As reported in Search Engine Journal, in an attempt to eliminate spamming to Wikipedia, effective immediately all outbound links from the internet giant will have the “nofollow” tag appended. The “nofollow” tag was introduced a while back for webmasters to tell the major search engines to ignore the specific link. When Google sees this tag, the outbound link is passed by as if it were regular text.
What does this mean for site owners? If you have links pointing in from Wikipedia they will be lost, at least in terms of helping with your SEO campaigns. Links come and go all the time, but to lose a Wikipedia link is a big deal as it is a highly regarded site in the eyes of the search engines and its credibility with Google would mean the link would have a significant ranking value. For small sites with few links and good rankings, a loss of a Wikipedia link could have significant impact on rankings.
Internet marketing consultant and blogger Andy Beal is not going to take this sitting down and has launched a campaign in an attempt to reduce Wikipedia’s Page Rank down to zero. He suggests that to dispute the decision that all webmasters who have links directed at Wikipedia append the “nofollow” tag themselves to give Wikipedia a taste of their own medicine. Beal does go on to mention that his site does not have any incoming links from Wikipedia and that this campaign is based entirely on principle.
Wikipedia was made popular due to the vast numbers of incoming links it has gained over the years and if enough linking webmasters adding the “nofollow” tag it would certainly cause it to ultimately drop. Currently Wikipedia’s English home page has more than 1.5 million incoming links noted by Google. It would take an incredible feat to have their popularity decline as a result of “nofollow” tags, but it is still within the realm of possibility.