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I've noticed that recently we've been seeing a lot of discussion related to changing the tagging structure, which is probably a good thing. However, one point that keeps getting brought up over and over again is that "general tags (anything not a specific series title) will always tend to be the most used and selected for SEO", which is presumably a bad thing. I wonder why we can't change that a bit.


To explain the background to those who aren't active here, there are at least 2 types of common tags here on Anime SE. The majority of all tags are series tags. These refer to a specific anime or manga series. Some examples are , , and . They are undoubtedly the most useful tags for anyone searching on Google to see in the title. This is rather similar to language tags on Stack Overflow. However, unlike computer languages, of which there are maybe a few dozen languages in common use, there are tens of thousands of series we could feasibly ask about here, and many of them are short enough to only warrant a few questions. It's hard to imagine us ever getting hundreds of non-duplicate questions about, say, , as there just isn't that much content to the series. It's nonetheless an incredibly popular cultural phenomenon which is guaranteed to bring in lots of traffic. The long tail here is quite long, and it's not hard to find examples of questions with thousands of views that have very small tags, e.g. How are White Album and White Album 2 related?

Conversely, we have some tags which are not about an individual series, but are still very useful or necessary for users here. They're not really "meta" tags since they're clearly defined when to be applied and can often work on their own. Hence I'll call them "general tags". is an obvious example of a tag we couldn't do without. and are also incredibly useful and important tags for answerers here as they indicate what sort of knowledge and information are needed to answer the question. But these tags can easily get far more questions than all but the largest series. Furthermore, these tags tend to be mostly useful for users here; they don't really contain any words that would trigger hits on search engines. These are analogous to some non-language tags on SO (things like [image] or [math]), but here they're much larger on a relative scale.

An undesirable thing happens when one has a question that uses both tags together. The general tags almost always have more questions than the series tags. Hence they're the ones that are put furthest to the left on the question. Typically, they will get appended to the page title that search engines see instead of the series name. They do little for SEO, so whenever one has such a question it's always a tough decision whether to include the general tag in hope for better answers by existing users or to not include it in hope for better visibility among the broader anime community. That isn't a decision that we should have to make.


Hence, I propose a simple method to alleviate this. Tags should be selectable as "lower priority" (or some similar terminology). For SEO purposes, if a lower priority tag and a normal priority tag are on the same question, the normal one will always be selected first to be appended to the page title regardless of which tag has more questions. Other than that, nothing else needs to function differently. If all the tags on a question are low priority, it will select one of those the same way it usually does.

mockup image

This could be a mod-only feature. We don't have that many general tags here, and we probably won't get more at an appreciable rate. At most, it'll be a few dozen tags which need to have this set. The positive effect is that it could make hundreds of questions more searchable, especially in more niche areas where we especially need more experts.

note: I suspect there are other sites with similar issues, e.g. Movies and Gaming. However, I don't know for certain as I'm not that active on these sites. What I do know for certain is that this feature would fix the problem here. Hence I'm proposing this here, but if it's a good idea it could be implemented elsewhere as well.

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    Wow, Movies & TV has this problem even worse than we do. Of their top 20 tags, only breaking-bad, dark-knight-rises, batman, game-of-thrones, and star-wars are about a series/product/franchise. Solid feature request; +1. – senshin Jan 7 '14 at 4:12
  • I +1 this feature request. I'd love this to be escalated to Meta SE. – Killua Jan 7 '14 at 4:15
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    @senshin We've been somewhat careful to avoid some of the very broad tags here which are on Movies & TV like plot-explanation and character. However, I think the problem will only get worse with time, so eventually we may have it as bad as they do. – Logan M Jan 7 '14 at 4:37
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    Ah, I knew this had come up before. See this post on meta.Arqade - Grace Note requested basically the same thing, and Jeff said no. Granted, that was two years ago, so it may be worth trying again, especially because most of our tags are demonstrably non-meta. (We could probably do without symbolism, though...) – senshin Jan 7 '14 at 4:41
  • Part of the fix they used for Arqade seems to be to include 2 tags rather than 1 in the title. That would also probably work here in most cases, but it seems less than optimal to me. Given how long some of our tag names are, we'd run the risk of cutting off part of the question from the visible portion of the title. By contrast, a blacklist or low priority setting wouldn't seem to have any major problems here and would not be too much to maintain. – Logan M Jan 7 '14 at 4:50
  • Retag should be on the list of lower tag priority. – Andrew Grimm Aug 30 '14 at 13:22

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