07/31/08
Knol-velty? Google Knol: Knols have goals…

Google Knol…but what are they? On 23rd July, the long awaited Google Knol was made available to everyone, but as Landingnet has discovered, there’s been a mixed reception.

Google Knol is yet another addition to the Internet’s vast array of content depositories, such as About.com, Squidoo, Yahoo Answers and the infamous Wikipedia, but many web commentators are concerned that Google Knol will conflict with the search engine giant’s other interests.

GoogleGoogle Knol’s affect on SEO

One concern is whether the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages) will favour Google hosted content through Knols, giving priority over non-Google web content. Google have categorically stated that this will not be the case, and that it already hosts content through tools such as YouTube and Blogger, which remain equally competitive amongst the millions of web-pages available on the Internet. But, if there are SEO advantages to be had by authoring content on Google Knol, it could send shockwaves through the search engine marketing world.

Google Knol and duplicated content

However, Aaron Wall from SEO book has found that by virtually duplicating one of his SEO guides into a Google Knol, the Knol now ranks higher in Google’s SERPS than the original guide elsewhere. Quite what the Internet marketing community should make of all this at this early stage is unclear, but it is certainly something that we’ll be watching closely over the coming months.

Google state that the purpose of Knol and the Knols (a unit of information) it contains are to generate content by providing a place for ‘authors’ to publish their knowledge. Unlike other online content tools, Knols can be published and remain ‘owned’ by the author. The author in turn can allow the level of editing that others can make to their Knol.

This way, Google believes that Knols will provide authority to every article and subject site.

Is Wikipedia left with Knol-where to go?

174px Wikipedia word Knol velty? Google Knol: Knols have goals...Others however, especially Wikipedia supporters, believe that the whole Knol exercise is a cynical move by Google to compete with its online user content generated encyclopedia.

Google again deny that this is the case, and have stated that Google Knol will compliment Wikipedia, which it recognises as a good resource. With Wikipedia having received some bad press in recent months due to the sometimes spurious accuracy of its content, the last thing the giant online encyclopedia needs is an aggressive competitor.

Knol-velty?

The most probable outcome however, is that Google Knol will become an accepted addition to the online community and will be used to its full advantage by businesses and aspiring professors alike, to showcase their services and knowledge. However, like everything that has user content generation as its founding principle, everyone should take special care before taking anything that’s written as gospel!