SuttaCentral

Difficulty Finding SuttaCentral in Google Searches

For the past month or so, when I search MN 41 sutta, for example, the only hit from SC that shows up at about the fifth result is a sutta from what appears to be a legacy site. I get the same result when I search the title “The Brahmins of Sala”. The problem with the legacy page is that it’s more difficult to navigate from.

Also, when I went to SC’s home page and tried to find MN 41 that way, I can’t find it. I’m using Google Chrome. Here’s as close to MN 41 as I could get navigating from the home page. SuttaCentral

The weird thing is when I clicked the link above, I was finally able to get to MN 41. Attached is what my screen showed before.

I’m not sure if the problem is my technical limitations, web browser, or maybe something to do with the site overall?

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@brooks
Did you clear your browser? ( sorry if I’m repeating what you already know!)

Here are the instructions from Google.

https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/95589?co=GENIE.Platform%3DDesktop&hl=en

Or you can simply…
Ctrl+h > History> Clear browsing data> All time …and clear everything: cache, cookies, ( maybe not sign-in, passwords if you need them). Then Restart your browser and try again…

I tried the search with the terms you quoted and it works…( iPad safari)

:thinking:

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I cleared my browser, cache, search history, etc., but got the same result in search:


That said, it sounds like it’s a technical issue on my end, so no worries. I can still get to the suttas one way or another. I just wanted to mention this issue in case it affects others who are searching for the suttas.
Thanks for responding!

I tried safari on my iphone and got the exact same response. That said, google is the browser my safari uses. So, it seems like the issue will be mostly the same for all google searches.

Oh dear! This is out of my league atm sorry :hushed:…maybe someone else may be able to help you out soon. ( I don’t use Chrome, just Firefox or Safari)

Check this one out too if the need arises…

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I suspect that it’s because sutta central is not so static as those other sites, and this is somehow downgrading it in the google algorithm.

Also, the word “sutta” by itself doesn’t appear in the sutta pages. Maybe that has an effect.

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It’s hard to say for sure, google search results aren’t the same for everyone.

Because google know it’s you on the phone so the results don’t really change

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I think you included a space between MN and 41. Try without the space in between.
With Metta
EDIT
In the SC home page, just add /MN41 at the end of Suttacentral.net

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If you are specifically looking for results from SC, try “site:suttacentral.net MN 41 sutta”

I don’t think the order of results can be changed easily. Google uses a complicated algorithm that includes things like how many 3rd party websites link to your page.

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A possible action would be to have a banner on the legacy site publicising the current site, so that users are alerted that there are new translations and enhancements.

On AccessToInsight.org there are specific links from every translation by Thanissaro Bhikkhu to his site, DhammaTalks.org. That looks like a lot of work, whereas it should be reasonably easy to add code to have a banner with a link to SuttaCentral.net on each page.

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I can find the suttas and whatever else I’m looking for eventually on SC, so there’s no problem for me. The reason I posted this was to help improve SC and its accessibility, if it seemed like it was worth the effort.

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Ah, I get it now. I also use DuckDuckGo, and it seems to direct me where I want to ‘go’ so far…

Yes, thanks for the heads up, mikenz’s suggestion above looks like a promising route…

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There is also a tool called Google Search Console, which provides metrics to know how good a page is presented in google search results

It’s hard to know what Google is doing under the hood. In Google’s own lightning test we get 100/100 for SEO. Not sure what else can be done.

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Attn @sujato @helpdesk-sc

Thanks for responding Venerable @sujato. Regarding the SEO test, SEO can typically only be measured in relation to keywords. So, SC may score 100/100 for SEO, but that doesn’t mean it has good SEO for all of its relevant keywords.

Upon a little further investigation, it appears this should be an easy fix with basic on page SEO tactics. The legacy page is showing up in Google searches because it seems to make proper use of the Title Tag/H1 (title of the webpage) and includes MN 41 and the full title of the sutta in the title tag. SC’s primary page containing MN 41 doesn’t appear to make use of the title tag as you can see in the screenshot below. It appears the title of the page is simply SuttaCentral.

Here’s what SEMRUSH.com says about h1 tags: H1 tags tell search engine bots and web users what a page is about. A webpage’s H1 is the most important heading and should accurately summarize the contents of that page.

It seems like the reason SC’s main page for MN 41 is showing up on Bing (for the search MN 41 sutta) is largely because “MN 41” and “sutta” are in the URL, and presumable in the content of the page. As you can see in the attached screen shot, these terms are highlighted in the URL.

If SC utilized title tags on its primary pages, this would tell Google what the pages are about and likely fix this and probably other issues. Making use of H2 tags is common SEO, too, but would require more work and likely not necessary. Hope this helps.

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Thanks for taking the time to look into this.

A few clarifications. There are two tags in HTML that you seem to be confusing. the <title> tag belongs in the HTML <head> metadata, while the <h1> is the main heading for the content.

We use both of these on our pages, and they are properly formed. Here is the <title> tag:

<title>MN 41: Sāleyyakasutta—Bhikkhu Sujato</title>

The main sutta title is included in the <h1>.

If I search for “mn41 sutta” on google, it prominently displays results from AtI. However, they do not have “MN 41” in their <title> tag, and they do not use <h1> tags at all. There’s no semantic markup, it’s just <div> all the way down.

Google’s promise is that if you supply good quality content, with proper metadata and semantic markup, and a performant, responsive site without spam and rubbish, you’ll do well in their search results. But it seems that in our case, we have done all the right things and it simply isn’t working. If anyone has any ideas, that’d be great, because I’m at a loss.

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Discourse is a pure javascript app too, and it seems their approach is to generate and serve specially formed plain html pages to crawlers and older browsers.

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FWIW, I find that web tools, like send to Kindle, don’t actually find any text on the pages. I guess that’s because of the “pure javascript” thing.

My experience with google searching has been that the D&D site posts always rank at the top, usually before anything (if any) from the main site.

If there was some way to include real html in the pages that would be great, but obviously this is not a small thing.

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We do (or did) the same thing, although I believe it’s said to be unnecessary these days. it was essentially a consequence of the fact that Google, for many years, parsed websites using an old version of Chrome. But those days are passed and in principle it shouldn’t affect search results. In principle.

But yeah, maybe.

The problem is, this is all just poking around in the dark, hoping we’ll hit a light switch.

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