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Google Knol: The First Impressions

Perhaps you read my last post introducing Google Knol. I went ahead and created a bio page in Knol, and wrote a post on using commas correctly. You can follow this link to reach this article. Here, I will share my thoughts on Knol more deeply.

My Knol Profile
My Knol Profile

Knol Interface

There is not much to speak about the interface of Knol. It's just like any other Google page—simple, streamlined, and friendly, no clutter or advertisements. The page loads faster, with some featured Knols on the front page. It's still in Beta stage; we can expect many new features and modifications in the coming days.

I didn't find much trouble navigating through the home page. It, however, could be made more beautiful. The font size and background color were not appealing to me, but it's very simple; so damn simple!

However, it seems that Google gave out the project during test period only to doctors. There are only health-related articles on the front page. Many of the search terms still dont have content on them (I searched for 'American History' and found no results whatever). It seems that Google carefully avoided any newly created Knol from the Knol search to enable better user experience. Who knows how many spam Knols are already there? Even my Knol on using commas is not searchable.

Log in, Write, and Publish Your Bio

Once you log in, you can post your own Knols. The intuitive editor will guide you through the process. Make sure you save the content on the way, and once done with your editing, you can close the Knol. You may publish it or keep it in the dark through Knol management.

Google Knol Editor
Knol Editor

You have a small Knol management widget on the right, as shown in the screenshot, with options to publish the Knol, set the moderation desired, and choose a Creative Commons License.

Knol Management Widget
Knol Publication Management

Write your bio; each writer on Knol has one, written by himself, and associated to any Knol he writes. You can place link to your website or blog within this bio (but we will see if this link is valuable as a backlink or not).

Name Verification

A name verification step is available in Knol, letting Google double-check if you are who you claim to be. See the screenshot for this. This is just a cursory step that ensures Google that you are a real individual that goes by the name you claim. It is not yet known if the verified individuals get preference or not, and now this is available only to the US citizens.

Knol Name Verification
Knol Name Verification

Two methods are available for name verification. You can verify your name with your phone number, by inputting a specified PIN when Knol calls your number. Alternatively, you can verify using your credit card and billing address.

Adsense Revenue Share

You can get paid from the content you create on your Knol. This is through Adsense revenue sharing program. In all Knols created by you, Google shows ads, and you can get a cut from the revenue from these ads. If you don't have an Adsense account, sign up here for free (Let me know if you have doubts). In Knol, enable revenue share for your Knols by choosing your Adsense ID. The screenshot for this is below. To choose the Adsense ID, you have to set the email address with which you signed up in Adsense and either the last digits of your phone number or your Zip code.

Knol Adsense Revenue Share
Knol Adsense

Knol Search

Currently, as I said, the Knols are not searchable from the Knol home page. You can get results for already featured Knols only.

Create a Knol yourself, log out of Knol, and then search for the keyword for your Knol. You will not see your Knol listed as a result. But if you are logged in, you can search and get your Knol as result.

To search for the appropriate Knol, you have to use Google search instead. Some of the Knols, as they are updated in search index will be available as the result. Use this search term for the purpose:
"Keyword". (No space after the colon).

Robots Tag on Knol Fighting Backlink Spam

There is a Robots tag on each Knol page that helps search bots index and rank them. This tag is as follows:

<meta name=robots content="index, nofollow">

You can see this robots tag on the head section of the page, when you view its source. See the nofollow attribute? It's a trick that Google plays. None of the links within the Knol page will be followed and indexed by search bots. But due to the index attribute, the whole Knol page will be indexed.

This way, Google can keep an eye on the backlink spamming through Knol. Any new Knoller that creates some loose content, only for the sake of a backlink to his website will not get any link advantage. The Knol backlink, however, will appear to be legitimate backlink.

So, no. Backlinks from a Google Knol is not worthy, just as backlinks from Wikipedia.

Moderation of Your Knols

You can set the moderation (editing and adding content) policy of your Knols. By default, it is Collaborative Moderation, which ensures that none of your Knols gets modified without your knowing it. You can either close the moderation entirely or allow Open Moderation, in which case the Knol is like a Wikipedia article that can be edited by anyone.

You can see that I have enabled Collaborative Moderation for my article.

Tips for Best Results from Your Knol

When you create your Knols, it is best to be elaborate about your topic. If you are an expert on the topic, your Knol will be read by people and will get attention from many users. Here are some tips to follow...

1.Try to avoid mistakes as much as possible. This goes without saying.

2. Put intuitive titles for your Knols. You may even do a keyword research before creating your Knol titles. The Knols are indexed by search engines and will be ranked high for relatedsearch terms. So, you may get much traffic to your Knols, thereby clicks on your ads.

3. Dont ignore subtitles, summary, and alternative titles. These are the places to put any change of keyword, or related keywords. They will also contribute to the search a lot.

4. Place relevant links on the top of your content. If you have any relevant link to the article, make sure to place it as high as possible. Even make it bold. None of these links are followed and weighted by search engines, but the people reading the Knol will visit them and appreciate. So, make sure the links are prominent. You can even place affiliate links or links to your Amazon product page for any related products. Take advantage of this feature.

5. Your Bio: Have your best shot on your bio, with an attractive description. If you are an authority yourself, then construct your Bio with every bit of achievement you have had. Knol is primarily a content site and the readers are looking for content by authorities.

6. Pictures: Knol has a full-fledged editor. You can upload pictures and show them on your Knols. Use this feature to your advantage. A Knol with one or two pictures looks very authentic.

7. Comments: People reading your Knol can easily drop a line or two through the comment section. Respond immediately to any comment, and if you receive criticism, make necessary change to the Knol. Improve your Knol as you get more suggestions.

8. Collaborative Moderation vs. Open Moderation: When you have only one or two Knols under your belt, open your moderation. This will help knowledgeable readers to add any good content to your Knol. People love Knols that have open moderation policy. So, open your Knol on the first few days. When it receives many edits and additions, it will become a great Knol. Now, you can close the moderation. Make sure to keep a backup of each reedit.

9. Keep an eye on your open-moderated Knol: There are crooks that will place spam content in open Knols, and may edit out necessary links or replace them with their affiliate links. So, keep an eye on any open Knol you have, and allow only good additions.

10. Give link weight to your Knol: It's best to link out to your appropriate Knols from your blogs and websites. This will make your site look like an authority itself, as well as rank the particular Knol high in search. You can get income stream from both ends.

Follow these tips and get the best out of your Knols.


Make sure you add and allow your Google Adsense account through Knol. Thats how you are paid from the content you write. Most importantly, keep posting your comments on your Knols here. All the best Knolling!

Copyright © Lenin Nair 2008


  1. Wow google Knol can be a boon for every good writer indeed like me. Thanks so much for sharing each and everything about Knol. I am bookmarking this page and here it is:

  2. Hi Bluetooth, thanks for the comment and the save.



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