Wikipedia Links Can Backfire?

Aug 13, 2012 • 8:05 am | comments (12) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

WikipediaAs you know, Wikipedia nofollows all their external links, so links from Wikipedia should have no impact on your rankings - be it positive or negative.

A WebmasterWorld thread have some SEOs disagreeing with that.

Some are saying because there are so many Wikipedia scrapers out there, when you get a link from Wikipedia it can hurt you.

A Junior WebmasterWorld member explained his case:

My recently relaunched website has been featured in Wikipedia as a 'resource' on a very relevant page. I have no idea who did this but I was obviously thrilled at first that somebody felt my website was relevant enough to appear there.

This seems to have caused no end of problems on Google, however. Because my website's brand name is also a popular keyword in its niche (it is an EMD, but a short one) that is the keyword that this indivudual used on Wikipedia. My problem is that there are dozens if not hundreds of websites that scrape Wikipedia and now my keyword appears as anchor text on those websites.

It seems that Google has penalised me for this because from their point of view they see dozens of links with the same anchor text. Because my website is relatively young this makes up a large proportion of the link profile and I don't think this looks natural.

I guess if the scraper remove the nofollow and if the site has very other links to it, outside of the scrapers, I guess it can hurt.

But this all seems a bit farfetched and I suspect there is some other issue.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Previous story: London Closing Ceremony & All Google Olympics Doodles


Michael Martinez

08/13/2012 04:54 pm

What a load of crap.

Oleg Korneitchouk

08/13/2012 05:14 pm

Seems silly and ridiculous... but plausible. Small site getting 100's (how many scraper sites are there?) of keyword focused backlinks in a short amount of time from low quality sites? Makes sense that it gets hit by a penalty. However, if the sites were just dupe content of wikipedia, would they even be indexed?

Peter Watson

08/13/2012 11:03 pm

Another reason webmasters need the disavow tool. Problem solved!


08/14/2012 12:59 am

I think the guy is mistaken. Who knows what else he has done. Even the way he worded his post is suspicious. My guess is he has put the link in wikipedia himself. Had his Google love for new sites experience and then after the google love period was over his rankings went to normal. Now he is worried about the wikipedia link. Barry the operative words in all this is "My recently relaunched website" that tells you to move onto the next post and ignore this one as new sites really don't have enough time under their belts to tell you anything worthwhile.

Rajesh Magar

08/14/2012 12:51 pm

I don't really think that Wikipedia can hurt any one. Even after as these Junior webmaster world forum gays is saying that someone else is abusing him with wrong anchor text. I truly believe that Google is not even going to take look at whats going on with these no-follow back link. or they just skip these urls from the ranking point of view of that document. (What you guys think?)

Ralph Slate

08/14/2012 03:10 pm

I posted on the original thread; I think it is very plausible. Google is not known to ignore data, so isn't it possible that in the Penguin algorithm - designed to punish spammers - Google ignores "nofollow" when determining the Penguin penalty? That would mean that 1 Wikipedia link could translate into 100+ spam links that you would have to somehow compensate for with organic links to avoid the penalty - a tough task.


08/14/2012 03:10 pm

Again this is Google using scare tactics .....Build a brand IGNORE Google

Ralph Slate

08/14/2012 03:12 pm

Oleg, I can verify that Google is at least indexing the sites. They are showing up in my WMT reports.

Ralph Slate

08/14/2012 07:02 pm

Alan, I have 88,000 links from Wikipedia. They used my site to build out all their hockey information. I saw a 50-80% drop in Google referrers on 4/24. I don't buy, sell or trade backlinks. Nothing is certain since Google doesn't explain penalties, but this is a possibility.

Keith Rozario

08/15/2012 11:12 am

This sounds scary, particularly for the smaller sites. I wonder if it's true for other popular sties as well, not just wikipedia

Terry Van Horne

08/15/2012 01:08 pm

Plausible.... as Barry mentioned yes it is. I agree with Barry it is likely something beyond just this issue. That said I think it is plausible because I've worked with sites that have had a lot of problems with scrapers. I think it is a definite negative for a website that ignores it. Some of what I've seen cleaning up sites with Penguin and Panda issues seems to be partly the sites are poorly maintained.... I've seen more than a few scraper sites that fall into that category so it doesn't surprise me that a lot of scraping can be a drag on rankings and when they are all or most of your links it makes for a pretty ugly link profile.


08/23/2012 01:43 pm

I am not 100% sure that one or two Wikipedia links will hurt ranking but dozens looks spammy

blog comments powered by Disqus