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[WTF] Why You Should (Almost) Never Link to Wikipedia Articles

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by garrido, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. garrido

    garrido Supreme Member

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    Last night, I noticed that one of the bloggers on an experimental site that I'm running was linking to a lot of Wikipedia articles. I sent him an email explaining to him why we don't want to link to Wikipedia articles, and it occurred to me that a post on the subject might make sense. After all, a LOT of people ARE linking to it, and maybe they haven't thought it through.

    Reasons NOT to Link to Wikipedia Articles
    The #1 reason is that there are almost always better pages to link to elsewhere on the Internet.Presumably you're either a personal blogger or a business blogger, but in either case, you want to generate traffic to your blog, right? So wouldn't you want to support other websites that at least have a chance of supporting your site in return?

    In other words, no matter how many links you point to articles on the Wikipedia, they're not going to notice. And even if someone there DOES notice, they're not going to return the favor. And even in the extraordinarily unlikely event that someone there does notice and does decide to link back to you, they're going to put a "nofollow" tag on the link, which means you don't receive the full authority of the link. You might get some traffic, which is cool, but keep in mind that this is a scenario which is about as likely as Wayne Lapierre donating money to the Americans Against the Tea Party website.

    On the other hand, suppose you link to a thoughtful post on another blog. That blogger will probably notice the traffic they're receiving from that link, and they might visit your site. More visitors is the name of the game, so that's win #1 right there.

    But if the blogger visiting your site LIKES your site, then you might get a link out of the deal. Even better,you might form a relationship with that other person, which could result in more than just links. It could result in business referrals, for example.

    If you do link to the Wikipedia, you've given them that much more authority and weight in the search engine algorithms, which increases their already-considerable ability to outrank your sites for just about any keyword phrase that they want to. Why would you want to support that?
    But probably the most important reason for linking to other blog posts from other bloggers that you like is that it's a better experience for your users. Sure, some of the Wikipedia articles are informative, but the information isn't reliable. Remember, we're talking about the site where ANYONE can edit. Theoretically, that means there's all kinds of voluntary peer review from good-hearted people who are trying to improve the project. But even well-intentioned editors are often mistaken.
    And even the good articles there are mind-numbingly dull. There are lots of dull blog posts on lots of dull blogs, too, but haven't you created more value for your users by finding an interesting blog with an interesting blog post on the subject? Creating value for your users matters, too.

    For that matter, there are plenty of other wikis out there that are deserving of your support. For example, Memory Beta is a wonderful wiki about licensed works set in the Star Trek universe. You're unlikely to attract a link back from them, but at least you're linking to something interesting instead of to something dull.
    The title of this post does include the word "almost" in parenthesis, though, doesn't it? There's a reason for that. Sometimes you DO want to link to a Wikipedia article. When might you want to do this?

    Suppose you're running a company where one of these lame, bogus consumer complaints sites is ranking in the top ten of the SERPs for the name of your company. Linking to the article on the Wikipedia about your company (assuming that your company is notable enough to have its own article) can help that page outrank the lame, bogus-complaint page. If you do this, you need to keep an eye on the article you're linking to, though, because it could change at any time, and it might not be the best representation of your company.

    Even in that situation, you're probably better off finding a blogger who's a customer, and providing some link support and love to them. I know of one company which sells multiple products, and they link to all of the legitimate reviews of each of their products from that product's page. That company isn't creating just loyal customers-they're creating a loyal PR machine. Once a blogger finds out that they can get free high-quality links to their posts reviewing that company's products, they usually buy more of their products and write more reviews, in order to get more links.

    Code:
    http://blog.reflectivedynamics.com/2013/02/12/why-you-should-almost-never-link-to-wikipedia-articles
     
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  2. thedorf

    thedorf Senior Member

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    Sure, I understand what you are saying, but I think there are times when this might be appropriate.

    I believe linking to an authority site like Wikipedia gives a bump in the G algorithm. This is good if you have a new site (linking to Wikipedia from your home page), but doesn't help much with an established site. With an established site I would go with your ideas OP. Thanks for the suggestions.
     
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  3. terrycody

    terrycody Senior Member

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    very useful OP, thanks +
     
  4. watley

    watley Power Member

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    There's no site in the world I hate more than Wikipedia.

    • Fairly lousy content.
    • Unreliable content.
    • Ranks for terms that it really shouldn't rank for (are people typing in "web hosting" really looking to learn more about web hosting or are they looking for a good web host?).
    • Gives nothing to its users and expects them to donate to them because they're a non-profit. I'd like to see how much the CEO makes.

    Furthermore, it destroys the opportunity for people to create websites of academic nature. When I first got into IM, I found a lot of relatively low competition history and science related keywords. However, I soon realized that ranking for these was impossible because my extremely high quality, targeted website would never outrank Wikipedia's bland page filled with inaccurate information. Furthermore, it sucks capitalism and free market growth out of entire online industries. If there was one site I could banish from the Internet forever, it would be Wikipedia.
     
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  5. edgematch

    edgematch Elite Member

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    No offense friends, but why do you hate wikipedia? Why not try to make use of it? It is really a great source and it is useful to everyone. But you simply deny that fact.

    You are like fighters shooting arrows to an F-16 Fighting Falcon. Lol, rather try to use it.
     
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  6. Stufferizer

    Stufferizer Regular Member

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    I don't think that the OP's and further remarks are just simple complaints about Wikipedia's power. Their points are valid - just like yours.

    So, let's take the best of both worlds - don't link Wikipedia and get some authority from it.
     
  7. watley

    watley Power Member

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    It's a monopoly. A "non-profit" monopoly that leeches off its gullible users.

    I'm all for a company dominating a market. I'm all for big business. However, I'm not for a company which calls themselves non-commercial, freeloads off of donations like some sort of charity, and sucks up a lot of traffic that should be going to webpages and websites that will actually help the user. I'd much rather read an article on the theory of relativity from an authority science website than some stupid Wikipedia page which happens to rank first.

    As OP said, Wikipedia is a PageRank black hole. They're also a money black hole, essentially charging people (that's basically what a donation is, even if no one would ever admit it) for user-contributed information that isn't even close to the level of quality you'd get elsewhere. For instance, going back to my first example for the search results of the term "theory of relativity," Wikipedia outranks this page: http://www.space.com/17661-theory-general-relativity.html
    If you'd rather read some dumb Wikipedia page with unreliable information than an article/blueprint on a website that's actually related to the topic, there's a place for you at retard camp.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2013
  8. ShadeDream

    ShadeDream Elite Member

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    I thought people link to sites like Wikipedia not to get a backlink but to make their content look more neutral to the search engines vs having links only to your own sites.
     
  9. system0102

    system0102 Regular Member

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    I have a new site and I have some links to wikipedia, but later on I'll follow the OP's suggestion. Thanks!
     
  10. mb_y2k

    mb_y2k Newbie

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    I have to say I think Wikipedia is a really useful resource. The reason many of the articles are poor is because people don't contribute to them. In terms of traffic, it depends on the type of article you are linking from. If there are 50/60 links on the page through references and external links, your blog link will get lost and not noticed simply due to the number of links on the page.

    The best way to become noticed on Wikipedia is not to just 'add a link', its to optimise the content and improve it, while including content about your blog. Easier said than done, but it is do able.

    An example I'll give is with photography websites. I read a number of photography pages on Wikipedia, many of which are incredibly useful. Where the photography blog's benefit is under sections such as 'reception' where a camera is analysed. Numerous blogs/newsites will use a quote from their blog such as: PhotographyImpressions said "the R500SLR is the ideal camera for a family break or holiday, due to its versatility".

    This then isn't simply a backlink, the blog is referred to directly in the article text, increasing its exposure.

    Hope this makes sense to those of you who do want to use Wikipedia to link back to your blogs :)
     
  11. rafark

    rafark Newbie

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    Wow! I'd never have thought that way, Garrido. While I don't think you should totally avoid Wikipedia, I do think you should link to whoever has the best content that you want for reference. If for example, you have to sites to link to, I'd go with the one that has the best content, even if it is Wikipedia.
     
  12. proweb

    proweb Regular Member

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    Nice rant, but there's no way I'm taking your advice.

    Even though you feel Wikipedia is undeserving of a link, I'd rather link to them instead of other sites for the following reasons:

    - Google and 90% of internet users see it as a reputable authority site, so it adds trust to my site when I link to it as a source for information on my page.

    - Other websites are competing against me. Wikipedia has no ads so people looking to purchase items will not get redirected by ads, have affiliate cookies added to their browser, or follow outside links to affiliate URLs (unlike other websites in the SERPs).

    - As you said their articles are "mind-numbingly dull", so even if wikipedia is ranking above my site, the visitors are going to bounce back to the SERPs and click on the other sites.

    - Wikipedia is usually in the top serps position anyway, the added weight my link gives them isn't going to move them up in the SERPs and me not adding a link isn't going to hurt their SERPs. However, if I link to another "well written" article it may be all that's needed to push that site to a high enough rank where the article gets noticed and gets enough attention to start moving higher in the serps.

    - As someone who links out to other sites heavily, I've never had a quality site give me a return link in appreciation. Also, unless you're linking to thousands of sites I doubt many people will visit your site simply because it shows in their analytics. The reason I say this is because Referrer Spam doesn't work well and most popular authority sites (the ones you want links from) don't waste their time visiting each site they may have received a link and a little bit of traffic from. Now, if your site started sending them 100's of visitors a month, then they may link back to you if you emailed them and asked politely.
     
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  13. LordCameltoe

    LordCameltoe Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    To a certain extent you have a point. However, the point of linking to Wikipedia is to direct the user to a reputable source of information for a given subject. If you choose to send the user to a less reputable blog for the same information, google see's you as less of an authority on your subject cause you're not pointing your surfer to a better source of info.
     
  14. watley

    watley Power Member

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    One thing I just thought of is that whenever you're linking out to Wikipedia, you're probably using exact match anchor text. That's one of the reasons Shitipedia ranks so high for so many terms. Compared to other websites of their stature, they have a much more concentrated link profile.
     
  15. Xpand

    Xpand Regular Member

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    1 question:

    should outbound link to Wikipedia be do or nofollow?
     
  16. Maja92

    Maja92 Regular Member

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    I just make my links to Wikipedia "nofollow" :)
     
  17. Murdoch1337

    Murdoch1337 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I dislike Wikipedia because of it's non profit nature. So much money is essentially being wasted by not showing ads, and then they have the audacity to ask me for a donation.
     
  18. blackberry

    blackberry Power Member

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    A great place for sources?

    You gotta be kidding? What is that your smoking, its must be pretty good.


     
  19. blackberry

    blackberry Power Member

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    Yes, but that's the point, Wankapedia is not a reliable or reputable source for quite a few subjects.
    Or they change it so often that one day its right, and the next day its wrong, and the next day its....you get it..


     
  20. LordCameltoe

    LordCameltoe Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    It's still a better source than 99.9% of the sites out there, hence why it ranks at the top for most generic word searches.