Wikipedia is one of the most visited websites in the world, providing unbiased information to millions of unique visitors a day. They are an online traffic source just waiting to be taken advantage of, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. A lot of you out there might be wondering whether or not you should use Wikipedia for SEO purposes, and my answer will always be YES. When I say this, you should not immediately jump over to Wikipedia and see how many times you can get your links in different articles, because this is the absolute worst thing you can do. This is one of the most effective link building techniques out there, but you have to know what you’re doing. Before you even think about using Wikipedia to your advantage, there’s some things you have to know.
Wikipedia is nonprofit. They don’t do this for any financial gain, so there number one goal is to provide neutral, unbiased, accurate information. In 2009 Wikipedia had over 130 Billion page views, and it’s grown significantly since then. For almost every big search term you type in, a Wikipedia article is on the first page, if not one of the first three results. They have an extremely high domain authority, as this site is more than well respected by Google. A study in 2007 revealed that their information was nearly as accurate as that of the Encyclopedia Britannica, proving that their goal for accurate information has been met.
That’s the stats to show you how Wikipedia is truly an online empire. But how can I use to this to my SEO advantage? First of all, Wikipedia does not give out link juice – all of their links are nofollow. Secondly, they do not want you to add any links that you associate with in any way, so you can’t be obvious about it. Thirdly, your website can be added to a spam list if links to your website keep continually getting added to Wikipedia articles, so watch out for that. With all that in mind, it most definitely will be worth the trouble. Not only is it a trusted link in Google’s eyes, it is also a great source of traffic. For example, one of my clients has a link in one of Wikipedia’s articles that is in a very insignificant place on the page (below the content and all of the other references), yet that one link provides 50 visitors a week for a small niche website. The value isn’t in question, it’s how you can get your links on the page.
The first thing on your mind should be adding content, not links. Links will be secondary to content in all cases when dealing with Wikipedia. You want to provide accurate, unbiased information for Wikipedia before linking. You also want to be inconspicuous – don’t provide a link just to your website, try and provide a few other links to credible sources on the subject. Now, when you place a link when editing, don’t place it in the article, as it will only last for no more than 5 minutes with Wikipedia editor hawks just waiting to swoop in. Your best bet is to keep it in the references.
When you go through this process, remember that you have a lot less likely hood of your link sticking if your account is brand new. You want to build up credibility by editing multiple pages by making the information accurate and neutral. Get involved on the talk pages on different articles, including the ones you want to edit and insert a link to your site. Your goal is to be just another neutral author with a credible background.
For those thinking of creating a brand new Wikipedia article, proceed with caution. While Wikipedia encourages new articles on big brands not yet written about, the brand or company you are from needs to have a history of being in the news and on the media. If you own a small niche website, its best you keep away from this idea. If your company is big enough and in the news enough, then you will have a chance at the article being accepted. Make sure someone not associated with the company writes at least the beginning of the article, because your undoubted number one goal when writing the article is to make it as neutral and unbiased as possible. Your safest bet is to find someone you are acquainted with that has no connection to your brand or company, and have him at least write the first half.
When writing a brand new article, your obvious concern from an SEO stand point is to get links. In this case, it is OK to add a link to your website in the article, but make sure you give out all links that are needed. Make sure to link to any websites associated with your company or brand in the article, as this can only help you & your site.
The last thing I’d say to anyone out there eager to get links from Wikipedia is to not try and do it all at once. If you are aiming at links on multiple pages, make sure you start out by editing a few niche related articles, and then move on to one of the articles you are targeting, and then repeat the process. Make sure you review the content you are adding, as this will most likely decide whether or not your link will be accepted. Yes, this is a tedious process, and I’ve just covered the most important aspects of this process, but the results are well worth it.
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Are there any other tips you would recommend to anyone aiming to get a few links from Wikipedia?
Update: Jon Tonti from SproutLoud pointed out to me that I didn’t mention that you should not be using your company email address to register your Wikipedia account, otherwise it’s obvious that you’re trying to get a link for promotional purpose.