The Deflation of Wikipedia


You might have heard that Google is sending Wikipedia less traffic these days. This was probably put to you in unnecessarily explosive terms. "There's been a MASSIVE drop in traffic to Wikipedia!" or "Wikipedia is dying, man!"

Well, the first part is true - according to Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia is experiencing "a long-term issue with decreasing traffic from Google." So think of it like trickling water through a hole in a bucket.

Besides the above SEL article, here are some more technical comments from Wales's talk page that might interest you. The report Wales references below is, I believe, this post from SimilarWeb with the alarming headline "Is Wikipedia Being Hit By a Google Penalty?"

Jimmy Wales wrote:
My understanding is that the Foundation is looking into this report with preliminary indications that it is wrong. The headline in particular is almost certainly wrong: "Wikipedia suddenly lost a massive amount of traffic from Google". We know there is a longterm issue with decreasing traffic from Google but this article makes it seem like something new and "sudden" and "massive" has happened. It is also false that "Wikipedia thrives on clicks", as least as compared to ad-revenue driven sites. The relationship between "clicks" and the things we care about: community health and encyclopedia quality is not nothing, but it's not as direct as some think.

After Wales commented on his talk page, the original author of the SimilarWeb post made an update post, which you can find here.