Objectives

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Best Practices: Writing Good Knols - Tips for writing popular knols

Google Knol Resharing
Source Knol: Best Practices: Writing Good Knols

by Knol Help, Helping authors since 2008 at Google Mountain View, CA

Overview
A knol is an introductory article about a specific subject. To write a successful knol, focus on the first things a reader would want to know about your topic. Remember that knols are openly available online, so you should aim to write for the broadest possible audience. For example, it’s best to avoid jargon and explain technical terms in straightforward language.

Length
There’s no ideal length for a knol, but as a general rule a good knol will be longer than a typical web page. Because knols are meant for readers who want more detail on a subject, they should be more in-depth than most web content. That said, be concise in your writing. Readers appreciate getting to the point no matter what type of information they’re looking for.

Tone
Knols aren’t blogs, and should avoid the informal conversational style common in blog entries. Use a more formal tone. Think of your knol as a statement more than as an ongoing conversation. A good tone to aim for would be similar to that of a textbook or a pamphlet: clinical and informative.

Dos and Don'ts

Do...

* Voice your opinion

Since knol authors receive attribution, knols are a great forum for expressing your opinions. Present the facts and argue your case. Readers can decide what’s valuable from your writing.

* Think about how to get your readers involved in your topic

Knol offers a simple and powerful way for authors to interact with readers, which we call "moderated collaboration." With moderated collaboration, you no longer have to rely solely on ratings and long strings of reader comments to improve your content. Now, your readers can edit your knols directly, making it easier to collaborate. At the same time you stay in control, accepting or rejecting any suggested edits before they’re published and become visible to readers. Moderated collaboration is great for things like soliciting feedback, sharing partial data and building collective lists. We encourage you to think about how to use the feature in your knols.

Also, be sure to check the comments to your knols regularly, and update content as needed. Addressing reader feedback will help improve your knols' ratings and relevance.

* Provide references, ask for reviews and display your credentials

References, credentials and positive reviews can help you gain the confidence of your readers. Use your bio to tell readers why they should trust your opinion on a given topic, and reference other works that informed your thinking. If you know of good resources on your topic, you can link to them from within your article to make it easy for readers to learn more.

If possible, ask other experts to write reviews of your knols. A positive review can show that your opinion is respected by others who are knowledgeable in your field.

* Focus on communicating clearly

Use headings to divide sections. Use lists and formatting to allow users to scan material quickly. A well-organized knol will be easier to read and engage more readers. Be sure to choose a relevant title for your article. Most search engines will give more importance to your knol title and subtitle, so a knol with a clear and informative title will have a head start when it comes to attracting readers.

* Bring your topic to life.

Insert relevant images to make your knol visually appealing. Use videos or slide-shows to bring your topic to life.


* Follow the rules

The Knol Terms of Service Agreement and Content Policy are in place to help ensure a good experience for all users and compliance with applicable laws. Please keep your knols in good taste. Don’t include spam or malware in your knols, and make sure to follow all copyright and other applicable laws.

Don'ts...

* Write a blog

Blogs are great for quickly and easily getting your latest writing in front of readers. Knols are better for when you want to write an authoritative article on a single topic. The tone should be more formal than that of a typical blog post. In addition, while it's easy to update your knols’ content to keep them fresh, knols aren't designed for continuously posting new content or threading. Recently mastered the process of fixing a leaky toilet, but don't want to write a blog about the weeks you spent repairing your bathroom? In that case, write a knol offering a step-by-step guide.


* Post advertisements

Teasers and sales pitches may work on the back of a book when readers can preview the content, but a Knol without real information will only frustrate readers and hurt an author's reputation. Make sure your knols include substantive content in order to build your reputation and encourage readers to come back for more.

On occasions, Google will take down knols which violate our Content Policy. The most common problems occur under this clause: "There are some commercial uses we don’t allow. We don’t allow pages that have the primary purpose of redirecting visitors, acting as a bridge page, or driving traffic to another website. We also don’t allow Knol pages that have the primary purpose of profiting from displaying ads from any publisher network, such as pages created with little or no unique content that exist only to display ads."

* Write for machines

Some authors are concerned about specifically including keywords so that search engines will index and return their pages for specific results. We recommend that you always write for humans first, not for machines. If there are keywords you specifically care about, let them occur in natural text, reader-friendly ways in the title, subtitle or summary areas of the document. Documents should not engage in keyword stuffing or other practices in violation of our Content Policy.

Examples of good knols

Want to see what a good knol looks like? Here are a few examples of knols that follow the guidelines we’ve set out above:

* The DTV Transition and You, by Lana Waters
* Arctic Exploration by Russel Potter
* Type 2 Diabetes by Anne Peters
* Creating a podcast by Nick Marino
* Rare Earths by Narayan Thakur
* Buttermilk Pancakes by Scott Jenson
* Kitchen Faucet Installation by The Family Handyman Magazine
* Snow skis buying guide by Scott Blair
* How to Backpack by Ryan Moulton
* Solar Energy by William Pentland
* Speed Costs Power, by Jeff Radtke
* Cancer Prevention by Graham Colditz, et al.
* The Physics of Giants and Dwarves, Julian G. Franco
* Chemistry Demos by Andy Sae


Advice from Other Knol Authors

Here is what a few other enthusiasts have to say about writing high quality knols

* How to write Knols that rank 'Top 10', How to Write an Article Review, and Knol Writing Tips, by Peter Baskerville
* How To Begin Writing a Knol, by Shatri JC Philip
* Scientific and Medical Writing by Amy Markowitz
* How to Write a Great Report, by Norman Creaney

Use of knols as an example is meant to highlight their apparent compliance with our best practices guidelines, and does not constitute endorsement of their content by Google.

Visit the source knol Source Knol: Best Practices: Writing Good Knols for links of example knols and also for updates.

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