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Search Engines Driving Visitors to Wikipedia

Nielsen Online announced that four out of the five top referring Web sites to Wikipedia -- which has grown nearly 8,000 percent over the last five years -- are search engines, led by Google.

In April, 61 percent of visitors from home and 66 percent of visitors from work to en.wikipedia.org were referred from Google. Yahoo! Search was the second most common referring site to English-language Wikipedia, referring 19 percent and 16 percent of visitors from home and work, respectively.

Other search providers to make the top five referring destinations for Wikipedia were MSN/Windows Live Search and AOL Search.

"Search providers dominate Wikipedia's referring traffic because of its scope and value as an information resource," said Michael Pond, media analyst, Nielsen Online.

"The site's rapid ascent, with audience levels comparable to popular brands such as eBay and MySpace, demonstrates the success of its collaborative nature -- readers can edit entries and add information. This consumer involvement has led to an increase in blog mentions of Wikipedia, which builds the site's relevance and credibility."

In the past five years, Web traffic to Wikipedia has skyrocketed, increasing nearly 8,000 percent from April 2003 to April 2008. Year-over-year growth rates indicate surges where Wikipedia gained traction in the online marketplace.

"Wikipedia content is inherently conversational, driving buzz in the blogosphere," continued Pond. "Bloggers refer to and link to Wikipedia content, potentially driving additional traffic and interest in the site with their readers."

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