The Ranking of Knol Articles

Philipp Lenssen, The Ranking of Knol Articles:

Some people noticed Knol articles are already sometimes ranking very well in Google results, even though Google promised Knol articles wouldn’t get any artificial boost. Until further evidence comes in I don’t think we’ve much reason to distrust Google’s statement, and yet, the site does get a major boost all the same simply because it’s in the vicinity of the superbly ranking network of Google websites (not yet on the PageRank 10 homepage, but for instance on the PageRank 8 — recently 9, AFAIK — blog, on PageRank 9 Google Scholar, and perhaps now or soon on other Google properties… not to mention all the other press backlinks Knol gets as it’s a Google project). But don’t expect any guaranteed high rankings; an article I started on the competitive subject of search engine optimization did not jump into the top 10 for that phrase.

Interesting question (and I’m looking at you, Frank and Siva), does Google have a special responsibility to use responsibly the PageRank of its core sites? Google gives them super-high importance, so anything they link to becomes derivatively important almost immediately. There’s a lot of potential for conflicts of interest here, as Phillipp goes on to explain, some of them quite subtle. We wouldn’t think that others online have a special responsibility to use their Google-juice responsibly, but if you also run the search engine perhaps some of the ethical obligations transfer over.