Wikipedia Giving Link Juice to Wikia Search, No Following Other Sites

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Wikipedia has become notorious for using the No Follow attribute to link to all outgoing links from Wikipedia entries.

TechCrunch, however, has learned that Wikipedia is lifting the No Follow tag for links to their ‘for profit’ Wikia Search project.

The links to Wikia that don’t have the nofollow tag are created using a special Wikipedia tag wikiasite:. The tag for linking to Wikia pages isn’t mentioned in the help pages for Wikipedia, but there are many references to it throughout Wikipedia and the talk pages on various topics. It is a special type of link known as an Interwiki link, which means that you can use special shortcut tags when linking to other Wiki’s (such as Wikia). The question is, why wouldn’t the nofollow policy apply to inter-wiki links? Specifically since there is an apparent conflict of interest with Wikia, something that you would think that the Wikia team would want to avoid.

Google’s Adam Lasnik recently told Search Engine Journal that Google is expecting that sites like Wikipedia change their No Follow policy:

We hope and expect that more and more sites — including Wikipedia — will adopt a less-absolute approach to no-follow… expiring no-follows, not applying no-follows to trusted contributors, and so on.

But I do not think that selective power linking to projects which make your company money is the answer and do not see much of a difference between Wikipedia’s Wikia linking practice and sites selling editorial links (links placed within editorial content) to the highest bidder.

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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  • Rich Holton

    As a low-profile admin on the English Wikipedia, I’d like to offer a couple clarifications:

    First, to say that “Wikipedia is lifting the No Follow tag” to some sites is inaccurate. When No Follow was implemented for external links, links via interwiki tags were not included. The situation has not changed since that time.

    Second, your final paragraph seems to suggest that Wikipedia makes money from Wikia. It is well known that Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, is also a founder and owner of Wikia. However, at least to my knowledge, there is no financial arrangement between Wikia and Wikipedia or the WikiMedia Foundation.