Knol SEO

By LEONARD MCGAVIN
Published: July 24, 2008

The SEO of Google Knol has surprised many Web publishers who waited for the platform's arrival. With the product being built up as a Wikipedia killer it has made some interesting choices in gaining search engine traffic to the site.

First off there is a "nofollow" robots meta tag sitting in the source code of each an every Knol. This will put a halt the power of interlinking and one has to wonder why Google has taken this path. It appears it is a quality control measure and will mean that all spammers trying to use Knol will get no bang for their buck when trying to create link farms.

Secondly, no permalinks? This just seems weird. Changing the title of a Knol changes the standard URL where it can be found. Also any change whatsoever to a Knol will add a revision number to the end of the URL. The has two major impacts. It's impossible (at this stage at least) to have a link that will always go the latest version of your Knol AND all revision can be seen hence there is high chance much of your work will be duplicated which should reduce the potency of your published work.

Another interesting thing to point out is that each Knol sits in the path of it's owner's name. Also each Knol has a URL path of five directories deep. That seems excessive but shouldn't cause too many problems.

Everything else seems to be in order and it's nice to see a lot of divs being used in Google's code for once. They've also done well to keep their meaningful content close to the top of the text in their source code.

When it comes to SEO we know Google knows (knols?) what it's talking about. They have taken some strange measures but it's all very interesting to see and it gives the impression Google's not trying to kill Wikipedia, it's just offering a new service that might even be useful. All the site needs now is some content and a hell of a lot of external links pointed straight to it!

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