For many in the millennial and Gen-Z age groups, Wikipedia has become like a broad encyclopedia for all sorts of things, from random animal facts, to information about our favorite TV shows.
One of the driving forces behind Wikipedia's endless wealth of information is its community of writers and editors all around the web.
And, because of Wikipedia's notoriety and traffic, you might wonder, "How can I get my brand in on this action?" or even ask yourself, "Can I make a page for my business on Wikipedia?"
After all, Wikipedia is one of the best third-party sources for ranking on page one of Google. Typically, when you search for an intended keyword, you don't have to scroll far before you see its accompanying Wikipedia page:
But, is creating your own page on Wikipedia really the best move? And can you even do that? We'll dive into the ins and outs of page creation, some of the best business pages, and the guidelines and legalities related to publishing Wikipedia business pages that you'll need to know this year and beyond.
Can You Create a Wikipedia Page for Your Business?
While you can create a page for Wikipedia with the right administrative privileges, you should always be cautious of Wikipedia guidelines and objective when adding information -- and, importantly, avoid advertorial content at all costs.
Wikipedia was built as a community-driven, objective, non-biased encyclopedia. By nature and because of its mission, over-promotional content and biased content can go against its guidelines or even be removed. Ultimately, it's somewhat discouraged to create or edit pages of a business you own or are paid by as this can make it pretty hard to keep your listing objective and non-promotional.
At the moment, Wikipedia does allow editors to contribute to or publish pages that might have a conflict of interest -- as long as they follow Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation's Guidelines.
However, if you do edit or publish a page for an entity you own or work for, you must adhere to Wikipedia's Conflict of Interest Disclosure Guidelines and ideally make it transparent that an entity paid or benefiting from the company is creating or editing the content. You also should avoid publishing or editing biased pages about competitors.
If you're benefiting from or are otherwise a conflict of interest on a piece you're editing or publishing, you must disclose it to Wikipedia editors, as per Wikimedia Foundation terms and guidelines:
"A paid contribution is one that involves contributing to Wikipedia in exchange for money or other inducements. It includes adding or removing content from any page, including articles and talk pages.
If you feel you can objectively create or edit a page about your business or an organization, and decide you'd like to get started on creating a Wiki page, below are the steps you should take, as well as more best practices for creating fair and objective content.
How to create a Wikipedia page for your company, brand, or business
- Create an account.
- Get promoted to an autoconfirmed user.
- Create the page.
- Provide citations.
- Maintain and audit neutrality.
- Submit the page for review.
- Update it regularly.
Legal Disclaimer: The steps below will highlight screenshots of the Wikipedia site which include logos and other assets trademarked by the Wikimedia Foundation.
Wikimedia and Wikipedia wordmarks, name, and/or logos as listed here are trademarks of the Wikimedia Foundation and are used with the permission of the Wikimedia Foundation. HubSpot in no way is endorsed by or affiliated with the Wikimedia Foundation.
1. Create an account.
Go to Wikipedia's homepage and click "Create account" in the top right.
Enter the necessary information, including username and password, then click "Create your account".
2. Get promoted to an autoconfirmed user.
When you first join Wikipedia, you'll see a box pop-up that reads, "Help improve Wikipedia" with a link to start editing an article:
Before creating your page, you'll need to become an autoconfirmed user.
These are Wikipedia's typical guidelines for an autoconfirmed user: "Although the precise requirements for autoconfirmed status vary according to circumstances, most English Wikipedia user accounts that are more than four days old and have made at least 10 edits (including deleted ones) are considered autoconfirmed."
Here, you'll need to practice patience — spend the first couple days once you open an account editing other people's pages. Once you click "Edit a page", there are links on the top right of every paragraph with the word "Edit", so it shouldn't be too time-consuming.
Once you're autoconfirmed, proceed to the next step.
3. Create the page.
Now we've reached the most challenging part — creating the page.
First, go to Wikipedia's "Writing an article" page. As you scroll down the page, you'll see a blue button that reads, "Article wizard: an easy way to create articles." Click this button (as long as you're autoconfirmed):
Next, you'll be redirected to Wikipedia's Article Wizard. Here, you have two options — immediately begin creating your page by clicking "Next", or practice editing your page in Wikipedia's sandbox, first.
For our purposes, we'll click "Next":
For instance, take a look at how HubSpot's Wikipedia page is structured:
The page starts with a two-sentence overview of what HubSpot does, followed by a table of contents on the left, and a "fact sheet" on the right. Below the table of contents, you'll first find HubSpot's history, followed by a description of HubSpot's software and services.
On HubSpot's Wikipedia page, the information that's above-the-fold is likely most useful for a new visitor who hasn't heard of HubSpot before — a quick glance at the page can tell her, for instance, what HubSpot does, how much revenue HubSpot makes, what third-party sources such as Forbes say about HubSpot, and who HubSpot's founders are.
While readers can continue scrolling for more product-specific information, it's critical Wikipedia is mainly used as a broad brand awareness platform.
We'll look at more examples later on.
4. Provide citations.
Wikipedia is ultimately an encyclopedia, so to prove the validity of your topic, you must include citations to various articles and third-party sources.
Before you begin creating your page, Wikipedia warns you of this, stating — "the topic of an article must already be covered in reliable sources that are independent of the subject. These include journals, books, newspapers, magazines, and websites with a reputation for fact-checking. social media, press releases, or corporate/professional profiles do not qualify":
5. Ensure you're following creative commons guidelines.
When using imagery, or anything pulled from Wikipedia's Creative Commons, you should also be sure to follow Wikipedia's Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 Guidelines which state:
Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
ShareAlike — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.
- No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.
- You do not have to comply with the license for elements of the material in the public domain or where your use is permitted by an applicable exception or limitation. No warranties are given. The license may not give you all of the permissions necessary for your intended use. For example, other rights such as publicity, privacy, or moral rights may limit how you use the material."
6. Maintain and audit neutrality.
Even when you feel like you're being as objective as possible about your company or a company paying you, keep in mind that you might subconsciously be adding information that might feel biased or over-promotional.
To avoid having an over-promotional page, read the content you've added or edited before it goes live putting yourself in the shoes of a reader who's not a member of the business. If anything you've said about your brand sounds salesy, or aggressively against your competition, consider moving it.
When in doubt -- add citations or links from sources other than your company. Citing or linking to other Wikipedia pages, news publication articles, and trusted company databases can help readers feel like they aren't just reading one big company advertisement.
Lastly, for an absolute final gut-check, deeply read and review Wikipedia's Conflict of Interest Guidelines one last time to ensure you've covered all of your needed bases.
7. Submit the page for review.
When you're finished with your page, submit it for review. Once Wikipedia deems it a credible source, it will be uploaded as an official Wikipedia page.
8. Update it regularly.
Remember — the hard work isn't over, just yet. As your Wikipedia page begins ranking on page one of Google for your company name, it's vital you regularly update it to ensure it provides the most up-to-date information regarding your products or services.
Additionally, by updating it regularly with company developments, you're maintaining transparency, which is comforting for both your customers and leads.
Examples of Company Pages on Wikipedia
There are over 6 million articles in the English Wikipedia. A good chunk of those are company pages. The best company pages share the following characteristics:
- adequately describe the company
- maintain a neutral point of view
- include references to notable, independent sources
- includes a link to the company website
- ideally discloses that the post was initially publised or has been edited by members of the company or entities paid by the company, and how these editors have aimed to keep the content neutral.
Below we'll take a look at two examples of company pages that can inspire your own.
World Wide Technology's wikipedia page is an excellent example of a company page. First, it offers a brief overview describing what type of company it is, how much revenue it earns, and how many people it employs. It then offers a timeline of notable events, starting with when it was founded and ending with its latest recognition in TIME magazine in 2021.
The page ends with a comprehensive list of independent reliable sources, which have been published about the organization. Such a list helps Wikipedia understand why the organization is notable and avoids the appearance of a conflict of interest. Without such a list of references, your company page could be deleted.
Urban One's wikipedia page is another excellent example of a company page. It begins by describing what the company is, who its primary audience is, and how large it is. While details like the fact that it's the largest African-American-owned broadcasting company and one of the highest-earning African-American-owned businesses in the United States are impressive, they are stated objectively and cited properly to avoid the appearance of self-promotion.
Wikipedia requires significant coverage in multiple independent sources for articles on organizations to be considered noticeable — a requirement which Urban One has easily met. Towards the bottom of the page you'll find a references section with over 54 entries.
Getting Your Company on Wikipedia
Nowadays, a quick Google search provides us with an abundance of information — including social media profiles, directories, and press releases — on a given subject. By ensuring you have an up-to-date Wikipedia page, you're covering your bases and giving viewers a trustworthy source of information related to your business or brand.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in October 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.