How to beat Wikipedia at Search Engine Optimization

Recently I tried to watch all 23 James Bond movies in chronological order. But I soon discovered this is the cinematic equivalent of eating 23 Cinnabons in a row.

Eventually you just start begging for reality to kick in, and so I’ve put my plans on hold after the first seven.

(So far, “Diamonds are Forever” is my favorite.)

I also realized that reading the Wikipedia write-up for each Bond movie was almost as entertaining as watching the movies, and a heck of a lot shorter too.

Speaking of Wikipedia, you’ve probably noticed that a Wikipedia result comes up for about 90% of the phrases you search for on Google.

And as I’ve explained in the past, here’s why:

Google rewards websites that have a LOT of text (over 1000 words per entry) and very few ads or banners on the page.

Plus, Wikipedia gets high rankings from all the one-way links sent back to it combined with all the inter-linking it does to other Wikipedia pages on each post.

Those are some basics you need to do on your website as well.

That’s how you compete with – and even beat – Wikipedia, as Nicky Parsons, search engine guru and intellectual property thief, showed me.

She told me how my friend Jason Ferruggia created a 2594 word blog post on bodyweight exercises that is now ranking higher than the Wikipedia entry for bodyweight exercises.

That’s an incredible accomplishment and proves that a really long piece of quality content that can take the #1 sport for a very competitive keyword in the fitness niche.

Jay started going after this keyword on October 10th and at the time his page had 31 backlinks and ranked #34 for the keyword, “bodyweight exercises”.

Now just 2 1/2 months later, the post has steadily climbed up until today finally passing Wikipedia and taking #1 (and it now has between 400-800 backlinks thanks to some SEO work by Nicky).

Here’s the post (and another backlink for Jay)

Google is giving this major rankings for the high word count, and the post has 20 different bodyweight exercise keywords which Google can see has a lot of relevance.  

The Wikipedia page just has links to all of these different exercises but Jason actually writes about each one.

The guys from Shapeshifter with their Bodyweight Coach site are now down to #3 and Wikipedia at #2 while Jason has taken the top spot with less backlinks than everyone else.

The other recent factor or change was he had his site redesigned and he made sure his major keywords were linked from his homepage.

In mid December his new design went live and with the homepage link from a sidebar widget his ranking climbed from #6 to #1.

That one simple change, of having his major keywords linked to from his homepage made a huge impact on his rankings.

So I asked Nicky for the bottom line on how to get your blog posts ranked really high in Google and here’s what she said:

1) Write really long quality posts with a ton of relevant content on the page

2) Get more one-way backlinks

3) Set up your blog so your major keywords are linked to from the homepage (use a category set-up in the navigation bar like  you see on Jay’s homepage or on my site at

That’s it. A pretty simple formula.

I mean, it has to be simple if Jay can follow it..and succeed with it.

If he can do it, you can too,

Craig Ballantyne

“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.” Vincent T. Lombardi