How to Build Links on Wikipedia

Getting a link from Wikipedia is a huge opportunity for increased site authority, traffic, and ultimately higher search engine rankings.

Wikipedia is one of the most authoritative websites today, coming in at #7 on Alexa’s Top 500 sites list. It’s almost impossible to find an informational search query that doesn’t include Wikipedia somewhere in the top 10 results.

However, building links on Wikipedia is no easy feat. All article edits and additions are subject to the strict scrutiny of a dedicated team of volunteer editors. They take their job of maintaining Wikipedia’s integrity and quality very seriously, so you’ll only get a link if you have some truly valuable content.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to identify exactly where the best opportunities for link building on Wikipedia exist.

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A quick disclaimer

Some of you may already be thinking, “but aren’t all Wikipedia links nofollow? What’s the point?”

However, nofollow links can be just as powerful as dofollow links in many regards. If you’re still skeptical, there’s plenty of literature that you can explore about nofollow vs dofollow.

But, that’s not the focus of this article.

Dead links

Dead links are the number one way of building links on Wikipedia. The site is so large, with so many inbound and outbound links, that it’s nearly impossible to keep everything up to date.

Just like any other website on the Internet, many of Wikipedia’s outbound links point to locations that no longer exist, or to websites that are entirely defunct.

You can take advantage of these dead links by locating them and by hosting relevant content on your own website that you can substitute for the dead link.

A great way of ensuring the content you create will be accepted as a replacement reference by Wikipedia’s volunteer editors is to check what the original content looked like via a caching service.

This will demonstrate the initial quality and framing of the content that was deemed worthy of a Wikipedia reference, and you can then compare it with your own content to be sure you’re on the right track.

Information that needs citations

Similar to dead links, information that needs citations are points that have been added to Wikipedia articles without an initial citation or reference source.

It can be more difficult to get your content accepted as the reference for a specific piece of information, because direct citations typically utilize high-authority websites and studies.

However, it’s still worthwhile to persist in offering your content up as a reference source for pages in need of citations. All it takes is a few successes for some powerful links from Wikipedia!

How to find dead links and pages that need citations

SEOs used to find these opportunities throughout Wikipedia’s multitude of articles manually by viewing individual pages, or through the use of clever search queries.

Luckily, there’s now a tool that significantly cuts down on the amount of tedious manual work required.

WikiGrabber is a simple, free to use tool that crawls Wikipedia for all articles related to a given keyword. It then compiles all instances of dead links and non-citations within those articles. You’re presented with an easily readable list, so you can get started looking into each opportunity immediately.

How to submit your link

Now that you have a fine-tuned list of possibilities from WikiGrabber, you can start building links.

First, set up a (free) Wikipedia account and familiarize yourself with the editing process. It’s a good idea to go ahead and fix up a few pages that are interesting to you, even if you’re not going to use them for link building.

You’ll be able to get the hang of editing best-practices, and it will signal to the editing team that you care about helping not just yourself, but the project as a whole.

After you’re comfortable with the editing process and guidelines, return to your WikiGrabber results and begin vetting them one at a time. If the subject has nothing to do with your business, skip that article and move on to the next opportunity.

When you find a dead link or missing citation opportunity that’s relevant to your industry, you can either:

  1. submit a link to appropriate content that already exists on your website
  2. create new content on your website that’s tailor-made to serve as a dead link replacement or as an authoritative citation source

Then, sit back and wait for the approval process to run its course. If your content legitimately benefits the article, it will likely be accepted as a replacement for the dead link, or as a citation source. If not, head back to the drawing board for this opportunity, or move on to the next dead link.

Are you ready to start building links on Wikipedia?

With a little perseverance, the process outlined above will net you some Wikipedia links before you know it.

One thing to keep in mind: Grey- or black-hat techniques, while never a good idea, will fall especially flat when link building with Wikipedia. The volunteer editors are smart and will come down hard on anyone trying to game Wikipedia for personal benefit.

When you’re ready to offer up your content as the new destination for dead links or missing citations, pause for a minute and ask yourself, “is this something that benefits the educational vision of Wikipedia?” If the answer is anything other than a resounding “yes,” your edit will be quickly rejected.

If you want the help of a professional when navigating the intricacies of link building on Wikipedia, we’d love to help! At WebFX, our team of expert Internet marketers has led many successful link building campaigns for our clients. We know exactly what it takes to get your company the link profile necessary to succeed in the search engine game. Contact us today for more information!