Over the years the web has become more and more conversational, the standard units of the web are rapidly moving away from the page and are becoming more to do with social media posts, for the past few years the conventional wisdom is that Google is looking at these social signals in order to work out where to rank websites.
Perhaps the most obvious place for this is the integration of Google+ info into the SERP results (I’m a bit sick of seeing my face next to my own rankings!). I’m not really convinced that Twitter and Facebook have a massive impact on SEO – certainly not as a long term effect, they may be effective for a short period of time but I’m not certain of this. Still as a freelance SEO consultant I always advice my clients to do as much social media as they can, in fact if the only thing does is let Google know you’re there it’s got to be a good thing.
How Does Wikipedia Rank?
If the internet has an encyclopedia that most people go to it’s got to be Wikipedia, generally it’s the only encyclopedia that ranks highly in Google and it ranks for a massive amount of results. One thing to say about Wikipedia is it doesn’t encourage its users to share its content socially and it’s still manages to consistently be one of the highest ranking websites for virtually every topic.
So Wikipedia isn’t reliant on encouraging people to like or share them on social media websites so how do they rank so highly? When was the last time you saw wikipedia pop up in your friends’ news feeds on Facebook or even a link to Wiki in a tweet? It never happens. The simple answer has to be links and content, that’s great content and internal and external links.
Often as SEOs we forget about the strength of internal linking structures. This potency is especially true if you’ve got a massive site, when dealing with a website with millions of pages those millions of links throughout a site help and naturally count for something in Google. Wikipedia use it to great effect and it’s something that most sites can also benefit from, big or small.
There is probably also an element of Google having allowed or facilitated Wikipedia achieving such a dominant position for the sake of providing more user friendly results – this must only come back to the fact they’ve got great content on there.
If you are ever wondering why Wikipedia ranks so well and your website doesn’t it’s probably time to start adopting their model by creating amazing content that will naturally attract links, if you are swayed by the social media argument when you’re thinking about how much time to place in this sphere remember that Wikipedia doesn’t rely on social links to get some of the best rankings of any website on the internet.
Whilst talking about Wikipedia it’s worth saying that although the links from a wikipedia page are no followed, they are still strong and authoritative and if you can get one to stick for any length of time you are bound to benefit from them.