Why does Google love Wikipedia?

Posted on February 17th, 2012 - Under SEO

A new study has found Wikipedia appears on the first page of Google for 99% of searches.

The results also found that the online encyclopedia ranked first for 56% of key searches.

A website which dominates the first page of Google for 100% of all searches is the thing most SEOs dream of and something which is well and truly out of reach for many, however new research has shown that one site has come painfully close to achieving that perfect record. We are of course talking about the online encyclopedia site Wikipedia.

The site’s strong relationship with Google has always come under close scrutiny in the SEO industry but a new study suggests Wikipedia could be even more influential than previously anticipated.

A study of 1000 unique Google UK searches generated by a random noun generator revealed that Wikipedia was awarded a first page ranking in a staggering 99% of searches. The study also found that Wikipedia can be found at the top of the rankings for 56% of searches, while the site can also be found in the top five SERPs for 96% of searches.

The impressive results have caused many in the industry to analyse the relationship between the two influential internet players and question exactly what makes the site so successful in the search engines. Some experts have suggested that by awarding a first page place to Wikipedia for a number of searches, Google is effectively limiting the number of potential PPC clients that could appear on the first page in natural listings.

On the other hand, there are a number of crucial Google boxes that Wikipedia ticks which could explain its dominance in the listings. Firstly the site’s sheer size and breadth of unique content has often been thought to be a key factor behind its powerful online presence. Although the content on Wikipedia is never going to be in the running for the Nobel Prize in Literature, there’s no denying the content is unique and usually helpful.

Then there’s the site’s strong domain authority. With more than six million external backlinks and 91,000 referring domains, it’s fair to say that Wikipedia has a pretty stratospheric link building campaign. In addition to a strong domain, Wikipedia also benefits from having targeted web pages for key search terms, a great internal linking structure (which allows it to distribute link juice throughout the site) and excellent page authority.

The question of whether Wikipedia’s love-in with Google will continue remains to be seen, however previous experience and the fact that none of Google’s latest Panda updates have affected the site suggests that Wikipedia could be dominating our searches for a long time to come yet.

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