There has been much discussion over the years as to why Google seems to favour Wikipedia so much when it comes to organic search listings.

The free, user-generated web encyclopedia seem to rank on Google’s first page for just about every search term under the sun, making it every SEOs biggest competitor.

In fact, research carried out recently by Intelligent Positioning suggests that Wikipedia ranks on page one for 99% of searches.

To gather this data, the company searched Google for 1000 unique words, pulled in from a random noun generator.

These were the results:

  • Wikipedia has page one rankings for 99% of searches
  • Wikipedia is position one for 56% of searches
  • 96% of searches had Wikipedia in position 1-5

There were a handful of words for which Wikipedia did not have page one rankings:

  • Mail
  • news
  • trainers
  • national
  • sweets
  • wardrobe
  • phone
  • flight

Wikipedia-Pie

So why does Google love Wikipedia so much? Is it a convenient bias or does the love run a little deeper? In a recent blog post, Econsultancy highlighted some good points that backup Wikipedia’s organic search dominance. It comes down to Wikipedia nailing the SEO fundamentals:

  • Unique, quality content and lots of it
  • Keyword specific webpages provide satisfactory answers to searches
  • Strong domain authority
  • Excellent internal linking structure
  • Excellent page authority, which naturally generates heaps of back links, many from high-quality sources

All considered it’s easy to see why Wikipedia achieves such good rankings and it’s hard to argue otherwise.

Although page one rankings for 99% of search terms does seems a little high, it should be noted that the words used in this study were all one-word nouns, which are naturally relevant to Wikipedia’s encyclopedic nature. We expect the figure would be significantly lower for more complex search terms.

What do you think? Is Wikipedia the ultimate SEO case study, or is Google just bias?

For more information on the study and to view to complete list of search terms, visit www.intelligentpositioning.com/blog