If you haven’t been following along, this is all about quick tips to improve your marketing. Haven’t seen this yet? I explained it here. Today… Might not be so quick. But that said, this might be one of the best things you can do for yourself to fuel your marketing efforts. It’ll only take you an hour or so, even if it took me a bit longer to write.
What is Wikidata?
According to the site itself, Wikidata is a free, collaborative, multilingual, secondary database, collecting structured data to provide support for Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, the other wikis of the Wikimedia movement, and to anyone in the world.
- The data in Wikidata is published under the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication 1.0, allowing the reuse of the data in many different scenarios. You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the data, even for commercial purposes, without asking for permission.
- Data is entered and maintained by Wikidata editors, who decide on the rules of content creation and management. Automated bots also enter data into Wikidata.
- Editing, consuming, browsing, and reusing the data is fully multilingual. Data entered in any language is immediately available in all other languages. Editing in any language is possible and encouraged.
- A secondary database.Wikidata records not just statements, but also their sources, and connections to other databases. This reflects the diversity of knowledge available and supports the notion of verifiability.
- Collecting structured data.Imposing a high degree of structured organization allows for easy reuse of data by Wikimedia projects and third parties, and enables computers to process and “understand” it.
- Support for Wikimedia wikis.Wikidata assists Wikipedia with more easily maintainable information boxes and links to other languages, thus reducing editing workload while improving quality. Updates in one language are made available to all other languages.
- Anyone in the world.Anyone can use Wikidata for any number of different ways by using its application programming interface.
Answering the Question: How do Data Points Connect?
It’s a collection of terms that includes a label, description, statements, and identifiers. Sound confusing? Think of it like this. If you could distill something down to the most robotic of descriptors, that’s Wikidata.
There is no embellishment in Wikidata—the goal is to show robots how data points connect. Your job is to be as boring as possible.
For example, my goal on Wikidata is to communicate Modern Marketing Partners as a Marketing Agency in Naperville, Illinois. In turn, I want “Marketing Agency in Naperville, Illinois” to be associated with Modern Marketing Partners.
Why Wikidata Matters to Your Marketing Efforts
Like any marketing effort in the modern age, a healthy portion of your job it to make sure Google likes you. Well, guess what? Same goes for using Wikidata.
The Knowledge Panel/Knowledge Graph
Do you remember Google Hummingbird? Designed around “semantic search” long before the rise of voice search, the Google Hummingbird update was built around the Knowledge Graph. If you were like me, you thought it was pretty novel to compare apples to oranges on Google, but the bigger picture was much deeper.
This was something that affected billions of searches each day, helped Google determine context behind a search, and deliver relevant information. Think of it this way: You probably don’t think twice about saying “Ok Google, what’s the weather today?” in today’s search landscape. That just wasn’t a thing in 2013.
How Do Wikidata and the Knowledge Panel Work Together?
So what does all this have to do with Wikidata? Google’s goal is to provide the most accurate information, and in turn has to get information from a variety of sources.
If someone is searching for a company, Google relies on multiple sources including the structured data and schema you put on your own site, your Google My Business Profile, your social profiles, and trustworthy sources (Crunchbase, Wikipedia, Yelp, and Wikidata to name a few).
Of course, Wikipedia is the gold standard, but for many small businesses, it’s nearly impossible to have enough newsworthy and credible background information to be listed.
However, with Wikidata, the barrier isn’t “appearing in the Paper of Record,” or “having a profile created by a Wikipedia superuser” it’s a much more reasonable “being remotely newsworthy.”
Getting Information Added to Wikidata
So now that you know what it is and why it matters, here’s a primer on how to get started. Again, before you get started, I can’t emphasize that you need to be boring when doing this.
Editors on any Wikimedia entity are extremely touchy and have some of the most incredible BS detectors in existence. You will get called for conflict of interest and have your IP address tracked and banned. Less is more here.
For the following, I will be discussing the absolute basics on how to create an organization/company. Ideally, you don’t stop there.
Create Your Account and Get Settled In
If you haven’t contributed to the Wikimedia Commons before, first step is to create an account. From here, I highly recommend going through Wikidata Tours, which explain the core concepts of this—Items, statements, and references, as well as some additional in-depth concepts like adding coordinates, images, and more.
Search/Create New Item
Before getting all excited and clicking “create new item” on the left bar, make sure nothing appears in search. If you’re looking at your own company, just type it in. Does it appear? Great. Not there? Create a new item.
Gain Some Inspiration/Benchmark
You’re more than welcome to dig through the list of Properties on Wikidata, select the ones most relevant to you, and get to work.
Or? You can take the easy way:
- Find a couple major players whose profiles already exist. This will give you a framework for creating a profile.
- Do you have a lot of creative works? Are you looking to communicate subsidiaries? Try using The Walt Disney Company
- Do you manufacture or produce products? In fact, after creating a company, you ideally want to create instances of each product you manufacture.
- Are you a services firm? Take a look at something like Deloitte
- Search for your competition or for other nearby businesses. I literally started with a nearby movie theatre to see how some of this pops up.
Start with the Basics
Here, I will use Modern Marketing Partners as an example. You can follow along on our Wikidata entry:
The Core Information
|Label (name of item)||Modern Marketing Partners||Use your exact organization name.|
|Description||marketing agency in Naperville, Illinois, United States||Basic descriptor. [business type] in [city] [state], [country]|
|Also known as||N/A||You can add alternative business names. For example, adding Inc, LLC, etc.|
In addition to this, you can add name and description in other languages.
This is where you have a bit of flexibility.
Instance of: Your company is a [x]
What is your company? Break it down here, and also think of the Google My Business category implications. The best way is to search something remotely similar to your business until you find something. For more information on the technical background of this, see how it works here.
- Top Level Examples: Organization, Business
- Descriptive Examples: Advertising Agency
Industry: Your company works in [x]
For example, Tesla is in industry: “Automotive Industry”
Inception: Your company was founded in [Year]
Note: Be sure to follow their formatting guidelines.
Location Details: Your Company is Located in
Go down the following list:
- Headquarters Location
- Coordinate Location
- Street Address
Add the entire phone number using format: +1-xxx-xxx-xxxx.
Add reference “Retrieved” and add date.
Website Pages: Official Website, Described at URL
For statement “official website” and “described at URL,” copy and paste your company’s official website and about page, respectively.
- Add qualifier: the language(s) of the website.
- Add Reference: Additionally, I recommend adding a reference to this section. Click + Add Reference, Archive URL. Find your website on web.archive.org and paste an archived version of your site in this section.
There are dozens or hundreds of additional things you can use to build out your profile:
- Founded by (requires you to also create items for each founder)
- Images (requires you to upload images to Wikimedia)
- product or material produced (use industry leaders for advice on this).
In addition to statements, you can add identifiers. These are often related links to your site and help do reinforce the data of your Wikidata entry. Here are a few I like to add:
- Crunchbase organization ID: all text that comes after /organization/
- Facebook ID: anything that comes after .com/
- Foursquare Venue ID: anything that comes after /v/ on your Foursquare venue.
- Instagram username: username without an @
- LinkedIn Company ID: Anything appearing after /company/
- Twitter Username: Add your username and add qualifier “Twitter user numeric ID”
- YouTube Channel: anything that comes after /channel/
- SIC Code
- Yelp ID: Anything after /biz/
This is by no means comprehensive or exhaustive, and you are welcome to build out your profile as you see fit. These are just the major things to add.
Stay Tuned for Quicker Tips
I had promised quick tips. I guess I lied. But oh well. This is one of the most underrated things that marketers can do to improve their SEO initiatives and broaden out their Knowledge Panel on Google. The next tip will be quicker, because sitting in a dark basement until 9 PM isn’t good for my health.
Stay tuned for that by following @ModMktgPartners on Twitter.
Learn even more about the technical side of SEO from our articles on Schema:
- Schema 101—Because Who Doesn’t Love Structure in Their Lives?
- Google Hummingbird: SEO Questions and Answers
- Local SEO for Contractors – Part 1