wikipedia logo on a phone

How to Get Links from Wikipedia10 min read

Wikipedia is the daddy of search engine authority. If you want to know something, Wikipedia usually has the answers. For that reason, a huge number of people use it as a completely trusted source on the internet, and any site that gets referenced by Wikipedia as a citation immediately has a huge amount of trust attached to it. But how can you get links from Wikipedia?

In this blog, we’re going to take you through the step-by-step process required to earn links from the godfather of trustworthy content. You may have a couple of misconceptions about Wikipedia as an online resource, so we’ll cover the most common misconceptions before moving on to the methods involved with boosting your pages’ trustworthiness to new heights.

Aren’t Wikipedia Links Nofollow?

Well, this one isn’t so much of a misconception because yes, all Wikipedia links are indeed ‘nofollow’. What’s nofollow?

For those who aren’t sure, a nofollow link is a link that doesn’t pass any ‘link juice’ to the page that receives a backlink. In most cases, if your page gets linked to by another page on the internet, your page receives an SEO boost or ‘link juice’.

When it comes to Wikipedia, your pages don’t get the same boost when they get linked to. Why? Because back in the days when Wikipedia was free to edit, webmasters kept installing useless, spammy links all the way through Wikipedia articles in a bid to get a portion of link juice for their pages.

black hat seo concept on laptop

Of course, that’s not exactly what the creators of Wikipedia were going for, so they decided that links could still be built on their pages, but they would all be nofollow by default.

This stemmed the tide of SEO ‘experts’ from trying to artificially boost their rankings by installing self-promotional backlinks to their site.

So Wikipedia Links Aren’t Valuable?

Now this actually is a pretty common misconception. Despite being nofollow links, a backlink from Wikipedia is in fact an extremely valuable asset to your page. If you can get one built to one of your pages, you start to see a number of benefits.

First, as we mentioned, Wikipedia is one of the most trusted resources in existence. Think about how you perceive it today. I’d bet you use it pretty often in order to conduct any research, be it checking the age of a celebrity, proving a point in an argument in the pub, or to source academic material for a paper.

The esteem that Wikipedia is now held in is clearly reflected by the king of search engines: Google. In fact, a Wikipedia result will show up on page one of your Google results a staggering 46% of the time. When you consider the fact that there are over 3.5 billion searches per day made on the platform, that’s a serious amount of Wikipedia results showing up.

person using wikipedia

So, it’s clear that Google trusts Wikipedia, and Google doesn’t trust any website that isn’t trusted by users. Getting a link from a Wikipedia page amounts to getting a link from the most authoritative domain out there. If that’s not valuable for SEO, then we’re not sure what is.

And that’s not where the potential value of a Wikipedia link ends. It is true that a number of writers will use Wikipedia for research. In fact, it’s true that writers for the most authoritative sites –  the BBC, The Washington Post, The Guardian –  will take stats from Wikipedia pages to use in articles.

Thanks to the old reputation Wikipedia made for itself however, they won’t want to use the Wikipedia page as a reference. Rather, they will take the page that is cited on the Wikipedia page and link to that instead. So, if you earn a citation on Wikipedia for a stat, and a highly authoritative site references that stat in an article, then the chances are that you’ll earn a link from the BBC or Washington Post article.

And these links do pass link juice to your pages.

Whilst Wikipedia links might not be valuable in the most obvious sense then, to anyone who really knows about SEO, they understand the huge value that Wikipedia links bring.

Can I Just Install a Link to My Site Anytime?

website link

No. Once upon a time, Wikipedia was a free-to-edit, user-based resource that anyone could edit at any time. And that’s exactly what got it its bad reputation. Unfortunately, the Utopian vision of a resource that everyone would learn from and treat with respect was a little naïve.

When everyone and anyone could freely edit Wikipedia pages, they were littered with fake news, false facts and self-promotional links. So the creators took back a bit of control. Now, pages are split up into 6 categories of protection. As well as this, they have introduced 5 levels of user access levels ranging from unregistered or newly registered users to administrators. We’re going to focus this blog around the unregistered or newly registered user level.

The 6 different levels page protection are:

None: Anyone can edit the page and changes go live instantaneously. These make up the vast majority of pages.

Pending changes: Can be edited by newly registered users but the changes must be accepted by a reviewer.

Semi: Cannot be edited by newly registered users but can by ‘autoconfirmed’ users.

Extended confirmed: Can only be edited by long-term users.

Template: Can only be edited by administrators.

Full: Can only be edited by administrators.

 

For now, we’re going to focus on getting links from none-protected, pending changes-protected and semi-protected pages. These types of pages make up the majority of the Wikipedia archive, and as someone learning how to get links from Wikipedia, we’re assuming you aren’t a long-term editor on the platform.

However, it is a good idea to get yourself registered on Wikipedia, as if you can establish yourself as a more authoritative user then you can make edits on more restricted pages, which may help you out in the long run.

To register, simply go to any Wikipedia page, then click ‘Create account’ in the top-right hand corner of the screen. Then, fill out your details and complete the CAPTCHA security check. And that’s it, you’ll get a confirmation email from Wikipedia and you are officially a newly registered user.

wikipedia registration page

wikipedia registration page

How Do I Get Links from Wikipedia?

Now that we’ve established the undeniable value of Wikipedia links and the types of pages that you, as a newly registered user, can edit, then we can get on with the business of actually getting backlinks.

To get yourself a link, we’re going to make the most of a couple of opportunities that present themselves to you on most Wikipedia pages. They are spaces where you see ‘citation needed’ or ‘dead link’ at the end of sentences or citations.

Dead links are essentially broken links. They are supposed to verify a fact but the page they used to lead to no longer exist. Where there is a citation needed you will see a fact or statistic that has been stated without referencing a good quality source, or any source.

These represent your opportunity to fill the gaps and get referenced by Wikipedia.

To do this, go to the tool WikiGrabber. This is a really useful tool that will find you missing citations or dead links on Wikipedia pages of a certain topic. Just head to the tool and enter a topic that you specialize in or something relevant to your industry. For example, we might enter ‘digital marketing’.

wikigrabber screenshot

Then, you’re presented with a long list of pages that have either missing citations or dead links on them; otherwise known as SEO opportunity.

Select a page that you think may be appropriate. Once on the Wikipedia page, press ‘Ctrl F’ on your keyboard and type ‘citation needed’ or ‘dead link’. This will show you exactly where the opportunities to build your links are.

finding link opportunities on wikipedia

finding link opportunities on wikipedia

Consider whether you have any content that can act as a good citation for the stat or fact that has been presented. If you don’t, then create some. A word of warning at this point: You need to ensure that your content is of a good enough quality to actually back up whatever it is that you’re citing.

A half-relevant blog post or a quickly written article created simply to pander to a Wikipedia stat isn’t going to cut it. You need to have some well-written, comprehensive content that really acts as a quality resource for anyone that wants to know whether to trust a Wikipedia fact.

If a Wikipedia page doesn’t look like it has an opportunity for you to create some excellent content that is actually relevant to your business, then keep searching. Don’t just create content for the sake of it. Wikipedia has some pretty strict rules on what can be used as sources for citations.

In an ideal world it would be something published by a third-party, but in some cases high quality, self-published content will be deemed acceptable.

Once you find a stat or a fact that you can legitimately back-up with some of your own content, it’s time to build the backlink. Find the section of text where the missing citation is. Once you’ve done that, click on ‘edit source’ next to the subheading that precedes the section of text.

wikipedia editing page

wikipedia editing page

You will then arrive on the Edit page of the section. Find the fact that you want to add a citation to and click at the end of the sentence. Then go to the dropdown menu ‘Cite’ and select the template that is applicable to the source you are providing.

Here you have four options:

  • {{cite web}} refers to a citation of a standard website.
  • {{cite news}} refers to a citation of a newspaper or news website.
  • {{cite book}} should be used if you are referencing a book.
  • {{cite journal}} is used to refer a magazine, or an academic journal or paper.

The odds are you’ll be selecting the {{cite web}} option, so click this and then fill in the pop-up window with as much information as you can provide.

Wikipedia link installation pop up

Wikipedia link installation pop up

Finally, select ‘Insert’ and the ‘Publish Changes’ in the bottom left corner of the screen.

And there you have it! Provided you have supplied a genuinely quality source, you are now a Wikipedia reference. These opportunities are overlooked by so many SEOs as an opportunity to get your site some high-quality backlinks, so you should really try to take advantage of this opportunity.

Final Thoughts

The SEO world is seriously competitive, so you need to take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way to legitimately boost your page rankings. Wikipedia represents the chance to get backlinks from a seriously authoritative domain.

You just need to be sure you don’t come across as if you’re just using Wikipedia for commercial gain. Their 1300 or so administrators will not look kindly upon this and you can expect your account to be suspended.

So, work hard to create content that benefits the Wikipedia platform. After all, it’s not like we want to go back to the days of Wikipedia being the home of spam and black-hat SEO tactics. As an open, collaborative platform, it leaves itself wide open to this possibility, so treat it with respect and reap the benefits of an underused, yet highly beneficial, SEO tactic.

Menu