It's no secret that Google places an increased weight on links from "authority" websites. Wikipedia, a free internet encyclopedia that can be edited by any user, is certainly one of the top authority websites in the eyes of Google and I'm certainly not the first SEO to observe that an awful lot of Wikipedia pages are currently ranking quite highly in the SERPS.
Many of you may have tried to place your website link on a Wikipedia page. What most likely happened is a zealous Wikipedia editor removed your link very quickly because the prevailing view is that appending your external link to the bottom of a previously created page adds little to the community and likely only benefits you.
But, let us say that you have a website that can be considered a resource in its field. If you see that Wikipedia does not have a page on a topic covered objectively by your website, you can create a Wikipedia page on that topic, link it to your website, and gain the SEO benefits of that link which, more than likely, won't be removed.
Whats the Simplest Way for Me to Create a Compliant Wikipedia page?
For your first page, I recommend creating a page defining a term not already present in Wikipedia. Look at your website and determine objectively which terms your site could qualify as a citable resource. Then, check Wikipedia to see whether a page has been created for those terms. If not, you're good to go.
Components That Need To Be Included in Your Page:
- Page Categories. All Wikipedia pages must be placed in at least one relevant category. The easiest way to find categories for your article is to search for a page on a topic similar to yours, copy the category "code" and add it to your new page.
- Total objectivity. Your page must be objective both in tone and in content. Any sales-y, promotional language will be removed.
- Multiple Reference Sources. A short "dictionary-style" definition linking only to one website (yours) will not fly. First, Wikipedia explicitly states that they aren't a dictionary. It's OK to begin your page by defining your term, but that should be a jumping-off point for putting your definition in a much larger encyclopedia-like context. I would cite a minimum of 3-4 references for any newly created page.
Also, I've noticed a marked preference by many editors towards referencing your sources within the Wikipedia entry itself versus listing the references at the end of the article. An editor might see a reference tacked onto the end of an article as a spam attempt, where a reference linking to the source within the content itself can be more easily verified.
- References to other Wikipedia pages. Within the text of your Wikipedia page, it is encouraged and expected for you to link to other pages within Wikipedia. For example, if the page you are creating has the term "Search Engine Optimization" in the text, you should place the term in double brackets [[Search Engine Optimization]] which will automatically create an intra-Wikipedia link to the Search Engine Optimization page. Following such a policy greatly benefits the Wikipedia Community.
- People will edit your page... sometimes in ways you might object to. That's how the Wikipedia community works. If your page has run afoul of one of Wikipedia's rules, you are not likely to win a dispute. However, many changes are made due to someone's interpretation of Wikipedia policy and if you disagree with their change, the opportunity exists to discuss it with the other Wikipedian. If you can't resolve the dispute, you can have it moderated by an administrator.
Now, what's the best strategy to obtain and keep the Wikipedia link to your own website? Make sure your site comes across to a skeptical reviewer as both authoritative and objective. If your linked website contains promotional material or contextual advertising, the link will almost certainly be deleted. Commercial sites can be sources for Wikipedia articles... however, if you are linking to a commercial source, I would link to the "reference page" from which you are making the citation, and not the home page.
Every page I have created for Wikipedia resides in Googles top 15 for the targeted term (and as high as #1). If your website is linked from Wikipedia, you will receive not only targeted search traffic, but an uber-powerful, super-authority link that will help your search engine optimization efforts, especially with Google. You have to jump through a lot of hoops to get a Wikipedia link to your website, but the results are well worth it.
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Todd Mintz is the Director of Internet Marketing & Information Systems for S.R. Clarke Inc., a Real Estate Development and Residential / Commercial Construction Executive Search / Recruiting Firm headquartered in Fairfax, VA with offices nationwide. He is also a Director & Founding Member of SEMpdx: Portland, Oregon's Search Engine Marketing Association.