How Can Wikipedia Help with SEO?
Wikipedia part of your digital marketing strategy for SEO? If you’re
working on a national brand, or an industry leading, expert
organisation, it should be part of your plan.
Wikipedia features a
Domain Authority of 100; however, all of its links are NoFollow. How
can this possibly help your company’s search visibility? Because in
spite of the common wisdom, some NoFollow links are worth it.
dominates organic search results, but its outbound links are all
NoFollow. Does Google pay attention to NoFollow links? Maybe. The NoFollow article on Wikipedia
itself cites SEO experiments that tested the impact of NoFollow links
on visibility with conflicting results. SEO gurus follow one of two
schools of thought: 1) NoFollow means that there’s no benefit from the
link or 2) Google’s statement about NoFollow indicates it does sometimes
follow these links (because of its “in general” semantic qualifier).
With this in mind, is it worth paying attention to Wikipedia for SEO? Definitely!
Nicole Kohler on Moz.com discusses the merits of NoFollow links in her article “The Hidden Power of NoFollow Links.” (see Additional Reading articles, below).
Nate Shivar in “How to Use Wikipedia for SEO & Content Marketing” points out that even if the Google NoFollow in fact not followed, there are many benefits to including Wikipedia in your SEO packages.
spite of NoFollow, Wikipedia likely contributes to a higher position in
Google’s SERP, and varied SEO authorities have reported a positive
The anecdotal evidence consistently reports that SEO rank
improves with links from Wikipedia. We’ve found that links in Wikipedia
do enhance SERP position. An article has more impact than a link, but is
naturally much more difficult and time-consuming to obtain. Wikipedia
is especially worth pursuing if you have a significant client
that has been featured in newspapers, radio, or television, as this
provides an easy hook for citations.
A significant SEO
accomplishment is getting your information featured in a Google
knowledge graph. A large percentage of Google knowledge graphs comes
from Wikipedia entries. Alex Butzbach in “6 Ways to Get Content into Google’s Knowledge Graph”
asks the intriguing question “Do Wikipedia pages figure prominently in
Knowledge Graph results because they’re often top-ranking entries? Or
are they top-ranking entries because they figure prominently in the
Here, you can see how many top SEO companies
want to provide the definitive answer to “What is SEO?” but Google’s
Knowledge Graph entry is purely Wikipedia. Getting your company to
feature in a Knowledge Graph is a clear win for promoting your brand.
Becoming a Wikipedia EditorTo
get started you will need to create an account. As a best practice, use
an email address that is personal and not associated with a particular
company. Being a Wikipedia editor is valuable, and should be a part of
your personal identity, not left behind when you change companies. Use
your real information—treat your reputation on Wikipedia as an extension
of your professional reputation. This will help keep you in-line with
the site’s standards of conduct.
Read over their policies and guidelines. Note:
They’re expressly against people 1) making pages about themselves or
their companies, 2) making pages because they’re paid to do so. This is
problematic for anyone working in the field of SEO. To succeed with
Wikipedia, you have to set aside most customary link-building tactics.
The priority here is not getting links for your client, but adding value
to Wikipedia. Sometimes the two coincide.
While it’s not part of
their express policy, new editors seem to receive a higher degree of
scrutiny. Major changes to an article get looked at more than minor
- Pick an area you’re passionate about and about which you know a lot: Gaming, dog breeds, SEO, cars, whatever.
- Read the articles on your subject. Because you’ve expertise in the area, this should be pleasurable and quick to do.
- Find an article that’s missing an important recent announcement or that has an express “need” from the editors on the top.
a genuine contribution to the article, however small. You may be able
to add more information and a good citation to an external reference, or
you may find that two Wikipedia articles are closely related and one
should link to the other.
and expectations. Build credibility as a contributor and editor. Add
things that are new and current.
“Write what you know.”—Mark Twain
proves exceptionally true when starting off as a Wikipedia editor. For
example, Merlin lives in Seattle and heard an NPR segment on the Seattle
International Film Festival’s (SIFF) controversial premier this year of
Woody Allen’s latest film. She’s interested in cinema, so she looked up
the Wikipedia page on SIFF, saw that no one had yet added the 2016
premier film and made that a contribution. (She don’t have any
professional connection to SIFF, Woody Allen, or the movie.) This makes
for a very solid addition to Wikipedia.
Strongly Recommend: Write your text in Word, make sure it is edited and perfect before adding it to a Wikipedia page.
mark-up language is a bit awkward, but practice with the two different
Wikipedia editing tools should quickly enable anyone familiar with html,
CSS, and similar should be able to master the system quickly.
that you’ve established a bit of credibility and gained a bit of
experience with Wikipedia, start thinking about what’s a solid fit for
one of your clients. Any special feature likely has an article on
Wikipedia. Revolving restaurant? Odd location? The mind-set here is not
to place your client in a premium location, it’s to place a reference in
a place that’s an excellent fit and adds to the knowledge base of the
- First, you’ll want to check to see if your client is
mentioned in an article already, just using the search function. You may
be able to provide a link to the official site. Ditto for the CEO and
other authoritative figures in the company.
- Second, see if your client’s parent company or partners have articles. It’s likely you’ll have something relevant to contribute.
- Third, check for information on your industry. The broader the topic, though, the better the references you need for inclusion.
starting now, keep a “clippings” file. Keep track of every
newspaper/magazine/website reference to your client. When you have some
free time, try to find additional references. The emphasis here is not
on link you may have built, but links (or citations in text-based
sources) that are newsworthy. Ask your client for any of these
references, including awards, they may have had over the years. A
surprising amount of businesses don’t keep track of them. They’ll be
very impressed that you do. Note: Wikipedia wants authoritative, external-to-top, impartial sources. Better to have a cite to an article in the New York Times that mentions a hotel was built in 1954 than to have a link from that hotel’s website. Varied sources are also key.
Wikipedia loves cross-references in articles to other Wikipedia
articles. Be sure to fully-enhance your article with links to the city,
state, industry and other relevant Wiki articles.
Your Wikipedia ContributionsStrive to make your entries and references for you clients indistinguishable from your personal and hobby contributions.
clients may have particular ways of presenting their brand information
and strict instructions about how they appear in text. These rules suit
house style guides; your initial edits may follow them perfectly. To
adapt Helmuth von Moltke’s famous quote: “No text survives contact with
the editors unscathed.”
Wikipedia is dynamic. The article you’ve edited or created will change.
a new entry can seem an easy thing. You work with an international
company, you see that several of their locations have short, individual
entries with very little citation. You create one that’s very similar:
short and with just the link to the location website.
standards have gotten higher over the years. What used to be a passable
article with minimal information is no longer adequate.
optimise the chances that your article will be accepted: Have at least 3
impartial, third-party references, cross-connect to at least 3 current
Wikipedia articles, link to the Official Site, and include a
good-quality (doesn’t have to be professional-quality) picture that
hasn’t been published elsewhere and can become part of the Wiki Commons.
enhance articles, but there are a number of rules: You have to have
full rights to them. They can’t be from a commercial website. They
automatically become part of the Wiki Commons, so you’re offering to
share and give up ownership. Loading pictures is very slow. In my
experience, it may time out before finished, even with lower-res
pictures. Strongly Recommend: Do everything else to the article first. Make sure it’s saved. Wait a few minutes, then try to add whatever image(s). Suggestion: Don’t waste your time with images from your clients’ websites. Ask for candid, ad-hoc pictures from folks in the area.
can seem like a lot of work, but it’s worth it. You may be surprised at
how enjoyable it is and how much it will impact your position in the
SERP. Get started!
“You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.”—Wayne Gretzky
- The five pillars of Wikipedia:
- How to edit a page
- Help pages
- How to write a great article
- Manual of Style
Additional Reading“How to Use Wikipedia for SEO & Content Marketing” by Nate Shivar
“Wikipedia SEO Strategies: Why WikiPedia Rank Higher in Google” by Sujith
“How Do I Use Wikipedia for SEO Purposes?” by Jon Cooper
“The Art of SEO for Wikipedia & 16 Tips to Gain Respect” by Stephan Spencer
“21 Actionable SEO Techniques You Can Use Right Now (Updated)” by Brian Dean
“The Hidden Power of NoFollow Links” by Nicole Kohler
“The NoFollow Tag is a Lot Like a Drunken Boss” by Jason Lancaster
“6 Ways to Get Content into Google’s Knowledge Graph” by Alex Butzbach
How Wikipedia Citations Help SEO & Rankings | seoWorks™