To Knol Or Not To Knol? That Is The Question..

If you don’t about K.nol yet then it’s time to get with it.

Ask Google what a knol is (define: knol in your Google search bar) and Google tells you: “Knol is a project planned by Google for user-generated articles on topics ranging from “scientific concepts, to medical information, from …

– and as you can see it draws it’s information from Wikipedia.

Apparently, Knol was announced in December 2007 and was opened in beta to the public on July 23 just 6 days ago, with a few hundred articles mostly in the health and medical field.

The Google view seems to be that it wants to build a source of knowledge as an alternative to Wikipedia. Wikipedia has it’s own problems as anyone can edit the content much to the annoyance of many politicians who find their life stories being adulterated by their enemies. But it has built up a phenomenal reputation and body of knowledge. So to compete Google is going to have to pull all the stops out if it is to achieve comparable recognition.

In contrast to the peer review editing of Wikipedia, a Knol, the word Google has invented to describe their nuggets of knowledge (my phrase!) can only be edited by the author and should therefore maintain it’s integrity.

But there lies the rub. What is to prevent people publishing rubbish? The wiki concept, in its pure form, applies peer review to content so that it is constantly improved. It’s a shame that some people just can’t stop themselves being vandals and corrupting the information

Since Knol opened its doors there has been a storm of comment and no little criticism particularly in the SEO community. Why? Because there appears to be little difference between a knol and and article when used for promotional purposes in that if you are first to get an article/knol published in your subject area then Google is going to rank it and you are going to get recognition.

So the real question is whether Google was going to allow the ranking to develop naturally and according to it’s normal algorithm or whether it was going to give it’s latest baby something of a boost.

The evidence so far seems to be that Google is boosting knols up the search engine rankings above existing content. Evidence for this has been supplied by Aaron Wall, a highly respected SEO operator in a post at

So it looks like there is going to be lots of argument probably for months to come as Google works to either justify it’s approach or to modify it’s algorithm so that it’s own product is downgraded. Hardly likely, is it?

From the average marketers point of view there is only one thing to do. If writing up your content and calling it a knol rather than an article is going to get you high search engine rankings then get to it. Get your knol machine in gear and start writing knols.


Bruce is an Internet Business Consultant working with successful business owners to improve their online marketing efforts and ensure they achieve a return on investment. You can find his business site over at

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