Wikipedia → What Wikipedia Can – and Cannot Do – For Your Business

What you need to know when leveraging Wikipedia to drive website traffic:

  1. Wikipedia pages are NOT MARKETING OPPORTUNITIES. Let me repeat that: your Wikipedia page is NOT A MARKETING OPPORTUNITY. Wikipedia is an internet source that tries to stay as neutral as possible in the information it conveys.
  2. “Wikipedia is not a place for original thought, but a place where you can consolidate what has already been published elsewhere.” – Jonathan Hochmann, SEO Consultant and Wikipedia editor

Don’t get me wrong, Wikipedia should be a part of your online strategy. Having a Wikipedia entry for your company adds credibility when it pops up in search rankings.

Site visitors from Wikipedia have a lower bounce rate and tend to stay on your website longer than average. Wikipedia pages are usually highly ranked in a Google search, which can be used to a company’s advantage.

However, Wikipedia can’t be leveraged using traditional marketing principles. There are some non-guaranteed methods to influence Wikipedia pages to gain site visitors, but there is no bulletproof way to optimize a Wikipedia page to drive website traffic.

What A Wikipedia Corporate Page Can  Do For Your Business

  • Provide objective, fact-based, and concise information about your company. Your Wikipedia page can answer the basic “who, what, why, how, when, where” questions about your company. “Who we are”, “What we do”, “Why we do it”, “How we do it”, “When we started doing it”, and “Where we do it”.
  • Wikipedia can improve search ranking potential because Wikipedia will often be the 1st result for your company name. You can use this to drive SEO for your website, or displace competitors’ websites and websites that publish unflattering opinions about your own.

Google Analytics Data Comparing Wikipedia Visitor Traffic to All Other Site Traffic

Click to see data

What Wikipedia Can’t Do For Your Business

  • Wikipedia is not a place for sales pitches, marketing language, or performance claims. If you make a claim that can’t be substantiated with an independent 3rd party reference, it will probably be deleted.
  • Wikipedia is not a forum to publish original research from your company. Remember, it’s not a venue for original content, but a place to consolidate and summarize content published elsewhere.
  • Wikipedia is not a channel for mudslinging your competitors. If you include negative content about a competitor on your company entry, or if you edit a competitor’s entry with negative content, it will be flagged and deleted.

There is no guaranteed way to get your company listed at Wikipedia.

These are only methods and tips to get you started, but there are no guarantees that your company content will stay on Wikipedia.

Starting a new article about your business is tricky and difficult. First of all, Wikipedia does not advocate employees or owners start a Wikipedia entry about their own company. An important tenet of Wikipedia is third-party neutrality.

A while ago, Microsoft got into some hot water for commissioning a third-party blogger to insert company-sponsored content into a Wikipedia entry on OpenXML. If the Wikipedia community can track down the connection between third-party contributors and a company that sponsors them, it will have no trouble connecting the dots between you and the company article you’re attempting to post up.

“Why doesn’t Wikipedia have a page about my company?”.

Wikipedia isn’t a company directory and your company must be considered notable and be well-documented by 3rd party sources to stand a chance of your article submission being accepted.  Wikipedia discusses why every business isn’t listed in Wikipedia.

Learn the tips & tricks of landing a Wikipedia page. Click To Tweet

Getting your company on Wikipedia requires a lot of work.

1. Get a Reputation

If your first action as a Wikipedia contributor is to post up an article or make edits on behalf of your company, you’re making it easy for the editing community to delete your contributions. You have to earn a reputation as a Wikipedia contributor to show that your contributions are altruistic and neutral. It’s easier to get away with company-based edits and contributions if you’ve already proven yourself to the community. If you want to exert some degree of control over what’s published in Wikipedia about your company, you’re going to have to build a reputation as a reliable editor first.

2. Make Some Friends

Having allies in the Wikipedia community can come in very handy if your contributions get flagged. Let’s say that you’ve become a reputed editor and contributor, and you’ve implemented a link in an article that gives a favorable review of your company’s products. The link will come under fire for conflict of interest or relevancy, and having a few editors vouch for you will go a long way in making sure your contributions stay intact.

3. Obey the Rules

Remember to stay away from content that you might have a conflict of interest with. Reference everything with reliable third-party web-based sources that do not require registration to view. It also helps to put reference links in the reference section of the Wikipedia page you are editing, instead of the external links section, where they have a bit more traction and are less likely to get flagged and deleted. Stay as neutral as possible in the contributions you make.

Finally, do not spam! This may seem obvious, but the Wikipedia community loves to find spammers and blacklist them. So don’t roam Wikipedia looking for pages where you can insert references to your company or links to your company; focus on the page you are creating about the company and make sure the content is neutral in tone and extensively supported with third-party references.

4. Create Your Draft and Submit to Wikipedia For Review

So you’ve cultivated a reputation and finally think you have the community capital to start an article about your business.

Now you’re ready to Create Your Draft in Wikipedia: Once you have set up a free account with Wikipedia, visit the Article Wizard page and select the “Write Your Article Now” option. Don’t forget to hit “Save”

After you’ve submitted your draft, you’ll wait anywhere between days and weeks for the Wikipedia volunteers to review your page. If you are lucky, they will make only make minor changes and allow the page to go live.

5. Don’t Force the Issue

You’ve followed all the rules and made sure the article is in-step with what Wikipedia wants. You post it up and it gets flagged for a conflict of interest or doesn’t get published. The only thing you can do at this point is engage with the Wikipedia community. Be civil, be polite.

Wikipedia is NOT a marketing opportunity. It can be a great marketing tool that can drive website traffic, but it can’t be controlled or used like normal web marketing methods like SEO or pay-per-click advertising. Getting your company on Wikipedia will take a lot of time, a civil disposition, and some luck.

Content Guidelines

  • Wikipedia is an encyclopedia providing fact-based content written from a neutral point of view.
  • Facts and claims (product performance, etc.) must be verified on reliable, 3rd-party websites.  We require the links to the 3rd party websites.
  • Content should not contain promotional content.

6. Sample Alerts that you’ll run into as a Wikipedia editor.

The best way to deal with these alerts is to engage the community through the Talk page.

 

 

A little tired after doing all those edits? Maybe you forgot to make sure all the information was in-line after collecting all those references. This alert is pretty self-explanatory and is readily resolved through some discussion with the community.

Someone in the community disagrees with the factual claims you’ve made. This can spark a confrontation with someone in the community, but be civil and polite. If it’s a claim you’re iffy about in the first place, let it go. If it’s something you know to be true, politely convince the dissenter otherwise.

You’ll most likely run into this if you insert company-sponsored content into an article, or if you start an entry on your own company. Remember, use the talk page and plead your case. Hopefully, you’ll win the right to keep your edits, but do not force the issue.

This just means that someone has a problem with an assertion you’ve made and you’ll need to find a third-party source to verify it. If you’ve done your research properly, you should easily be able to link the offending content to a reliable source.

Weasel words can be a common mistake for newbie Wikipedia editors. Phrases like “some people say”, “research has shown”, “science believes”, etc. are considered “weasel words” that can mask a biased viewpoint. There’s no wiggle room in this alert, either delete or modify the phrases that are flagged.

Remember our last blog post, where Jonathan Hochmann asserts that “Wikipedia is not a place for original thought”? This is a clear example of why original research and original claims are not acceptable in Wikipedia articles. You’ll either have to verify the claims or find a source that references the research.

 

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