Wikipedia is hands-down one of the darlings of search engines, especially Google. Despite being discounted as an unreliable source, Wikipedia still gets listed at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) for several reasons that were discussed earlier this week. So, it stands to reason that you could siphon some of Wiki’s SEO power onto your own website if you could get a backlink or two from the site, right? However, how can you do this without having Wikipedia just kill the link?

It all starts with Wikipedia dead links

Wikipedia prides itself on being a useful resource to readers. One of the ways in which Wiki maintains usability is by offering reliable sources that back up its information. These sources are provided as article links and/or bottom references that direct the reader to other Wiki or external pages.

Sometimes, these reliable sources are shut down, expire or are otherwise edited and no longer link from Wikipedia to the mentioned source (i.e., they undergo link rot). At this point, you (or any Wikipedia contributor) can replace the dead link with a live one to a different yet still reliable source. If your own epic content, blog or website happens to be that reliable source, you could certainly include a link to it as well.

So, how do you find dead links on Wikipedia in your niche? It’s actually fairly simple.

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1. Use Google to search on Wikipedia dead links.

Rather than sifting through endless Wiki article entries in your niche area, go to Google and input the following search string: [your niche keyword] + “dead link”Doing so should result in you seeing a list of Wikipedia pages that each have a dead link or two. For example, when I input the search string [Super Bowl] + “dead link”, I get this search result:

super bowl

2. Search for individual dead links using the find window.

Clicking on the above example page, I can search for its dead link(s) by going to the find window and typing in “dead link.”

dead link

If you don’t immediately see your find window, hit the Ctrl and F keys on your keyboard- that should pull up the window. Wikipedia should then highlight all the dead links on the page you’ve searched.

If you’re stumped about which niche keyword to input for your initial Google search, never fear: Wikipedia actually lists all its articles that contain dead links. Additionally, a tool called the WikiGrabber will also help you find Wiki pages that have dead links or just need a reference added.

Once you’ve found your ideal dead link, you can replace it with a more relevant and live source (i.e., your website/blog). Or, you may even wish to go all out and create a brand new Wiki article that lists your website/blog somewhere in its content, then backlink this Wiki article to your initially searched article on Wikipedia.

It goes beyond Wikipedia dead links

Replacing one or two Wiki dead links with your own website/blog link is a great tactic for directing Web traffic to your own site. However, this tactic still only generates one or two backlinks at most. Also, the backlinks generated via Wikipedia are designated as nofollow.

To really get the Web traffic and the SEO power, you need to generate more backlinks, and backlinks that are not nofollow. How can you accomplish this task?

By finding out which external websites are linking to the dead link that you just replaced. You can do this by going to a link analysis tool like ahrefs (or your backlink checker of choice):


Input the dead link URL into the site’s search window and you should obtain a list of websites that link to that dead link. From there, you just need to contact those listed website owners about the dead link- and how your website or blog provides a comparable (and hopefully superior) link to the same information.

It’s about content, not just links.

Wikipedia prides itself on being a non-profit and unbiased source of information. Furthermore, with over 100,000 contributors scouring the site, it’s only a matter of time before your promotional backlink becomes unlinked by a studious editor. In short, don’t expect a backlink to your sales page or affiliate website to remain unchallenged for very long.

Likewise, if you keep adding the same link over and over to different Wikipedia pages, your backlinking scheme is bound to get discovered by other contributors. Repeated promotional backlinking attempts will result in your contributor account becoming blocked by Wikipedia.

When adding backlinks to Wikipedia, first consider the type of content you are backlinking to. Does your linked website or blog provide enough information about the topic at hand? Is your site well-ranked for its keyword? If yes, then your website should be backlinked. However, if a competing website would actually be a better choice, then you should be a conscientious editor and add that competing site instead.

Alternately, you might consider adding your own link into the references only, and not into the actual Wiki article.

Being a conscientious editor will score you some major points in terms of credibility. It was also make you less conspicuous when placing links into Wikipedia. Finally, it doesn’t hurt to also try your hand at editing content unrelated to your niche, because this is what conscientious Wiki editors do.

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