In their continuing quest to provide the most relevant and useful search results for a given query, Google has ramped up their latest innovation – the Google Knowledge Graph. This ambitious project started back in May of 2012 and is designed to bridge the long standing gap between disconnected facts and relevant information. With the implementation of the Knowledge Graph, Google is working towards providing users with “information”, as opposed to simple “keyword” matches. In essence, what the Google team has done is given their search engine a brain. More specifically, the brain of a talented librarian. Google’s Knowledge Graph is designed to understand real world entities, and their relationships to one another. The Knowledge Graph provides users search results for people, places, and things, drawn from the collective intelligence of the interweb. Google’s Knowledge Graph will change search engine results in a big way. Most recently, Google unveils Local Carousel to the Knowledge Graph for hotels and restaurants, as discussed by Aaron Wall of SEOBook.
Just What is Google’s Knowledge Graph?
From the end user’s point of view, Google’s Knowledge Graph is an information panel that appears to the right of a given SERP. This panel contains a summary of relevant information concerning the original search, including pictures, graphics, text, and audio and video content where appropriate. For example, if someone searches for Washington Irving, the panel would contain photos, a short description of the author, birth and death dates, and a list of important works. But where the Knowledge Graph really trumps traditional search results, is that the panel will also contain links to tangential information relevant to the original search. In the case of Washington Irving, a list of literary contemporaries such as Edgar Allan Poe, Longfellow, and Nathaniel Hawthorn. Like a good librarian, the Knowledge Graph says, in effect, “if you are interested in Irving, you may also be interested in his contemporaries”. This is a bold step along the way to creating a search engine that thinks, and draws relevant conclusions from the user’s initial search criteria.
To make the Knowledge Graph possible, Google combines hard facts with collected search data from sources such as Wikipedia, The CIA World Factbook, and Google’s purchase of Metabase. While the hard facts do not change, the information returned by the Knowledge Graph will reflect search trends. For example, more users search for da Vinci’s Mona Lisa than search for his Lady With an Ermine. So in a Knowledge Graph for Leonardo da Vinci, the Mona Lisa will be included but the Lady With an Ermine most likely will not. Google’s Knowledge Graph reacts to search trends, and returns relevant results, in the same way a knowledgeable person might.
The Three Pillars of Google’s Knowledge Graph
Google’s Knowledge Graph is designed to enhance users search results in three fundamental ways.
- By better understanding language, and its intent, the Knowledge Graph allows users to narrow search results to more closely match their goal. For example, if a user searches for “Caesar’s Palace”, the Knowledge Graph will provide a number of options including the historical location of Caesar’s Place, and the casino in Las Vegas.
- The Knowledge Graph will return a brief summary containing information concerning the user’s search, with active links to the most relevant web pages. This information will reflect general knowledge on the subject, as well as selected facts gathered from the most popular and often repeated related searches.
- Finally, the most exciting feature of the Knowledge Graph helps users to make new, and unexpected, discoveries by providing links to information tangentially related to their original search. In this way, the Knowledge Graph allows users to go broader, and deeper, into the subject of their original query.
How To Include Your Website
So, you want to include your website into the Knowledge Graph? This would be an obvious decision for most SEOs. Unfortunately, this is not an easy task for smaller brands but not impossible. Google does not explicitly accept inclusion to the Knowledge Graph but here are some suggestions:
- Create a Wikipedia page – getting through their strict guidelines can be challenging. If successful, there is a chance that Google will pick up your page and add to their ever-growing database for the Knowledge graph. Either way, a Wikipedia page is undoubtedly fantastic for link equity.
- Know your semantic markup – most SEOs understand the value of semantic markup for local search. Schema.org goes well beyond just local snippets for name, address, and phone to playlists, recipe, and much more. It’s clear that post Panda and Penguin SERPs are turning to high value content. This is also true for well formatted code. Make sure your web developer understand this.
- Google+ – This is a no-brainer. While Google+ has yet to pickup steam with the masses, it’s has great SEO benefits. Obviously, Google will crawl their own content before other sources. Make sure you have a Google+ business page and personal profile setup properly. Then take the critical next step to create Authorship from your blog posts, along with using the rel=”publisher” tag on your main blog page and category pages.
Like all of Google’s innovations, the Knowledge Graph is intended to provide a better user experience by returning relevant data for a minimum of time and effort. The Knowledge Graph will reduce the number of pages a user has to click through to find the relevant information they are looking for, especially when it comes to learning and discovery. The Knowledge Graph also assists in navigation by providing natural links to relevant followup queries, and directing users to information they may not have otherwise thought to include in their searches. Google’s Knowledge Graph is the next step along the path to an intelligent search engine, and brings us one step closer to that sci-fi standard, the Library Computer.