Let's get critical: Aug 2014 Site Self-Evaluation

We all love Chemistry Stack Exchange, but there is a whole world of people out there who need answers to their questions and don't even know that this site exists. When they arrive from Google, what will their first impression be? Let's try to look at this site through the eyes of someone who's never seen it before, and see how we stack up against the rest of the 'Net.

The Site Self-Evaluation review queue is open and populated with 10 questions that were asked and answered in the last quarter. Run a few Google searches to see how easy they are to find and compare the answers we have with the information available on other sites.

Rating the questions is only a part of the puzzle, though. Do you see a pattern of questions that should have been closed but are not? Questions or answers that could use an edit? Anything that's going really well? Post an answer below to share your thoughts and discuss these questions and the site's health with your fellow users!

I have noticed that none of the questions I saw on the review list turned up at all on Google searches. In fact, I almost never see chemistry.stackexchange in google results. After paying closer attention to the titles of recent questions, I think the issue may be that people who write the questions tend to not think in terms of search engine optimization, and instead treat the title as a form field that just has to have something in it.

In particular, it is rare to see the title written in the form of a question at all, let alone a grammatically correct title that matches the scope of the actual question.

As an experiment, I have started editing titles to makes sure that they:

1. Are in the form of a question
2. Include relevant keywords that match the question body
3. Match the scope of the question body
• Nope i disagree with you, google showed up for most of time second or third one as the of chemistry stack exchange or sometimes first also. Keep in mind that Google results are influenced by your prior search history and which hits you follow the links to. – Freddy Aug 11 '14 at 16:12
• Ok, let's go with that. You are presumably getting more chemistry stack exchange results because you have clicked on those results in the past, correct? What is more important? Showing up in the searches of people who have already found the site, or for people who haven't found it yet? My point is, I think we can improve our SEO by editing the questions. Are you disagreeing with that idea, or disagreeing that we need to improve at all? – thomij Aug 11 '14 at 16:15
• That's a good idea, i just wanted to tell you that at least you should see the chemistry stack exchange when try to google, because you are active user of chemistry stack exchange:) – Freddy Aug 11 '14 at 16:22
• Another issue for google (and other search engines) might also be the use of tex-formated equations in the titles (e.g. $\ce{CO2}$ instead of CO2) – Michiel Aug 13 '14 at 5:26
• I am a big fan of editing the titles to the questions. I think everybody should keep an eye on that. It is also important to remove any markup from the titles, as michiel pointed out. – Martin - マーチン Aug 17 '14 at 6:33
• Michiel, Martin, and thomij, you have all brought up some excellent points that I strongly agree with. I like to have the titles as questions as well. The only exception to this is if the asker has a well-defined title that seems "forced" when turned into a question, but in general this is a good rule. – jonsca Aug 18 '14 at 22:06

Final Results

Net Score: 18 (Excellent: 20, Satisfactory: 4, Needs Improvement: 2)

Net Score: 18 (Excellent: 18, Satisfactory: 13, Needs Improvement: 0)

Net Score: 17 (Excellent: 17, Satisfactory: 11, Needs Improvement: 0)

Net Score: 14 (Excellent: 15, Satisfactory: 11, Needs Improvement: 1)

Net Score: 14 (Excellent: 14, Satisfactory: 10, Needs Improvement: 0)

Net Score: 5 (Excellent: 6, Satisfactory: 19, Needs Improvement: 1)

Net Score: 2 (Excellent: 5, Satisfactory: 24, Needs Improvement: 3)

Net Score: 0 (Excellent: 6, Satisfactory: 19, Needs Improvement: 6)

Net Score: -6 (Excellent: 3, Satisfactory: 15, Needs Improvement: 9)

Net Score: -11 (Excellent: 1, Satisfactory: 15, Needs Improvement: 12)