What do search engines like so much, about Wikipedia?

I've been to many picthes and client meetings of late, where I've been asked what it is that wikipedia is doing that has them ranking everywhere, and why does Google like them so much. So seeing as I'd repeated myself so much, I thought I'd share it with everyone here on the blog.

The one dissapointing thing, is that I dont have any startling revelations to reveal. No secrets to spill, dirt to dig up or overlooked master strokes to that you can all go out and easily replicate.

Its got some damn fine strcutring yes, but what it boils down to is, that its just a high quality interest magnet, and attracts links from the community it serves.

Firstly each page of wikipedia is linked in to on a very powerful and link rich domain (wikipedia itself), and is very much a trusted authorty site, so pages immediately benefit from having link rich powerful parents, which donate some of their link popualrity or pagerank (for wnat of a better word) via some navigational link to the page somewhere on the site. Lets call this a parental recommendations. It's web nepotism for SEO.

Then, in addiiton, because essentially each page of wikipedia provides a huge focal point for members of the relevant community and those seeking info on a topic, it also attracts links from the community it serves, who cite it in their link lists, blogs, tags, posts etc. We'll call these direct recommendations.

If that wasn't enough, many such wikipedia pages like the above, already fat with parental love and many direct recommendations, all then ink to one another through keyword relevant text links thus donating some of their directly received authority down a contextual chain that reinforces the end pages relevancy and authority even higher

So basically, your average topcial wikipedia page has got:
a) Heaps of great rich relevant content,
b) Parental recommendation from navigation within the Wikipedia domain (and we're talking rich parents),
c) Heaps of direct recommendations from other relevant on topic sites,
d) Direct recommendations once removed, from other peer pages on wikipedia that are similalry affluent.

I mean if rich parents set up their kids to succeed, and they do really well on their own and build their own reputaton, and then get references from others who have done the same, why wouldn't you expect the kids to succeed. This is the case with Wikipedia pages.

At the end of the day though...whilst the structure maybe there, if it isn't great compelling content in that structure, no one would have linked to any part of wikipedia in the first place,and it wouldn't rank anywhere near as well as it does. So copying the strucutre is not a guarantee of success, and won't cause Google to like to you.

I guess the moral here is that great content and proposition creates massive link power, which when channelled into a well engineered structure can breed great success. But no links, means no rank, and no links comes from no interest. So to come full circle....Google doesn't like Wikipedia...you liked wikipedia...and Google likes what you like.

Comments welcome. Especially if there i something seceret which i missed :-)

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