Monday, March 21, 2011

#Google search and #Wikipedia

#Quality or #quantity is one of the classic arguments and with the recent "Panda" update to the Google search algorithm many websites with high quantity and low quality content suffered; they lost most of their traffic.

Contrary to what some people think, it will not have a negative impact on any of our Wikipedias. The reason for this is astonishingly simple. A Wikipedia with not that great a quality will typically be in a language that does not have a big footprint on the Internet. Because of a lack of competition our articles will do well anyway.

This does not mean that quality is irrelevant, it means that quality is not the only criteria.

When the English Wikipedia was populated with stubs on all the places in the United States, it resulted in a community who took care of these stubs and produced something awesome. The info boxes of many of the towns and villages of Europe now have their arms and flags in SVG and an article in English as well. A project with well prepared stubs will do the same thing for the cities, towns and villages of India first on the English Wikipedia and then maybe on all the other Wikipedias relevant for an Indian public.

We know what articles are the most sought after and, we can know what articles people were looking for but could not find. When these sought after articles are improved or created first, they are most likely the same articles people are searching for using any of the search engines. This leads to optimisation of our search results; this will make a Wikipedia article relevant in the eyes of Google.

When the quality of the highly sought after articles is optimised first, the effect will be disproportionate to the time invested in any other category of articles. More people will read high quality articles and, are more likely to select Wikipedia in their language as a quality resource.
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