Thursday, 12 April 2012

Why do Wikipedia entries always appear at the top of Google results?

I had thought that Google ranks results according to the number and significance of links to a particular page, as well as calculating the number of references to your search terms in that page.

So, why when you compare the number of incoming links to the top two results for the search term  'Research' does the top entry (a Wikipedia entry) have 110 million incoming links, compared to the second entry with 947 million?

It could be that the links to the Wikipedia entry are from sites that themselves have lots of links, but I doubt it.  I think, more likely, that links to the Wikipedia domain are also included within the rank, so that individual Wikipedia pages are boosted because of the popularity of the site as a whole.  This means that any entry on Wikipedia is likely to have a high ranking.

Here are some reasons to avoid using Wikipedia.