why does rpg.StackExchange return only posts for dnd5e when explicitly Googling for dnd3.5e (see example query below)? the community for dnd3.5e is still quite large, offering them only dnd5e content seems needlessly pushing for the newer version. is this happening because of some defect in rpg.StackExchange? is it policy? or is Google to blame and not rpg.StackExchange?

Example query "d&d 3.5 wildshape" in Google returns only results from rpg.StackExhange for dnd5e instead, even when limiting the search to site rpg.StackExchange, in top bar of StackOverflow returns no results whatsoever and says "search results for dd 3.5 wildshape".

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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you witnessed the same issue with other search engines, like DuckDuckGo? \$\endgroup\$
    – Firebreak
    Commented Jan 20, 2021 at 16:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you give us an example query as well? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Jan 20, 2021 at 17:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ When you're saying StackOverflow you mean RPG.SE, right? \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil Mod
    Commented Jan 20, 2021 at 19:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, our search isn't perfect, but searching by tags+keyword usually works quite well. Eg. "[dnd-3.5e] wildshape" currently gives 60 results. \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil Mod
    Commented Jan 20, 2021 at 19:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ I can't reproduce this issue. Using your example search "d&d 3.5 wildshape" (without the quotes), and limiting results to site:rpg.stackexchange.com produced a full page of results only for 3.5e... I'm not sure why we'd be getting different results for the same search. Maybe country? Searching with the RPG.SE search bar also returns mostly 3.5 results when including 3.5 in the search for me (though it picks up lots of Pathfinder references too, at least when they mention "3.5 rules"). Also, I find that tags are better than extra keywords in RPG.SE search; try [dnd-3.5e]. \$\endgroup\$
    – Upper_Case
    Commented Jan 20, 2021 at 21:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ I changed the description according to all the comments and toned down on the expressed frustration, if there's still any reason for downvotes please let me know \$\endgroup\$
    – mtijn
    Commented Jan 21, 2021 at 7:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Upper_Case I'm as puzzled as you but yes, we have tried the same and got different results it seems, I've added some detail to the described example to show it. \$\endgroup\$
    – mtijn
    Commented Jan 21, 2021 at 7:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps you could link your searches so people can reproduce the problem more effectively. My search for your terms actually works very well. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Jan 22, 2021 at 17:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ FWIW, I have frequently encountered the reverse - used 5e as an explicit search term and had 3.5e answers from RPG.SE returned. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Feb 27, 2021 at 18:19

2 Answers 2


The tags we have here on RPG.SE, like "dnd-5e", are poor for external SEO purposes and lead to the effect you see.

We tried early in the site to engage with SE central on a fix in Need tag abbreviation expansion/synonyms for SEO purposes (and similar Q on meta.SE) but never got any interest/attention. Therefore our SEO remains poor.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm accepting this as an answer because I believe it's closer to the core of the issue while also closer to something SE can actually act on. \$\endgroup\$
    – mtijn
    Commented Jan 21, 2021 at 7:41

Google is in charge of Google search results. Stack Exchange just provides its content as a website and isn't in charge of what Google decides to provide to you. There's no agenda to boost any specific game or edition.

Have you tried adding “D&D 3.5e” to your Google searches? If that returns D&D 5e results for you anyway, that's more on Google deciding those results are relevant to you for some reason.

If you're using our on-site search in the top bar above, add [dnd-3.5e] to your search terms.


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