Link Building and PageRank | A Wikipedia Case-Study

Link building and pagerank are a hot topic amongst SEOers, but people tend to get the impression that link building is just about building PageRank. For starters, Google considers hundreds of factors in their algorithms; PageRank likely to be pretty insignificant – especially since it can be manipulated very easily, with a piece of plastic and a pin number!

As we all like to say, ‘Content is King’ – and so lets look at the importance of PageRank on one of the worlds biggest content based websites: Wikipedia. Wikipedia is the encyclopedia of the web, powered by volunteers submitting and referencing articles. ‘Wiki’ for those who don’t know stands for ‘What I know Is’.

The value of Wikipedia is in the content and referencing. Notice, the references are outbound links to other websites – a cardinal sin in a PageRank sculptures book surely? But in the real world, referencing information is important and gives credit to the appropriate source.

Answer this, does PageRank affect the quality and quantity of what Wikipedia offers?

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Wikipedia’s content is so well respected that it gets frequently referenced and used by other people. The ‘architecture’ of the links are simple. Volunteers research information, write quality, unique content about the particular subject and reference it in the bottom. Wikipedia adds value to the internet in saving the user from having to visit all those sources individually to get the information they need. It consolidates the articles into one source. As a result, it gets linked to as a reference point.

From a PageRank point of view, this would be uneconomical. Wikipedia would bleed link juice like a sieve! But of course, that doesn’t have any relation to the quality and popularity of the content.

In actual fact, Wikipedia’s links are all no-follow in order to discourage spam submissions, but if your website were to be referenced on Wikipedia, do you think Google would take notice? In the same way that Google sits up if you get listed by a ‘quality’ directory such as Yahoo Directory, it would likely take into account a link from Wikipedia – only because of editorial and popularity reasons.

Link Building and PageRank is NOT the same thing. Focus on building quality, relevant links from a spread of sources. Think, if you were Google, what would you want to see – common sense prevails over anything else you’ve heard previously.

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