Ask the Experts: Should My Business Make a Wikipedia…
Q: I recently noticed that a competitor of ours has a page on Wikipedia for their business. How can I get one for myself? Will it help my ranks?
A: Some of our clients have asked if a Wikipedia page for their product or brand can improve their website ranks.
Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia containing over 30 million articles on a wide variety of topics. A Wikipedia page will not directly improve your site’s ranks. The links on Wikipedia that point to your website are tagged with “nofollow,” which means that Google won’t transfer any link authority from Wikipedia to a your website.
Despite this, a Wikipedia page for your business or brand can still be beneficial in other ways:
- A Wikipedia page can rank well in search results alongside your site and your other branded properties. As such, a Wikipedia page can be a nice way to influence more of the search results than you would have without the page.
- Wikipedia pages may help with brand awareness. Wikipedia is a top website and receives billions of page views each month. It’s possible that some Wikipedia users may naturally stumble upon your Wikipedia page, or find it via a link from other Wikipedia pages on similar topics.
- Google uses Wikipedia as a source for its “artificial intelligence” projects and currently draws summary information from Wikipedia to produce its Google Knowledge Graph listings. If your product has a Google Knowledge Graph, you may be able to influence the content via your Wikipedia page.
Any company is technically eligible to have a Wikipedia page. However, the best Wikipedia pages cite third-party information sources, such as online newspapers, magazines, trade publications or reputable published authors. If there is already published information about your company readily available online, you’re ready for a Wikipedia page.
If you lack third-party articles about your company, consider increasing your public relations efforts first. You may wish to create a press kit or press release and reach out to a writer or the editor of a local news website in your community. After your first third-party interview or article is published online, you are ready for a Wikipedia page. If you only have one or two published articles about your company, consider a somewhat brief Wikipedia page as a start. You can build up your Wikipedia page content over time, revisiting the Wikipedia page at any time and increasing its content as subsequent media articles are published about your company.
When you are ready, here are some tips for creating a good Wikipedia page about your business.
Tip 1: Article Layout
It’s important to select an article layout template that meets established Wikipedia standards. We recommend finding existing articles on Wikipedia that contain similar content to your new article. You may want to base your article’s layout on a layout of an existing article.
Tip 2: Avoid Self-Promotion
It is important to maintain an impartial, fact-based tone in a Wikipedia article. We recommend avoiding the use of excessive or enthusiastic adjectives and self-promotional language. When an article contains any self-promotion, it can be flagged for removal.
Tip 3: Explain Industry Jargon
Ideally, the article should be understandable for anyone, even industry outsiders. We recommend avoiding abbreviations with which industry outsiders might be unfamiliar. For example, instead of writing about “SEO,” we would recommend writing about “search engine optimization (SEO)” and linking this text to a Wikipedia article on this topic, for those who want to learn more.
Tip 4: Link to Other Articles
A good Wikipedia article links to other articles. For example, a Microsoft article links to related Wikipedia articles about software, computing, video games and more. As a rule of thumb, we recommend linking to other articles at least once in each paragraph.
Tip 5: Add Citations & References
A good Wikipedia article includes a citation or reference for each claim stated in the article that could possibly be challenged. Ideally, citations & references should come from reliable, third party sources such as news/media. A poor reference source would be an article from your own website or blog, because it is not third-party.
Tip 6: Disambiguation
Some Wikipedia articles share the same name but are about unique topics. In order to distinguish between these articles, disambiguation is added to the titles. For example, Wikipedia has at least 10 articles entitled “John Smith.” As such, article authors add disambiguation in parentheses after the initial title:
“John Smith (explorer)”
“John Smith (actor)”
“John Smith (wrestler)”
If your company or product name shares its name with others, we recommend use of disambiguation in your article’s title.
Tip 7: Disclosure
As of February 2014, Wikipedia is considering a paid disclosure policy, in which editors would need to disclose if they are making Wikipedia edits as part of a paid arrangement. If enacted, the disclosure policy would require a paid editor to make a public statement, such as “I work for [company name] and make edits on its behalf” on the editor’s talk page or on edit summaries. (Talk pages are designed to allow Wikipedia editors to talk and leave messages, while edit summaries are designed to help editors understand what has changed on a Wikipedia page.)
Wikipedia encourages all editors to adhere to certain standards, including maintaining a neutral point of view without bias or use of any marketing language (see Tip 2). The disclosure policy is intended to encourage paid editors to meet these standards and avoid possible conflicts of interest. This policy may or may not be enacted, but its discussion highlights Wikipedia’s commitment to impartial information. We encourage all editors to adhere to Wikipedia’s guidelines. Learn more about the Wikipedia disclosure policy.
Tip 8: Adoption
If you are an editor creating a Wikipedia page for the first time, you may wish to consider participating in Wikipedia’s “Adopt a User program,” in which experienced editors will mentor new users in an effort to help them become more familiar with Wikipedia.
If you need additional advice about a potential Wikipedia page, read up on some advice from Wikipedia: Wikipedia: Writing better articles.