To research this recent phenomena more throughly I decided to try to do a simple random sampling on whole Wikipedia (together with redirects makes it to ~2.7 million titles) and then try to Google, Yahoo and MSN those articles.
So, how likely is it? It turns out that it is very likely actually. You have about 81 % chance to get Wikipedia link in top 10 results.
(pictures follow, so if you don’t see them in your RSS feeds go to my blog page)
Here is a nice pie for Google Wikipedia results count for top 10 results:
and we can do this of course also for other search engines like Yahoo! or MSN. This gives us nice combined trend lines:
But then comes the question, how high do those Wikipedia articles rank? Well it turns out that if you are Yahoo it’s probably #1 result in ~47% of cases and in top 3 in ~76% cases. It’s in top 3 for Google only in ~66% of cases.
If you want to read more about it you can download Full report (PDF, 7 pages) and also check out Appendix that has more pictures and also statistical outputs if you feel like doubting my interpretations or would just like to see more detailed numbers behind it.
Special thanks go to Matej for giving me helpful hints about sampling methodology and professor Hercules Dalianis who approved this subject as my assignment and thus forced me to actually finish it.
Please post any suggestions or comments about this research in comments. If there is enough interest for further analysis I will be extend it with time.