How to get a Wikipedia article: Start with notability

The single most important factor for getting a Wikipedia article is notability.

This article is required reading for anyone who is thinking about obtaining a Wikipedia article about themselves, their company, or for any other reason.

  • Anyone can create a Wikipedia article, but it may only last for a very short time before being deleted.
  • The biggest reason a newly created article on Wikipedia is deleted is due to a lack of notability of the subject.
  • Notability for the subject of a Wikipedia article is proven by its references.
  • References are the links at the bottom of a Wikipedia article that lead to third-party references about the subject of the article.
  • Without notable third-party references, a new Wikipedia article will likely not survive. Here is how to make a Wikipedia article that doesn't get deleted.

Who can create a Wikipedia article

You can create a Wikipedia article, although creating your own article is very much frowned upon by Wikipedia. If you are an individual who wants her or his own article, the ideal way to do it is to become notable and then let it naturally happen. But many people and businesses are not quite well-known enough for it to happen on its own. In that case, the business or person often wants to create their own article. 

When someone creates their own article, they are often caught. They're caught because the content of the new article is self-promotional, their IP address or behavior is suspicious, or they simply don't have the references needed to successfully get a article that lasts. When that happens, a Wikipedia editor will most often simply delete the article. 

It is difficult to get a Wikipedia article again once it's been deleted one or more times. The original author of the article will have their IP address noted, and that person may have even been banned as a "sock-puppet". The subject will have been essentially flagged, and any new attempts to create another Wikipedia article will often be challenged strenuously. 

It is very important to create a new Wikipedia article right the first time

Notable references are important

The key to successful creation of a new Wikipedia article is for the subject to be notable. How does one prove notability? Notability is proven when expert, trusted third-party publishers create online content about the subject.

Having just one article is not nearly enough to prove notability. The subject has Wikipedia notability when there are multiple third-party articles, research papers, or other prominent publications about it online.

For example, a Washington Post article about a subject is usually considered notable, whereas a press release about the same subject is not considered notable.

Why a press release isn't considered notable

A press release isn't considered notable as a Wikipedia article reference because the subject of the prospective Wikipedia article can control the press release. A press release, or similar content that can be controlled by the subject, is considered a "primary source."

Think about it; a press release is essentially self-promotion. Anyone can have a press release created. It is considered "owned" content, whereas a Wikipedia reference needs to be "earned" content. W

Why prominent publisher references are notable

Using the example above, the Washington Post is a well-known, well-regarded, and highly-cited publication. To have a Washington Post journalist write about a person or a company would mean that the company is notable.

Testing for Wikipedia notability

If a subject of the new Wikipedia article does have notability, a Wikipedia article can often be created. Once an entity (person, brand, business, plant, rock, etc.) qualifies by having enough notability, the next step is to create the article. 

There are (at least) four things to consider when creating a Wikipedia article. 

Why Wikipedia articles are removed

Every day, Wikipedia takes down about 1,000 articles. The articles are removed by either people or specialized bots. Fun fact: The bots have fun names like ClueBot NG and Huggle. 

But why do Wikipedia articles get removed so often? Because editors make mistakes, mainly around notability requirements or spamming. Sometimes Wikipedia articles are removed because an editor just thought it should be gone, and no one objected. This often happens to articles that were created some time ago but was overlooked. As Wikipedia guidelines evolve, articles may succumb to deletion. 

1. Is the subject notable enough for Wikipedia inclusion?

At its core, Wikipedia strives for reliability. Are there articles written about your brand or about you? A Wikipedia article about a person requires the person to be notable. Many people and brands believe they are notable but aren't (Tip: you can take a quick notability test to get a rough idea).

Does a simple mention count as a Wikipedia reference?

No. An article where the subject is just mentioned or quoted is not usually good enough to merit inclusion as a reference. Articles about the subject need to be *about* the subject as the main angle of the article (or another type of content).

The ideal type of online content to be used when creating a Wikipedia article could be something like an interview, a biography, a scientific paper, or an article by a reasonably well-regarded author. In other words, a blog contributor on a little-known blog does not count. In fact, a contributor as an author is far less likely to be accepted when compared to a staff writer. 

Here are two "rule of thumb" guidelines:

  • Is your brand name (or your name) in the article's title?
  • Is the article on a site many, if not most, people have heard of?

Wikipedia states it this way:

If a topic has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject, it is presumed to be suitable for a stand-alone article or list.

Certain subjects within Wikipedia have particular guidelines called subject-specific notability guidelines

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2. Are there numerous well-known references online?

The quality of good citations is essential for reference-able Wikipedia content, and so is quantity.

It takes more than one reference to make a Wikipedia article. Far more. For example, a biography of a living person requires web references for most, if not all, facts presented. Wikipedia editors are very picky about this. 

For example, a statement like: "John Smith is the CEO of Acme Roadrunner food and was born in Ventura, California on July 5th, 1964." would ideally require one or two solid and verifiable references about the facts contained in the sentence.

Acceptable references could be public birth records on a government website or an article about John Smith in a well-known and respected publication.


An example of this would be Elon Musk's Wikipedia article, which has numerous references. At least one of the references is to, a well-known tech publication (see an image of his citations above).

Primary vs. reliable Wikipedia sources

What is a primary Wikipedia source?

According to Wikipedia, a primary source is original content that is close to an event and is often an account written by people who are directly involved with the subject. Primary sources cannot be used for new Wikipedia articles (usually). A self-published website the subject is not acceptable as a reference (more examples of bad Wikipedia references here). 

You cannot generally use your own website as a Wikipedia reference

Examples of a primary source would be the subject's website, a press release by the subject, proxy statements, patents, etc. 

What is a reliable Wikipedia source?

A reliable Wikipedia source is a third-party, published source with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. These are usually considered "secondary sources".

Examples of reliable Wikipedia sources include reasonably well-known and reliable news sites, video news interviews, government databases, and similar publications. Scholarly articles have value, but articles that cite scholarly articles are often better.

Is Wikipedia a reliable source for Wikipedia?

No. Wikipedia itself states that Wikipedia is not a reliable source. Wikipedia states the following:

"Wikipedia is not a reliable source for citations elsewhere on Wikipedia. Because it can be edited by anyone at any time, any information it contains at a particular time could be vandalism, a work in progress, or just plain wrong.".

3. Ideally, the references themselves have a Wikipedia article

Ideally, each site used as a reference will also have its own Wikipedia article. For example, the New York Times has its own Wikipedia article. Therefore it is probably a notable reference. 

When working to get a Wikipedia article, do all references need to have their own Wikipedia articles? No. But it's a good idea to do so, especially when a article is new.

Why? When a publication used as a reference already has its own Wikipedia article, editors are more likely to see that reference as reliable.

Remember that a mere mention of the brand being referenced on a publication with its own Wikipedia article isn't enough – the referenced article must still be "about" the subject and not just be a passing mention.

A publication with its own Wikipedia article is generally trusted, but not always. Take Fox News, for example. In August of 2020, Wikipedia stopped calling Fox News a reliable source. To quote Wired:

...a panel of Wikipedia administrators in July declared that Fox News would no longer be considered “generally reliable” in its reporting on politics and science, and in those areas “should be used with caution to verify contentious claims.

Still, in most cases, the existence of a Wikipedia article for a publication means it can be considered reliable and would therefore make a good reference. New call-to-action

4. What are bad Wikipedia sources?

When creating a new Wikipedia article, weak or "bad" reference sources should be avoided. Certain types of publications are considered non-reliable. Bad Wikipedia references include the following:

  • Self-published material like the subject's own website (this is common)
  • Fox News (considered "marginally reliable")
  • Nearly all sites that rely on user-generated content
  • Tabloid journalism
  • Amazon reviews
  • Reddit (anyone can post on Reddit)
  • (and most blogging sites)
  • International Business Times
  • IMDB
  • WikiLeaks (sometimes)
  • ResearchGate
  • Occupy Democrats
  • Quora
  • PR Newswire

For a more exhaustive list with explanations, check out this article

Should you create your own Wikipedia article?

Self-written articles seem to have an odor

Wikipedia rules say that you should not create your own Wikipedia article. Doing so would be considered a conflict of interest. From a practical standpoint, it's difficult to write your own Wikipedia article anyway because, let's face it, it is hard to be objective about oneself. Self-written articles seem to have a certain odor to them that professional Wikipedia editors can easily sense. 

articles removed for conflict of interest are tough to revive

If you write your own Wikipedia article, and it gets taken down, it is very difficult to get a new article - even if you do it right the second time. Why? Because it will be suspect, and so will its author(s).

Creating Wikipedia articles can be a bit like a metaphorical knife fight. The person or persons who take a Wikipedia article down will almost certainly be watching to see if someone tries to put the article back up again in the future. So even if you are concerned about false information in an existing article, think twice before editing it yourself.

Learn more about Wikipedia related topics here.

Wikipedia FAQs

Am I eligible for a Wikipedia article?

There are four things to consider when determining Wikipedia eligibility. Are you not able? Are there numerous references to you online? Do the references themselves have a Wikipedia article? Are the references from notable sources? If the answer to these questions is no, then you probably aren't eligible for a Wikipedia article.

Can I make a Wikipedia article about myself?

You can, but you shouldn't. Wikipedia rules say that you should not create your own Wikipedia article. Doing so would be a conflict of interest. If you decide to write one anyway, and it gets taken down, it is very difficult to get a new article because your name will be flagged.

Why does Wikipedia remove articles?

Every day Wikipedia editors and bots take down about 1,000 articles. They are removing articles that are not well sourced, are biased, or are promotional in nature.

Further reading

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