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Wikipedia Taking Over Google SERPs
titaneye




msg:3040498
 9:41 pm on Aug 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Anyone else getting sick of fighting for rankings with content spam and other junk articles from wikipedia? Seems like wiki is taking over Google serps, I'm actually surprised a soft filter hasn't been applied to the site. Kinda of reminds me of the surfwax com plague that hit Google a couple of years ago, thankfully they were booted eventually. My opinion is wiki needs to be pushed into some obscure corner of the net, and left to find legitimate traffic like the rest of us.

 

KenB




msg:3041266
 2:42 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

more and more kids take that site seriously ,a site that any webtroll can write anything about anything.

This is exactly the problem; because of these types of sites, Kids are not learning proper research or critical analysis skills. They take what is offered by Wikipedia at face value and assume that any site that disagrees with Wikipedia or has different information from Wikipedia must be wrong. Proper research is about comparing multiple sources, weighing the bias/agenda of the authors and recognizing that even the most authoritative sources will have factual errors from time to time.

What is happening now, I fear, is that in order to get homework done their homework done quickly, kids are going to Wikipedia, using it as their sole reference source and then adding Wikipedia citations to their reports. This negates the most important part of report assignments, which is learning critical thought.

These same kids then eventually become Wikipedia editors and eventually the quality of research on Wikipedia will be brought down to the lowest common denominator.

If teachers were smart, they would ban the use of Wikipedia in the classroom so that students would be forced to conduct old fashion research.

europeforvisitors




msg:3041318
 3:19 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

What is happening now, I fear, is that in order to get homework done their homework done quickly, kids are going to Wikipedia, using it as their sole reference source and then adding Wikipedia citations to their reports. This negates the most important part of report assignments, which is learning critical thought.

Sure, in the same way that they used to go to World Book or Compton's. At least Wikipedia articles usually point the kids to other resources that they can reach and use even if they live in Pig's Knuckle, Arkansas and don't have a decent reference library close by.

In any case, this isn't really Google's problem--it's an issue for teachers, who should learn to tell the kids: "You can't use Wikipedia as your only source."

KenB




msg:3041512
 5:35 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Sure, in the same way that they used to go to World Book or Compton's. At least Wikipedia articles usually point the kids to other resources that they can reach and use even if they live in Pig's Knuckle, Arkansas and don't have a decent reference library close by.

BUT the kids aren't using those other reference sources for anything other than completing their bibilography requirement for their papers. Furthermore, this still negates the kids learning how to search out resources on their own because the references are handed to them on a silver platter. There's no need to do independant research/searching.

In any case, this isn't really Google's problem--it's an issue for teachers, who should learn to tell the kids: "You can't use Wikipedia as your only source."

Agreed. I'm simply pointing out what teachers need to realize.

mr_lumpy




msg:3041936
 10:27 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Wikipedia is a pile of turds. It allows every 13 year old kid, middle manager that "wants to be BOSS!", insane or unemployed person to become "the earth authority" on a particular topic, with generally ridiculous results.

Virtually every topic I have expertise on (not many, but a few technical topics) have skewed or plainly inaccurate wikipedia write-ups, followed by highly politicized links to other sites.

I am told time and time again to use wikipedia as a starting point, and then double check everything to get "good" info. When I go to the gas station, I do not want to re-refine the oil to get "good" gasoline. The fundamental idea of wikipedia itself is flawed, and quite frankly, only one word describes it - stupid. One day, wikipedia will be revealed as the cannibalistic stupid idea that is is.

Atomic




msg:3041941
 10:43 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

BUT the kids aren't using those other reference sources for anything other than completing their bibilography requirement for their papers. Furthermore, this still negates the kids learning how to search out resources on their own because the references are handed to them on a silver platter. There's no need to do independant research/searching.

If I were an instructor I would fail anyone using Wikipedia as a reference.

[edited by: Atomic at 10:43 pm (utc) on Aug. 10, 2006]

loudspeaker




msg:3041958
 11:12 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

This may go slightly off-topic, (but not really - read on) but I just thought of disappointments similar to what mr_lumpy speaks of.

I am talking about various "impartial reviews/ratings" sites that basically allow anybody to register to "rate" restaurants, apartment buildings or what-not ("written by people just like you!"). Every time I looked at those sites, it became apparent that these are just playgrounds for people who are affiliated with the same establishments that they are supposed to be rating or writing about.. "impartially".

Basically, my idea is this (and this is how it relates to Wikipedia): since a certain point, as a web user, I simply do NOT want to trust any review or information that's posted on the web anonymously. If somebody publishes a review or an opinion on their blog and I can see this is a real blog - great! The person may be biased, he/she may be plain wrong, but he's linking his/her reputation to the quality of the information posted. On the other hand, when somebody says "come here, all you anonymous users and let's all write/rate something collectively", nobody's reputation is at risk, so the level of trust is minimal.

In that sense, I think Google should give preference to sites with reputation and a real owner, not pages written by anonymous and unaccountable "contributors".

steveb




msg:3041988
 11:49 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Whining threads won't shut down something contributed to by thousands and used by millions. Wikipedia certainly isn't the best source on everything, but it is excellent on some things, very good on others, and in general is head and shoulders above the average website in terms of accuracy and quality. It's just a website that gets valued for the reasons it should be valued.

Need More Hits




msg:3041997
 11:57 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

I've found several instances of Wikipedia citing pages on my site that have NEVER existed (strange but true).
Message #:3040771

KenB
I find this compelling any theories on why this is happening to you?
Is your site dynamic or static?

Rosalind




msg:3042014
 12:16 am on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

In that sense, I think Google should give preference to sites with reputation and a real owner, not pages written by anonymous and unaccountable "contributors".

I notice Dmoz revised its site inclusion guidelines not too long ago, to take account of whether or not you can identify a real person as the author. The web is full of forums, review sites, wikis, and the like, that allow anyone who wants to to sign on fairly anonymously and say whatever they want. All you need is an email address, and often a free throwaway one will do. Anyone who wants to spread disinformation is having a field day.

europeforvisitors




msg:3042020
 12:23 am on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

The web is full of forums, review sites, wikis, and the like, that allow anyone who wants to to sign on fairly anonymously and say whatever they want.

Yes, and this is one of them. For all we know, the Wikipedia assassins could be from the Encyclopedia Britannica. :-)

europeforvisitors




msg:3042047
 12:53 am on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

i found at ebay all 8 CD's of Encyclopedia Britannica for 19$

You're never going to impress visitors with a stack of 8 CDs. (Or a PC browser showing Wikipedia, for that matter.) If you want to impress the neighbors, buy a hardcopy edition--the older, the better!

annej




msg:3042078
 1:32 am on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Wikipedia articles do well for the same reason that About.com articles do well. They are a part of a huge network and internal linking plus inbound links adds up to a lot of clout in the SERPS.

I've kind of accepted that Wikipedia articles in my field will do well. What really concernes me is that it is legal for anyone to copy Wikipedia articles and post them on their own site as long as they give credit. This is a whole new possibility for MFAs.

europeforvisitors




msg:3042096
 1:42 am on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

What really concernes me is that it is legal for anyone to copy Wikipedia articles and post them on their own site as long as they give credit. This is a whole new possibility for MFAs.

Sure, and that's why search engines (Google, anyway) have "duplicate content" filters. One day it's DMOZ clones, the next day it'll be Wikipedia clones. Same game, same players, different cards.

KenB




msg:3042160
 3:07 am on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I've found several instances of Wikipedia citing pages on my site that have NEVER existed (strange but true).
Message #:3040771

KenB
I find this compelling any theories on why this is happening to you?
Is your site dynamic or static?

My site is one of the oldest sites about certain types of widgets that are systematically named (e.g. red widgets, blue widgets, green widgets, yellow widgets, etc.). I use a very systematic method of naming my pages for these widgets and when some new widgets were officially named, somebody got slap happy, went through and created links to where my pages for these new widgets should have been without checking to see if I had actually added pages for them yet.

Ironically this is how I found out about the naming of the new widgets. I kept finding 404 errors for widgets I didn't know about. Obviously I have created pages for the new widgets at the expected locations (not that much is known about these new widgets yet).

Oh, and no I don't ever use Wikipedia as a reference source. If for no other reason this would create circular references as they use my site as a primary reference source for my niche. Validating against a source that validated against one's own data is a sure way to very quick and very serious data corruption.

danny




msg:3042171
 3:29 am on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

The problem with Wikipedia is that its internal linking doesn't correlate with quality. Editors often include "wiki-links" to stubs or poor quality articles, hoping that will encourage people to improve them.

It's likely that Google weights external incoming links to a page more highly anyway, but with something like Wikipedia that may need to be done more aggresively. A Wikipedia article that's widely linked to from outside is likely to be of high quality; one that's widely linked to internally isn't necessarily.

hutcheson




msg:3042186
 4:18 am on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Wiki is a fascinating social experiment. And, as sources go -- you who can read, but still don't like wikipedia, have you ever actually compared the WP content article for article with that effusion of mercenary professionalism, Microsoft Encarta?

I'm not sure "compare" is even the right word. I don't believe you can find any dimension in which they both occupy the same order of magnitude. Whether you look at number and depth of articles, accuracy, or bias-control, the picture is the same: Wikipedia beats encyclopedia.com by several laps, and Encarta rides triumphantly to the winner's circle line four days later in a rented knacker's van. The result is (as has been mentioned) within the ODP, Wikipedia is widely recognized as an underutilized resource. That's right, we surfers feel that Wikipedia doesn't rate anything like as highly as it deserves.

I don't actually participate in Wikipedia. I am at least elitist enough to avoid any organization that would accept me as a researcher. (You could say I think Wikipedia is more authoritative without my help.) I'd much rather help the real authorities get published and found. So the ODP or academically-related text archives get most of my effort.

As for people finding Wikipedia when they're trying to shop for books -- on THIS matter I think I can speak as an expert (but if anyone ELSE here has bought 5000 books as well as helped hand-scan, proofread, or format 50,000 pages for online publication, I'd be more than happy to hear your opinion.) I have a hard time believing anyone who's intelligent enough to learn to read, would try to buy books by doing a Google search on the name of the book. That's absolutely moronic. If you want to buy a new book, you'd check out the major vendors (barnes and noble, amazon) or the publisher. If you want to buy a used book, alibris is the first place to go, and there is no need for a second (although you can always try eBay if you like.)

So the absolute very last thing ANYONE would want to see in search results for a book title is any way to buy the book! No, you'd want online e-texts, bibliographies, book reviews, critical analyses, history. The only thing more useless than affiliate portals and MFA pages from anonymous, pseudonymous, disreputable, or nonreputable marketers -- is product catalogs from actual retailers showing their stock as it was three months ago when Google indexed the pages.

No, again, there is no conceivable usefulness for marketing/retail information in such a search. Any literate idiot knows how to find reviews and publishing information at amazon, and how to use THAT information to find multiple reputable retailers that could provide the book. And any literate idiot knows that the alibris database contains more genuine functional bookstores than anyone could browse in a year of full-time shopping. Even if you're not intending to buy by snail-mail, Google-local and similar sites will tell you about the local bookstores.

I wish Google could figure out a way to block every single book-advertising site on the internet; no other action could make the internet more bibliophile-ophilic.

[edited by: tedster at 4:25 am (utc) on Aug. 11, 2006]

KenB




msg:3042237
 5:23 am on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Wiki is a fascinating social experiment. And, as sources go -- you who can read, but still don't like wikipedia, have you ever actually compared the WP content article for article with that effusion of mercenary professionalism, Microsoft Encarta?

Honestly, no encyclopedia should ever be used for any type of serious research beyond finding a starting point for further research.

Its just that Wikipedia is especially bad because it allows anyone to contribute anything anonymously and has no accountability in its peer review process. With very rare and extreme circumstances no serious reference source should be written by anonymous for many reasons some of which have already been touched on.

Idris




msg:3042267
 6:24 am on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Wikipedia does seem to be ranking extremely high in most Google searches. It may be a great resource, but stubs and short articles outranking full blown sites with a lot more on a given topic is frustrating at best.

Whilst not search related the ability for anyone to lord over a topic also create problems when you then try to submit genuine sites only to see them removed within hours.

Maybe having such a system encourages site owners to put in the effort when creating a site and I would rather see Wikipedia in my search areas (though behind my pages of course) rather than the spammy site which seemed to dominate previously but it doesn't take away the annoyance at seeing stub and short articles dominating SERP's.

[edited by: Idris at 6:25 am (utc) on Aug. 11, 2006]

europeforvisitors




msg:3042292
 7:20 am on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

but it doesn't take away the annoyance at seeing stub and short articles dominating SERP's.

Sure, and it's equally annoying to see template pages with little or no content on big corporate-owned, keyword-driven, largely computer-generated travel and technology sites. One has to assume that Google is aware that not all "authority site" pages are authoritative (or even remotely useful), and that at some point Google will do a better job of distinguishing between Wikipedia/VirtualAdvisor/XYZNet pages that contain real content and those that don't.

mgpapas




msg:3042311
 7:58 am on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I've considered writing a wikipedia article on my website but I fear it will take away my top position on serps as I have seen it do with some sites.

I think that alone clearly illustrates the problem wikipedia has become in many cases.

I agree that wikipedia often has good information, in fact I often use it but, if google wants to rely on it so heavily as being an authoritative source (on everything) how about they drop it from search and just add a "look it up on wikipedia" link where the definition link to answers.com is so someone looking to buy a widget for example doesn't get 2 wikipedia links in the first 6 google results.

Halfdeck




msg:3042505
 12:18 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Authority sites ranking for mere mention of a keyword over quality pages dedicated to the subject is a question of balance between two factors: on-page "optimization" and linkage data.

There are at least 34 million links pointing to wikipedia.org according to Yahoo Site Explorer. I doubt wikipedia gained them by sending out 34 million link requests. There are more than a few valuable pages on wikipedia - those are the pages people link to, and that link juice gets tossed around internally.

Instead of whining about wikipedia, I would focus my energy in improving/marketting my site. Or maybe someone wants to start a "no more links to wikipedia" rally?

oldpro




msg:3042517
 12:25 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Google is well aware of these sites getting priority.. believe what you want but it's not a coincidence they haven't done anything.

Maybe it's because wiki could be a future Google acquistion?

ppzhao




msg:3042670
 2:16 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Reasons Wikipedia is ranking so well everywhere:

Many many many backlinks (when I blog about something people don't understand, I use wikipedia as a reference, even though it's probably not 100% accurate, and others do the same)

Lots of concentrated content (many pages, each page specifically about a specific subject/keyword)

Great SEO Practics (From headings to Title tags to URL naming to internal navigation, etc)

Personally, I think wikipedia "deserve" to be where they are, it would be unfair to penalize a large site from getting the rankings they deserve because "the information is not 100% accurate".

shsh




msg:3042671
 2:16 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think you have to differenciate between the wikipedia itself and other pages who are using the (freely licensed) content.

The first one is pretty simple: Content, highly dense internal links, clean HTML, lots of external links, high frequency of updates. Wikipedia is not "too high", other sites are just behind their possibilities.

The second one is up to the search engine companies to fix. If they want to.

soapystar




msg:3042707
 2:48 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

One has to assume

Well you could assume just about anything that's why assumption is rarely presented as evidence in a court of law.

KenB




msg:3042767
 3:21 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Many many many backlinks (when I blog about something people don't understand, I use wikipedia as a reference, even though it's probably not 100% accurate, and others do the same)

The problem with this idea is that in the long run it drags down the Internet at large to a lower common denominator.

By linking to an easy but incomplete or not completely accurate source, one is overlooking linking to a more reliable/accurate/authoritative source of information.

In the long run high quality narrow focus sources will get buried under broad spectrum sources that are just "good enough". This isn't good for the spread of accurate information.

hutcheson




msg:3042792
 3:40 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

>I've considered writing a wikipedia article on my website but I fear it will take away my top position on serps as I have seen it do with some sites.

>I think that alone clearly illustrates the problem wikipedia has become in many cases.

For surfers, this is not a problem. It is an unalloyed feature: because the article you post on wikipedia, as peer-reviewed, enhanced, corrected, expanded, is almost always more authoritative than anything you could possibly create yourself, and anyone would be well advised to link to the Wikipedia article rather than to your primordial "rough draft" version of it.

Having said that, I don't post articles on Wikipedia. If I thought I could speak with the kind of authority typical of the Wikipedia sites I've read, I might contribute there. Instead, I either transcribe verbatim unabbreviated material from REAL experts (and post so as to retain the unqualified authoritativeness of that real expert, which I agree may be greater than Wikipedia's) or I post articles under my name with the little authority I can muster (and I, like all the other posters here, have less authoritativeness than the Wikipedia can muster.)

KenB




msg:3042933
 5:16 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

because the article you post on wikipedia, as peer-reviewed, enhanced, corrected, expanded, is almost always more authoritative than anything you could possibly create yourself

What Wikipedia does IS NOT PEER REVIEW. Peer review requires non-anonymous review and debate among experts who's qualifications and bias are known.

What happens at Wikipedia is mob rule where determined individuals with specific agendas can twist and slant articles to better suit their agendas. Sometimes these slants are subtle some times they are blatant, but the fact is you never know the bias of the individuals writing and editing articles on Wikipedia. Maybe this doesn't matter for a movie review, but it certainly matters in regards to history, science, politics, religion, etc.

Scarecrow




msg:3042989
 5:46 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I wish my wikipedia watch site, which has been up for ten months and is one of only half a dozen anti-Wikipedia sites, didn't have every single page still sitting at PageRank zero. The other anti-Wikipedia sites don't get this special treatment. It does fine in Yahoo and MSN.

Until I complained a month ago on another forum, the two keywords that are most obvious for my site produced my home page somewhere around rank 35 to 45 in Google, and the other pages weren't even indexed by Google. Everything that ranked better than my home page was junk. Wikipedia's page on "watches" (the kind you wear on your wrist) was number one.

After I complained it shot up to number one within a week. I know GoogleGuy saw my complaint, and I know GoogleGuy takes me seriously.

But now I think this was a hand job by Google to kill my complaint. One month later, nothing except those two words rank worth beans on Google.

I think it's a conspiracy. My site is a bigger threat to Wikipedia than the other anti-Wikipedia sites. Jimmy Wales is friendly with Sergey, and they occasionally meet.

europeforvisitors




msg:3042996
 5:54 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

By linking to an easy but incomplete or not completely accurate source, one is overlooking linking to a more reliable/accurate/authoritative source of information.

1) What source isn't "incomplete"?

2) How many sources are "completely accurate"?

3) How is Google to know if a Wikipedia article is "incomplete" or "completely accurate"? It's just a robotic search engine. At best, it can "know" (i.e., predict with a reasonable degree of statistical confidence) that a Wikipedia is relevant a given search term and likely to be of value to the user.

optimist




msg:3043284
 9:11 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

What!?

You mean Google is not another way to search Amazon.com and Wikipedia, Ebay and Bizrate?

This 70 message thread spans 3 pages: < < 70 ( 1 [2] 3 > >
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