Support » Everything else WordPress » Plugin Search Rankings on WordPress.org Not Making Sense

  • I’ve developed a plugin called WP Courses LMS. It has good reviews, is kept up to date, keywords that make sense, yet it literally ranks behind Yoast SEO for searches like “courses.” It’s at the bottom of the search page for “LMS” below “uncanny automator” and “the ultimate video player” which don’t even have the word LMS in their title or description, nor would they be relevant to what someone is searching for. “Sensei LMS Modules for Divi” has 1, 5 star review and 300 active installs, yet WP Courses LMS ranks below it.

    I don’t understand… The only thing I can think of is WP Courses was flagged for a security issue which I corrected immediately. Would this really permanently destroy a plugins rankings?

    Anyone have any ideas? Here’s a link to WP Courses: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-courses/

Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • Moderator Jan Dembowski

    (@jdembowski)

    Forum Moderator and Brute Squad

    *Reads. Drinks coffee, so good.*

    I modified the title to make it a little clearer to others reading this topic.

    Serious question: do you think this is a problem and want help gaming the plugin search results? That is not an accusation BTW.

    *Sees plugin has premium version on the plugin page.*

    The WordPress.org site is not, nor ever has been anyone’s marketplace. That’s a fact though that reality has not stopped some from making almost criminally bad and inexcusable business decisions.

    Try to picture Arnold Schwarzenegger saying emphatically “It’s not a marketplace!”

    Verbiage from the plugins team about that:

    While this is a common point of confusion, the WordPress.org plugin directory is not a marketplace or a store. It is a public repository for free to install plugins. We ask you not call it or think of it as a marketplace or a store. Nothing is for sale here, and your users are not your customers. Keeping this clear in mind will better set your expectations when working with us or the forums team.

    So… back to my original question. What are you hoping to accomplish with the search?

    If it’s to help users then don’t sweat it. Just help people in support forum topics for your plugin, reply well to reviews and let the search do it’s weird and hard to understand organic thing.

    If it’s something else that you are hoping to accomplish then you may be disappointed.

    Thread Starter Bijingus

    (@bijingus)

    Thanks for the title update. Definitely an improvement ๐Ÿ™‚

    IMO, the search algorithm isn’t great. A search for “course” produces a membership plugin as the second result. Yoast SEO ranks above many other well established course creation plugins. Yoast is great, but the result is irrelevant.

    I’d argue that the algorithm isn’t placing enough importance on keywords and is thus delivering a subpar user experience. Seems popularity plays a big role.

    I’m worried I’m doing something wrong that’s somehow penalizing WP Courses as it’s recently been hammered in the search results and ranks below other plugins with bad reviews and which are completely irrelevant to the search. I’m not looking to game the results.

    Moderator Jan Dembowski

    (@jdembowski)

    Forum Moderator and Brute Squad

    IMO, the search algorithm isnโ€™t great.

    You are not wrong IMO. ๐Ÿคฃ

    Search on this site is difficult and I think it’s been a real problem since the dawn of time. It’s always been a challenge. I don’t understand how to make it work myself but in the “Requests and Feedback” sub-forum I think there are topics asking for search to be improved from over 10 years ago.

    Iโ€™d argue that the algorithm isnโ€™t placing enough importance on keywords and is thus delivering a subpar user experience. Seems popularity plays a big role.

    I am hoping that someone who is aware of how it actually works here will chime in. I know that plugins are limited in keywords as others have attempted to (badly) game that too. That earlier abuse may be part of how it works today re keywords.

    Moderator Ipstenu (Mika Epstein)

    (@ipstenu)

    ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Plugin Review Team Rep

    Sadly that’s a question for the WP Meta team (the plugin review team keeps our noses out of it).

    Keyword use is something that will, at a point, harm you.

    There’s also the reality that people don’t actually look for “LMS” or even “Course” — one and two word searches are not what most users do! They look for “LMS course to …” where they add in what they want to do. Like “LMS course for quizzes” and so on.

    If you search “WP Courses LMS” you find your plugin (second) but right away I can see some major flaws in your readme:

    1. A bad name “WP Courses LMS โ€“ Online Course Creation, eLearning, and Learning Managment System Plugin for WordPress”

    Besides misspelling “Management”, you have WP, Plugin, AND WordPress in there. Those all count AGAINST you. Why? Because they’re redundant.

    2. Keyword ‘stuffing’

    You have the word ‘Course’ used 51 times. At that point, things will start to flag you as a keyword abuser. Now a lot of that is because you use “WP Courses” 20 times.

    That said, looking at HOW you use the term, it gets to the point where it’s repetitive.

    3. Nothing ‘stands out’ in your readme

    Looking at your readme, it’s not really informative to someone new. It lists some great features, but if I was a brand new person getting started in LMS, I wouldn’t really know where to start with your plugin. It’s great from the viewpoint of “These are our incredible features” but those are always buzzwordy, and don’t give a lot of use-case examples, or promote much :/

    Readmes are HARD, don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a perfect explanation (and anyone who tells you they do is lying).

    Take the time to study what other people have in their readmes. Not the keywords, everyone gets that wrong, but the way they talk about their plugin and explain what it does, why you want it, and how to use it. Prioritize being HELPFUL, not Ad copy promotion.

    And keep in mind… you’re targeting a ‘full’ concept. Look at how many pages are on https://wordpress.org/plugins/tags/lms/

    Figuring out what has to be done to stand out uniquely is not easy.

    Here are the obvious factors though:

    * Well Written Readme – This is queen. If your readme draws people in, you get users and rank higher.
    * Maintained – are you updated to the latest version of WP? Are you safe and secure?
    * Supported – are people managing your forums? Helping your users? Resolving issues?
    * Reviews – You’re good on this end, just keep it up ๐Ÿ™‚ Ask KINDLY for reviews (do not reward people for them, ever, just ask nicely)
    * Promoted – OUTSIDE WordPress.org, what are you doing? Are you ONLY relying on .org search? If so, change it up. Put ads out there, social campaigns, etc. Make sure you don’t violate trademarks though!
    * Be Real – Is there a face someone can put on the product? People tend to like companies where they see real people, not just machines out there.

    Thread Starter Bijingus

    (@bijingus)

    Appreciate the feedback. I can’t believe there’s a spelling error in the title. Will be correcting that immediately. Good point with redundancy as well.

    I can see how the system could flag “course” being used too many times.

    Your feedback in regards to the readme is especially helpful. Makes me think I should do a thorough review and see if I can get some additional user feedback on it. Could definitely be more helpful and clearer.

    Again, much appreciated!

    One more thing. “WP courses LMS” isn’t really a name, but rather a generic description.

    Try to add something unique in the name. Otherwise people would have trouble finding it even when they want to.

Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
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