Wikipedia was launched 12 years ago and has become the sixth most popular website in the world. This collaborative online encyclopedia can enhance your firm’s brand and online presence, but it’s not just about advertising or self-promotion. Perhaps you thought a Wikipedia page was only for the really famous folks like Kim Kardashian? Not so! These days, many law firms are staking out their Wikipedia presence. Why? Wikipedia is one of the largest reference websites with 470 million unique visitors per month
WHAT IS A WIKI?
Wikipedia is possibly the most pervasive example of a “wiki.” A wiki is an interactive website that allows visitors to add, remove, edit, and adjust its content. Mass collaborative online authoring via a wiki lets users form content together. In addition to Wikipedia, some of the most well known online wikis are the now infamous Wikileaks, the more broad and pervasive Wikia, and the legal world’s Wex.
Like much of what exists on today’s Internet, lawyers can use wikis for reasons beyond mere self-promotion. Wikis can also be used both externally (publicly available online) and internally (published privately for internal, intrafirm use only). Lawyers can use wikis for law firm processes and procedures, to keep law firm history, and to provide forms.
Wikis are largely free, and are often built on open source software. While most lawyers use wikis as consumers of information online, their applicability to the future of online personas intrigues many.
SHOULD YOU CREATE A LAW FIRM OR LAWYER WIKIPEDIA PAGE?
|Wikipedia is perceived to be impartial and accurate, both by readers and by Google.||You have no control over the content, anyone can edit it, and that includes people with bad things to say.|
|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.|
|The more often you edit the page, the more likely Wikipedia will be to block you from editing your own page.|
|If you keep your wiki page up to date, searchers seeking information on your firm will find impartial and accurate information about your firm.||Wikipedia bans “Conflict of Interest” (COI) editing. If your page is deemed purely promotional and biased it can be flagged on the site or taken down completely. You can read more about that here.|
STEPS TO CREATING YOUR OWN LAWYER WIKIPEDIA PAGE
Since Wikipedia requires so much third-party credibility for its pages, the way you should build your law firm page is by identifying the firm’s media mentions, awards, and independent media coverage, and then writing the page around those notable citations. Press releases, your own website, and links to online items supplied by your firm don’t count as verifiable sources. Use of this kind of information will either prevent your page from being published or get it classified poorly.
- Register for an account by choosing a username and password
- Practice makes perfect – edit and contribute to existing articles to get a feel for wiki writing and using Wikipedia.
- Search Wikipedia to make sure there is not already a page mentioning you or your firm
- Gather references (real ones, not your own website or other self-published sources) – “Articles should be based on reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy.”
- Create your first article in your own user space and only make it live once it is ready. It is also good practice to have an unbiased reader edit your article to confirm that the content is neutral and informative, not promotional or an advertisement per Wikipedia’s article guidelines.