Wikipedia pages rank in the top 10 search results of Google on average 95% of the time. With over 5.5 million English articles and 10 edits per second, it’s easy to see why this website regularly ranks among the top six sites. The age of the Wikipedia website, its sheer volume of content, as well as its complex internal and external linking structure, ensures it consistently ranks well. It is also a valuable online resource; parts of it have been used to inform Google’s Knowledge Graph and there is an inherent trust amongst the people that use it. Facebook relies on Wikipedia, using its content to feed its community pages. In short, your Wikipedia presence holds significant value for your reputation.
The biggest challenge for Wikipedia lies in its ability to police the accuracy of its content. Its editors have a suite of editing tools and procedures in place designed to combat malicious editing and maintain Wikipedia’s NPOV (Neutral point of view) policy.
People who most regularly contribute to the platform are some of the most powerful. Wikipedia have also introduced a series of automated “bots” that reverse any incorrectly formatted changes and those that are likely to be deliberate acts of vandalism, dispatching warning messages to the offending editors. Since these new controls began, the likelihood of a new participant’s edit being immediately deleted has steadily increased. Wikipedia’s editorially neutral perspective means that factual information about you from trustworthy sources will be prioritised which can be a mixed blessing according to Wikipedia’s own pages.
Even if you have a very clean current Wiki profile, an ill-timed article from a reliable source can mean an increased level of profile exposure. This can lead to details about your personal life appearing online that you would prefer to remain private. This creates an understandable level of concern from a reputation perspective and one that should be addressed with an active Wikipedia management strategy. We advise taking stock of each of your Wikipedia pages and researching all previous contributors and assessing the likelihood of them interfering with the editing process. We find that people are so fearful of editing negative references that this information often becomes highlighted. We suggest staggered edits of these pages, adding in additional information to dilute any negative content that may appear. By citing reputable sources you can provide a much more balanced view.
If you do not currently have a Wikipedia profile, be mindful of the risks of creating one for your name or business. Although these pages have the potential to appear on page one of Google, the information may then be added to, or amended by a Wikipedia editor to create a more balanced point of view. This means that if there are a number of negative media stories about you, you could have unwittingly highlighted this content rather than suppressing it.