Forgotten Google Knol can still be used to boost SEO


Google Knol is several years old and easy to ignore, but it can still have an effect on SEO. Image: Flickr / geekadelphia / CC-BY

*Update from the Google Blog, November 23, 2011: “Knol will work as usual until April 30, 2012, and you can download your knols to a file and/or migrate them to From May 1 through October 1, 2012, knols will no longer be viewable, but can be downloaded and exported. After that time, Knol content will no longer be accessible.”

The Google Knol publishing and sharing platform was launched in July of 2008. There have been rumors that Google Knol has been abandoned, but the product does still exist. It’s easy to focus on the latest and greatest social network or product, but even services living on the Island of Misfit Google Products can have an effect on your SEO.

The basics of Google Knol

Google Knol was originally created as a Wikipedia-like system. The articles published on Knol are each attributed to an individual author, but moderated collaboration is allowed. The Knol (which Google says means “unit of knowlege”) setup allows each article to include pictures, videos, text, links, references, spreadsheets, forms and just about any other type of media. The intention is that a Knol article provides authoritative information on just about any topic.

The SEO impact of Knol

It has been theorized time and time again that Knol may have some kind of benefit or advantage in Google rankings. The official word from Google is that, no, Knol does not have a specific ranking advantage. The reality is that Knol articles may not specifically have a Google advantage, but they do have the built-in advantage of being a Google product. This means that the articles are indexed more completely and more often, so Knol articles are more likely to be ranked more highly and more quickly because they are noticed sooner and on a domain with a higher Page Rank and more authority.

All links on Google Knol are no follow links, so Page Rank will not flow from Knol.

Making use of Knol

There are some important things to keep in mind when using Knol. Knol is a Google-hosted service for high-quality, in-depth content — the type the Google Panda updates have been trying to focus on. You can post anything on Google Knol, and a well-written, keyword-based article that provides unique information and insights can definitely help drive traffic and page views. Just like posting an extensive blog post or e-book, you should take the time to post Knol articles that contain unique information or points of view. You should also be aware of duplicate content. Duplicating currently available information on a Knol article can help your ranking, but it may drop the ranking of your original article.

More reading

SearchEngineLand (2008)
SearchEngineWatch (2011)
Practical E-Commerce
Matt Cutts (2009)

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