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Wikipedia probably receives more traffic from Google than any other website. With over 2 million in depth articles the English version is most people's idea of a perfectly optimised site so what can we learn from it?

The first points are all on-page factors. Looking at the site we can see that the pages all have search engine friendly file names, title tags and meta descriptions as well as mainly text based content. This is very important when you compare Wiki articles against normal e-commerce pages with very little text based content.

The final and one of the most important on page factors is the internal linking between documents. Notice that every time an article mentions the title of another article it is turned into a text link? This plays a huge part in improving the sites rankings.

The off-site factors are fairly simple. Wikipedia has been branded as a free site that offers a huge amount of (usually) high quality information. This means that millions of websites deep link to different articles giving the site an unrivalled trusted status in the eyes of Google.

Lessons to be learned from Wikipedia are straightforward: structure your site and article pages in the same way and fill your site with truly interesting and useful content.

The actual implementation of this strategy is easier said than done but it is still surprising how many e-commerce sites get this part totally wrong.


Published 13 March, 2008 by Patrick Altoft

55 more posts from this author

Comments (9)

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Lawrence Ladomery

Lawrence Ladomery, Founder at automatico

Not to mention the quality and quantity of in-bound links.

about 9 years ago


Seo Expert

I think one of the things people forget about in SEO most is internal linking. They get carried away in inbound links and page optimization that it's easy to forget about one of the simplest on page optimization techniques. Pretty good list of objectives for someone to work towards and create some successful SEO.

about 9 years ago

Dave Chaffey

Dave Chaffey, Digital Marketing Consultant, Trainer, Author and Speaker at SmartInsights.com

Yes, Wikipedia illustrates internal links well.

You can see page popularity in Wikipedia with this newish tool:



about 9 years ago


seo bristol

You've got to give it to Wikipedia - great structure, simple html, tags all neat and tidy and over 5 million incoming links, according to Yahoo!
I just wish the editors were a little more welcoming to new sources; over zealous editors have made it more like Fortress Wiki than a great web resource.
If we could convince some of the Wiki editors to relax their death-grip on Wikipedia and give the hard-pressed editors at dmoz a hand the web might be a happier place for humble seoers :)

about 9 years ago


Anthony SEO

I was discussing this article with a friend of mine moments ago and he outright dismissed it's relevance, much to my shock. In making his argument, I think he proves a larger point about Wikipedia. He argued that the popularity of Wikipedia is based entirely on people linking to it, and such a thing does not apply to a regular website.

The point he made is true. The reason, most websites do not offer valuable content. However when a website starts to provide very valuable content such as Wikipedia, and is well designed internally, again like Wikipedia, you have a recipe for success.

I think aside from the technical SEO points you've made here which are entirely correct, another point you can bring away from this discussion of Wikipedia is to offer solid content as well. Make the content for people and then optmize it, don't make optimized content for people. A lot of beginning SEO's make just that mistake.

about 9 years ago


Walk Through Money Online Journal

Ver true. This is the site where I always search for something to find the exact answer. Thanks for this post.

about 9 years ago


John H. Gohde

You can get good results with just on page SEO factors. And, Wikipedia articles implement the basics of good SEO.

almost 9 years ago



A page in Wikipedia seems to come up on top on Google wheather or not the page has a in-bound(external) link or not.Some pages come up as #1 on Google even though it has very few external links.

This makes me wonder a lot about topics in SEO, like the importance of external links from "multiple ips" etc, etc.  

about 8 years ago


Houston SEO Company

They have alot of inbound links.. and alot of interior linking. This is why they are number 1 in almost every definition or single keyword

over 7 years ago

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