Link building while trying to leverage the authority of Wikipedia is one of the biggest frustrations to SEO’s industry-wide – and it’s pretty easy to see why.
Which reason do you typically go with? High rankings for almost every keyword query. Nofollow attributes on all external links. Incredibly picky human editors.
Because of that perceived lack of value to improving search engine rankings, many SEO’s avoid Wikipedia all together in their link building campaigns. When it comes to acquiring links from other websites, however, Wikipedia can be a very powerful ally in establishing trust and authority for your piece of content.
We’ve been attempting to leverage links from Wikipedia whenever possible for our clients. Truth be told, part of the reason is due to the fact that Wikipedia links are warm, fuzzy, and CEO eye candy. But CEO’s aren’t the only people who place a lot of trust in the human-edited encyclopedia – bloggers and other webmasters do, too.
And putting that credibility to work for your website or client is how you leverage Wikipedia for running a high quality link building campaign.
Assuming you can get your content listed on a Wikipedia page as either a reference (very possible with quality content) or as an external link (more beneficial for referral traffic from Wikipedia but more difficult to keep listed), quality link leads seem to develop out of thin air after publication. Below is a five step process for discovering and reaching out to those link leads.
1. Consult a backlink analyzer to discover which external websites link to the Wikipedia page you acquired a link from. I prefer using higher end backlink analyzers to tools like Yahoo! Page Links, but that will work for this task.
2. If you use Yahoo! Page Links to uncover the inlinks pointing to the Wikipedia page, eliminate nofollows and blog comments that reference the Wiki page – those sites will likely fail to produce the high quality links you’re looking for, and also could simply scraper links or blog comments.
3. Acquire direct contact details for the websites that remain. Connect with the webmaster or blogger.
4. When you contact them, acknowledge the fact that you saw they linked to the Wikipedia page – doing so will likely get you a foot in the door. Inform the blogger or webmaster and let them know about the new resource cited on the page. Also mention to them that believe the information provided in your link would also be valuable to their readers.
5. Await a response and prepare to settle your link negotiation.
There are a lot of sites that link to Wikipedia articles, but only the best content (generally) gets linked to FROM Wikipedia. Use the trust and authority Wikipedia has developed over the years to your advantage by contacting the bloggers that also trust (and link) to Wikipedia. When you mention the Wikipedia status, your page or online resource will instantly receive a boost in trust, relevancy, from authority from your target link partner. Use those factors to make the most out of high quality link opportunities, so your site has an opportunity to succeed long term.
Jonathan Bentz is a Link Architect at ProspectMX, an internet marketing company that specializes in customized SEO, PPC, and lead generation strategies for businesses of all sizes. The company website also features a variety of expert resources, including a popular chart for SEO link building.
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