Web U: Adding the Missing Link

Tricks to make a sticky Wiki link

Remember the coveted dmoz link? You'd eagerly submit your Web site to a relevant dmoz category and then wait patiently for a week, impatiently for a month. If your submission still wasn't accepted by then, you'd slowly but surely feel heartburn starting below your rib cage, due to your brand new ulcer.

Dmoz created the illusion that getting a link there was some sort of magic SEO bullet that would catapult a Web site to success on Google. Today, I think we can all submit our sites once and move on without anxiety.

However, when one window closes, another one opens. Today, it's Wikipedia.

If you've been living under a rock outside of Wi-Fi range, Wikipedia is, according to its site, "The free encyclopedia that anyone can edit." Sounds fantastic: What could be better than the collective wisdom of the masses?

Though dmoz was founded on similar principles, reportedly long waiting times diminished its relevance. Wikipedia has tried to learn from dmoz's mistakes, but it remains to be seen whether its barriers to entry, such as editing standards, are a help or a hindrance.

While Wikipedia's merit and the authority of its links have been hot topics for a while, I'd like to see a show of hands for how many of you out there have successfully added your link to 'Wiki.' Given this difficulty, it's little surprise that the current buzz is that Wiki is headed the way of dmoz, soon to be a closed system versus its current, "anyone-can-edit" model. Now, no one wants that to happen, and I think the situation is fixable. Here are a few tips on working with the Wiki and getting what you want - the ever-elusive Wikipedia link.

>Become an editor: Don't just swing by Wiki on your lunch break and anonymously add your link. These drive-by edits are the calling card of a Wiki spammer. It's much more effective if you actually sign up and begin editing in your area of expertise. You can become a well-versed editor in just five minutes a day.

>Start small: When it comes to adding links, begin with a niche topic with little coverage. If a particular article has one or two links in the external links section, you are far more likely to get a permanent link than you would be adding one to a long list that already covers a topic well.

>Consider citation: Citations carry far more weight than a simple external link. If your page is relevant and factual, it is worth citing it as part of the Wiki article instead of simply another external link. Either way, you get the link, and your citation shows that the link being added has been read and researched.

>Become multilingual: While the Wiki is published in multiple languages, the Internet is English-heavy. You could be doing the online community a service if you translated your resources, adding them to the Wikipedia's non-English language versions.

>Be relevant: It should go without saying, but some folks still need to be reminded. Don't put a Viagra link on a page about running shoes.

Is a Wiki link worth all the work? Maybe. Wiki is mirrored all over the world, so a single link has the potential to become many. Consider as well that Wikipedia pages rank for all sorts of searches. If you're not ranking, but the Wikipedia page is, then it could be worthwhile having your link there. Analyze the competition in your space: If you are hundreds of links behind, then the Wiki is not going to be your solution and your time is better spent elsewhere.

>Oh, I nearly forgot point No. 6:Befriend a senior editor. Ply them with alcohol at a search conference. There's always a handful of them running around a Search Engine Strategies or AdTech or Webmaster World. If nothing else, you can strike up a conversation about the best way to make a Wiki link sticky.

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