Wikipedia has decided to block all of its content from users for the next 24 hours to make a statement to Congress, but at what cost? Is it really worth Wikipedia taking a chance at being penalized by Google or do they know something that we don’t? (they do.)
Any good SEO will tell you that if you cloak content on a page, Google will not only “slap” you, but furthermore, your site is in jeopardy of not fully recovering all of its rankings even after you fix the cloaking issue.
It appears, however, that not only will Wikipedia not be penalized, but Google feels the same way Wikipedia does — and even supports Wikipedia’s cause (because it will have a direct negative impact on Google’s own business as well).
The bottom line: this Wikipedia situation is yet another example of Google playing favorites and accommodating certain websites (aka its “white-list”). I challenge people to do a test the same exact way as Wikipedia did for 24 hours and see what happens to their rankings and traffic. We all know what will happen to us, and we all know it won’t happen to Wikipedia.
Update: Google is accommodating Wikipedia to help support their cause…doesn’t that mean that they are manually favoring websites?