Link building using Wikipedia is a great idea but it’s really hard to do; the good news is, there’s a new way to build wiki-style links. Wikipedia has spawned a crop of smaller wiki sites (wikihost, wikizoho, wikispaces, etc.;) if you creating enough of these wikis with original, high quality content, you can start to link them to each other and back to your website. This is a new link building strategy that I call building a WikiWheel.
The difficult part about building a WikiWheel is finding the best wiki pages to use. Some have “nofollow” tags on embedded links, while others don’t. A lot of them are primitive, with poor user interface designs and application bugs that present a major obstacle for users. Then there’s the devil that lurks on some wiki pages: the overbearing, self-righteous mediator who will delete your wiki (and all your hard work) at the slightest inkling that you may be building links or promoting a brand (ahem, wikispot.) With so many potential roadblocks, WikiWheel novices may struggle; this is why I created this list of wikis for all of you link builders, which includes my personal reviews and advice on a slew of wikipages.
Most eligible wiki sites for building a WikiWheel:
My Favorite “Do Follow” Wiki Sites:
Wiki.zoho.com – Wiki.zoho.com is a great wiki site to use. Each user account on wiki.zoho is allotted two wiki pages for free, and it has a WYSIWYG editor (which makes adding content and links easy.) I found that the software was reliable and bug-free; plus, there are comprehensive permissions settings that allow you to restrict who can edit your page, while still allowing the public to view it. Embedded links are indeed followed, so be sure insert a link to your website. Keep in mind when using this wiki that your user name will be used as your URL— so don’t forget to use keywords in your account name when you sign up.
Wikidot – Wikidot is another wiki site where embedded links are followed. Like wiki.zoho, this site lets you choose your wiki site url and has a WYSIWYG editor format. It allows you to add tags so that your wiki may be more easily found by searches according to related keywords of your choice. Permissions let you restrict editing access without restricting viewing access to maximize public visibility. The user interface works but can be a little tricky to maneuver at first; tip: the “edit” button that allows you to add new content is on the bottom of your wiki page; the call to action here is quite subtle.
Pbworks – PBworks is another “do follow” wiki site. It allows you to choose your url and has a WYSIWYG editor. Adding images is slightly more challenging on this wiki, though, because there is no WYSIWYG icon that facilitates it. Permissions options are the same as wikidot and wiki.zoho—great! The user interface design is well done and makes it fast and easy to build a wiki. You can also add tags to categorize your wiki.
Metadot.net – This wiki is a beta version, but I’ve not encountered any problems or bugs when using it. The interface isn’t difficult to maneuver but also isn’t as clear and simple as some of the other wiki sites like PBworks. The WYSIWYG editor allows you to add images via a site URL, so you don’t have to go through downloading and uploading. It’s easy to place pictures to make the page look how you want it to. It also gives you the option of using H1-H6 which yields added SEO power if you use keywords in content headings. Again, this wiki follows embedded links, so be sure to link it to your homepage when you link up your wikiwheel.
My Favorite “NoFollow” Wiki Sites:
Wikispaces – Though this wiki site does not follow embedded links, it’s one of my favorites to use because of its great interface and reliable functionality; it is super-intuitive and user-friendly. Wikispaces auto-saves your work as you add content, lets you pick the site URL, provides a free 30 day trial for each registered account, and has a quick sign up process. It has a WYSIWYG editor, and the permissions let you keep the page public for viewing but locked for edits.
Wetpaint – Wetpaint is completely free to the public, but the permissions settings leaves page edits open to other Wetpaint writers. I love how fast and easy the sign up process is; you can sign in via your twitter, MSN live ID, or Facebook account. The modern interface design features a really simple toolbar for adding content and a great selection of built-in templates to style the appearance of your page. You can create your own URL and import images from anywhere on the web without worrying about copyright issues because it lets you insert the source URL.
Intodit – Intodit dubs itself the “easy wiki,” and it couldn’t be more true; the usability factor is top-notch, right up there alongside Wetpaint. When you select your URL you can use hyphens, which many wikis don’t permit. It allows you to enter tags for wiki pages and pictures, specify H1-H6 headings in the WYSIWYG editor, and insert all different types of media with the click of a button. Sign up is really fast and easy,– it doesn’t even require an email address confirmation. There’s a lock icon that you can select in the content section of your wiki , but I’m not certain if it prevents others from editing it.
Some other “nofollow” wiki sites that get indexed and are visible to everyone on the net are wikia, wikihost (uses its own markup language,) and wiki-site. If you want to find more wiki sites, check out wikimatrix.com, a huge online index of wikis where you can search based on desired features.
Finally, be sure the wiki sites you use to build your wikiwheel always have the following characteristics:
– Choose your own URL, especially with hyphens
– WYSIWYG editor/simple way to add content
– Add a link to the wiki; HTML is permitted if there’s no WYSIWYG editor; at the very least, a simple mark up language to permit easy link insertion.
– Permissions settings, preferably ones that allow you to lock page content so others can’t edit it but everyone can still view it; public visibility is really important
– Tags that let you label the content of the page with key terms are a nice bonus
– Don’t require you to download any application software; wiki page has its own server
This guest blog post is written by Alexandra Stetson; Alex is an online marketing specialist at Fresh Tilled Soil, a Boston SEO company. You can follow her on Twitter for more link building and SEO related tips @marisol1986.