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Google’s New Algorithm: if($domain==’wikipedia.org’){$rank=1;}

I decided to take my last look at Wikipedia a little further to see just how much Google had sold out to everyones-favorite-online-encyclopedia. Does Wikipedia really deserve the rankings that it receives? Or, as many suggest, are single Wikipedia entries receiving the benefit of the doubt by Google’s algorithm because of the strength of the domain?

While merely anecdotal evidence (I have yet to run a complete check as I did before), I wanted to take a look at an example where Wikipedia recently took the #1 position. I chose the keyword Entrepreneurship

This simple test looked at the number of inbound links pointing directly to the page currently ranking in Google. Instead of looking at site-wide links, we look at the page that ranks itself while excluding links from their own site. If Wikipedia truly deserves the rankings that it has, its inbound links should be fairly commensurate with its competition.

Site Yahoo Link Query Inbound Links
1. Wikipedia Query 217
2. ZeroMillion.com Query 1410
3. About.com Query 5490
4. Financial Times Query 15,000

As you can see, Wikipedia has the lowest among the top 4 of internal links. Maybe Wikipedia’s links are all fantastic, high-PR, educational or governmental links? Nope… According to Yahoo, only 18 of their inbound links are from .edus, while ZeroMillion has over 180.

It is growing quite clear that Google’s authority-based algorithm is domain-centric (which spammers have known for a long time: visit the cialis SERPs recently?). Instead of focussing on improving their link-counting algorithms (those that would help us exclude spam links from improving rankings), Google has focussed on domain-trusting. Sure, it is a lot easier, just push to the top of the list massive sites that couldn’t have been created by spammers. (Problem is, they now become targets for spammers, and a webmaster’s hosted-pages-advertising dream).

Google's New Algorithm: if($domain=='wikipedia.org'){$rank=1;} by No tags for this post.

7 Comments

  1. Jon Henshaw
    Aug 1, 2007

    Your title couldn’t be more true! They might as well just change the name to Googlewiki — it’s ridiculous.

  2. Erik Kalviainen
    Aug 1, 2007

    I’m new to TheGoogleCache after seeing your earlier post about Wikipedia in the top 10 96.6% of the time. I agree with you that the empirical evidence suggests a lot of weight put on the authority/trustworthiness/importance of the domain. I disagree with notion that they’re not worthy of their top 10 rankings. I look for Wikipedia results as much as I can because I know their page will very likely satisfy my search. Probably not the best page on the web, but its consistently good enough.

  3. Ben Yates
    Aug 1, 2007

    You’re comparing apples to oranges — you’re counting inbound links to any page on zeromillion, About, or the FT, but only inbound links to the entrepreneurship page on wikipedia. If zeromillion has a page devoted explicitly to defining and discussing the word “entrepreneurship”, use that instead of the whole site.

    No I am not – look at the link command:

    link:http://www.ft.com/businesslife/entrepreneurship -site:ft.com
    link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entrepreneurship -site:wikipedia.com

  4. Manish Pandey
    Aug 1, 2007

    Well you are true with the fact that spammers are abusing it. But imo this ranking algo is cool. Well spammers may find a way to make things there way. As coders and black hatters do. The main role comes now on the domain owner so as to keep the spam away. And well…if you are doing hard work and growing a domain which would be trusted by Google then you don’t want to put spam on it!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Manish

  5. terry
    Apr 30, 2008

    instead of just worrying about the algorithm heuristics, how about considering how to best serve customers from a search engine?

    when i google most things, wikipedia presents the most relevant information to answer my question.

    google recognizes this and weights their site accordingly. makes sense. serves me better. … isn’t that the purpose of google, anyways?

  6. harry
    Nov 5, 2011

    Well According to this, Wikipedia’s algorithm base on inbound back link.you’re counting only inbound links to the entrepreneurship page on wikipedia. If zeromillion has a page devoted explicitly then what is the use and purpose of “entrepreneurship” and breafily defining and discussing the word “entrepreneurship”,

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Wikipédia et communication d’entreprise : leçon de récupération par Euro RSCG - Veille 2.0 - [...] Le fait que Google favorise l’encyclopédie libre a été maintes fois soupçonné (et plus ou moins prouvé). [...]

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