When customers need answers, they turn to search engines. And what pops up in those top results? You guessed it: Wikipedia.
Even though companies invest heavily in influencer marketing, public relations, and SEO services to increase brand awareness, they often overlook the potential of Wikipedia.
According to a study by MOZ, a staggering 89% of Google's first-page search results are related to the online encyclopedia. Experts speculate that Google uses Wikipedia as a foundation for its search results because of its well-organized content and numerous links to other websites. Plus, Wikipedia has a domain authority of 80 out of 100, making it likely to rank high on Google's search results.
But crafting a Wikipedia page for a business can be a challenge. The platform prohibits promotional content and only allows verified third-party sources. Even after putting in the effort to write a page, it may not get approved and published. Nonetheless, it is well worth it for the potential brand awareness it can generate.
So, in this post, we'll show you how to strategically leverage the platform to build your brand's influence in your industry. We'll also share some tips we've learned from building pages for our brands.
On this platform, notability is the name of the game. As outlined in Wikipedia’s policies and guidelines, they’re concerned about how widely a brand or business has been covered in media and publications and if reliable third-party sources can verify the information.
Once a page is created, it’s reviewed by volunteer editors to verify that the information is factual and linked to active online sources so users can read more themselves.
On our Wikipedia projects, the first step we take is auditing the brand’s media coverage. We look for anything the brand is the main subject of the article—not simply a mention—or a site that many people have heard of. A good rule of thumb here is that the article should be written by someone outside your organization with a byline. User-generated content (like forums or reviews), tabloid journalism, or self-published content won’t fly.
From there, categorize press mentions by the publication type: local or regional, national, and trade. Blog posts or resources on your website (like About Us) are good background sources but don’t count as notable sources since they are self-published.
Next, pull out themes you notice in the press mentions. For example, if you’re a spirits company and publications frequently write about your interesting founding story, include that as a section on your page.
Wikipedia has a strict neutral point of view (NPOV) policy, and its thousands of editors want just the facts. Different from putting together content on a website or marketing pieces, these aren’t necessarily your company values or big pillars your company is focussing on this year. This is where it can be helpful to have a third party, be it an agency or someone less familiar with your marketing communications, develop the content for your page. Some good themes to include are company history, awards you’ve received, and areas of expertise that have been written about.
These themes will form a solid outline to structure your page.
Before you start writing your Wikipedia page, it's crucial to conduct an audit of your competitors who already have approved pages. Doing this gives you insights into the type of page Wikipedia looks for and how likely yours will be approved.
When conducting an audit of your competitors, consider the type of references they cite, how their notable mentions compare to yours, and the structure of their information. This can also help you identify adjustments you can make to your PR strategy.
For example, if you notice that your competitors are winning awards from business publications on a national level while you have only won awards on a local level, this can reveal the need to focus more on national coverage to increase your influence in your industry.
With one client, our audit revealed that their ingredient standards were much higher than their competitors, which made them stand out in the industry. They had developed strict clean label standards a few years ago and garnered significant media attention. Including their unique expertise on their page was a natural fit since we had credible and verifiable articles to back it up.
Since Google often pulls its featured snippets from Wikipedia, highlighting these unique traits of your brand can boost your authority on the subject online.
Now that you’ve researched relevant areas of expertise and evaluated the notability of your sources, it’s time to get writing.
Starting with the outline you created, build your story around the facts referenced in your notable mentions. We recommend channeling your inner Walter Cronkite or Barbara Walters here. This part can be tedious, but avoiding promotional language is essential or your page could be disapproved. Since maintaining objectivity can be difficult when you have an emotional investment in your company's success, it can be helpful to have a third party, like an agency, jump in.
Great reporters give their readers context. Context helps them understand the background and circumstances surrounding the topic being discussed. It provides a framework for readers to interpret and analyze the information presented in the article. With context, readers can grasp the significance and relevance of the information and may have an easier time following the article. Adding context, like national figures to illustrate the economic impact of a state like California or who else has won a prestigious award, strengthens the credibility of your page. Backlinking to other Wikipedia pages, like the town where your company is headquartered or an area of expertise, is another way to provide context and improve your reader’s experience.
In writing a page for a company, product, or person, there is always a risk of being flagged by Wikipedia editors for promotional content. If you’re diligent about citing your sources and supporting the claims on your page with verified articles, though, there’s a strong chance you’ll be able to edit your content and appeal.
As mentioned earlier, creating a Wikipedia page for your business can increase your rank with Google. It can also help you shape the narrative about your company and drive traffic to your website, increasing your online presence. But it doesn’t end there.
Whether your page is approved or pending, contributing to existing Wikipedia articles related to your industry is a great way to increase your influence.
Once you’ve identified your company’s areas of expertise, list other page topics. Again, think like a journalist here. If you’re a skincare company, posting under “Best cosmetic companies” won’t pass the platform’s objectivity test. But listing your company under the Corporation section of personal care is factual. Similarly, mentioning your company on the female entrepreneurs page could make sense if you have a female founder.
However, edit and contribute only when you have genuine expertise in the subject area. Wikipedia strongly discourages contributing articles about yourself, family, friends, clients, or employers, known as conflict of interest (COI) editing. An administrator may block your account if an administrator deems the editing disruptive or not in good judgment.
Marketing on Wikipedia is a smart move for increasing brand awareness and getting your name out there. Plus, with strong domain authority, it's no wonder that Google's search results love it. Before you set your sights on creating a page, check that you have content from reliable third-party sources. And don't forget, Wikipedia's strict neutral point of view policy requires only the facts to be presented. So keep it honest, folks.
The platform is also a great tool for online reputation management. It can help you glean valuable insights about your competitor’s online presence and shine a light on your true, verifiable strengths as a company.