Wikipedia has been, and will continue to be, one of the best marketing tools for your business. Having a Wikipedia page will not only help lift your brand to the first page of Google, it will also help increase the page rank of your website after it’s linked to your Wikipedia page.
Marketers have been using Wikipedia for years to help clients climb in rank. After all, Google gives quite a bit of authority to Wikipedia; even having a simple link will help with your marketing efforts.
I make my living editing Wikipedia, spending countless hours each day creating and cleaning up entries for various clients. Throughout my time, I have run into the dangers of using Wikipedia as a marketing tool. If not done properly, a page can cause more harm than you can imagine.
Before you jump into editing Wikipedia for yourself or a client, there are a few things that you should familiarize yourself with:
1. Conflict of interest guidelines
Wikipedia has strict guidelines when it comes to conflicts of interest. A conflict of interest arises when someone editing an article has a close connection with the topic—this means that someone editing an article about themselves or their company is strongly encouraged not to.
While there is no provision stating that you cannot edit an article, it is likely that an editor will tag and possibly delete the article if they discover that you have a conflict of interest.
2. Wikipedia can hurt you if not done properly
Wikipedia is like surgery and can be deadly to your business if not done correctly. For instance, you may think it is a good idea to add your website link to a bunch of Wikipedia articles. What you think is a good idea is actually considered spam and the links will likely be removed (as well as your URL blacklisted so that it cannot be added in the future).
I previously wrote an article about using Wikipedia as a reputation management tool. While it may seem like a good idea to have a Wikipedia article for reputation management (as it will push negative content off page one of Google), creating one when you have negative information on Google is a bad idea.
Editors will eventually link these negative articles to the Wikipedia page which will give these articles higher authority in Google, ultimately erasing all of your reputation management efforts and making your situation worse.
3. Formatting guidelines
Formatting is one of the most important guidelines (next to notability) to know about Wikipedia. An article that is not properly formatted will face more scrutiny than an article that meets formatting guidelines.
This has more to do with visualization than it does with Wikipedia guidelines. An article that is visually appealing will seem like it is properly written and adheres to guidelines. Editors are more likely to pass by articles that are properly formatted with headings, proper citation format, and images that relate to the article.
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On the other hand, an article that does not follow formatting guidelines gives off a warning that the person posting the article has no clue what they’re doing. The article will then be gone through with a fine-tooth comb, and gutted or deleted.
I do not recommend creating articles that are non-notable and trying to trick editors with proper formatting. What I am saying is that notable articles should be written with correct formatting so that you do not attract the attention of editors who have nothing better to do than interject their own opinions on the topic.
4. Article creation and submission
There are two main ways to post an article to Wikipedia. The first is to simply post the article to the main space; the other is to submit the article to Wikipedia’s articles for creation (AfC) project.
You should note that there is no official “approval” process on Wikipedia. So, even if you submit your article to the AfC project and it is “approved,” the article is still subject to deletion review in the future.
If you are nervous about creating your first article, I would recommend submitting the article to AfC where you can receive feedback and hopefully get the article moved to the main space. If you are comfortable with the article you created, I would suggest posting it directly to the main space as this is where it will ultimately sink or swim.
5. Deletion process
The deletion process can be very scary. However, if you understand how the process works, then you will hopefully not panic if your article is recommended for deletion.
The three types of deletion are speedy deletion, proposed deletion, and deletion recommendation. If your article is nominated for “speedy deletion,” then you only have a little bit of time to mount a defense. You must immediately go to the talk page (or discussion page) of the article and leave a comment with your defense against speedy deletion.
The other two deletion processes are much calmer. “Proposed deletion” simply means that there are issues identified by an editor that once corrected, the notice can be removed. “Deletion recommendation” means that an editor feels that the article should be deleted and gives reasons for the recommendation. The community then votes on whether the article should be kept or deleted; you have the opportunity to vote as well. Always keep in mind that the decision to delete or keep is based on consensus, not the number of votes.
About Mike Wood
Mike Wood is an online marketing expert and owner of Legalmorning.com. He specializes in reputation and brand management, article writing, and professional Wikipedia editing. He is an expert Wikipedia editor and has helped hundreds of businesses and people post their articles to the site where they have otherwise failed. He is a regular contributor to many online publications that have included AllBusiness Experts, Business Insider, Business2Community, and Social Media Today.