Wikipedia: Page one of Google UK for 99% of searches

By Sam Silverwood Cope, Feb 8th, 2012

wikipedia logoThere’s been a lot of questions in blogs for ages wondering why Google loves Wikipedia so much and why it is so dominant in Google and how dominant it actually is. Everything we search for in Google seems to have Wikipedia on at least page one. So we thought it was about time we did some research to get some clarity.

I’ve seen previous research done in this area in one instance the searches conducted were for actual Wikipedia page titles, which of course it would do well in. So we searched nouns (Def. A word used to identify any of a class of people, places, or things) from a couple of random noun generators. A full list of the words we searched are below.

The Methodology of Wikipedia Research:

  • We used a random noun generator to obtain the keyword
  • We then searched that keyword on Google UK (the internet)
  • To get around any personalisation issues we used Google Chrome Incognito browser
  • The search settings were ten results per page
  • There was no other filtering of search results within Google’s settings.
  • We did not include shopping or video results within our count (as these were additional to the 10 on a page)
  • We searched from Brighton, south England
  • We made 1,000 unique searches, any duplicates were removed and re-searched.

The Results:

  • Wikipedia is Page One of Google for 99% of searches (of nouns)
  • Wikipedia is position one of Google for 56% of searches
  • 96% of searches had Wikipedia in position 1-5 on Google

 How the positions were shared (total 1,000 searches)

Position One dominance

As you can see from the charts, 96% of the searches landed in the top 5 positions.

Is Wikipedia’s dominance deserved?

We all love Wikipedia, but should it really be so prominent and all conquering in Google? We know that Wikipedia is a vast site with millions of pages and thousands of editors offering unique vital content on multitudes of subject matters. But should Wikipedia be the de-facto resource for pretty much all subjects? Surely some pages are riding on the back of other quality pages or perhaps lazy references to the site from businesses and bloggers across the internet. Google obviously loves Wikipedia and still ranks it despite there being next to zero content on some of the pages.

Percentage Share of Wikipedia positions in Google UK across 1,000 keyword searches

 

 

General Observations

Unsurprisingly Wikipedia, did extremely well (top two positions generally) for old-school encyclopaedic searches. What I mean by this is searches with any geographical, scientific or natural reference. For example “Himalayan”, “bird” and “paediatrician”. This was expected, but more surprising is that it also did extremely well for food substances and clothing. I’d imagine “butter”, “milk” and “mayonnaise” as well as “trousers”, “underclothes” and “wallet” would be fought over tooth and nail by large corporations within their respective industries.
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Some flawed results from Google

When searching for the word “Air” in Google there are so many results that could have come up in the SERPs: Adobe Air software, Nike Air trainers, the French Band, Apple Air laptop, any Airline, a science page on the make-up of our atmosphere.

But no. In second place is the Wikipedia page, not for any of the above, but a disambiguation page for the term “Air”. How can this page, which is ultimately full of links to other Wikipedia pages, is short of real content, and presumably not linked to by external authoritative sites, be the second best possible result for this huge search? This is where there are ultimately flaws in Google’s offering of Wikipedia content.

Google Loves Wikipedia – But Why?

So is Google being lazy? Does it feel that at least one result needs to be there, is that an unwritten law within the algorithm? However, after reading this article about SEO bad for the Internet, it got me thinking, that if there was one place taken up in every search by Wikipedia, then that would mean there is one less place in the Top Ten for possible PPC paying corporations. Just a thought, not a fact.

The ones that got away

There are so few that were not on Page One that I can list them here:

  • Mail
  • news
  • trainers
  • national
  • sweets
  • wardrobe
  • phone
  • flight

All these words are obviously highly competitive or incorporate the word within major corporations and services (for example National).

Feedback

We will be re-doing this research again soon using our own SEO software. We will be using different random noun generators too (maybe even human generated ones). But if anyone has any questions about the methodology or recommendations please leave a comment.

The Full List of 1,000 searches and their positions in Google

Word Position Word Position Word Position Word Position
Aries 1 Illegal 1 Tiger 1 Result 2
Aardvark 1 Insect 1 Timbale 1 review 2
abigail 1 Instrument 1 Timpani 1 Rhinoceros 2
Acrylic 1 Interest 1 Tire 1 Ricardo 2
Actor 1 Invention 1 Titanium 1 Ring 2
Adapter 1 Island 1 Toe 1 Rowboat 2
Addition 1 Israel 1 Toenail 1 Sagittarius 2
Agave 1 Jacket 1 Tortoise 1 Salesman 2
Agreement 1 Jam 1 Town 1 scarf 2
Alley 1 James 1 Tray 1 Second 2
Alloy 1 Japanese 1 Treatment 1 Secure 2
Almanac 1 Jaw 1 Trial 1 Seed 2
almond 1 Jewel 1 Trombone 1 Session 2
aluminium 1 Join 1 trousers 1 Shade 2
Amy 1 jug 1 Trowel 1 Sidewalk 2
Andy 1 June 1 Trumpet 1 Signature 2
Anger 1 Jute 1 Tuba 1 Sister 2
Angora 1 Kamikaze 1 Turkey 1 Snowflake 2
Ankle 1 Kenya 1 Twine 1 Snowstorm 2
Antarctica 1 Kevin 1 Ukrainian 1 Soccer 2
Anteater 1 Kilometer 1 Underclothes 1 soda 2
Apology 1 Kite 1 Unshielded 1 Sort 2
Argument 1 Knife 1 Uzbekistan 1 spray 2
Ashtray 1 Knot 1 Vacation 1 Square 2
Asia 1 Kohlrabi 1 Valley 1 Step-grandmother 2
Asparagus 1 Ladybug 1 Value 1 Step-sister 2
Asphalt 1 larger 1 Van 1 Stinger 2
Attention 1 Laundry 1 Venezuelan 1 Stocking 2
Author 1 Lead 1 Verse 1 store 2
Authority 1 Leather 1 Vicki 1 Suede 2
Baboon 1 Legal 1 Viola 1 Suit 2
Back 1 Limit 1 Vise 1 Swimming 2
bacon 1 Liquid 1 Volcano 1 Swiss 2
Badge 1 Literature 1 Waiter 1 Swordfish 2
Bagel 1 Locust 1 Wallet 1 T-shirt 2
Balance 1 Love 1 wand 1 Tabletop 2
Ball 1 Luis 1 Watchmaker 1 Thailand 2
Bankbook 1 Lumber 1 Weasel 1 Thursday 2
Barge 1 Lunch 1 Weed 1 Triangle 2
Baritone 1 Lute 1 Wheel 1 Truck 2
Battery 1 Lyocell 1 Whiskey 1 video 2
Bee 1 lyra 1 White 1 Vision 2
beer 1 Maid 1 Winter 1 wales 2
Beetle 1 Male 1 Withdrawal 1 Wash 2
Begonia 1 Manager 1 Woman 1 Weight 2
Bengal 1 Maraca 1 Wood 1 Whistle 2
Berry 1 Marble 1 wooden 1 Window 2
Bibliography 1 Marimba 1 Worm 1 Window 2
Bird 1 Mass 1 Wound 1 Wing 2
Birth 1 Mattock 1 Wrench 1 wipe 2
biscuit 1 Mayonnaise 1 Wrinkle 1 zebra 2
blimp 1 Meal 1 Xylophone 1 Acoustic 3
blouse 1 Meeting 1 Yacht 1 Alibi 3
Blowgun 1 Melody 1 Yak 1 Apparel 3
Bomber 1 Mercury 1 Year 1 Apple 3
Bonsai 1 Message 1 yoga 1 Bag 3
border 1 Metal 1 yogurt 1 Bakery 3
Bottle 1 Methane 1 Yoke 1 Bank 3
bottle 1 Mexican 1 Zoology 1 Bath 3
Bread 1 Mexico 1 Account 2 bench 3
Breath 1 Michael 1 Air 2 Burn 3
bridge 1 michelle 1 Airplane 2 Century 3
Broccoli 1 Middle 1 Alcohol 2 Chain 3
Broker 1 milk 1 Animal 2 Channel 3
Bronze 1 Millimeter 1 Ant 2 Chill 3
Buffet 1 Millisecond 1 Appliance 2 Cord 3
Bugle 1 Mini-skirt 1 Approval 2 Dan 3
Bulb 1 Minister 1 Aquarius 2 debt 3
Burma 1 Missile 1 Arch 2 Direction 3
Butcher 1 Monday 1 Area 2 Discovery 3
Butter 1 moon 1 Armadillo 2 Dish 3
C-clamp 1 Morning 1 Army 2 Downtown 3
Cabbage 1 Morocco 1 Arrow 2 draw 3
Calf 1 Mosque 1 Athlete 2 Dugout 3
Can 1 mountain 1 Atm 2 Equipment 3
Canadian 1 muffin 1 Attic 2 event 3
can 1 nelson 1 australia 2 Find 3
candle 1 Neon 1 Australian 2 Fireman 3
canoe 1 Niece 1 Avenue 2 Fireplace 3
Cardboard 1 Nitrogen 1 Banker 2 Freeze 3
carrot 1 North america 1 Bar 2 Game 3
Cart 1 North korea 1 Beat 2 Garage 3
Cat 1 Nose 1 Beauty 2 Gate 3
Cattle 1 November 1 Bench 2 Government 3
Cauliflower 1 Numeric 1 Birthday 2 Grenade 3
Ceiling 1 Oboe 1 Blizzard 2 Hammer 3
Celery 1 Observation 1 blog 2 Hockey 3
Celsius 1 Odometer 1 Blow 2 Innocent 3
Ceramic 1 Offer 1 Bobcat 2 Interactive 3
Cereal 1 Operation 1 Bongo 2 Jennifer 3
ceylon 1 Organic 1 Boy 2 Joseph 3
chalk 1 Organisation 1 Britney 2 Knickers 3
Chauffeur 1 Ounce 1 Cabinet 2 Look 3
Cheetah 1 Output 1 Cactus 2 magnet 3
Cherry 1 Oven 1 Call 2 Maple 3
Chicken 1 Oxygen 1 Capricorn 2 microwave 3
Chef 1 Package 1 career 2 Motion 3
Child 1 Pancake 1 Carnation 2 Nerve 3
chilli 1 Pansy 1 Carol 2 Norwegian 3
Chin 1 Parallelogram 1 Caspar 2 orange 3
China 1 Parent 1 Cast 2 Pair 3
Christmas 1 Parentheses 1 Cathedral 2 Parrot 3
Cicada 1 paris 1 Caution 2 Peak 3
client 1 Part 1 Celeste 2 perfume 3
Cockroach 1 Particle 1 Chance 2 Polo 3
coffee 1 Passbook 1 Character 2 Powder 3
Coil 1 pastor 1 Chard 2 queen 3
coil 1 Patch 1 Charles 2 Quill 3
Cold 1 Pediatrician 1 Chive 2 Raft 3
College 1 Peen 1 Chocolate 2 Railway 3
Colombia 1 Period 1 Circle 2 Ryan 3
Colon 1 Peru 1 Cod 2 Science 3
colour 1 photographer 1 Colony 2 Screen 3
Comb 1 pipe 1 Color 2 Shell 3
Committee 1 Pisces 1 Cook 2 Shoe 3
Competition 1 Plant 1 Cost 2 Shorts 3
Composition 1 Plantation 1 Couch 2 Show 3
Computer 1 Plastic 1 cream 2 Sparrow 3
Congo 1 Plot 1 cream 2 Spoon 3
Consonant 1 Poison 1 Creek 2 Spot 3
copper 1 Poland 1 Crocus 2 Spring 3
copier 1 Policeman 1 cromwell 2 Stage 3
Copyright 1 Polish 1 Cuban 2 Stem 3
Cough 1 Polyester 1 Current 2 Taxi 3
Crab 1 Porch 1 curry 2 Team 3
Crack 1 Porcupine 1 Curve 2 Test 3
Cristiano 1 Porter 1 daimond 2 Thistle 3
cupboard 1 Potato 1 David 2 Tile 3
Curler 1 Pound 1 Department 2 tripod 3
Cushion 1 Power 1 Deposit 2 Velvet 3
Custard 1 Prepared 1 Destruction 2 walker 3
Cymbal 1 Print 1 Detail 2 western 3
Dancer 1 Prison 1 Development 2 whisky 3
Dead 1 Produce 1 Diamond 2 Wilderness 3
Death 1 project 1 Diaphragm 2 Wish 3
Deborah 1 Propane 1 Difference 2 Witness 3
December 1 Pumpkin 1 Digger 2 Wonder 3
Decimal 1 Pvc 1 Digital 2 Word 3
Deodorant 1 Pyjama 1 Dinner 2 Advice 4
Description 1 Quart 1 Doubt 2 base 4
Desert 1 Quarter 1 Dream 2 Beam 4
Dessert 1 Quartz 1 Drop 2 Bedroom 4
device 1 Quicksand 1 Dungeon 2 Ben 4
Dimple 1 Rabbi 1 East 2 Bite 4
Distributor 1 Rabbi 1 Education 2 boots 4
dog 1 Rabbit 1 Elbow 2 bus 4
Dolphin 1 Radish 1 Elephant 2 Cap 4
Donald 1 Rain 1 Elizabeth 2 Car 4
Double 1 Rainbow 1 End 2 channel 4
dragon 1 Rat 1 Engine 2 Close 4
Drake 1 ratchet 1 Environment 2 core 4
Drawbridge 1 Ravioli 1 Ex-husband 2 Cover 4
drawer 1 Receipt 1 Farmer 2 Creator 4
Dredger 1 Rectangle 1 Feast 2 Cycle 4
Dressing 1 Regret 1 Feeling 2 Dad 4
Drink 1 Report 1 festival 2 Ease 4
Driver 1 Rest 1 Flame 2 Fact 4
Drug 1 Retailer 1 Flock 2 Forest 4
Ear 1 Reward 1 Flower 2 Ghost 4
economy 1 Rhythm 1 Fly 2 Hallway 4
Eel 1 Rice 1 Fold 2 hammer 4
eight 1 road 1 food 2 Health 4
Ellipse 1 Robyn 1 Footnote 2 Icon 4
Employer 1 Rocket 1 Freckle 2 kestrel 4
Engineer 1 Rod 1 Freya 2 laptop 4
envelope 1 Romania 1 Friction 2 leon 4
Error 1 Rose 1 Friday 2 Mailbox 4
Ethiopia 1 Rule 1 Frog 2 Name 4
Exclamation 1 Russia 1 Frost 2 Open 4
Existence 1 Sail 1 Gander 2 Phil 4
extension 1 Sailor 1 Gazelle 2 Plasterboard 4
Eyelash 1 Salary 1 Gearshift 2 Police 4
Fahrenheit 1 Sampan 1 Giraffe 2 Postbox 4
Fairies 1 Sand 1 glass 2 Quit 4
Fang 1 sandwich 1 globe 2 Reading 4
Father-in-law 1 sauce 1 Glue 2 record 4
Feather 1 sausage 1 Goggles 2 Request 4
February 1 Saxophone 1 Gong 2 School 4
Felony 1 Scale 1 Good-bye 2 Seashore 4
Female 1 Scarecrow 1 Gore-tex 2 Street 4
Fertilizer 1 Scent 1 Grade 2 string 4
Fiber 1 Scorpio 1 Graphic 2 Theory 4
Fiberglass 1 scotch 1 greek 2 Transport 4
Fiction 1 Screwdriver 1 Grey 2 Walk 4
Fir 1 Seagull 1 Gum 2 Warm 4
fish 1 Seal 1 Handle 2 Watch 4
Fisherman 1 Servant 1 Hardhat 2 wine 4
Flesh 1 Shadow 1 Hayley 2 wire 4
flip-flop 1 Shark 1 Head 2 Act 5
Flute 1 sheep 1 Heart 2 Answer 5
Force 1 Shoemaker 1 Helicopter 2 Baker 5
Forgery 1 Shoulder 1 Hip 2 Card 5
Fork 1 Shrine 1 History 2 case 5
Fortnight 1 Siamese 1 Hobbies 2 Caterpillar 5
Fowl 1 Side 1 Hood 2 Decrease 5
Foxglove 1 Skin 1 Hovercraft 2 Driving 5
Freighter 1 Slipper 1 Hydrant 2 Exchange 5
fruit 1 slipper 1 Icicle 2 Exhaust 5
garlic 1 Slope 1 Index 2 Font 5
garnish 1 Smell 1 Inventory 2 frame 5
Gasoline 1 Snowboarding 1 Jason 2 Gym 5
gastronomy 1 socket 1 Joke 2 Jet 5
Gauge 1 Soil 1 Judo 2 Jonny 5
Geology 1 Soprano 1 Jumbo 2 Map 5
Geranium 1 South africa 1 jumper 2 monitor 5
German 1 Soybean 1 Key 2 Passenger 5
Girdle 1 spaghetti 1 Kick 2 tube 5
Gladiolus 1 Spain 1 klaxon 2 Cinema 6
glaze 1 Spear 1 ladel 2 Dryer 6
gloves 1 Sphere 1 Lan 2 football 6
Goal 1 Sphynx 1 Link 2 Fragrance 6
Goa 1 Spruce 1 Lion 2 hills 6
goat 1 Squirrel 1 Lipstick 2 jeans 6
Goose 1 state 1 Lisa 2 Loan 6
grape 1 Statement 1 Loss 2 Matt 6
Grass 1 Step-daughter 1 Margin 2 Music 6
Grasshopper 1 Step-mother 1 Mark 2 Paint 6
Gray 1 Stew 1 Market 2 Poppy 6
greek 1 Stock 1 Mechanic 2 Radiator 6
Group 1 Stomach 1 meteor 2 radiator 6
Guilty 1 Stopsign 1 Milkshake 2 station 6
Guitar 1 stream 1 Mind 2 tap 6
Gun 1 Sudan 1 Minibus 2 Tights 6
Gymnast 1 Summer 1 Moat 2 View 6
Hair 1 Sundial 1 Mother 2 zoo 6
Haircut 1 Sunflower 1 Nail 2 Babies 7
Half-sister 1 Support 1 Node 2 Bed 7
Hall 1 Surfboard 1 Octave 2 Burst 7
ham 1 Surname 1 Octopus 2 Calendar 7
Hamburger 1 Sushi 1 Olive 2 Delivery 7
Hard hat 1 Sweater 1 Outrigger 2 Frame 7
harp 1 Swing 1 Owner 2 Freezer 7
Harry 1 Sycamore 1 Ox 2 Insulation 7
Hawk 1 Syrup 1 page 2 Rail 7
Helen 1 Syrup 1 Pail 2 tablecloth 7
Helium 1 System 1 Panda 2 Tent 7
Helmet 1 Tachometer 1 Paperback 2 Baby 9
Hemp 1 Tail 1 Parade 2 coach 9
Heron 1 Tailor 1 Pear 2 hamper 9
Herring 1 Tandoori 1 pencil 2 Replace 9
Himalayan 1 Tank 1 Peony 2 sideboard 9
Hole 1 Taurus 1 Person 2 timer 9
Holly 1 Tea 1 Person 2 Mail 11
Horse 1 Television 1 Ping 2 News 13
Hose 1 temperature 1 Popcorn 2 trainers 13
Humidity 1 Tempo 1 Pot 2 National 14
Hyacinth 1 thigh 1 Printer 2 Sweets 14
Hygienic 1 Thing 1 Puma 2 wardrobe 14
ice-age 1 Thumb 1 Question 2 Phone 18
Ikebana 1 Thunderstorm 1 Quotation 2 Flight 22

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