Your Website In Wikipedia
icon32.png Posted: 30 Sep 2008 23:15

Wikipedia is the #1 reference site on the web. As a result, many promoters find it impossible to resist the notion of creating an entry for their company. The process is difficult but not impossible, and the rules are strict, but not entirely invisible. Note that this is not a guide on how to use the mechanics of Wikpedia.

Due to the fact that Wikipedia applies the nofollow tag to every external link on their site, Wikipedia will not directly influence your SEO efforts. However Wikipedia may help with direct traffic or branding.

Though there are rules and conditions in place, you can expect for the results of your efforts to be unpredictable. This is due to the fact that Wikipedia editors are biased and have varying opinions of what does and does not constitute promotional entries. Ultimately it may boil down to how well you communicate with a single editor that has taken an interest in your work.

If you've come here looking for illicit tricks, you won't find any. I'm not going to show you how to spam Wikipedia with links to your site. My goal, is to show you how to get a legitimate listing into Wikipedia. Ultimately I can't say how this will end for you, all I can do is show you how it will begin.

Establishing Notability

Before listing your company or site on Wikipedia, it is imperative that you meet Wikipedia’s Notability guidelines. They are summarized here:

…Notability is an inclusion criterion based on encyclopedic suitability of a topic for a Wikipedia article. The topic of an article should be notable, or "worthy of notice." Notability is distinct from "fame," "importance," or "popularity," although these may positively correlate with it.

  • "Significant coverage" means that sources address the subject directly in detail, and no original research is needed to extract the content. Significant coverage is more than trivial but may be less than exclusive.
  • Reliable" means sources need editorial integrity to allow verifiable evaluation of notability, per the reliable source guideline. Sources may encompass published works in all forms and media. Availability of secondary sources covering the subject is a good test for notability.
  • "Sources," provide the most objective evidence of notability. The number and nature of reliable sources needed varies depending on the depth of coverage and quality of the sources. Multiple sources are generally preferred.
  • Independent of the subject" excludes works produced by those affiliated with the subject including (but not limited to): self-publicity, advertising, self-published material by the subject, autobiographies, press releases, etc.

As you can see, there is a lot of room for bias and interpretation. But in my experience, listing a minimum of three independent and reputable media sources (newspapers, magazines, broadcast news, etc…) that reference or feature your company will suffice for notability.

When publishing your company to Wikipedia, you cannot declare that your company is notable, you can only show why you believe your company might be notable, someone else will decide. If you don't have any independent media references showing possible notability, then your listing will qualify for speedy deletion So if you wish to give your entry a fighting chance, you should forgo any publishing attempt until you can show notability as indicated above. Just imagine you are in college and submitting an essay for review, one reason why a college professor would dismiss your essay without even reading it is if you submitted it without showing resources.

Is Your Entry Acceptable?

Notability is not the only factor in determining the legitimacy of an entry. One way to understand what is acceptable, is to understand what is not acceptable.

Wikipedia cannot be used for Self Promotion or Advertising purposes:

…Article topics must be third-party verifiable, so articles about very small "garage" or local companies are typically unacceptable. External links to commercial organizations are acceptable if they identify major organizations associated with a topic.

Note the use of the word typically, not always. This is where notability comes into play. Entries about companies and products must be written in an objective and unbiased style.

Presenting Your Company.

You don't have to create a new page to present your company. You can easily introduce your company to Wikipedia by using it as a reference in an existing page. Just be sure that the page you link to is relevant and that your application is contextually appealing. Here are some things to consider before submitting your company as a resource:

  • Check the page history to gauge how others respond to changes made on the page.
  • Check the discussion tab. You may wish to suggest a link within the discussion tab instead of placing it directly. If there is no opposition then there is a greater chance your link will be accepted. If there is some opposition then you can debate it.
  • Make sure your site is ad free. Wikipedia does not like to link to sites with ads.
  • Are there other less popular entires that could benefit from your link? If so you may wish to link there first.
  • Don't link more than once a week, or provide more than a single link at a time. Spammers are easily spotted. Using the one week rule will keep your user profile clean.
  • Don't make the mistake of assuming that you can only link directly to your site. It may be better to link to an article that includes your company as part of the content, esp when that article is relevant to the Wikipedia entry.

When looking for exposure using Wikipedia, most tend to think in terms of a new page and a company profile. If you feel you simply must have a page dedicated to your company, then follow these guidelines:

  • Build up your history. Most editors check user histories. If you have an underdeveloped background and then suddenly create a new page for your company, or create a link, then it's obvious that your intent is to use Wikipedia to promote.
  • Ensure your company will pass the notability test.
  • Be sure to include other sources such as competitors.
  • When possible, cite experts.
  • Write in the 3rd person; you are writing about a company, not your company.

Officially, Wikipedia cannot be used to promote. Unofficially, every entry, and every link, is promoting someone or something.