Wikipedia has been one of the success stories of the internet, growing rapidly to become the de facto reference site for many people.
There are more than 4.4m pages in the English language edition alone, and it is still growing at the rate of 771 new pages every day.
How can its impact benefit digital marketers?
While everyone has heard of, and probably uses, Wikipedia, what fewer understand is the impact it has on search results.
Wikipedia ranks highly in responses to many search queries due to the high degree of trust the search engines have in its content, the breadth of information it contains and the global, multi-language scope of the site.
Our own SEO Ranking Factors Rank Correlation study shows this clearly. Typically Wikipediaranks second in results for a large number of keywords, for example behind the respective brand or the specific URL for the search term itself.
However, if there is no significant brand that would match the search query, Wikipedia often ranks first. This is particularly true of informational keywords (such as definitions) that are unconnected to brands.
Looking at this graph from google.co.uk illustrates the correlation between Wikipedia URLs and search results:
So how can brands benefit from the correlation between Wikipedia and high search results? I’d say there are four key ways:
1. Keep pages up to date
Wikipedia aims to be an independent information source, so over developed pages about your company or products will be frowned upon by the community and potentially removed. However you should ensure that there are up to date, factual pages to ensure that you rank highly in search results.
This is particularly true if you want to appear towards the top of results for informational keywords – make sure you are providing unbiased information that positions you as an expert.
2. Maximise your Google Knowledge Graph information
Google’s Knowledge Graph feature aims to enhance search results by providing immediate information on the results page. Normally on the right hand side, it gives either basic details and images/maps on a topic or company, or direct answers to very specific queries, such as What is the population of London?, without a user needing to click on other results.
Wikipedia is one of the major sources of this information – rather than your corporate website. So make sure information on your revenues, senior management, staff and products is always up to date on Wikipedia.