Tom Levers

Wikipedia and SEO is just common sense!

Posted in BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT by Tom Levers on September 5, 2010

I don’t really trust what I read on Wikipedia, but then again, often it ranks first on my search requests. I do know thatGoogle and Wikipedia are both well aware that Wikipedia is some of the most valuable SEO real estate due to both raw popularity, and Google’s tendency to up-rank Wikipedia pages .

Wikipedia links are now nofollow links, meaning they don’t grant authority (or “link juice”) to sites that link to them. If you give it a little thought however, you’ll soon realize that this doesn’t actually make much of a difference, provided you go about using Wikipedia intelligently. Here’s how to successfully use Wikipedia for your marketing:

Realize that Views Matter: In other words, even if there’s no link juice going around, the fact that real people look at Wikipedia articles and click through links matters. Not only does this mean more traffic, but your links may be picked up by sources that do provide link authority.

Remember Wikipedia Mirrors and Scrape Sites: There are plenty of Wikipedia mirrors that do grant link juice. Wikipedia’s Creative Commons License allows this. Once your content and links are harvested, they suddenly gain multiple links. Some mirrors are actually decently ranked and trafficked, too.

Be Picky With Articles: First of all, don’t just swing by and add a barely relevant link to a high PageRank article. Wikipedia volunteers and bots will kill those right away. If your link actually makes sense, it’s not going to get removed. Plus, more niche pages aren’t subject to the same competition as major pages are, but they still benefit from a rank boost – that’s where those annoying stubs at first place come from.

Edit Skillfully: When you dig in, perform a significant, competent edit to the entry. You should add genuine value to the article’s raw text. This means you have to do some independent research, but you have an excellent resource at hand: your client. If your client knows his business, you know how to add to the article you’re linking him to. Your edit should be well-written, featuring unique text, and should conform to Wikipedia’s style guide.

Link Generously: It’s not all about you, you, you! When you add links to the article, add resources besides your client. This signifies your good intentions and is better for the article. You can even link to relevant competitors – but of course, their content won’t be quite as optimized to fit hand in glove with the article.

Chain Link to the Client: I have to admit I thought of keeping this last bit to myself because it’s worked out so well for me in the past. Yes, Wikipedia links have the nofollow attribute, making them useless for direct link juice. To get by this,set up an offsite blog. We put some quality content there and used it as the link target, while it linked back to our client’s site. As a result, the client experienced constant inbound traffic from a site able to grant link authority, and the blog got a decent rank too, thanks to a combination of social bookmarking and backlinks from third party Wikipedia mirrors.

Now if you read between the lines of above, one thing jumps out: Many of the tips for SEO-ing Wikipedia are in line with being a decent Wikipedia “citizen.” Market by adding value to articles and everybody wins.

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