Why Companies Want a Wikipedia Page
Wikipedia for SEO
Apples. Electronica. Monty Python—the last three things I googled. Each time, I clicked on the top result and went directly to Wikipedia. The free online encyclopedia has been around since 2001, and in that time, it has become the go-to initial reference for most Internet users. People trust Wikipedia, sometimes even more than the news media. Thus, it’s clear that the online encyclopedia has established itself as a reliable and credible resource.
Wikipedia is also very powerful when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). The site has very high domain authority. Thus, any website that has its link on a Wikipedia page is going to be positively impacted in terms of its own domain authority and overall SEO. However, normal citations on the free encyclopedia are not affected in the same way.
So, what does all this mean for companies? It means that they want their own Wikipedia page, often seeing acquiring one as an integral part of their content marketing strategy. Businesses that have pages on the site have a high-level of brand authority. They are also likely to rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). So, as a digital marketer, how are you going to help your clients achieve their goal of getting a Wikipedia page?
How Companies Get a Wikipedia Page
Wikipedia’s editors will write pages about major companies. These tend to be high-profile brands that already have a strong online presence. These businesses have what Wikipedia refers to as ‘notability‘. In other words, companies like Nike, Amazon, and Tesla, all have numerous third-party sources that have examined and written about their products. The problem for smaller companies is that they may not have received this kind of coverage. Consequently, as a digital marketer, your job is to get your client noticed, and written about. To find out how to get free press for your client, click here.
Note: Wikipedia will not accept paid articles as citations. Press releases, blog posts, social media, tabloid journalism, and the company’s own website are not acceptable either. If you do not follow these guidelines, Wikipedia will either take your page down or put a [SPAM?] notification on it.
Once your client has the necessary notability, which means at least three independent, reputable sources that discuss the brand in-depth, it’s important that you understand the ins-and-outs of submitting an article.
Who Should and Shouldn’t Write a Wikipedia Page
First and foremost, emphasize to your client that they shouldn’t write their own Wikipedia page. Encyclopedias are supposed to be objective sources of information, and Wikipedia highly values neutrality. It’s impossible for a company owner, CEO, and employees to be independent authors. A business can appeal to the experienced, volunteer editors at Wikipedia, and hope that they’re notable enough to merit a page. It is against Wikipedia’s rules to pay its editors, though recently this underground practice is gaining popularity. If your client wants to pay you to write a Wikipedia page for their business, you will need to disclose that fact. Also, you will need to be very careful when it comes to how you write that page.
Writing for Wikipedia
If you have no experience writing for Wikipedia, your client’s page is not the place to start. You should begin by using Wikipedia’s Article Wizard, which will allow you to hone your editing skills without affecting live pages. Look at other pages, as well—both for big and small businesses. This will give you a sense of what approved content looks like.
You must recognize, and make your client aware, that a brand’s Wikipedia page cannot engage in any promotion or sales of any kind either. Consequently, you will need to stick to statements of fact, rather than opinion. For example, “Company A manufactures auto parts in Detroit” is a statement of fact; independent sources can confirm it. However, “Company A is the most well-known manufacturer of high quality auto parts in Detroit” is full of subjectivity. Therefore, it’s good practice to avoid using flowery adjectives on a Wikipedia page.
In general, the writing on Wikipedia is clear and easy to understand. Wikipedia’s target audience is the general public, so don’t use jargon or other technical language. Wikipedia also has a lengthy style guide that all writers and editors need follow, in order to get their submissions accepted.
After Going Live
Suppose you do everything right, and Wikipedia publishes your page. This is good news, but your client needs to be aware that a Wikipedia page is not a static entity. If their company receives bad press, for example, someone can add that information to the page. It won’t be possible to delete it, though other sources with opposite points of view could counter it. A Wikipedia page will need ongoing maintenance, as well. This will come in the form of content updates, which will need new independent citations. Yet, even with these caveats, most business owners will still want that Wikipedia page. The SEO boost and perception of brand authority a company gets from being on Wikipedia are strong incentives that are likely to keep Wikipedia on the wish lists of CEOs in the years to come.
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