Nathania Johnson posted some very interesting stats on SEW yesterday to show how Wikipedia’s traffic has grown 8,000% in 5 years due to search referrals. This is an unbelievable statistic but as mentioned in the article that’s what happens when Google ranks all of your pages as #1!
There’s a mixture of opinions but many SEO’s would agree that Wikipedia shouldn’t appear in Google’s top 10 for searches on nearly every piece of content they have. I think it depends on the specific search term, but in my opinion Wikipedia provides little value when ranking #1 for searches such as SEO and restaurant. Most people performing these queries would be looking for somewhere to eat, or looking for SEO advice, blogs or tools. If they wanted to find a definition a “what is …” or “define:…” query would have worked fine.
Lets take a look at the results for a Google search on holidays:
Surely people know what a holiday is!
And how do you think Wikipedia would perform if they used Google AdWords?
I would imagine an ad like this would be lucky to get a CTR of 0.1% with a low quality score, but it’s not a problem in the organic listings.
Google has become by far the leading search engine because it gives searchers what they are looking for, and there is an argument that Wikipedia mixes up the results to provide a different type of listing, I agree with this to a certain extent but in all reality it’s nowhere near being the most relevant webpage for any of the above searches. Although not all of it’s rankings are unfair, if you search for a footballer, for example, you get quality content and stats from Wikipedia which deserves it’s ranking at the top as it’s useful to the searcher.
How can Google’s algortihm change to prevent Wikipedia’s SERPs domination?
In my opinion the Google algorithm should pay less attention to the strength of wikipedia.org as a whole domain, calculating rankings based upon the inbound links to a specific page instead. If your content is of a higher quality and more relevant to the actual search term this should be out ranking Wikipedia, but how do you compete with 5 million links?
These rankings would be completely different if the algorithm considered that only 2,000 inbound links are relevant, probably less when you consider no-one should really be linking to this! :)
What do you think, does Wikipedia rightfully deserve most of it’s rankings and provide searchers with the information they are looking for? Or is Wikipedia irrelevant for many search terms and ranking far too highly?