{{ searchResult.published_at | date:'d MMMM yyyy' }}

Loading ...
Loading ...

Enter a search term such as “mobile analytics” or browse our content using the filters above.

No_results

That’s not only a poor Scrabble score but we also couldn’t find any results matching “”.
Check your spelling or try broadening your search.

Logo_distressed

Sorry about this, there is a problem with our search at the moment.
Please try again later.

There was an interesting study published this week which looked at 1,000 search terms in Google and measured the rankings for Wikipedia.org, which posed the question does Google give too much prominence to Wikipedia?

As a quick recap, Wikipedia ranked for a huge 99% of the terms (as selected with a random noun generator).

While many people may consider this an unfair bias from Google towards Wikipedia, I'm not so sure...

There's no denying that 99% is an extremely high volume of keywords to be ranking for and this is a very interesting study to highlight Wikipedia's dominance. 

However, I'm still not that surprised by the results. Wikipedia has seemingly become every SEOs biggest competitor, which explains why its dominance in Google creates a lot of attention.

But if you look deeper into the reasons why the site is ranking. Despite so many top rankings, I honestly believe they deserve to be ranking where they are.

I certainly don't think there's anything non-algorthimic happening here, as some people have alluded to in the past.

Chart from Intelligent Positioning showing Wikipedia's positions on Google for 1,000 randomly generated search terms:Wikipedia SEO

Why does Wikipedia dominate Google? 

To back up the reasoning for the site being the number one performer for organic search in the world, Wikipedia probably has the best set of SEO fundamentals on the web:

Unique and in-depth content

Wikipedia is such a great case study for the power of UGC (user generated content) with huge volumes of content which is written in extremley large detail.

For example, the Wikipedia Turkey page (which was in the sample list of 1,000 terms) contains 12,536 words on that single page and the breadth of Wikipedia's content stretches to 70 million indexed pages in Google across 10 languages! 

Targeted webpages for key terms

Each page is written individually around a primary search term, and due to the fact that this is both a strong page and domain, it's likely to rank both for these core search terms and a long-tail of traffic (and with 12,000+ keywords on a page - that's a very long tail!)

Very strong domain authority

Very few can rival a domain authority of 100/100 in OpenSiteExplorer, with a total of 6.13m links in MajesticSEO. That's some link building campaign! 

Great internal linking structure 

Wikipedia does a great job of contextual linking internally, allowing it to spread the domain strength across the site. If only it would remove that nofollow and link more externally!

Excellent page authority

Wikipedia is clearly the market leader in the online encyclopedia world (Encarta who?) , so naturally generate links and citations from high quality sources.

If you take a look at the same "Turkey" webpage - this has 21,375 links going directly to that page - many of which are from authority sources such as the BBC, Telegraph and NASA!

Combine that with such a strong domain and it's becoming a lot clearer as to the reasons why they rank so well.

But will this dominance last?

Based on SEO metrics alone, most notably content and links I would say yes. Wikipedia is such a strong site that it will be very difficult to shift this trend.

The main thing I would see as a threat to them would be seeing how Google's algorithm develops towards analysing user intent.

For example, if a searcher is looking for "Turkey" (one of the terms listed in the study) and is expecting to find travel and holiday packages, they may be disappointed to find an informational page about the country instead.

So if Google starts paying more attention to bounce rates and user experience, I could see Wikipedia losing some of its top rankings in the future, especially for more transactional queries.

However, seeing the site slide off of page one completely is unlikely in my opinion. Mainly because Google seems to be a strong believer in "query deserves diversity" and Wikipedia generally provides content that no other site can offer for a huge range of keywords.

How do you take advantage of this as an SEO?

As I mentioned above, Wikipedia is every SEOs competitor. Whether you like it or not, it may not be directly competing for business in your market but it is competiting for rankings and traffic in your market, which generates your business. 

So if you know it ranks highly in Google, why not use that information to dig a bit deeper? Analyse how much traffic it's getting, there's a great tool which shows you the traffic for an individual article on Wikipedia - see this for the Turkey page as an example:

Wikipedia Traffic Stats

This tells you that Wikipedia has generated 1,038,886 visits in the last 90 days and that it's the 253rd most popular article on Wikipedia.

Plus, you can dig deeper still if you have paid tools such as Hitwise, SearchMetrics or SEMRush, trying to find out which keywords Wikipedia generate traffic from and then optimising and targeting traffic from them.

What do you think?

Do you agree that Wikipedia's rankings are fair? And lets face it, even if they're not (unless you're Google of course) what can we do about it other than try and compete. We might as well try and learn something from the site's huge success of user-generated content creation and find out how we can use it to strengthen our own sites.

Kevin Gibbons

Published 14 February, 2012 by Kevin Gibbons

Kevin Gibbons is UK Managing Director at digital marketing agency BlueGlass. He is also known as an SEO speaker and can be found on Twitter and Google+.

102 more posts from this author

Comments (65)

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Adam Hopkinson

Adam Hopkinson, Lead Web Developer at Audley Travel

Interesting - I'd be interested to see how much benefit Wikipedia saw from the Panda update.

Another site which is riding this wave is StackOverflow.com - in the three/four years it's been running, many of the technical questions we use Google to solve return a StackOverflow answer. Individual pages also seem to get very highly ranked within minutes of being created.

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Stuart Kerr, Technical Director at Liberty Games

Interesting post, I will be interested to see how Google's integration of social signals hinders/helps Wikipedia - will people be wanting to +1 a wikipedia page as much as, say, a page which has been more optimized to encourage users to share / +1 ?

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

David Aitken

From an SEO perspective, then yes, it looks as if they do rather well out of the various metrics which are used as a measure of how and why a site performs well.

It totally negates the problem of the site itself being an unreviewed body of text put together by people with little knowledge of the subject matter, and varying degrees of bias.

This is not what an encyclopaedia should be.

Yes, the site does well in terms of SEO, but no it doesn't deserve to rank anywhere as a serious source of knowledge.

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Jenni

It mostly depends on what keywords were looked at in the study. Wikipedia usually steals the top spot for informational queries or for more complex products and services where most people are often looking for a definition (e.g. VPS). It also appears a lot in brand-related terms due to the media and lack of variation in root domains. It's also difficult to name any website that is as far reaching and covers as many topics as Wikipedia with as much authority, so to that extent it's earned its place and makes sense that it's there.

Google experimented with downranking Wikipedia across the board a while back, but obviously it didn't improve the quality of the results which is why they reversed the changes.

almost 5 years ago

Adam Hopkinson

Adam Hopkinson, Lead Web Developer at Audley Travel

David - my impression is that, for most topics, the accuracy of Wikipedia is only slightly behind that of more traditional encyclopaedias (see the 2006 study by Nature - although granted, this was contested).

Considering the performance of other encyclopaedias in organic search, what's more important is how much more accurate Wikipedia is compared to the myriad blog articles and other sites that would take that top rank in the absence of Wikipedia.

almost 5 years ago

Quirk London

Quirk London, Head of Optimise at Quirk

Great article Kevin!

The one thing to add is that I doubt bounce rate will have that negative an impact on Wikipedia's entries. Most people are familiar enough with it to know what type of content it provides and will avoid clicking on it if necessary.

Also, couple this with the insane depth of engagement that it does get and it'll never have BR as too much of a weakness(how many times have you started reading an article on Turkey only to end up reading about killer whales' feeding habits an hour later?). I'd love to know what the average time on site is!

almost 5 years ago

Mark Bower

Mark Bower, CEO at Coolpink Ltd

The one thing that wasn't mentioned in the article is how often Wikipedia's content is shared on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google +.
This, combined with all of the other traditional SEO factors, will see Wikipedia stick around for a long time to come.
The site basically does exactly what Google wants every site to do - produce great content and let the general web community do the rest.

Sadly it's not that easy when you're working on a website that sells shower valves - there's only so many top 10 articles and infographics you can create on this subject.

almost 5 years ago

Kevin Gibbons

Kevin Gibbons, UK Managing Director at BlueGlass

@Adam - Wikipedia did very well from Panda, they're number 4 in the list of biggest winners: http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2113724/Latest-Google-Panda-Update-Favors-Video-Big-Brands-Google-Properties

@Stuart/@Mark - agree, if social signals become a heavier factor, then it will be very interesting to see if Wikipedia get overtaken by blogs/more sharable content. Looking at the stats in OpenSiteExplorer Wikipedia aren't too bad on Facebook and Google+ (33,931 Facebook Shares, 7,918 Google+1's) - but a bit low on tweets for a site this size (4,416).

@David - I would agree with you on that. And the likes of Encarta with it's professionally paid writers and more factually correct information should be a more trusted source. But that just shows you the power of UGC on the web that Wikipedia has become such a strong market leader.

@Quirk - good point on bounce rate. I also meant to add in the article that CTR in Google SERPs could be taken into account, which may have an impact to Wikipedia. If a low percentage are clicking listings, rankings may drop. They've done similar tests on keywords before, e.g. Apple, Orange, Blackberry - are you looking for the technology company or the fruit? Probably not so good news if you run a fruit and veg shop!

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Lee Smallwood

With so much relevancy that Wikipedia has this justifies linking out to it from client sites (where and when appropriate) can benefit the searcher and the client site as well.

It would be 'great' - albeit too much to wish for - if wikipedia were to start a 'dofollow' practice for external links. But then again, the spammers would be all over it and it wouldn't be available for long...

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Adi Gaskell

@David, haven't studies suggested that Wikipedia is at least comparable with professionally curated encyclopedias? I have no problem with them ranking well. There will always be circumstances where they rank well for pages without much content, but on the whole they probably deserve the spots they have.

almost 5 years ago

Quirk London

Quirk London, Head of Optimise at Quirk

Good point and agreed - it's a trade-off of being a brand that by nature will bring in pre-qualified traffic from the SERPs. I'm not sure how it'll balance out, but as per your point above, I don't think it'll be overly drastic.

almost 5 years ago

Craig Johnson

Craig Johnson, MMU

Great content and well written but surely this was the one SEO truth that SEO's knew already.

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Davey Clayton

Anecdotally, a colleague of mine (a UX designer who now works for the chocolate factory so by no means a digital aphasic) recently described his perception of Google to me as "how I find the Wikipedia entry for something". Is that a cause or an effect of Wikipedia's preeminence? I guess both.

almost 5 years ago

Steve Morgan

Steve Morgan, Freelance SEO Consultant at Morgan Online Marketing

Great article, Kevin. I'm surprised you looked at sub-domain stats in Majestic SEO and not root domain stats, as many articles appear as a language-specific, non-"www" alternative (e.g. "en.wikipedia.org"). If the root domain is considered then the number of links pointing to Wikipedia jumps from 16.3m to 667m - two-thirds of a billion!

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Depesh Mandalia, Head of Digital Marketing at Lost My Name

Not that it'll happen for obvious reasons but can you imagine the AdSense potential from Wikipedia? At least the founder wouldn't need to canvas users for donations...

almost 5 years ago

Ruben Martinez

Ruben Martinez, Marketing and SEO at Paradigma Tecnológico

I agree with Kevin that nothing suggests a non-algorithmic situation.

If the algorithms are weighting toolbar data, and if Google AdPlanner metrics are to be trusted at least directionally, the sites enjoys very respectable avg time on site and page views per visit, high CTR and all http://goo.gl/C0shL

Other than that, the fact that a not-for-profit asset, Wikipedia, is used by a commercial use by Google is humbling and fascinating.

almost 5 years ago

dan barker

dan barker, E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker

hiya, Kev,

absolutely brilliant post.

I agree that Wikipedia's rankings are fair.

I also think they'd probably do well around user intent metrics. I think it was Andrew Girdwood mentioned on Graham's post the other day about this: most of Wikipedia's success is around non-commercial nouns. Their brand is so large, that users largely know what they'll get before they click through.

I think one 'risk' is that Google simply harvest Wikipedia via Creative Commons & start presenting that instead. Facebook have done exactly that (eg. http://www.facebook.com/pages/%C3%87anakkale-Turkey/110858958939292?sk=wiki ). I doubt they'd do that, but who knows what will happen.

And I think one sad thing among all this that's worth a side-note is the '13%' Wikipedia figure. Just 13% of Wikipedia content is contributed by women. Below that very odd headline stat, I'm sure there are lots and lots of oddities around their demographic mix. It's worth side-noting this when thinking about how much content Google is serving from them.

dan

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

David Gerard

Small correction: Wikipedia is not in 10 languages - it just highlights the largest 10 languages on the front page. It's actually in 250 or so languages :-)

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Alex Quail

100% agree with this article. If anyone is looking for a perfect on-page SEO case-study, just take a look at Wikipedia. The internal linking structure is a truly beautiful thing.

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Ed Bowden

Good article, thanks

From a personal point of view I would hope and expect Wikipedia to come very high up the search rankings for a simple factual query such as 'goat' because I'd most likely be searching for information on goats. As mentioned in the article, Wikipedia is about the most reliable on-line encyclopaedia so therefore most likely the best answer to that query.

Similarly, if I wanted holidays in Turkey I'd type 'holidays in Turkey' and not 'turkey', and expect to get web sites for holiday companies and the Turkish tourist board in the organic results, not a Wikipedia page about Turkey. Or even turkey dinners.

The fact that both these scenarios hold true suggest that
a) Wikipedia is a great on-line encyclopaedia
b) Google is correctly indexing it as the most relevant when it is indeed, er, relevant.

When it comes to companies trying to appear atop organic search results they will do so, in general, unless they have something to hide, when they'll struggle because Wikipedia will doubtless have an article about it.

However, if someone is really searching for Nestlé chocolate they won't type Nestlé scandal and vice versa.

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Dave Ashworth

good post Kevin - I replied to the initial post with something similar (and much shorter, but wasn't published)

I don't think choosing nouns or even to an extent singular terms proves anything

I have noticed of late that searching for things like films, bands etc that you now get more sites like IMDB, trailers on YouTube, official pages and 3rd party SM platforms branded pages appearing - so I think Google is pretty good at spotting user intent, which is difficult to do when all you provide is one word - and if you do, chances are Wikipedia will satisfy your query

I have never felt Wikipedia to be a competitor on any of my SEO projects, basically because when promoting a product or service, a one word query is not going to lead to a conversion

almost 5 years ago

Andy Headington

Andy Headington, CEO at Adido LimitedSmall Business

With all that traffic, just imagine if Jimmy decided to have some sort of ad serving system on the pages... we wouldn't need to have to look at his picture every christmas would we!

On a more serious note, I think you are right about 'user intent' possibly playing a part in seeing them rank less prominently going forward but I don't think it will be any time soon.

almost 5 years ago

Simon West

Simon West, Chairman at Nett Sales LLP

@Ed you say "a) Wikipedia is a great on-line encyclopaedia" and I agree completely...

However, the UK Education system clearly doesn't! They specifically forbid using Wikipedia for research even if referenced.

Is that just another indication of how far removed from reality our educators are?

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Sam Silverwood-Cope

Hi Kevin - glad to see you used our data and imagery.

A reference would have been nice.

Here is the original article:
http://www.intelligentpositioning.com/blog/2012/02/wikipedia-page-one-of-google-uk-for-99-of-searches/

Nice additional thoughts though.
Cheers
Sam

almost 5 years ago

Peter Leatherland

Peter Leatherland, Online Sales Manager at Ethical Superstore

@David Aitken – As Adam said there has been a (contested) study done showing it is actually quite accurate. There is a problem with people’s perception of it accuracy, University lecturers get mad at their students for copying it! It can’t be used as an acedemic source but if you look at the information it has and the information on the web it is vastly more accurate than most sites. Yes content gets vandalised but there are a huge number of editors who keep it in check. Anyone can edit a wiki but on the same hand anyone can set up a blog and talk about anything they want (90% of the time with an agenda of making money from links and ads). If you read about a topic you are an expert in on any respectable news website such as the BBC, you will find it will contain errors and inaccuracies and will be nowhere near as accurate as Wikipedia. I’ll make an assumption with you being on this website you have some knowledge of digital marketing, think back to the last time you saw an article on it on the news, you can pretty much guarantee in a 1 minute article you will find an inaccuracy, misunderstanding or plain wrong information. With any source of information you need to think about who publishes it and why, if you look at the motives behind Wikipedia information it stacks up very favourably.

@Dan Barker – Good point on the cross section of people who contribute, Wikipedia admit this and are actively trying to encourage people from different demographics to contribute. How many publications would you hear admit this? It kind of shows how open they are which is a good thing. And it also explains why there is an article bias towards the things that their demographic like and have interests in.

I think it does deserve its current place in Google as it provides exactly what Google wants, high quality original content which is updated regularly. Although I can see it being a problem if one website has too much influence making it difficult for others to compete

almost 5 years ago

Christopher Rose

Christopher Rose, PPC Marketing Director at Rose Digital Marketing

As Google continues to deteriorate as a useful search engine, the only threat to Wikipedia from it will be if Google start to see it as a rival and intentionally de-rank it.

These days I am increasingly using Wikipedia as the first place I look for information and have also even started using Bing more - and getting useful results - as Google seems intent on adding far too much irrelevant stuff into its results.

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Andrew Jones, Online Marketing Consultant at Maginus

Great article Kevin, a great example of how search is influenced. As you mentioned it will be interesting to see the influence as Social becomes a higher factor.

almost 5 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@ Sam - Kevin did add a link to yours when he submitted the article, but I removed and forgot to add back in when editing. I'll correct that now.

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Rick Noel

Great article Kevin. Off-page optimization in terms of the number, quality and diversity of link and linking domains is likely driving the Wikipedia rankings as these are key ranking factors for Google. If a search is for a transaction, most likely the searcher will not click on a Wikipedia link in the search results but CTR ranking factors appear to be over-shadowed by link network breadth and diversity. According to OpenSiteExplorer.org, Wikipedia.org has 74,819 linking root domains. This like Mount Everest to a link building phenom and since the rules (Google Algo) place larger weight on inbound links and linking root domains, then it appears that the results of Wikipedia being on the first page of 99% of the queries studied makes sense from an SEO perspective. Competing with Wikipedia on head terms with a goal of the #1 spot is a waste of time. Many searches for head terms are informational anyways. As far as no referring to Wikipedia as a body of knowledge with no reviewers, my experience is that are millions of Wikipedia editors/reviewers and that crap gets flagged/disabled quickly.

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Sam Silverwood-Cope

Cheers Graham - good man.

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Ben.

Wikipedia and Google have been in Cahoots for ages, will be interesting to see how this relationship develops over time.

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Jennifer Kilkenny

Content is king. No...really!

As for people searching for travel info for Turkey, I think most people would type in a more in depth search string. After all "Turkey" would return the country and the popular Thanksgiving bird. I don't think Wikipedia has anything to worry about there.

Then again, changing the headline to Turkey (Country) might help as well to narrow things down a bit.

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Scott Bauer

Super post!

When I started doing SEO WikiPedia and Apple were my main to role models related to architecture and content execution.

Fundamentally they do nearly everything right. They do not have video or a lot of other assets to leverage besides images but in terms of enterprise level website content management and articulation they have nailed IMO.

The fact they have not primary navigation and get by purely on in-body anchor text links is a testimony to the power of them. All pages are highly concentrated with minimal noise, resulting in each document being as prominent and unique as possible.

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Marc

So how do you go about implementing? What is the takeaway of this article?
According to Michel Leconte in an article (I read it on feedfront as well) called How the web's rich gets richer (I linked it on my name);

1. Platform and Automation
2. Quality is key
3. Volume matters
4. You need to manage link equity

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Grant Deken

Good idea to look at wikipedia for the search terms you're competing for. I've found the resource sections to be good for finding new places to build links.

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Carson Ward

I couldn't agree more, Kevin. Whenever an entity has some form of dominance, there will be someone there to complain that it's not fair. This is even the case when the winning entity is clearly superior.

We do have to keep in mind that the study referenced in your post looked at simple nouns, the vast majority of which are (at least mostly) informational. For those queries, Wikipedia is often a great hit.

I actually don't see Wiki losing key rankings any time soon. The pages already rank poorly for more queries with clear buyer intent. You don't see Wikipedia for "buy turkeys" or "turkeys in [location]". Brands and people might be a point of controversy. While a brand thinks their page is the best hit, the Wikipedia pages tend to be more objective and informational (rather than being sales-oriented and promotional) about the brand, making it a good result for an unmodified brand query.

Wikipedia's greatest threat is losing community involvement, especially from experts. With thousands of readers for every serious contributor, the lack of incentive for contributing authors may eventually lead to weariness and out-of-date pages (for "non-passionate" topics, anyway). If I were Jimmy Wales, I would look into ways to incentivize contributors at all levels.

With all of this said, there's nothing preventing someone from beating Wikipedia for a turkey page. There's nothing magic about Wikipedia that makes it impossible to overcome.

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Simon Dalley

I don't think that Google does give too much weight to Wikipedia - personally I'd argue that where a search is informational rather than transactional, what better results could be presented first than the worlds biggest and open/user controlled encyclopedia - as long as there are other results around it. I expect that there is a control in there that it doesn't appear first for absolutely everything or that would probably irritate that searcher and make them feel like there is an obvious search bias.

Another thing is I often combine a search term with wiki explicitly looking for a wikipedia entry - which must be a ranking signal to Google.

Finally, with wikipedia being a brand that's recognized by people across a number of different sectors so there will be a gravitation towards those results, which will reinforce Google's presumption that this is a relevant result to the search query.

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Dan Deceuster

This is a really great article to help explain to others that there is no Google/Wikipedia conspiracy. Pretty funny though, I saw the other day that Google or employees of Google had donated millions of dollars to Wikipedia or something. It set off a whole new round of "See, Wikipedia is in bed with Google!"

I think it is plain and simple: Google wants to provide searchers with the information they are looking for. Wikipedia is one of the best sources on the web for information about nearly everything. An interesting side story- Wikipedia doesn't rank nearly as often if you include "how to" or "tips" in your search. So it's not this unilateral favoritism on Google's part. They don't rank Wikipedia if they shouldn't. I can see the frustration though as many SEO folks do get outranked by Wikipedia.

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Tom Morris

"Wikipedia and Google have been in Cahoots for ages"

Not in my experience as a Wikipedia administrator: Google pay for access to the live feed from the Foundation, but they have done similar deals with other large sites like Twitter. Google have made some donations to the Wikimedia Foundation. I'm not sure what form of cahootery is going on here. Google are paying Wikimedia... for Wikimedia to come up high on search results? Usually bribery goes the other way. If Google took bribes, then it is a very funny sort of bribe when Google pays you.

That said, I wouldn't be surprised if Google were using the data feed they are getting from Wikipedia to do some clever magic with regard to crawling. Having created new Wikipedia pages, I'm astounded how quickly they turn up on Google.

almost 5 years ago

John Robinson

John Robinson, Director/Web Developer at webZplus

This is even more reason to fully develop your keyword lists and try and find opportunities where competition is lower or where long tail keywords will keep you clear of Wikipedia - Great article :-)

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Roshan

Let's see. Why do we need SEO? To promote business/brands/products/services etc on search of course. One word (noun) keywords rank best on Wikipedia because they are generic or general information related. Most importantly, these keywords have less user intention to use the business/brands/products/services. So SEO should not really see such as competition. Unless you are a competitor or Wikipedia itself, Wikipedia results are less of a competition and more of a complement.

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Vikrama Dhiman

I think there are 2 more reasons:

1. Wikipedia also gets high CTRs. More than transactions, its research queries that dominate Google. There, nothing beats Wikipedia.

2. Wikipedia also does a great job of transferring page rank juice from its top ranking pages to other pages on the website.

-Vik from http://www.wiziq.com/courses

almost 5 years ago

Kevin Gibbons

Kevin Gibbons, UK Managing Director at BlueGlass

@Tom that's very interesting regarding the deal Google have for Wikipedia data, didn't realise that. I would assume they are using the feed to index new content more quickly (as you suggest), in a similar way to how a new published blog posts pings Google and gets indexed within minutes.

Thanks everyone else for the comments, SearchEngineLand also made a good point - noting that the selection of terms are more likely to see Wikipedia ranking highly, because they are single-word nouns. Wikipedia is always more likely to rank for informational/research queries at the early-stage of a buying cycle, as opposed to more transactional queries.

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Tim Ireland

In my experience:

1) Google tries to incorporate some level of *diversity* in their top search results; reference sources (typically Wikipedia), mainstream media (i.e. news/articles) and personal publishers (i.e. blogs) are three typical components you will find above the fold, even in response to many queries that some may regard to be commercially-oriented ('turkey' being a poor example because you can learn about it, visit it, eat it or even pardon it).

2) Google favours reference material generally; it is an information database, not the Yellow Pages.

I do not think these are the only factors at work here, but I suspect they are a primary reasons why Wikipedia will continue to dominate top search results for as long as it remains the richest source of up-to-date reference material.

almost 5 years ago

Peter Leatherland

Peter Leatherland, Online Sales Manager at Ethical Superstore

A few people seem to be saying it is ‘pointless to try and rank above Wikipedia’ nonsense, of course you can’t get anywhere near the overall visibility of Wikipedia in Google but for your top keywords, of course you can. The page you will be fighting against is essentially just one page of content (OK so yes it is backed up by another 19 million or so Wikipedia articles, some related and linking to the tennis page) but this is likely to be the one truly focused page which is related to your keyword. The Wikipedia entry on Tennis for example will be one detailed and well written page on tennis, probably with quite a few backlinks form a good spectrum of sites, but if your whole site is based on tennis then you have a whole site of well written detailed tennis content (without the other millions on non tennis related pages) you can compete with Wikipedia for your main keywords. Brands shouldn’t have a problem at all unless they have made some bad SEO errors.

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Ed Bowden

@Simon West - I don't think my sons' school fordbids it, but I would personally encourage them to use multiple sources, not out of a distrust for wikipedia but to actually exercise their grey matter.

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Yousaf Sekander

If Google thinks Wikipedia is an authoritative resource on every thing under the sun then God save our generation!

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Ricardo

It should be pointed out that many users do a Google search for a term as a proxy to get to wikipedia, simply because the interface is better. (plus, there's the omnibar).

Hence, wikipedia must get a huger percentage of the clicks and Google, noticing the user behavior, would promote wikipedia in its attempt to guess what the user is looking for.

almost 5 years ago

Partha Bhattacharya

Partha Bhattacharya, Owner at 2WebVideo.Com

Kevin - Among the major takeaways you covered, my no.1 favorite is internal linking. The way Wikipedia has the internal links spread all over the contents, it's nothing but extraordinary.

It's like a huge shopping mall having directions to floors/shops at every corner. This organizes the flow of footfalls and increases the chances of buying.

If there's one 'SEO truth no one wants to hear', it is internal linking...simply because doing it properly is time-consuming.

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Janice

It would be nice to see them lose some of their rankings. There is really so much bad info on the site.

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Mark Hall

Lets just hope one g+1s it then!

almost 5 years ago

Daniel Rajkumar

Daniel Rajkumar, MD at Web-Translations Limited

This research was based on randomly generated nouns of a single word. If you're looking for a single word noun then (for the lack of context) Google is going to take the default positions of assuming that you must be looking for information, instead of (for example) a product. When was the last time you did a single word search for something unspecific, without needing to revisit the search bar?

When you don't know what you want, Wikipedia may help you find inspiration and so it's relevant to rank it well. But as soon as a search can be more contextually understood Wikipedia may not be the best result.

almost 5 years ago

Peter Leatherland

Peter Leatherland, Online Sales Manager at Ethical Superstore

If you have a page on your site with 400-500 words of original content, even if your site isn’t busy chances are, you will get one or two visits to the site a day purely on people searching for a long string of words you just happen to have on that page within a sentence. Wikipedia have 19 million articles on the site so that’s 19 million pages of content, so think how many sentences on their site will match up with 5-6 word keyphrases searched on Google, quite a few I would imagine. This is on top of the single words the research focuses on. Also the internal linking within Wikipedia is great, all pages have links with related anchor text in them, all these links are ‘do follow’ so less busy pages are only a few links away from a high traffic page.

@Dan – Hello mate!

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

David H

One encyclopaedia result for words and 'things' amongst mostly targeted advertising to me is more than fair. In my mind, there should be a tickbox that turns advertising and marketing results off from your search.

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Richard Burns

Because of the open source nature of the site, many listings on Wikipedia delve deeper into the subject matter with higher authority links & attribution than other websites vying with them for Google ranking.

Their link structure is second to none and because of the layout of the posts, it almost guarantees keyword saturation.

Also, Wikipedia has a much lower bounce rate than many of the sites that do rank highly on Google. How many times have you gone to Wikipedia for one subject only to find yourself reading something totally unrelated an hour later? I think that is fairly typical of Wikipedia users.

I see no reason why Wikipedia wont dominate many if not most keyword terms for the foreseeable future.

almost 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Riddell

Thank you for providing this resource on the internet.

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

GiorgioB - Streetwear

Considering the total nonsense you sometimes see ranking as #1 for some searches, I think it is totally legit that Wikipedia ranks well for most keywords.

The debate about the accuracy of their information is another thing, I mean most people who anyway go on Wikipedia should be aware that the information is not 100% professional, objective and reliable.

In terms of SEO, they are solid. Unique and quality content, probably millions of good backlinks, keyword rich, millions of indexed pages.. I personally love Wikipedia even though I know it is not as reliable as a "real" encyclopedia, it is still an epic source of information that is FREE (don't forget) and available to anyone, and in 99% of the cases I am satisfied with the information I find there.

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Lubes

Really interesting article. I have a question about Wikipedia, when it does or doesn't appear in the search rankings (when it doesn't it's been forced out):

"why is it that when I search for my keyword and include "-wiki" in the search term my website is ranked much (MUCH) higher?"

I'm talking around 40 pages (ie 400 places) difference! It's not like wiki sites come up 400 times in the search when I run it without including the "-wiki" element

What's going on here?

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Clausen

Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular post!
It's the little changes that make the greatest changes. Many thanks for sharing!

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Daniel Marriott

I think google should handle this and add a search metric for wiki pages.

So if you wanted to look at a wiki page related to this then you could put wiki:turkey into google and it would show you wiki related pages and keep any thing else wiki out of the normal results.

I have had many occasions where wiki is sitting about a clients website and its just so hard to beat it.

almost 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

tai nghe bluetooth

Đúng là wiki là hàng đâu trên google, nhưng mà sử dụng nó khó quá

almost 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Jiwan Tamang

Very nice article and i hope that Google handle in such condition...how to make #1 in Google and we seen that as per Google pr update..

over 3 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Ronald

With initiatives like Knowledge Graph I have a feeling Google will send less traffic to wikipedia over time. I guess it being a not-for-profit it shouldn't matter much to them. I know if they were siphoning traffic using original data from my site Qirina I would be upset though.

over 3 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Shakti Bareth, Digital Media Exper/ SMO at Promoting Infotech

Getting link from wikipedia is really great but letting your article approved by Wiki team is really a big task. Your content should be really unique and trustworthy sources for new users who want to become a digital marketing experts.
cheers
wishes

Shakti Bareth
Digital Media and Marketing Expert
Jaipur, India

almost 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Krishna Bogati, SEO expert at AGS

Wikipedia updated fresh content and the data of site volume is very huge so the site is in top.

over 1 year ago

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Daily_pulse_signup_wide

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Daily Pulse newsletter. Each weekday, you ll receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.