Why is Wikipedia popular on Google?

Wikipedia is a free collaborative editing, in which individuals collectively create and edit articles, encyclopedia which is available in multiple languages. Some sources, for example academics, do not think Wikipedia is a reliable or an authoritative source because anyone can create and edit an article. But why does Google and Bing give preference to Wikipedia in their results?

Photo of Google and Wikipedia. From SparkPlugDigital.

Photo of Google and Wikipedia’s logos. From SparkPlugDigital.

Why does Wikipedia feature on most search engines?

The following list outlines the main reasons why Wikipedia features for many search engines, for example, Google, Bing, Yahoo and Duck Duck Go:

  • A lot of backlinks are obtained because average users reference Wikipedia’s articles
  • Wikipedia gives a good source for information (i.e. well written articles)
  • It is updated regularly*
  • Includes multiple formats (photographs, text, headings…)
  • It attracts ‘experts’ so it is a quality source

*I recently looked at several random Wikipedia articles and noticed that most of them have been updated within the past three months. Search engines like freshness because it shows that a webpage is up-to-date which adds to the overall search experience.

Wikipedia’s rankings and SEO

It is clear that search engines like Wikipedia as a source but by understanding why Wikipedia gets high rankings reveals some of the more important elements of search engine rankings. So a website that has lots of backlinks, well-written articles, contains a blog for fresh content and makes use of multiple formats (Does age matter when searching?) will rank high on most search engines.

Posted by Gerald Murphy

References

  1. BBC. (2013) Jimmy Wales: Boring university lectures ‘are doomed’.
  2. Wikipedia
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2 responses to “Why is Wikipedia popular on Google?

  1. Hi Gerald,

    I think this is a great case to be made about “trying to become a valuable resource in your niche”

    A website can easily outrank Wikipedia for a keyword if it provides a compelling resource of information that people can reference again and again.

    Great post!

    Cheers,
    Jamie T.

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