Traffic from Google to Wikipedia is dropping and this trend is expected to continue, according to Wikpedia founder Jimmy Wales.
We reported last week that Wikipedia’s organic traffic is on the decline, with a possible explanation being that Google’s instant answers are resulting in less clicks.
That’s similar to what Wales attributes the traffic decline to, saying:
“… many folks just want date of birth, death, and a celebrity overview – rather than the generally hard-to-read, massive articles which all-too-often dominate Wikipedia… Expect Google-driven traffic to go down substantially more in future.”
Contrary to earlier reports, Wikipedia’s decline in traffic is not something that has happened suddenly. This rules out the speculation that there may have been an algorithm update specifically targeted at Wikipedia.
Wales says the site’s organic traffic has been on the decline for some time now, but he doesn’t sound as concerned as you may expect.
According to the founder, Wikipedia is not as dependent on clicks as sites driven by ad-revenue. Instead, the company cares more about community health and encyclopedia quality.
Wales sounds confident in the ability to maintain the same level of quality with fewer clicks, believing that the Wikipedia community will remain strong.
“… very casual users of WP are not the source of long-term volunteers,” says Wales, adding that long-term volunteers visit the site on their own accord not via Google searches.
If that’s the case, then even though traffic is declining Wikipedia may continue to thrive in the areas the company says are most important.