What’s Wrong With Wikipedia in Google Results?

There is a joke circulating about Google’s longstanding “I’m Feeling Lucky” button being replaced by “Wikipedia Results” because results of many search queries contain a link to a Wikipedia article within the first page.

This thought could have been coined by folks who think this is somewhat a bad precedent. After all, Wikipedia is getting the benefit from the efforts of volunteer writers who provide the contents. Google’s apparent emphasis on authoritativeness of a page through link popularity clearly made the difference. Since Wikipedia is not charging its readers and empowering them to edit article contents made the site more popular than Microsoft Encarta and getting some love from everyone (the link to Encarta is even points a Wikipedia page).


The talk has intensified when Wikipedia broke into the top ten most popular sites in the web. and who wouldn’t be if s/he has a huge backing from the most popular search engine? Google has powered more downstream traffic (166%) compared to last year, according to Hitwise’s LeeAnn Prescott:

Last week Wikipedia was the #3 website in Google’s downstream, after Google Image Search and MySpace.

So what’s wrong with this trend? I see nothing as far as I am concerned. As a searcher, I often end up visiting Wikipedia not just because it’s ranked on the top but because I can find what I am looking for. As a webmaster, my site probably couldn’t keep up with the comprehensiveness of what Wikipedia brings to the table so it would be easier to concede rankings. Why rank higher if in the end visitors are easily giving you up for a more informative piece of web page albeit some questionable sources.

Why do we need to suggest a name change even if it is not meant to be literally understood?