sure how to interpret the 2017 results. Has Google stopped counting external links to our site? It is also notable that Wikipedia is not included in any of these results. There should be a decent number of incoming links from there. Note: the source domain for the one recent entry is itself.

Links to
(Downloaded Sep. 3, 2009)
Page Links
Southeast Asian Languages/Philippine Languages/Lesson:Introducing Yourself 1,214
Why is Media Literacy Important 970
Help:Contents 881 731
Southeast Asian Languages/Philippine Languages 685
Albanian Territories of Balkans (deleted as copyright violation) 553
Introduction to Filipino 489
Introduction to Russian 414
Pronunciation (was moved to Korean Pronunciation, and is now a disambiguation page) 367
Church of Scientology 357
Links to
(Downloaded Dec. 31, 2015)
Page Links Domains
Mad_Max's_-_Assignments_in_Film_Scoring 641 3
Mad_Max's_Course_in_Film_Scoring/Creating_the_sound_of_drama 262 9
Panspermia/a_critique_of_NASA_researchers_make_first_discovery_of_life's_building_block_in_comet 171 2
Introduction_to_Non-Genetic_Darwinism/Darwin's_Theory_of_Natural_Selection 150 4
Mad_Max's_Information_Theory_of_Motion_Pictures 148 3
Parkinson's_Symptoms 125 2
Conway's_Game_of_Life 105 16
Taylor's_series 57 8
Spouse_selection_according_to_Baha'i_writings/Maturity 49 2
Mad_Max's_-_Creating_more_sounds_from_Midi_files_using_GarageBand_and_symphony_orchestra_sounds 46 6
Links to
(Downloaded Jan. 8, 2018)
Page Links Domains
Principles_of_electricity 10 1

See also