Being a search marketer, business owners often ask me to point out websites that I think are doing a good job at SEO. They want real world examples of who’s doing it right so they can see SEO best practices at work. When it comes to websites that are mastering SEO, one site in particular always comes to mind: Wikipedia.
Wikipedia has done a remarkable job at mastering some of the critical elements of SEO, such as having a strong information architecture (or site structure), effective link development across the site and strong keyword optimization on every page. There’s a good reason why Wikipedia ranks in the top three for almost every search query on the Web, and implementing good SEO is a major factor.
So let’s take a closer look at Wikipedia and see what it is exactly that they do right for SEO.
Wikipedia Understands the Importance of Keywords
Good SEO starts with keywords and Wikipedia knows it. Keyword research is the foundation of every search engine marketing campaign. If you don’t have the right keywords in your content, your page is not going to be relevant to a searcher’s query and will not get returned in the search results, let alone rank highly.
Here’s a search query I ran for the keywords “venture capital” (NOTE: I’ll use this term throughout the article as an example). Not surprisingly, Wikipedia ranks #1.
Now when we examine the “venture capital” page on Wikipedia, there are various SEO elements and best practices that aid this page in this keyword ranking well in the search engines. I’ve numbered them so we can discuss them in greater detail below. Here’s a look at the venture capital page.
Wikipedia maximizes its SEO efforts and integrates target keywords in the following critical regions:
1) Title tag: This is the primary focus of each Web page. It’s the first line of content users see in the search results (which is both blue and clickable: see the first image). The Title Tag is one of THE most important pieces of content on your website. So it’s imperative that your target website keywords live here.
2) URL: Another key element of SEO is the URL structure or the address of your Web page. Here we see Wikipedia following SEO best practices and using the primary keywords as the file name: “Venture_Capital.”
3) Heading Tags: #3 is the heading tag on the venture capital page. Heading tags are headlines within your content, which are produced by the HTML tags H1, H2, H3, etc. This is a prominent piece of on page copy, so you want to include your target keywords to demonstrate relevance to the search engines.
4) Initial Keyword: It’s important to establish the theme of the article by mentioning (and bolding) the target keywords as soon as possible and throughout the content. In this example, Wikipedia sets the tone for this article and uses the target keyword right off the bat, as the first word.