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Wikibombing is a neologism that describes the appearance that an editor may be using search engine optimization (SEO) techniques in order to maximize the search engine results ranking of any topic or topics covered in Wikipedia. The term is a reference to the well-established practice of Google bombing.
The following actions may create the appearance of promotion, both within the Wikipedia community and elsewhere. Such actions, undertaken unilaterally and without discussion on an appropriate talkpage, may leave the community unsure of your motivations:
- Providing excessively detailed coverage of a topic, such as a commercial product, politician, or religious leader. This may be done by citing and linking dozens of trivial references, rather than a representative sample of major coverage.
- Creating multiple navigation templates or portals that link to an article, and adding these to multiple unrelated articles.
- Submitting multiple related articles for inclusion on Wikipedia's main page (e.g., in the "Did you know ...", "Today's featured article", or "Selected anniversaries" areas).
- Inserting prose into articles which is inflammatory or false (or conversely, prose which gives undue praise towards a subject).
What can be done to avoid wikibombing?
Editors are advised to avoid boldly adding material which could be perceived as promotional. Before adding material that could fall under this criterion (see above), editors are encouraged to seek broad input from talk pages, noticeboards, relevant WikiProjects, or (in the case of DYK nominations) the DYK talk page, to determine the boundary between legitimate coverage and promotion.
Dealing with a wikibomb attempt
When encountering the apparent promotion of a topic by another editor or editors, it is important to assume good faith. It's natural to want to link to articles that you've been working hard on, and editors may fall into the trap of promotion without realizing it. None of the actions listed above proves that the editor has a conflict of interest, or is editing for political or commercial reasons; these behaviors are often part of normal editing and in fact are sometimes encouraged. Editors who behave as described above often have no intention of boosting search rankings and may be unaware that they are doing so.
"Coverage" vs. perpetuation
Creating or expanding articles, linking them with templates, and nominating them for DYK are standard Wikipedia practices. In the case of noted SEO attempts, Google bombs, or other political controversies—in which coverage of the SEO attempt might be confused with its perpetuation—these practices require caution to avoid the appearance of promotion.
Since the goal of Wikipedia is to be a widely-used encyclopedic resource, high page rankings and page rank boosting edits are not to be avoided per se. Wikipedia would hardly be fulfilling its project mandates if its pages couldn't be found easily, that is to say near the top of any relevant list of search results. It is when Wikipedia and/or its relevant article becomes a part of the very story being covered that more vigorous pruning may be warranted. Please refer to the applicable policies[which?] for further details.
- Wikipedia:Citation overkill
- WP:DYK#Selection_criteria ("Articles and hooks that focus unduly on negative aspects of living individuals or promote one side of an ongoing dispute should be avoided.")
- WP:Overlink crisis
- WP:Paid editing
- WP:Search engine optimization
- Johnson, Ryan. "Wikipedia spotlight draws about 20,000 to article about Grand Forks", Grand Forks Herald (ND), June 18, 2010. (subscription required)
- Taylor, Mike. "Wikipedia Breathes New Life Into Seminal Scientology Expose", FishbowlNY, March 15, 2010.