Why Doesn’t Everyone Have Their Own Wikipedia Page?

Written by Eric Oldfather, Director of Operations

Wikipedia’s unbiased, carefully curated content makes it a trusted source of information for the average voter. The website is also a highly underrated SEO tool because it’s often near the top of search results.

We work with a lot of public figures who are rightfully concerned about what their Wikipedia page says. Some don’t even have a page yet. What most people don’t realize is that nobody has exclusive ownership of a page, and making edits is a process that requires time and discipline.

Barriers to Entry
For better or worse, Wikipedia is selective about who is worthy of their own page. Its “General Notability Guideline” states:

If a topic has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject, it is presumed to be suitable for a stand-alone article or list.

Pages typically require a bare minimum of 3 third-party references to be considered for publication. Of course, what qualifies as a “reliable source” is subjective, so there are no guarantees.

Sidenote: Everipedia is a less discerning alternative that gives public figures with verified accounts more control over their own pages.

Creating an Account
If you manage to meet the above criteria, the first step is to create a user account that outlines your areas of expertise and discloses any potential conflicts of interest. Working for a marketing agency is an obvious example for any of our team members.

Next, you must become a contributing member of the Wikipedia community. This can be anything from adding citations to correcting typos. The goal is to build your credibility so that Admins cannot dismiss you as a promoter and ban your account.

Building a Page
Starting an article from scratch takes planning. You have to compile your sources, draft all of the copy in a neutral tone, select a photo with Creative Commons licensing, internally link to other articles where appropriate, and link back to your own page to put it in context.

The Articles for Creation tool is helpful if you are unfamiliar with how to properly format a Wikipedia page. You can also begin with a stub, which contains less information than a standard article, but still has its own page. This is more likely to be approved and can expand over time.

Editing a Page
Wikipedia relies on its community to update pages in order to stay current. Have something to add or dispute? Choose your words carefully. Anybody with an Internet connection can suggest edits to a page, and everything is publicly logged for transparency.

Here are some common examples of language to avoid:

  • Superfluous language
  • Flattering (or disparaging) adjectives
  • Vague buzzwords
  • Value-laden labels
  • Euphemisms and idioms

Building a strong digital presence requires more than just a website and a few social media profiles. Although it was never meant to be a promotional medium, Wikipedia can be utilized to convey key points to potential supporters who are actively seeking information.

If you’re interested in working with us, click here to reach out!