Wikipedia was launched 12 years ago and has become one of the most popular websites in the world. This collaborative online encyclopedia can enhance your firm’s brand and online presence, but it’s not about advertising or self-promotion.
Much of Wikipedia’s value is that it is perceived to be impartial and accurate, both by readers and by Google. Numerous studies have demonstrated that Wikipedia is at least as accurate as both Encyclopedia Britannica and peer-reviewed medical journals (see the Wikipedia page here). A second great value of Wikipedia is its Search Engine Optimization (SEO). If you have a Wikipedia page, it is likely to show up within the first two or three results on Google.
For a law firm with a good, up-to-date Wikipedia page, this means that potential clients, reporters and general counsel seeking information on your firm will find — right at the top of the search results — a summary of impartial and accurate information about your firm.
If you’re thinking of creating a Wikipedia article for your firm, it pays to understand what the Wikipedia editors are looking for.
Notability. Organizations who are worthy of Wikipedia pages are “Notable.” According to Wikipedia, an organization is notable “if it has been the subject of significant coverage in secondary sources. Such sources must be reliable and independent of the subject.” In practice, this means that what you write about your firm on Wikipedia must be thoroughly backed up by articles or citations in authoritative publications, primarily the mainstream media.
Citations. A Wikipedia article has to include citations to verifiable sources such as news articles, books and published reports that can be used to support the content. In our experience, a Wikipedia page is almost built “in reverse” by identifying the firm’s media mentions, awards and accolades and then writing the page around that third-party verification. Press releases, a firm’s website, marketing and advertising materials, and links to other material supplied by your firm don’t count as verifiable sources. Use of this kind of information will most likely lead to your page not getting published or getting a label like the one below:
3. Content. As marketers and public relations professionals, we have a tendency to be sometimes “salesy” in our writing. A Wikipedia article is intended to be factual and straightforward and not contain marketing or advertising copy, so make sure the page you create is:
Contains verifiable sources and links
Our strongest piece of advice when it comes to Wikipedia pages is to research, write and publish both conservatively and cautiously. A good Wikipedia page is a must for reputable law firms in this day and age, but the last thing you want showing up on your firm’s page is a public critique of your efforts!