The Ins and Outs of Brand Wikipedia Pages
What are they?
Brand Wikipedia pages are an informative directory-esque listing which allows your company to showcase itself on one of the most authoritative and searched for sites on the web.
What are their benefits?
- Positive brand reinforcement.
- Potential to increase referral traffic via the brand page and subsequent citations.
- Potential to ensure brand exposure at the informational stage of a user search journey.
- Though the initial stages in setting up a Wikipedia page can be challenging, there can be significant long term benefits in having a brand page which can be both found and referenced by Wikipedia users.
- There is also benefit in building and owning trusted Wikipedia accounts. These accounts can be used to update the brand page and add subsequent citations to additional related Wikipedia pages.
So What’s the risk?
It’s important to note that Wikipedia is a non-profit organisation and their mission is to provide accurate, unbiased information. With this in mind, setting up and editing a new Wikipedia page can be very difficult as Wikipedia editors are quick to identify and monitor new pages that are set up, or scrutinise edits that are made from new accounts. Editors are also likely to take down pages which are not written neutrally or that don’t provide citations when factual statements are made.
- There is no guarantee that a Wikipedia page will stay live after it has initially been published.
- New pages are closely monitored by Wikipedia editors and can lead to significant edits being made following the creation of a new page.
- There are no restrictions on who can edit a Wikipedia page, meaning pages are open to both positive and negative edits.
- IP addresses and brand pages can be blacklisted – this usually happens in instances of repeated attempts being made to publish or edit a specific page or when there are obvious page edits made for online PR purposes. If a brand page is blacklisted, this can obviously make the task of getting a page re-published increasingly difficult.
Brand Wikipedia Page Guidelines
Due to the risks in place when attempting to get a brand Wikipedia page published, there is no single ‘best practice’ process. There are however some fundamental guidelines which can be followed to lower the risk of a page or edit being taken down.
- Wikipedia editors are quick to identify pages which are clearly over promotional and built by brands for online PR purposes. Therefore any unverifiable opinions should be avoided. Likewise, any factual information that is included should always be referenced with an authoritative reference.
- All reference links should be from reputable, third party sources. Try to avoid linking to press releases or sites that your business owns. If you do link back to your own site, make sure that page itself features verifiable information.
- Do include internal links to other Wikipedia pages, this helps to support the Wikipedia community and is a positive signal to Wikipedia editors.
- It’s important to make several edits on Wikipedia pages other than your own brand page as you build up an account. There is no minimum of maximum number of edits that should be made. Put simply, the more edits you make to Wikipedia and the more contributions you make to talk pages, the more likely you are to be seen as a genuine, contributing member to the Wikipedia community. You may even choose to take the time to create a new Wikipedia page about a specific topic before you publish your own brand page. This would again reinforce trust associated with your profile to other Wikipedia editors.
- When making edits on Wikipedia, particularly for new accounts, make sure that edits are made across different days and vary the times at which you make edits. The longer the amount of time you take to build up your profile before publishing your page, the better. Edits which are all made within a short space of time and via new accounts can be seen as suspicious to other Wikipedia editors and subsequently increase the potential of the account being more heavily monitored.
- Wikipedia require all images that are added to include image copyright tags and stress that when in doubt, copyrighted images should not be added. Full details regarding the Wikipedia image use policy can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Image_use_policy.
- Wikipedia edits can be made via your IP address without the need to create an account and log in to Wikipedia. Naturally, edits made by non-account holders are heavily monitored and therefore this would not be recommended in respect of uploading a new page. The one exception to this may be if you wish to make a small edit to your brand page, following any negative brand information that may be added to the page by other users.
- Company name
- Key people
- How the company got started
- Key parties involved
- Key dates of growth and references to customer and employee numbers
- References to any key mergers or partner relationships (if there are a number of these then this may warrant being made into a separate section)
- Explain different ranges
- Highlight key revenue products as well as any product launches
- Can also highlight when these products arrived in stores as well as sales figures
Awards, associations and causes –
- Date and explanation of industry related awards
- Big brands can mention here which parties they sponsor
- Highlight causes and CSR activities that your business pursues
Show me some examples!