Updated: Dec 31, 2022
Clan and family societies expect that their websites are the primary source of information about their clans and families online – but that is not always the case. Depending on your website search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, your website may not be the first site people see when they search for information about your clan or family.
In fact, based on a review of searches through Google, less than a third (32%) of clan and family societies with websites were returned as the first choice in Search Engine Results Pages, or SERPs. Over two-thirds referred the user to a clan page on Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia resource. In the US, Wikipedia was the most visited website in 2021 with monthly traffic of more than 1.134 billion. (Hardwick, Joshua. 2022, Ahrefs, “Top 100 Most Visited Websites.”) The average age of Wikipedia readers is 36 years old, based internal research conducted in 2021.
Therefore, if you and your society want to attract new members, especially younger members, you need to understand how to use Wikipedia – the top source for information in the world. Not only should your website be the first choice for people searching for information about your clan or family, but you need to ensure that the information on the Wikipedia site is accurate and that the Wikipedia page directs readers to your site.
Search Engine Optimization
The top online search engines are Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, and DuckDuckGo. Google attracts over 80% of the total search market share and almost 95% of mobile traffic. (Forsey, Caroline. 2022. Hubspot, “The Top 6 Search Engines, Ranked by Popularity.”) You can improve your standings by creating “key words” and imbed them into your “metatag” page titles, organize your site hierarchy and employ “bread crumbs” (i.e., a row of internal links that allows visitors to quickly navigate back to a previous section), and encourage clean site navigation (e.g., without “orphans” or pages not linked to other pages.)
You can also improve your website’s search standings by creating good, useful information. Your users will want to link to your pages and create more online “buzz.” The more links to your site from other sites, the higher your search standings. You can boost the links by regularly linking to your website from your social media posts.
Reviewing Related Clan and Family Wikipedia Pages
Even if your website is listed first in a Google search, you should harness the power of Wikipedia to educate and to reach potential new members – especially younger members. Your Wikipedia “clan” page should offer accurate information, reference your website in the footnotes or “References,” include your websites and social media pages n the “External Links” section, and even include relevant graphics and photographs that credit your society.
Of the 361 clans listed in Wikipedia (as of December 2022), 230 have links to the respective clan pages. The clan and family societies that are not currently included in Wikipedia are Clan Baird, Clan Bell, Clan Blackstock, Clan Blair, Brough Family, House of Burnett, Society of Scottish Clarks, Clan Currie, Clan Dunlop/Dunlap, Clan Ewen, Clan Irwin, MacAskill Sept, Clan MacCallum/Malcolm, Clan MacCord, MacDuffee Clan, Clan McAlister, Clan Muirhead, Clan Paisley, Clan Smith, Clan Thom(p)son, and Clan Wardlaw.
Besides checking for accuracy, you should also ensure that the Wikipedia article includes a direct link to your website in the “External Links” section, perhaps references to the content on your website in the “Notes” section, and, ideally, graphics and photographs that credit your website or your members.
Fortunately, most of the clans with both Wikipedia pages and active websites have such a link – about 115. However, over 40 clans do not have such a direct link. These include the societies for the surnames: Abercromby, Agnew, Aiton, Anstruther, Barclay, Bethune, Bissett, Blackadder, Borthwick, Boswell, Boyle, Brough, Bruce, Buchan Cairns, Calder, Campbell of Breadalbane, Campbell of Possil, Carnegie, Cathcart, Charteris, Drummond, Forrester, Galbraith, Gordon, Irvine/Irving, Irwin, Leask, MacAlpine, MacAskill, MacDuffee, Maclaine of Lochbuie, Maclea, McAlister, Muirhead, Paisley, Pringle, Rollo, Skene, Thom(p)son, and Turnbull.
Becoming a Wikipedia User (Wikpedian)
If you would like to edit or add content on the clan page, you will need to create a Wikipedia account. The process is simple enough. You can either click on “Create account” on the top right of each Wikipedia page. Once you have a Wikipedia account, you can create new pages and edit current pages. However, you need to follow the Wikipedia policies and guidelines.
Editing a Current Wikipedia Article
You can edit Wikipedia article either directly editing the “wiki markup language” (wikitext) or through the Wikipedia VisualEditor (VE). VE is useful if you are just getting started with editing and are somewhat familiar with using MS Word or other word processing program.
Creating a New Wikipedia Article
You can create a new page by first searching for a page that you know does not exist. The search will return a page title in red. Click on the link and Wikipedia will open a blank page on which you can create your clan page.
Check your SERP standings in search engines such as Google. Take immediate actions to improve your standings.
Review the information on the Wikipedia “clan” page. Ensure that the information is accurate, your society is refenced, and that links are included to your sites in the “External Links” section.
Create a Wikipedia User Account and edit the page appropriately or create a new page.
Track your results in Google Analytics through the “Acquisition” “Direct Links” results every month.
Monitor your Wikipedia clan page every month to ensure that your edits have not been deleted or over-written.
COSCA Can Help
If you need coaching or if you can’t find anyone in your membership who can edit or create your Wikipedia page, please contact Bart Forbes at COSCA@bforbes.com. He can make minor edits on your behalf. This is offer is available only to current COSCA Organizational Members.
If you are a Delegate or Alternate of a current COSCA Organizational Member, you can find more details and direct links here: https://www.cosca.scot/wikipedia.