Wikipedia, Yahoo Answers, & Answer Sharing

Chris Sherman is taking over moderator duties with speakers Lise Broer (Wikipedia), Jonathan Hochman (Hochman Consultants), Matt McGee (Marchex), and Jeff Muendel (Netconcepts).

[This will be the last session we’re covering for SMX Social Media. After which I’ll be getting back in my little Aveo and heading back to Simi Valley. Hopefully my stomach will make it that long. And I won’t die in SoCal traffic. Tune in tomorrow to see what happened! :)]

Up first is Matt McGee. He’s my favorite person in search. And like, ever.

Matt’s going to talk about Yahoo Answers. He says that there are lots of stupid people in the world, many of them are in Yahoo Answers and he loves it.

What is Yahoo Answers?

It’s the number two question and answer site on the Internet, behind Wikipedia. It begins with and revolves around your profile page. You get to put a link to your Web site on your profile page. It’s a nofollowed link. Actually, all the links are nofollowed, which means Yahoo Answers is a traffic-building exercise, not a link building one.

Just the Industry Facts:

  • 2008: US traffic to Q&A sites is up 118 percent over 2007.
  • Traffic to the top five sites: 52 percent are female. 45 percent are 25-44. Time on site up 44 percent. The average user spends more than 9 minutes on the site.
  • Yahoo Answers has 74 percent of the market share in the question and answer category. It’s the #2 site in Reference category. It has a 56 percent year over year growth.
  • Professionals are welcome. Helpful marketing is okay. Spammers are not.

Benefits of Yahoo Answers

Referral Traffic: For Matt’s blog,, Yahoo Answers is the 4th source of referral traffic, provides the highest source of new visitors, and has the lowest bounce rate.

Search Traffic: He wrote about [merchant circle]. His blog posts ranks on the first page and right below it is someone asking a question about Merchant Circle on Yahoo Answers. In the Yahoo Answers post, someone’s answer points to Matt’s blog post. Google sent 5,000 page views and the Yahoo Answers post sent 4,200 page views to that entry.

Matt shows how well Yahoo Answers pages rank in the search engines. It’s also a good way to get long tail search traffic.

Yahoo Answers pages are crawled deeply. Google has crawled 64 million pages. Yahoo has crawled 282 million. MSN has crawled 1.2 million.

How to Use Yahoo Answers

  • RSS Feed Rule; Every category and sub-category has a feed. Search results too.
  • Sort Wisely: You can sort by date or by the number of answers. Matt likes to sort by date to find the older questions. Find the ones that have the lowest amount of answers and then gives a good answer. That helps to boost your profile when you’re voted as having the best answer.
  • Sign Your Name
  • Don’t Spam

Matt ends and then asks if there are any Yahoo people in the room. When no one raises his hand, he says he has an extra slide. Hee!

Easiest 10 Points Ever

Answers are classified as “open” or “in voting” or “resolved’. What you want to do is look for questions in “in voting”. Then you look for your answer, click on “vote as best answer” and if no one else bothers to vote, you get the best answer and an easy 10 points. Nice.

Jonathan Hochman is up next to talk about Wikipedia.

He talks about how the History tab provides a lot more transparency than other social media sites. Yeah, whatever, it’s still Wikipedia. ;)

Because Wikipedia ranks first for everything in the entire world, their articles have a big influence on public opinion.

Wikipedia and Marketers

Yes: Answering questions. Interacting with editors. Donating images. Reporting problems. Requesting changes.

No: Advertising. Writing about yourself. Spinning articles. Astroturfing. Badmouthing. Paid editing of articles.

Don’t Be a Dick

Don’t be a dick is the fundamental rule of all social spaces. No definition of being a “dick” has been provided. This is deliberate.

If a significant number of reasonable people suggest, whether bluntly or politely, that you are being a dick, the odds are good that you are not entirely in the right. Be civil to other editors and they may help you.

Top 3 Newbie Mistakes

  1. Promotional Usernames: Don’t use a business or product name.
  2. Copyright Violations: Pictures need a free license. Cannot copy and paste text from most sites.
  3. Conflict of interest editing: Don’t write articles about yourself or your clients.

In order for there to be an article on Wikipedia, the subject has to be notable. That means independent media have to have written about it before. Something published on a random blog isn’t reliable, though something published on Search Engine Land is.

Someone wrote an article for Matt Cutts and it was almost deleted because no one cited any reliable sources. It ended up being kept. Again, that’s totally my arm on Matt’s Wikipedia page. Success!

Don’t spam Wikipedia. IP addresses aren’t anonymous. In fact, there’s no such thing as anonymity on the Internet. Avoid company embarrassment by establishing policies at your office. Make sure employees aren’t fiddling around with the site.

Reputation Management: In articles about yourself you may watch for spam and vandalism, and revert. You may request removal of unsourced or slanderous statements. You may discuss concerns and request changes on the article talk page.

There’s a Watch List feature that allows you to monitor certain pages.

The Power of Wiki:

  1. An educated market is a better opportunity.
  2. Free content and high search visibility build memes
  3. The community helps you do the work.

Wikipedia is about spreading ideas. The SEO Wikipedia article gets views 5,000 times a day. The article on waterboarding is ready by 500,000 people per month.

If you’re not paying attention to Wikipedia someone may put something bad about your company in your profile page. And that page will rank very highly in the SERP, which the offending snippet possible being shown.

Jeff Muendel is up.

Getting your edits to stick on Wikipedia:

  • Develop a profile that looks like you are an upstanding member of the community: The age and history of your account matters. So do any awards you may earn. Your user and talk page should be engaged.
  • Incorporate content edits when adding a link. It makes it harder to revert your edit.
  • Communicate with the main editor of the article before adding an external link that you think is valuable but could be looked at with suspicion and removed.
  • Add links within references rather than the external links section: Links are like footnotes. You want to work your link into the article in a way that supports it. Reference links that go to a login page may be looked at as spam.

Creating New Wikipedia Entries

You want to be logged in with an account with a solid contribution history. Make sure there is no connection between you and the article subject. Use lots of references, particularly ones that are from mainstream media sources.

References serve two purposes: external links that will sick and links that will establish authority.

Have the subject of the article weigh in via the Talk page rather than making the change yourself.

Getting over the notability hurdle

Use Google News Search for finding reference articles. Articles with just a passing quote aren’t good enough. They need focus.

PR firm? Get them to help land an article even if it is with a small newspaper that profiles your company. Awards can help establish notability, press releases don’t. It is okay, though not idea, to use articles that aren’t available online.

Protecting Your Investment

Make friends; you’re going to need them. Maintain activity on your profile by regularly making edits that are undeniably selfless.

“Administrators and new page patrol need to be clear when they see new usernames and page creation which are blatantly commercial – shoot on site.” – Brad Patrick, WikiMedia

Use the Watchlist to keep an eye on pages that you have an interest in and for pages that up for deletion.

Don’t just rely on the Wikipedia watch function. Use a tool that emails you when changes are made. and are both really good.

Lisa Broer is up next.

How Wikipedia Really Works

They meet in a crypt beneath Wall Street. Mortgage bankers, Microsoft, Matt Cutts and Osama bin Laden are all to blame.

She’s kidding.

A lot of the SEO world has been trying to figure out how to get a presence on Wikipedia. She’s seeing a lot of ineffective strategies. Like people who blatantly spam.

Upload to Wikipedia Commons when you can. It ensures you’re getting in front of everyone, not just a specific country. The US version of Wikipedia gets about 50 percent of the traffic. The remaining countries together receive that other 50 percent. — Will tell you the monthly traffic for any Wikipedia article.

You can click on the “check usage” tab to see how images are being used and how many page views they’re getting. If you have a client with an outdated photo, you probably want to fix that.

If you get onto the main page of English language Wikipedia you will be getting 5 million page views a day.

The picture of the day on the Wikipedia Commons will also get a lot of attention.

Where pictures get featured:

From Commons: feature picture candidates. COM:FPC
From Wikipedia: Featured picture candidates WP:FPC. Picture peer review WP:PPR

It’s okay to crop and correct photos.

Lisa says power users don’t exist. She’s recording a Skypecast tomorrow at 11:30am PST. It’s an open room if people want to listen.

Lisa Barone is a writer, content marketer & VP of strategy at Overit Media. She's also a very active Twitterer, much to the dismay of the rest of the world.

See Lisa's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (1)
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One Reply to “Wikipedia, Yahoo Answers, & Answer Sharing”

Please excuse my ignorance, but if any type of self promotion is “spam”, and you shouldn’t write anything that is a “conflict of interest” then why even bother spending your time adding, editing articles in Wikipedia?


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