Dienstag, 8. Juli 2014

How to give a face to your entities? Earn SEO profit with making Wikimedia Commons to your media hosting!

We already know, how to become an entity - create a Freebase topic. But this is a common issue that add image to Freebase topic is no longer possible. Our goals regarding semantic SEO and our images are however:
create new image at wikimedia commons
  • the ability to provide semantic informations about our images,
  • a possibility to share images with belonging semantic informations
  • embedding of semantically described images into web documents as images utilizing ImageObject class from Schema.org and, last but not least,
  • to host these images with belonging semantic informations on an authoritative source.
All these tasks can be accomplished using Wikimedia Commons, a free media repository of the Wikimedia Foundation. I divide this article about using of Wikimedia Commons into 2 sections:
  • How to upload to Wikimedia Commons (things like register, login, create user page, select and/or find out matching license, upload and describe image or other media file)
  • How to cite Wikimedia Commons (using on websites, embedding into semantic markup)
All outgoing links from any Wiki page are nofollow! So don't expect link juice from them. Your benefits lie elsewhere.

How to upload to Wikimedia Commons

create account at Wikimedia commons
Create account at Wikimedia Commons
1. Go to the Wikimedia Commons main page

2. On the top right of the page click "Create account"

3. After creating account click "Log in" on the top right of the page

4. After logging in click on the top right on the red-colored link with your nickname. You get a screen with a message about not-existence of the user page and a link for creating one. Click it and create your user page. You may use a wiki markup and insert any information like links etc.

how to publish to wikimedia commons
What can i upload to Wikimedia Commons?
Click to enlarge
5. Now you begin to make you ready to create your media entity;) Read about possible ownerships of uploaded media, think and decide about the license for file you plan to upload - it's better to be clear about license before you begin to upload. A good tool for license research is Flinfo: after you add an image's URL, it queries a nunch of image databases, including Flickr, Panoramio, Picasa and the like
It is better for you and for your projects you optimize to publish meaningful media. It is worthless for all, started with you, to publish navigational arrows or Windows sounds or the like. The best case is to publish self-made things.
Assumed you have now an image you want to upload to Wikimedia Commons and you are clear about the publishing license. No rush!

6. You have another one thing to think about before uploading: about advanced image optimization - EXIF data matters. As Google does, Wikimedia Commons understands EXIF data too, so inspect your image about existing EXIF data and, when necessary, update them with current and meaningful.

Good, now let's start the action:

upload wizard of wikimedia commons
Upload wizard of Wikimedia Commons
7. In the link column, under "Participate", click "Upload file" - you get an uploading wizard screen.
With this wizard i have had no luck - my upload process stumbled with Firefox and Chrome. If you get problems too, so use instead the old upload form (link to it directly below the page title of the upload wizard page: "Back to the old form").
  • The first wizard's tab is for selecting the file to upload.
  • On the second tab you select the release rights for the file.
  • The third tab is for adding information about the file. There can be added a real bunch of data about your image:
publish image to wikimedia commons
Tab 3 of Wikimedia Commons upload wizard:
adding informations screen
  • Title: this will serve as both of the filename and page title of the Wikimedia page of this file. So select this title carefully, using plane language with spaces.
  • Description (must be longer as 5 characters): it is possible to add descriptions language-dependent, for each language a description. Select in drop-down the language version, the add the description text, then click "add description in another language" and repeat the action.
  • Date: the current date and time are already filed in. If you want change it, just do it.
  • Categories: while adding category you get a suggestion, but you aren't forced to add only suggested category. More then on category are possible.
  • Then comes link for "add location and more information" - click on it and you will be able to add geodata (latitude / longitude) and additional information into a textarea.
  • The fourth tab of the upload wizard is already the using and sharing infotab: there are 2 links for the sharing of the uploaded image: first URL contains a wiki markup, and the second - a regular URL for embedding.
Actually is the uploading and description of an image to the Wikimedia Commons finished. But i have a nice little hint for you, how to add an extra information piece to your image.

describe image at wikimedia commons
Click on the button to add
an extra information to your image
8. On the top right click the link "Uploads". There you see a list of your uploaded files.

9. Click on the file name and you get your image's Wikimedia page. Here you see below your image a button "Add a note".

10. Click on it and you will be able to select a rectangle area on the image.

11. Directly after selecting you get a textarea: add any information with wiki markup into it, what means you can add links and so on.

Strictly speaking that is it with publishing of media to Wikimedia Commons. The image is uploaded, all available kinds of descriptions are added and published. If you want to delete your uploaded media file, so go from "Uploads" to the page dedicated to the file you want to delete. Then click on the link "edit" near the Summary and add to the opened editor textarea a wiki markup statement {{speedydelete|1=specify a reason}}. Then save the template change and the file will be deleted shortly.

The question, which remains after getting uploading and description done, is: how can we utilize an image at Wikimedia Commons for the SEO purposes?

SEO utilizing of media hosted at Wikimedia Commons: how to and why

It is well known, all Wikimedia projects are trusted sources for both of search engines and humans. Specially Google uses Wikimedia projects to populate its Knowledge Graph with trusted and semantically enriched data. If so, the goal should be, to make commented media data to the part of the Wikimedia Commons and thus make it available for including into new kinds of SERP, like Knowledge Graph, its image carousel, One Box. Beside of this chaining of our other semantic entities with a media hosted at Wikimedia Commons would increase our entities trust.

What kind of media data can we publish to Wikimedia Commons and which benefits exactly would we get from each kind?

Gaining trust with entity chaining

One possible kind of media are our own digital assets like our photo and website logo. After publishing and proper description of such images to Wikimedia Commons they become usable as Schema.org's ImageObject class on any website, where we publish information about us, contact data, where we cite from our website and so on. Do you still remember: image uploaded to Wikimedia Commons contains EXIF data and image description at Wikimedia Commons contains geodata. The approach, which brings profit, is using of media hosted at Wikimedia Commons as a part of a set of semantic data, using primarily Schema.org markup. Your mission's objective should be: to use in the set of the semantic data the more the better such trusted sources like Freebase, Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons. The more of your entities you chain in the same set, the higher trust it gets.

Gaining SEO with Wikimedia Commons as trusted image hosting

The other kind of utilizing Wikimedia Commons for SEO purposes depends only from your laziness. Well, which another images do you have on your websites? Navigation arrows, list bullets, icons, backgrounds and the like - nobody interested. Anything else? Correctly: there are your daily blog images, product images from your online shop, infographics and other daily illustrative stuff.

My weird hint: upload the more the better of your daily images to Wikimedia Commons, describe them properly and embed them into your websites from Wikimedia Commons with a remote img src URL. If you are smart and use advanced load time optimizing techniques, so upload to Wikimedia Commons even your image sprites;)

We are talking about media mostly / mainly created from you, so there is no issue with proper referencing of license informations. Some technical info: hotlinking is allowed, on each image page exists a link to the full resolution version, which starts with upload.wikimedia.org. Use this link for embedding.

In other words, use Wikimedia Commons as a media hosting - folks from Wikimedia will be just delighted about you! Why should you? What SEO benefits will bring such usage? I see the coming future and can pretty exactly predict it: one of the started projects at Google summer of code 2014 is extracting of Wikimedia Commons data, merging it into DBpedia and further mapping to Wikipedia. Google's special interests are media metadata and media descriptions in as many languages as possible. Google will get as more as possible data from Wikimedia Commons and populate with it Knowledge Graph, its image carousel and Wikipedia infoboxes (OneBox on SERP). To formulate the SEO profit from using of Wikimedia Commons as media hosting in short: if your media becomes entity and interrelates with your other entities, your whole set of entities gets more trust and more potential to appear and rank in new kinds of SERP.

The last but not least thought about why use Wikimedia Commons as media hosting: if you contemplate about your page loading times and measured it with tools like YSlow, you surely know an advice about using of CDN and why use it. I haven't ever measure loading times of any Wikimedia server, but i tend to guess, that any of Wikimedia server would deliver your media times faster as any shared hosting or V- or even dedicated server. The Wikimedia server architecture is geographically dispersed, load-balanced and cached, so it does serves as powerful CDN for your media. Get more to know about Wikimedia servers and architecture - they run really mighty stuff.

Establishing relation between you and your media hosted at Wikimedia Commons

Doing so, however, it's important to send signals, that you as the owner / publisher of the media file from Wikimedia Commons and you as the site's author / publisher, where the media file from Wikimedia Commons is embedded are the same person / entity. The best way to ensure it is to use on the site a set of semantic markup, which puts your entities together. In general i strongly don't recommend to use any media from Wikimedia Commons, if the used media file doesn't belongs to you and you can't establish a solid semantically substantial entity's relation of you and the media file. Otherwise, if your media file is used from somebody in the kind of embedding from Wikimedia Commons, so you get pure profit from it.

How to react on vandalism or legit file changes from Wikimedia Commons user

The issue you must keep in mind and be ready to react, is vandalism, changing or "improving" of your media through other Wikimedia Commons user. Wikimedia Commons doesn't allow media hosting with nonderivative copyright options, those which don't allow changes to the image or other media file. In the case if your image is changed by somebody, the change affects directly your website, where this image is embedded. The only thing how you can react, is to get immediately a notification about change and to work against, with changing the image path to a locally hosted image, or with creating a new Wikimedia Commons upload of the needed version of your image. It is useless to try to revert the change.

Nothing is easier as to be instantly notified about your file changes. There are two ways to be up-to-date about your file's health: with e-mail notification and with RSS-feed:

E-Mail notification about any third-part file changes

how to be notified with email about file change at Wikimedia Commons
  • On the file's detail page on the top right press on the star in the tab between "History" and "More" and add the file to your watchlist.
  • Then go to "Preferences" on the top right and on the bottom of the first tab "User profile" check the checkbox "Email me when a page or file on my watchlist is changed".
That's all.

Notification about any file changes per RSS-feed

rss notification about file change at wikipedia commons
  • After you added your file to the watchlist, as noted above,
  • go to "Preferences", to the tab "Watchlist" and
  • check the checkbox of the next-to-last option "Add pages I create and files I upload to my watchlist",
  • then copy from the bottom of the tab your watchlist token.
  • Insert your watchlist token and user name into the URL https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/api.php?action=feedwatchlist&wlowner=USERNAME&wltoken=TOKEN and add modified URL to your RSS-reader.
That's all about SEO benefits and issues of using Wikimedia Commons as media hosting.
Wikimedia Commons strictly takes care, that published media can be used for educational purposes. So read these rules and follow them, if you don't want your media page at Wikimedia Commons ends up with deletion's cause "Out of project scope: promotional content".