Wikipedia SEO

You’ve heard of Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia that contains a wealth of information provided by voluntary creators and editors. Hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation, it’s an incredibly useful  – although not always the most reliable – tool for accessing knowledge about even the most niche subjects. But, did you know that Wikipedia, ranking among the top five websites in the world, can also help boost your website’s rankings through its incorporation into your SEO strategy?

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Wikipedia and site visibility

Wikipedia can be extremely useful as a marketing tool due to the open-source community nature of user contributions that make up the majority of the site’s content. This means that you can develop a whole Wikipedia article all about your business or the type of service you provide.

However, in order to prevent a total descent into a chaotic clogging up of misinformed, poorly researched, and frankly factually incorrect articles, Wikipedia does have specific guidelines in place.

If you’re familiar with SEO, you probably know about EEAT, the acronym useful to keep in mind when creating content so that your site will rank highly for Experience, Expertise, Authority and Trust. While NNNVRS perhaps doesn’t quite incite the same excitement for content consumption and sounds more like a timid, stammering approach to content creation, the following criteria are useful to remember when writing Wikipedia articles:

  • Notability – a topic must have been significantly covered by reliable, independent sources.
  • Neutral point of view – all content must be presented impartially, without editorial bias.
  • No original research – all of Wikipedia’s content must have existed in another reputable source first so as to ensure verifiability.
  • Verifiable – this is basically the same as above, but it’s important to also use citations wherever possible.
  • Reliable sources – entries must include citations from reliable sources relevant to the work itself, its creator, or its publisher
  • Spam – content should be content first and foremost, and not be advertising or external link spamming disguised as factual information.

A business Wikipedia page can be an especially effective enhancement to your SEO strategy if your business already has a public online presence, such as having been featured in newspapers, television, or other forms of media. This is because it provides another accessible platform you can easily link to increase your visibility even more.

Since Wikipedia made the transition from dofollow to nofollow links in order to combat spam and discourage the use of the site for promotional purposes, web spider programs can no longer crawl the link into its search engine index. Although it goes against everything you thought you knew about backlinks, this in turn means that nofollow links can actually contribute to improving your site’s visibility in rankings. This is because backlinks are no longer able to promote target websites, creating less competition between links and generating a higher SEO for your business’ Wikipedia page as a result – this is known as the boomerang effect.

Wikipedia No Follow links

One of the biggest differences between Wikipedia entries and the content that you produce on your website is that, despite its Domain Authority of 100, all of Wikipedia’s links are nofollow. This might seem counterintuitive for improving your site’s rankings; SEO is after all largely reliant on relevant backlinks.

However, NoFollow links aren’t completely off of Google’s radar and are treated more as a hint rather than a directive for crawling and indexing purposes, due to their “in general” semantic qualifier. This means that they’re great for generating referral traffic to your site.

You can take a look at Google SERPs yourself to see how often Wikipedia ranks as one of the top search results, suggesting that these nofollow links are having a positive impact on the site’s visibility.

Wikipedia and Google Knowledge graphs

In order to answer users’ factual questions with one definitive answer, such as “What is the population of Manchester?” or “Which was the first tower in Manchester?” Google uses a knowledge graph. Some data is also licensed to provide up-to-date information about weather forecasts, sports scores, or larger events. This graph works by discovering and quickly surfacing public, factual information when it’s deemed useful through a process of automation.

Google processes billions of searches every day. By getting your content to feature in Google’s Knowledge Graph through effective SEO practices, you’ll see an immense improvement in your site’s rankings. Wikipedia can help with this as more than 10 per cent of Google knowledge graphs come from Wikipedia entries.

How to use Wikipedia to enhance your SEO

You can make use of Wikipedia for your own site’s SEO by creating a Wikipedia article that includes nofollow links. Because they won’t lead to any other promotional material but will still reference your content through general semantics, this creates a direct link to your product or service. By including backlinks on your own website to this Wikipedia article, you’ll also see a surge in your page’s ranking score.

Wikipedia and off-page SEO

Off-page SEO basically encompasses everything that you do to improve your site’s rankings away from the actual site itself. This includes, but is not limited to, things like creating external content to link to from your website, or engaging with users and other brands in order to boost local SEO.

As we briefly touched on earlier, if you already have a significant presence in online media publications, you can also use this to your SEO advantage by including a link to the mentions in question to the relevant Wikipedia article. This will help increase and maintain high-press engagement with your brand.

Wikipedia pages are also great for linking opportunities with topic pages because as a database, it provides a useful platform for broad keywords or terms.

In order to make the most of citations, include all of the relevant URLs you can find in relevant Wikipedia articles and plug them to generate a more comprehensive list of people, blogs and sites. This will have a direct positive impact on your site’s visibility.

Wikipedia and on-page SEO

And if that last part made sense to you, then this is pretty self-explanatory. In contrast to off-page SEO, on-page SEO basically covers the practices you carry out directly to your site’s content. Much of this is comprised of backlinks, meta descriptions, keywords strong anchor text, and many more SEO best practices.

In order to make the most of Wikipedia for your content, you might find it useful to think of the online encyclopaedia as a keyword researcher. Due to Wikipedia’s high rankings for many keywords relevant to a range of topics, it’s a great platform for gauging interest in the topics you’re planning to cover in your articles.

So there you have it. Wikipedia, despite its lack of backlinks and its guidelines which specifically specify not using the site for marketing purposes, (despite the hundreds of pages you can find which do indeed break these guidelines) can in fact be extremely useful for your SEO strategy.

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