Wikipedia doesn’t pwn Google nearly as much as the SEO industry thinks it does.
In fact, according to a new Conductor study, Wikipedia showed up on the first page of Google’s search results only 46 percent of the time in a study using 2,000 unique keywords.
Conductor used one thousand informational keywords (like “lyrics” and “bridal shower ideas”) and another thousand transactional keywords (like “headphones” and “where to find wall stencils”) in its study; as you’d expect, Wikipedia has much more visibility on informational searches than transactional — 60 percent for the former and only 34 percent for the latter. And overall, Wikipedia ranked one page one for 46 percent of the keywords.
Conductor’s study also found that Wikipedia doesn’t rank on page one or two for about 29 percent of the keywords it studied (see right column above).
Wikipedia: Still A Ranking Powerhouse
Even if those numbers are lower than you expected them to be, Wikipedia is still a ranking powerhouse. Conductor’s research shows that, when Wikipedia does show up on page one of Google’s search results, it’s in the top three spots 65 percent of the time (see right pie chart below).
Conductor’s study comes on the heels of a separate study last month suggesting that Wikipedia ranked highly on Google UK for 99 percent of all searches — a study that I suggested was flawed because it relied only one one-word searches. (And, in fact, Conductor’s study shows Wikipedia ranking on page one about 80 percent of the time for those keywords.)
In my article about the previous study, I suggested a different methodology — one that used a variety of keywords from single words (“headphones”) to lengthy phrases (“who built the statue of liberty”). Conductor explains that it used that methodology and, at the suggestion of Search Engine Land columnist Shari Thurow, divided the keywords into transactional and navigational. Conductor says it also examined a group of navigational keywords but Wikipedia wasn’t visible for those terms, so it excluded them from the full study.
Next, we need a similar study run on Bing’s search results so we can compare which search engine actually likes Wikipedia more. (hint, hint, Conductor…)
If you missed the link above, you can read more about the study on Conductor’s blog.
Postscript, March 23: For more on this topic, please see our article Move Over, Wikipedia: Amazon May Be The King Of Google Rankings.