How to Fix: “Most Read” Module Displays Incorrect Content

Make sure your best-performing stories are visible

RebelMouse's powerful tools give you the ability to filter and display your site's posts in many ways.

A popular use case demonstrating this is a post element on your site's home page that displays the "Most Read" or "Trending" articles from a given period of time. These elements pull posts that are filtered from a specific section, like news, to show readers the most current and popular articles at that moment.

An important thing to keep in mind when setting up post elements with filtering in this way is to ensure that they do not have the same source_id as any other element on the page that also uses filtering. If not, unpredictable behavior may occur.


For example, let's say you have a "Trending" element that is filled with content from your news section, and filtered for the most read articles in that section. Unfortunately, you see that some articles appearing in the section are not actually trending, which you can verify by checking the respective articles' page views.

How to Verify and Solve

The first thing that should be checked is if the filtered element uses the same source_id as another filtered element on the page.

  • Go to the element where one of the problem posts appear.
  • Get the post's post ID. This can be taken from the end of the URL if your site includes it, or can be accessed in Entry Editor.

  • Type in your site's main address and append the following to the end of the URL: ?skeleton_logging=display
  • Search for the post ID using CTRL/CMD + F.
  • Confirm where it appears twice (the sources), as well as the names of those sources (the source_ids).

    For example, here you can see that the source Frontpage appears twice. One instance of Frontpage has been explicitly named news, while the other has been named current_page (this was done automatically).

  • In our Layout & Design tool, go to the element and view the code for the source_id that was explicitly set to news.

  • Here we can see that there are two elements with the same source_id, which is news in this case. Both elements have source="filtered" to filter the news posts. These filter attributes are ignored for the following reasons:
    1. One of the elements has source_url="current_page", while the other one has source_url="_most-read". The first one is processed by Skeleton as source="current_page", while the second is processed as source="popular".
    2. When the same source_id (news, in this case) is used twice on the same page, it can cause conflicts which are resolved by Skeleton overwriting attributes. In our example, the source attribute is overwritten so that the posts are no longer filtered as expected, causing non-trending posts to populate the trending page element.

In order to fix the issue in this example, the source_id needs to be changed to something other than news so it can serve the same purpose as filtering for the most popular posts. This will give the same desired result while avoiding the need to pull posts from the same source_id when using different filters for two post elements on the same page.

If, for whatever reason, it's necessary for two elements on the same page to use the same source_id, the filters must be the same for both elements. Otherwise, unpredictable behavior may occur.

If you have questions about this, email support@rebelmouse.com or talk to your account manager today.

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search volume data

It can be tricky to nail down which search phrase you want to win. Within the SEO tab, you can brainstorm your ideas in real time. Through the creative usage of APIs, we ensure writes and editors are armed with the right information when optimizing content for SEO. In the example above, the drop-down list is suggesting search phrases that are already performing well on Google. The number next to each recommended phrase is its monthly search volume.

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Optimize Your Slug to Match Your Search Phrase

submit url to search engines

The SEO tab in our Entry Editor is designed to repeat your desired search phrase throughout your content so that Google's crawler has every chance to index it correctly for search. With this methodology in mind, it's a best practice to have your article's URL slug match your desired search phrase. From the SEO tab, you can click the Optimize Slug button to automatically match your URL slug to the search phrase you want to win. Click here to read more about this feature.

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seo outlinks

After you've defined your search phrase and optimized your URL slug accordingly, you can select highly relevant links to add as related content to the end of your article. We call these Around the Web (ATW) links. The SEO tab allows you to pick the best links from your own site, as well as from around the web, which leads to truly amazing traffic boosts. This is a proven SEO practice that's rewarded by Google. Since your article will link to pages already winning your search phrase, it can increase your own post's relevance score in the eyes of Google's crawler.

We automate the surfacing of both ATW and internal links for you, so it's as easy as ticking a handful of checkboxes to add them to your post. We've also done the math, and the data is clear: Adding ATW and internal links to the end of your articles can increase traffic coming to your posts from Google by over 300%! Click here to read more about this feature.

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When it comes to Google's site crawler, providing clever metadata is one of the best ways to contextualize your content for search. From there, Google's search algorithm will rank your site for search queries that it determines are relevant to your content. Our SEO tab allows you to write your metadata right from within our Entry Editor. Plus, our character counter will help you make sure that your SEO headline and description match Google's best practices for metadata text length.

It's important to make sure your metadata is clearly written in a succinct way so that Google can quickly understand the nature of your content. Click here to read more.

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RebelMouse's Particle Assembler is a content creation tool within our Entry Editor that makes it easy to transform your posts into media-rich micro pieces of content, which we call particles, that can both be shared individually and crawled separately on search. Our Assembler functionality gives your content more legs, which means more chances to generate more traffic.

The following steps demonstrate how you can use our Assembler to optimize an article to win a search phrase.

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Add Media to Every Particle

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Each particle is another opportunity to add relevant media to your post, and Assembler makes it easy to add alt text to every image you upload. Alt text is very important for accessibility and can also have benefits for SEO. Briefly, alt text is text that is added to an image to describe it to search engines, and also to allow people using screen readers to be able to know what the image is without actually being able to see it. You can easily add alt text to any image in RebelMouse from our Entry Editor. Adding your search phase into every alt text field will only bring you one step closer to the top of Google Search's first page.

Make the Most of Our SEO Toolset

RebelMouse's proprietary technology works for any kind of site, whether you're a brand, a new media company, or a legacy publisher. SEO doesn't have to be something that only developers and analysts can understand and augment. Our product is designed to put the power of search in the hands of content creators, editors, and social curators, too.

Start winning on search with every publish. Request a proposal today and let's start working together.

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