For almost any search query, a Wikipedia article ranks better in Google. Is Google biased towards Wikipedia? No. Google itself has Knol which is a direct competitor for Wikipedia. Then, how do Wikipedia articles rank better? Here is the secret:
1. Google favours informative pages over commercial sites.
A search for web hosting in Google lists informative articles including Wikipedia in the top. See how a search for web hosting in Yahoo just lists only commercial websites. We can think of Google as favouring information. Or it may be indirectly forcing companies to buy their adsense slots by denying top search results. Only Google knows 🙂
Except the above point everything else is well deserved merit by Wikipedia.
2. Wikipedia is online since 2001. Google thinks old sites are more reliable.
3. The structure of a Wikipedia article itself is highly SEOed:
* Both the title and URL of Wikipedia pages are to the point, short, self explanatory.
* Highly exhaustive, comprehensive collection of information.
* Articles are focused on a single topic. Assures keyword density.
* Natural writing assures presence of related keywords.
* Frequent updates to the articles, addition of new articles regularly brings the search engine crawlers very often. So the changes are indexed at once.
* Copy formatting, text highlighting, sub headings, section – sub section structure help the bots clearly understand the content.
* Title definition at the very first paragraph.
* Images with description, alt tags, descriptive names and URLs.
* Presence of relevant external links., Google likes this.
4. People by default link to Wikipedia to learn more. The Wikipedia pages are heavily interlinked. This increases the PageRank of Wikipedia pages.
Wikipedia is the best place to learn SEO because it doesn’t employ any SEO expert at all and yet ranks so well 🙂