Google Traffic to Wikipedia is Definitely on the Skids
It Started With a ‘Gradual Decline’
News of Wikipedia’s dropping traffic broke last week on Similarblog, an affiliate and web marketing site.
According to their initial report, organic traffic from Google to Wikipedia had fallen a massive 40% over the past six months. In just the past three months along Wikipedia has seen 250 million fewer visitors than it had seen by this time last year.
The decline was so significant that some SEO watchers thought the site had been hit by a Panda penalty of some kind. But that wasn’t the case at all.
As it turns out, Wikipedia officials are well aware of their declining Google traffic and really aren’t all that concerned about the loss.
Wikipedia Doesn’t Need Google
In a statement to the press, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said that casual end-users get what they need from Wikipedia from Knowledge Graph snippets, while hardcore Wikipedia users go directly to the pages they want saying:
… many folks just want date of birth, death, and a celebrity overview – rather than the generally hard-to-read, massive articles which all-too-often dominate Wikipedia… Expect Google-driven traffic to go down substantially more in future.
That’s a pretty englightened view towards SEO but it makes a lot of sense. Wikipedia’s core audience is so in tune with the site that they get exactly what they want from internal searches or heading directly to the page they want. Casual users get what they need from Google and follow up with a click to a page if they want more information.
All told, it looks like Wikipedia is one of the few web sites that can actually turn a massive drop in traffic into a positive thing.