Wikipedia is a great resource for neutral, non-biased information on an assortment of topics from academic subjects to music to historical events and more. It is the sixth most visited website in the world and attracts millions of visitors each day who explore information on the many subjects and utilize the internal and external links to find even more material. Wikipedia has made itself known as being a free and reliable source of information, having articles incorporate cited sources and also reviewed by volunteer editors. Outbound links from Wikipedia are nofollow, meaning the “link juice” is not transferred to websites, however, the links can still be valuable in generating high levels of referral traffic.
But think about what you personally read on Wikipedia? Business or pleasure? I doubt you learn much about companies through this medium. Only 0.1% of companies are approved to have Wikipedia page entries. That means of the 30 million companies in the U.S., only 30,000 or so have Wikipedia articles about them. A small fraction. This is due to several reasons. Here are Wikipedia’s requirements for company pages.
There are more than four million English-based Wikipedia entries. Some topic types include: company/organization/foundation, people, word, event, musical artist/group/album/song, and general subject. Companies should first look to whether an entry already exists. If not, it’s possible to create a new article. However, not everything is suitable for Wikipedia. Here are some criteria:
- Articles cannot be about yourself, your company or your organization due to conflict of interest
- Articles cannot be about your friend, your band, or your website due to notability
- Articles cannot be about your vendettas or campaigns due to neutrality
Third party writers should submit material on behalf of a person or company to ensure a neutral point of view. If the entry passes the “subject” requirement, the contributor can then move toward submitting an entry in Wikipedia’s content management-like system.
If a new subject makes sense, the contributor should verify its notability. Notability refers to the popularity and recognition of a company. This is determined by the amount of significant coverage the company has garnered from reliable, independent sources. The criteria for notability is as follows:
- Companies must be the subject of multiple non-trivial published works whose source is independent of the company itself, or
- Companies must be listed on ranking indices of important companies produced by well-known and independent publications, or
- Companies must be used to calculate stock market indices. Being used to calculate an index that simply comprises the entire market is excluded.
If the article appears to be written by a member of the company, includes advertising messages or obvious backlinks to the company page, or does not supply proof of notability, it will be deleted by editors.
Wikipedia relies on sources to prove accuracy in the information it provides. It also helps information-seekers find additional material outside of the site. Facts, viewpoints, theories, and arguments may only be included in articles if they have already been published by reliable and reputable sources. Sources should have a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy, and be independent of the subject. Entries that do not contain proper citations will be removed.
- Good sources include books, newspapers, reputable magazines, and academic journals.
- Bad sources include blogs, MySpace pages, personal knowledge, any source that cannot be independently verified by another editor.
Sources are the bread and butter of Wikipedia as they demonstrate authority and accuracy of the information. Articles without sources will be removed, as they appear biased and inaccurate.
Article content must be unique and not violate copyright infringement. Authors and contributors should be cautious of copy/pasting from websites. Instead, content should be written in the author’s own voice, alongside cited facts and quotes. Finally, it should be written in a neutral tone of voice and shy away from “puffery” or personal opinions and exaggeration of facts.
Company articles will only be approved for Wikipedia inclusion if they meet all of the above criteria. If sources do not exist, Wikipedia will not be the best platform for a third party company profile. Pages will be deleted quickly.
If you meet the criteria, Wikipedia can be a useful online page to educate readers about your company and lead to tremendous amounts of referral traffic. Company entries that are written and have neutral tonnage can upload a draft entry and await reputable sources to prove notability and meet source requirements. For small companies, or those who do not meet the requirements, Wikipedia is probably not an SEO tactic worth investing in. Instead, try other link-building strategies that not only offer “link juice,” but referral traffic opportunities as well.