There are various assumptions as to why Wikipedia usually appears in search results, often in 1st place. The reasons range from an extremely strong domain authority to good internal linking, leading to preference by Google.
A factor that seems most likely is the ongoing work since 2001 on articles that, in scope and content, frequently look for similar pages and follow the criteria of a good OnPage optimization.
Of course, Wikipedia no longer has a chance at 1st place for the keyword VPN with the 243 words from the year 2004. The content had over 4,000 words almost 10 years later, and it has not become longer since then, but has constantly changed. The encyclopedia is in 1st place for this keyword without variation. Would this ranking have stayed if the content had not been edited over the years?
Figure 1: Development of the text lengths on the topic of VPN by Wikipedia
The revision history where you can see which areas have been reworked is also interesting.
In practice, you will probably run up against the following problems if you want to maintain your content regularly:
This ongoing scepticism and the lacking processes provide you with a great opportunity to be one step ahead of your competitors.
This usually means incorporating synonyms, colloquialisms, and technical terms into a subordinate clause. It is seldom made clear whether the words used in the text are really synonymous, where the terminology comes from, and where the thematic limitations for the respective article lie. This offers potential for questions to be raised in the reader’s mind, and you should therefore clarify them as far as possible at the beginning of a text.
In a text, instead of mentioning a broad bean in one instance, and then calling it a field bean, and then a fava bean, these terms, which all mean the same thing, should be listed at the beginning. Naming the important keywords at the beginning of the text not only helps with the ranking, but also helps the reader. If you search for the term fava bean and come to the page, you know immediately that you are in the right place and that the terms can be used synonymously.
It doesn’t always have to be a long text! For keywords with more than one meaning, it is also possible to observe these separately and to ask the user for which meaning he or she was searching. Wikipedia names this a term clarification page.
Wikipedia ranks in 1st place for the keyword heartbeat and offers the choice of cardiac cycle and muscles of the heart as well as various other meanings for the term heartbeat.
Figure 2: Development of disambiguation pages for heartbeat
Everyone speaks about holistic content and topics instead of keywords. But what is a topic? Where does it begin and where does it end? Wikipedia helps you to evaluate which aspects you can build for your own site.
With the SEO glasses, you ask yourself not only what makes topical sense, but also what can be optimized on a site and what can achieve page 1 rankings. In addition, you can have a look at the search results on the most important keywords of partial aspects of a topic. If the same URLs hereby rank for various topics, separate pages make little sense. Wikipedia is a good measure here – if even Wikipedia has not managed to rank top with the same article for your keywords, it will be difficult for you to achieve a top ranking with this topic.
Would you view advanced product quality planning as an aspect of quality management and therefore treat it in the same article? On Wikipedia, this element of quality management has its own article. You will see from the rankings that this is right; 1st place for advanced product quality planning and 1st place for quality management, each with its own article.
Wikipedia sees experimental typography as a part of typography. That is perhaps not wrong, but no significant ranking is achieved. While Wikipedia is ranked in 1st place for typography, the domain of experimental typography is found only on page 2. If you would like to find experimental typography, you should create a page for it and not handle it as a partial aspect of the overarching topic.
Figure 3: Experimental typography as a partial aspect
If Wikipedia can rank several areas of a topic with one URL, this is a good sign. Feeding or breeding of panda bears, for example, are aspects that Wikipedia treats in the same article and is thus also found to be successful. It is different with the differentiation between large and small panda bears. Hence, there is a separate article on the small panda bear.
When it comes to the integration of Featured Snippets in the search results, Wikipedia is very successful. In addition to other factors, the fact that Wikipedia works with several concise definitions plays an important role. In case you’re thinking that any kind of rubbish can rank as a Featured Snippet, you should consider that even white writing on a white background has ranked well ;-)
In your content regarding informative search inquiries, try to get to the point in a straightforward manner. Frequently, for search inquiries with words such as comparison, different, lists or definition, Featured Snippets are featured. Here, you can show that you’ve researched sufficiently and invested a lot of thought in the topic, or that you are a true expert.
Figure 4: Featured Snippet integration for Social Proof or Social Influence
Wikipedia establishes that Social Proof and (informative) Social Influence can be used synonymously.
Once you have established the structure of a text, you’ve done 50% of the work.
Wikipedia observes the following rules, unlike many texts written for search engines:
How often do you read the sayings in sliders that take up the entire upper screen area on websites? Or how often do you look through the slides? When you are looking for information, you scroll through such web designer signs quickly and look for whether something is usable below.
Text above the fold is heavily weighted by search engines. Therefore, do as Wikipedia does, and promote content that offers added value instead of banner blindness.
In the presentation of definitions as a part of the knowledge graph, Wikipedia is quasi-monopolist. However, the knowledge graph nevertheless allows itself to be used for the OnPage optimization of technical terms.
The knowledge graph consists of entities that relate to one another. In the section people also search for, Google shows some of these.
For copper, for example, Google shows these 12 entities:
If you’re optimizing toward non-commercially-oriented keywords, Wikipedia can help you to delimit your topic. If you would like to obtain Featured Snippet integration, you should also take a look at the encyclopedia, for example, for the handling of double meanings and the constant expansion of contents. What have you already learned about Wikipedia, or do you think the domain is a special case that offers no orientation for SEO practice?
Practice makes perfect!
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Published on 08/07/2017 by Leonard Metzner.
As a freelancer, Leonard Metzner helps companies generate more organic traffic. The former in-house SEO does not think that search engine optimization will soon be irrelevant. As a commercial information technology specialist, he has developed a passion for automation and SEO tools.Become a guest author »
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