Wikipedia – Navigating the Minefield


There’s no question. Having a Wikipedia page gives your business credibility. The online encyclopedia turned 15 this year – and it averages more than 18 billion page views per month, making it one of the most visited websites in the world. When a business is searched on Google, Wikipedia results are often the second or third listing on the page – which is coveted real estate in search results.

To make the most of Wikipedia – you must navigate through a minefield of restrictions designed to keep company entries unbiased. Let’s start with debunking a few myths about the site and identify the rules of the game as they relate to your business presence on Wikipedia.

Debunking Wiki Myths

  • Wiki Myth #1 – Any Business can be on Wikipedia: Technically, yes, however – only notable businesses are given entries. If your company does not have a page – you’ll need approximately 7 to 8 sources to qualify as ‘notable.’ These sources can be third-party coverage such as articles on products or services. If your business has won an award or developed a breakthrough technology – as long as you can link to them as a citation – these items will demonstrate further notability.
  • Wiki Myth #2 – Anyone Can Edit a Wikipedia Entry: This is true – but only to an extent. The site adds more than 20,000 new articles each month and has 27 million registered users, according to data reported by Wikipedia. However, there are only 1,316 administrators. These editors keep the site unbiased – they patrol entries constantly and have the power to block and unblock user accounts/IP addresses from editing content, protect pages from revisions, review/deny page updates, etc. What’s more – anyone affiliated with or employed by a company is discouraged from editing that company’s entry. Wikipedia’s value comes from neutral entries that show a balanced view.
  • Wiki Myth #3 – Wikipedia Isn’t Reliable: False. Wikipedia articles must be based on reliable, published sources. Entries must include all majority and minority views that have appeared in sources. According to Wikipedia, “articles should be based on reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy.” Because of this, Wikipedia states it does not publish the opinions of anyone who has read and interpreted primary source material for themselves. If there’s content that you’re not happy about – it’s critical to ensure there is new content about your business that can be cited to provide a holistic, fair presentation of your company.

Rules of the Game

  • Content Neutrality: Wikipedia pages should never read like advertisements or promotional content. According to the site, all encyclopedic content on Wikipedia must be written from a neutral point of view. What does this mean? It’s simple – your company’s entry must represent all of the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic fairly and, as far as possible, without editorial bias. With that said if there are factual errors or updates that need to be made, you can comment on the “talk page” and request an edit while providing citations to substantiate the change.
  • Media Coverage is Your Friend: From a media perspective, fresh, new coverage on your company will become content that can be cited in your Wikipedia entry. This will not only help with search engine rankings, but will establish your brand as a go-to resource for information about topics or products represented in your company’s entry. Media stories that cover new product information, awards/recognitions, notable customer wins, patents granted, and more can be cited.
  • Avoid Editing Your Own Page: Do remember – although you know your company best – Wikipedia will only cite secondary, credible sources. Wikipedia editors can track edits being made to your IP address. If you’re caught editing your page – especially to remove anything negative or to add information that is promotional – you can be suspended or blocked. An experienced content editor can assist with the best way to present your information in a fair and balanced way.

Interested in getting Wikipedia to work for you? Don’t go at it alone. If done correctly, your Wikipedia entry can be a helpful source for someone to get a succinct snapshot of your company – and it comes with great SEO benefits.

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