Is google manipulating wikipedia’s position on the search result page?

The claim has been made.

Actually the suggestion is nothing new. Usually it comes from disgruntled SEO people or those who’s dislike of wikipedia has reached the more worrying stage. Those interested in stronger copyright are certainly a new demographic.

So probably the biggest problem is the claim that wikipedia is worth a fortune to google as a search result. It isn’t. Wikipedia doesn’t carry google adwords. As a result once you click over onto wikipedia google’s money making opportunities are gone. Much better for google if you went to an adwords carrying site. Wikipedia isn’t a bad result as, outside of a few people who really don’t like wikipedia, people don’t object to it turning up but its not the best result from google’s point of view. The other suggestion is that wikipedia has some secret links with google. While some google people did donate this year and someone donated a few shares google at one point wikipedia has actually historically had a stronger relationship with Yahoo (they donated some servers at one point although they are no longer used). Google also tried to complete with wikipedia at one point through knol.

Talking of Yahoo one of the other indicators that google isn’t favouring wikipedia is that historically yahoo and MSN Search/Bing have put wikipedia in much the same place in their results or even a little higher.

So why does wikipedia rank so highly? Well firstly it has a domain rank to kill for. A lot of high quality sites link to wikipedia. Secondly the same is true of individual pages. Wikipedia also has very heavy internal linking which seems to spread the high rank round. Finally wikipedia pages tend to be very keyword specific and have a high keyword density. A page on exactly the subject you have searched for is going to rank highly.

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