Recently Wikipedia began asking readers for another round of donations. This is not the first time Wikipedia has reached out for help, and given the site’s ad-free policy, it is unlikely to be the last.
The goal of this popular online encyclopedia is to keep its pages free of ads and its content completely neutral. They don’t want even the slightest suggestion of native ads or any kind of preference that is based on an exchange of goods. So officially, without revenue from ads donations are really the only way they can keep the wiki machine up and running.
Anyone can edit the content, but all edits are subsequently reviewed by a network of moderators who volunteer their time in order to provide Wikipedia’s readers with unbiased information about any topic under the sun.
There are ongoing arguments about the legitimacy of these donation requests. One very extensive article written by Andreas Kolbe presumes to show the real truth behind WMF ( the Wikipedia foundation). On the other side, Wikipedia has a religiously devoted community that seems to treat the information site as the single most important digital asset to humanity.
The Wikipedia foundation has stated that the money they receive goes to support 241 employees, as well as to maintain the technology required to operate their online assets – which serves an impressive 457 million visitors every month.
Regardless of which side of the argument they’re on, one thing’s certain: online marketeers are doing everything they can in order to get their website or company listed on a Wikipedia page. Some marketeers, such as Neil Patel, are going one step further by showing how valuable Wikepedia is to those in the online marketing industry. Patel even showed how one can run keyword research using Wikipedia. But how much is Wikipedia actually worth to online marketing professionals?
A Strong SEO Presence
Contrary to what you would expect, most of Wikipedia’s traffic is coming from Search rather than Direct visits. Even though the brand is very strong, most users find their way to its pages through different search queries.
Referring Keywords to Wikipedia
Looking at referring keywords to Wikipedia from US traffic only for the past 6 months (August 2014 till January 2015), we see that a very small portion reaches Wikipedia by typing the brand name. This is very unusual for well-known brands that typically receive most of their traffic from variations of their brand name. For Wikipedia, these are the top 20 referring keywords and their respective traffic share to the site:
Only 2 of these are related to the brand ‘Wikipedia’ and most of the other keywords reflect trending global events such as Ebola, the death of Robin Williams, or the rise of the terrorist group Isis. We also see popular entertainment topics like singer Taylor Swift, or the movies Gone Girl and Interstellar. There are even Wikipedia entries on viral social topics such as the Ice Bucket Challenge. The main takeaway from the contents of this list is that it’s full of a variety of topics, all of which are rewarding Wikipedia with massive amounts of search traffic.
Another interesting point to consider here is what Neil Patel mentioned in his article about keyword research using Wikipedia: The referring keywords to Wikipedia will provide you with amazing keyword ideas, ideas for content and an understanding of the popularity of certain current events.
I was surprised to see that the top category of sites getting traffic from Wikipedia are Movies. The second most popular category is understandably News and Media, as these types of sites usually serves as valid sources on Wiki pages.
List of sites receiving traffic from Wikipedia include IMBD.com, Youtube, BBC.co.uk, Twitter, NYTimes.com and PayPal, which placed in the 24th position for outgoing traffic sites. Seems like there are quite a lot of people donating money to this data hub. To put it in numbers, there were about 5.5 million desktop visitors to Wikipedia that reached their PayPal account through the site (0.49% out of about 1.1 billion outgoing visits). This table displays 6 of the top sites receiving traffic from Wikipedia, which demonstrates both the diversity of the sites and the amount of traffic they receive from Wikipedia.
Looking at top referring sites to all industries globally, Wikipedia is the 10th referring site, sending tens of millions of visitors to sites around the world. When filtering specific industries such as Travel, Health or Food & Beverages Wikipedia is usually listed in the top 20 sites referring traffic to that specific industry.
Wikipedia is primarily popular in the US, UK, Russia and Germany. After that the geographic distribution is spread fairly thin with a long list of countries sending traffic to this site. It’s clear that this brand’s global recognition is far-reaching.
Wikipedia gets the majority of its traffic from search, which means it has amazing SEO power. Although the links are no-follow and there’s no ‘official’ SEO power to them, a listed site still gets search traffic by proxy, which is one of the highest quality types of traffic sources right after Direct.
Wikipedia sends traffic to many different categories, including entertainment and other information-consuming categories. It’s common knowledge that getting listed on Wikipedia as a business isn’t easy, and you have to invest a lot of time and effort to get that coveted company listing. That said, it would seem that this hard work is worthwhile, especially if you’re listed as a source of information.
In any case, Wikipedia is important not only to the knowledge-hungry public, but also to smart marketers who are finding creative ways to add a link to Wikipedia – with the end result being another good source of referral traffic. So why not return the favor and spare some change, as a gesture of goodwill for this giant source of content sending traffic to your site.