Editing Wikipedia for SEO?

Feb 21, 2007   //   by Stephan Spencer   //   Search Engines, Wikis  //  10 Comments

It’s getting a bit ridiculous how often Wikipedia shows up on the first page of Google for just about every search imaginable. Micropersuasion has noticed it for brand searches. Google’s getting a bit lazy I think to give Wikipedia carte blanche access to page 1 of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Often times Wikipedia doesn’t deserve to be there (like when it’s only a stub, for instance).

But because Wikipedia does dominate the SERPs, it makes it pretty darned important for your company to have a good, balanced, accurate entry in Wikipedia. Not a stub. Not conspiracy theories written by crackpots.

Do you know what your Wikipedia page says about you? Better check it now:

 

Do you have all the “External Links” you deserve on that page? For example, I see on REI’s entry there is no link to their REI-Outlet.com site, or to their REI Adventures site either. That’s a missed opportunity — both in terms of clicks and in terms of PageRank. Here’s another example… on the Budget Group entry, I don’t see a link to their Budget Truck Rental site at Budgettruck.com. When adding links, contribute other things too in the same edit, such as fixing typos, adding additional copy etc. That makes it less likely your changes will be reverted. External link only edits are looked on with suspicion, and rightly so, since most of those are spam.

Don’t have a Wikipedia entry for your company? Then work towards getting one — assuming you’re noteworthy. (Don’t just add your company’s entry yourself, as it’s against Wikipedia’s NPOV guidelines.) Why is it good to have one? Because it’s a lot easier to get internal links from other entries to your own. External Links are anathema to many Wikipedia editors. They much prefer internal links.

Because External Links are so hard to add (at least to make them stick, for longer than 5 minutes before Wikipedians delete them), try adding References. References are desperately sought after by Wikipedia editors. Indeed, many entries are flagged to display a big message at the top that “This article or section does not cite its references or sources. Please help improve this article by introducing appropriate citations.” So help out: add some references that back up assertions made in the entry, some of which could happen to be articles on your site (assuming they’re relevant and add value to the entry). And of course you need to make your References links. Don’t only add References linking to your own stuff, as that looks just a wee bit self-serving — it will stick out like a sore thumb and your References will get nuked.

Surprisingly, despite the fact that anyone can edit anything, and can do it quickly and easily, Wikipedia maintains a high level of quality and accuracy. A study published in the academic journal Nature concluded that it is “nearly as accurate” as Encyclopaedia Britannica! That boggles the mind.

BTW, anyone notice how lousy Wikipedia’s internal search engine is? Try searching for “recreational equipment inc” for example. Oops, “No page with that title exists”! Doh, you forgot to include the dot! ;-) Try “recreational equipment inc.” instead and then it works. Ugh. SLI Systems, you guys should donate your “Learning Search” to Wikipedia. They need it bad.

10 Comments

  • [...] I like this one from Stephan Spencer: Editing Wikipedia for SEO. [...]

  • Stephan – I’ve been meaning to make a comment. Your resources and knowledge are top-notch! You provide an invaluable service, and I so wish I could jump aboard. Hopefully in the very near future.

  • [...] Editing Wikipedia for SEO Posted in Geek Blog, SEO Blog by n8 on the December 18th, 2006 From Stephan Spencer’s Scatterings Blog It’s getting a bit ridiculous how often Wikipedia shows up on the first page of Google for just about every search imaginable. Micropersuasion has noticed it for brand searches. Google’s getting a bit lazy I think to give Wikipedia carte blanche access to page 1 of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Often times Wikipedia doesn’t deserve to be there (like when it’s only a stub, for instance). [...]

  • This is a good tip. I found a wiki site that was started on one of my websites a few weeks ago and just updated it. Now I’m seeing it come up in more and more searches. Keep up the good work Stephen. This site is an excellennt resource.

  • The best way to get an external link on Wikipedia is to contribute to a bunch of pages..over time. Build up a trustworthy track record. Then, edit a page with an external link. If you have relevant content, and a cool editor, it should get on.

  • Some nice ideas. Love the idea of adding your link with a whole bunch of useful stuff so they are less inclined to delete the whole entry.

  • Read carefully:

    “add some references that back up assertions made in the entry, which just so happen to be articles on your site. And of course you need to make your References links. Don’t just add References linking to your own stuff, as that looks just a wee bit self-serving — it will stick out like a sore thumb and your References will get nuked.”

    Ah… add references which “just so happen to be
    articles on your site”, but DON’T “add references
    linking to your own stuff”? Unclear! Please clarify.

    Cheers! Alan

  • Hi Alan, I revised the wording a bit in the post so as to clarify. Hope that helps.

  • [...] Editing Wikipedia for SEO? Stephen Spencer [...]

  • You should update this post, wikipedia now has nofollow (which means no pagerank)

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