Want Great SEO? Be More Like Wikipedia.
Recent studies have shown Wikipedia ranks on Page 1 on anywhere from 50% to 99% of all Google search results. For small businesses that are struggling to get on Page 1 for a handful of key terms, this number is staggering. It’s even more impressive when you consider that Wikipedia doesn’t spend a dime on an SEO strategy.
While no small business will ever be able to match Wikipedia’s scale and business model, there are some significant lessons that can be learned from how Wikipedia generates such incredible SEO rankings.
Wikipedia SEO Lesson #1: Publish Unique, Keyword Rich Content
Wikipedia’s entire website is made up of millions of pieces of 100% unique content and each page is written about a very specific topic. With Google’s recent Panda and Penguin updates, having unique content is a must. Write as many specific articles and blog posts as you can. Keeping your content tightly focused will ensure it is keyword rich while still being readable to site visitors.
Wikipedia SEO Lesson #2: Constantly Update Your Website
In 2011, the English Wikipedia site grew by 317,000 articles. That’s 868 new articles every day! Search engines place a premium on websites that are frequently updated. Even adding a page a week will put you ahead of the curve. In a year, you’ll have over 50 unique articles, pages, and blog posts that are all indexed by Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Also, each time you update tells search engines that your website is alive and actively managed.
Wikipedia SEO Lesson #3: Include Key Terms in Page Titles and URLs
If you check out Wikipedia’s article on green tea (ranked #1 on Google, Bing, and Yahoo), the title of the page is “Green Tea” and the page URL has “green tea” embedded directly in it (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_tea).
Page titles, title tags, and URLS are the first areas search engine robots will analyze to determine the subject matter of a page. Determine the most significant search term a page can target, and include this exact term in the page title, title tags, and in the URL itself. Typically WordPress and other CMS and blogging tools will automatically create the page URL based on the title. If your site’s CMS does not, you’ll need to manually do this.
Wikipedia SEO Lesson #4: Get Other Authority Websites to Link to Your Content
Wikipedia doesn’t just generate traffic from search engines. Millions of other websites link to Wikipedia articles. Every inbound link is essentially a vote for a website’s content. The more quality sites that link in, the more authority Google and Bing will give to a website.
Starting out, it can be extremely difficult for a small business to generate incoming links. Having dynamite content certainly helps, but you’ll need to proactively get your content out there. Contact complementary businesses about trading links to each other’s sites. Offer to write guest blogs for popular industry sites. Leave comments on other site’s blogs and link back to a relevant page of your own. And of course, use social media to promote your content.
(Do not take part in shady link building schemes. Google’s Panda Updates specifically target and penalize websites that engage in this.)
Wikipedia SEO Lesson #5: Have a Robust Internal Linking Structure
In the first paragraph alone of Wikipedia’s article on green tea, there are 6 internal links. The whole page boasts well over 700 internal links.
Why is internal linking important? From an SEO standpoint, it’s important because the more internal links you have to a page, the more likely a search engine like Google is to deem that page important. If an inbound link is like someone voting for your webpage, think of internal linking as voting for your own pages.
When developing new content, make sure to always embed links to important pages throughout your site. Also, consider periodically reviewing older content to see if there are relevant opportunities to link to your newer content.
You Can’t Be Wikipedia, But You Can Act Like It
The truth is that your website will never be Wikipedia. While it’s impossible replicate what they’ve done, the same methodology and key learnings from Wikipedia’s SEO can be effectively scaled down and implemented on any size website.
The old black-hat ways of link building and keyword stuffing are swiftly dying. Today, great SEO is all about developing superb content and getting others to connect to it. Get started now and I guarantee in a year you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the snowball effect your actions have had on your website’s organic traffic.