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Authoritative Links: Building Links on Wikipedia

This piece explores how and why to create a Wikipedia page for your company. Public relations (PR) and Internet experts indicate the site is invaluable when it comes to virtual branding and developing an online presence. Creating a Wikipedia (Wiki) company page is no small feat. Following certain entry protocol eliminates the possibility of article deletion.

History of Wikipedia

In 2009, Time Magazine explored Wikipedia’s troubled start. Initially founded as an online encyclopedia, founders Jimmy Wales and Lawrence Sanger revamped their Nupedia website to facilitate article production speeds. The result was a platform where anyone could create pieces about anything without editor wait times. Wikipedia went live in 2001. As of 2009, the site had approximately three million entries.

Due to earlier content problems, the company eventually enlisted the help of volunteer editors who constantly monitor site information. This created stringent entry requirements that are still in effect. Wikipedia’s societal impact is a constant subject of discussion. In 2011, Wikimedia recommended that Wikipedia receive recognition as a virtual World Heritage site. Only time will tell if the concept becomes a reality.

Importance

Wikipedia has over 19 million articles written in over 282 languages. PR companies stress the importance of a quality Wiki page considering many social media outlets like Facebook use Wikipedia to create separate pages for their respective sites. Electric commerce or ecommerce websites acknowledge a quality Wikipedia page is crucial for search engine optimization (SEO) planning.

Marketing departments relish SEO optimization. The concept describes Internet traffic generated from free online search engine listings. Wikipedia article links frequently rank among the top search engine results, giving companies an automatic traffic boost without absorbing additional company funds.

Business Types that Benefit from Wikipedia

Free advertising may seem like a gift to smaller enterprises with limited marketing budgets, but business advisors state the opposite. Wikipedia pages are best for larger entities with a proven record of accomplishment. Retailer Macy’s Inc. is one company with successful Wikipedia and Facebook pages that foster valuable online interactions.

Newer businesses may wish to stay away from Wikipedia for a number of reasons. Arrests, mismanagement and other growing pains immediately create unflattering new page entries. Personnel may not have the time to monitor edits from competing businesses or dissatisfied customers. Most important, fledgling companies cannot control page information that could hinder potential growth.

Creating a Page

Getting a page on the Wikipedia site is notoriously difficult. The open platform design means that readers or editors can deem pages unworthy or insignificant and call for their deletion. Employees and company representatives cannot create a Wiki page. Those that try find their pages deleted within 24 hours. A 2007 article reveals software giant Microsoft came under fire for attempting to manipulate their Wiki page using paid bloggers.

Companies not content with waiting for Wikipedia editor acknowledgement have two methods of Wikipedia page submission.

– Designate an employee the official Wikipedia liaison. Have the person become an active member of the site by editing other articles and conversing with other members in the user forums. Create a simple article after building a credible reputation within the site community. Immediately address editing concerns and discuss how to improve the piece according to Wiki standards.

– Create a Wikipedia account and request that a site editor create the company page. Requestors must state their role within the organization. In addition to designating a site category, users submit a brief company description. The site also requires links to a minimum of two outside information sources. Even pieces written by site editors receive deletion nominations, so users should always provide a wide range of company information to convince readers of entry validity.

According to website guidelines, company pages remain “shallow” or short. Most contain company history and goods or services offered. Editors also highlight historical and notable facts surrounding the business. The site strives to connect newer pages to existing entries instead of sending readers to outside links.

Additional Information

If a company chooses self-submission or an editor creation, one factor remains the same. Entries must have minimal media coverage before creating a Wikipedia page. This reinforces legitimacy and assures readers that the entity is culturally relevant. Many turn to Wikipedia to create industry buzz, not realizing the medium simply compounds on existing popularity.

All photo submissions need commercial use licensing to avoid copyright infringement. The company website should be the only page link. Editors review all additional links for possible spamming. Violating photo or link policies could result in page deletion.

Now you have some Wikipedia page basics. For the right company, a Wiki presence creates additional industry buzz and delivers societal relevance. The idea may seem enticing, but smaller businesses should wait before make their page debut to avoid sabotaging potential development.

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