We all know that Wikipedia is doing something right when it comes to optimization. Your teachers and professors might not deem it a usable source of information, but it sure does make it to the top of Page 1 every single time. A big reason for this is because Wikipedia produces easy-to-understand, quality results about anything and everything, and it’s certainly chock-full of good keyword use. For the most part, people agree that Wikipedia is truthful and has good intentions. So can you use Wikipedia to boost your SEO efforts?
If you’re a company hoping to get a little bit of visibility, Wikipedia is a great way to make it happen. It is a trusted source by many, so by either having your own Wikipedia page or editing an existing, related Wikipedia page, you’re more likely to get in front of the eyes of Wikipedia lovers. It’s true that anyone can edit Wikipedia entries, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily easy to do so. The question is: How do you make it happen?
How Companies Can Contribute to Wikipedia
It first helps to know a little bit about Wikipedia and how it evolved into what it is today. The idea behind the site is that everyone collaborates to create the whole truth about one thing or idea. The site is completely unbiased and will not accept any edits that do not hold a neutral opinion on the subject (this is difficult for many marketers, which will be discussed in the below section). It is currently available in 285 languages, and according to Alexa, it is the sixth most-visited website.
Now as I stated above, it’s not easy to get involved with Wikipedia. You have to be approved before you can add a new page or before you can edit an existing page. There are five steps that you will need to follow:
1. Get Involved – If a Wikipedia editor realizes that a company representative made an edit, there is a good chance this will get deleted because the site wants everything to remain neutral. However, you can bypass this by getting involved in the Wikipedia community. Show that you really aren’t biased. Build edits that are not self-serving, engage with others through the Wikipedia Talk Page, and create an unbiased User page.
2. Get Started – You can learn about how to get started editing a page or setting up a new page on Wikipedia itself, which provides information and step-by-step guides right on the site. Both are easy to do, but there are quite a few steps to follow, and they need to be followed carefully. Keep in mind that you must be a registered user to start doing anything with the site.
3. Focus on Credibility – You want to make sure you always have references to back up your claims. A good example of this would be a press mentions page on your website. Put all of your references in the “References” section of Wikipedia if you’re creating a page for your company.
4. Use Internal Wikipedia Links – This will help build up the PageRank of your entry.
5. Watch Your IP Address — If you’re going to make an edit for a client, it might make sense to make sure you are logged out of Wikipedia (therefore, you will only be known by your IP address). This is especially important if you are planning to change something controversial.
Companies may want to do a few different things on Wikipedia — create a Wikipedia page for the company, reference a company on an already existing Wikipedia page, or contribute edits for different clients. No matter what your purpose, it’s important you abide by the rules of Wikipedia.
A Few Things to Keep In Mind When Contributing to Wikipedia
There are definitely a few rules to keep in mind when you are contributing. If you don’t follow these rules, you will have a much tougher time getting your information on that website in the future. A few things to remember:
- You have to be neutral — This can be tough for companies because company owners obviously want to learn towards why his/her company is best, but this isn’t tolerated on Wikipedia. After all, it is an encyclopedia.
- Information has to be verifiable – Any information added to Wikipedia has to be able to be verified by a published source such as websites, books, news organizations, etc.
- “Just the facts, ma’am” — Not just a saying for detectives LOL. New ideas and opinions have no place on Wikipedia. As stated above, any idea has to be previously published and verified; not something original.
Cases where content that doesn’t follow these guidelines slip past Wikipedia editors are rare — however, they do occur. Nonetheless, because Wikipedia is so widely used, this type of unacceptable content usually doesn’t last. Before too long, it’s been removed by a vigilent Wikipedia editor. Overall, it’s best to avoid breaking the rules altogether and keep your coloring inside the lines.
So What Does Wikipedia Have to Do With SEO?
There used to be a time when links within Wikipedia were followed, thereby giving link juice back to your website — however, this is no longer the case. Because there were too many spam links and activity, all external links were marked as nofollow links back in January. However, although you might not get the PageRank credit if you’re involved with Wikipedia, you can still benefit because you’re gaining exposure and rankings. If you can’t rank for a specific keyword, you can bet your Wikipedia page will be able to rank fairly high. This does not mean you should go out and create a page for every keyword (far from it), but it is beneficial if it happens organically and you follow the tips above to flesh it out.
Has your business gotten involved with Wikipedia? What was your experience? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comments below.