Google Knowledge Graph for Dummies

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Google has been saying for the past few years now that optimizing for keywords is long dead and that keywords are not the ‘be all and end all’ of searching and finding websites and information on the internet.

Search has moved on from just looking at a query, but is rather trying to understand your intent behind the search. For example: If you search for ‘bass’, what are you searching for? The fish or the guitar? Google discovered that many web designers/SEO professionals were abusing the use of keywords and they had to discover a new way of providing relevant and accurate information to its users. As with any invention it creates jobs, and as a result a new breed of internet marketers were born: writers, copywriters, bloggers and the like have become SEO specialists and if you don’t keep your finger on the pulse, you and your business will be left in the proverbial cyberspace dark!

Talking about space, Google is heading towards the Final Frontier, Star Trek in fact, specifically the computer on the mothership. Google wants to be able to know so much about their users that they will be able to refine your search in such a way that it is unique to your interests and needs. They then want to take this one step further and predict your needs, like the computer in Star Trek, and give you extra information that you may require.

So what is the Knowledge Graph?

Let’s start with words. You sit at your desk and casually type in a word or phrase that you want to find more information about. These words are related to various entities which combine together to form a plethora of information, not just that one particular thing. Here is an example: Let’s say you type in the word ‘artifacts’. On the left-hand side of the landing page you will get links to information about artifacts, but on the top right-hand side there will be what is called a ‘carousel’ which gives you a definition, as well as related topics starting from archaeological excavation right down to tools used to uncover artifacts. Already the humble beginnings of your search have gone from the one word ‘artifact’ and opened up a whole new world with layers and layers of information that you can now glean from the Knowledge Graph.

Google_Knowledge_Graph

So what does Google add in there?

Google only adds known or verified entities, i.e. places, people or companies. If you make it, then in Google’s eyes, you are legit and worth your salt in SEO. It helps a lot with your organic search results. It is something you can do and manage, but it takes lots of time and careful planning.

The Knowledge Graph allows Google to identify people, places and things, but also to connect them in an intelligent way, i.e. if you do a search on ‘peanuts’, it is Google’s job to find out if you are looking for information on ‘peanuts’ themselves or Charles M. Schulz’s comic strip ‘Peanuts’. One could say that Google is in a sense trying to be psychic when you are innocently typing in your searches! Or shall we just rather say that Google is trying to become more like a human brain…

Of course the Knowledge Graph works so that you get instant results to your query and don’t end up on a page about ‘cars’ when you are searching for ‘animals’, which is what was happening when people were ‘keyword dumping’. Of course Google is still limited to only what is already available on the internet, but they are finely tuning the spider web of information out there into a good game of tetris.

How does Google determine what to put on the Knowledge Graph?

Google uses trusted sources such as news sites, freebase, Wikipedia, universities and many more. By doing this Google can identify who you are (or your company) and confirm that you are legit. So when you do a search, Google whips around cyberspace and establishes what you are, what you are searching for and then mixes this information together using the Knowledge Graph.

It is important then to use quality, accuracy and verifiable information so that this can be added to the Knowledge Graph and Google can use it to give you intuitive and accurate answers to your question. In other words, it is using existing information to answer your queries. It makes sense then that the more relevant information there is from reliable sources, the more Google will be able to match that query and provide the user with a more specific answer. Popular queries (for example gossip on the Kardashians) will provide you with the LATEST and MOST INTERESTING information on them according to what other users have been searching for. Just think of all the sources Google uses such as newspapers, Google+, social media etc. By seeing what you are interested in, what has been popular and what you have searched for in the past, the Knowledge Graph makes a connection and the result is the perfect answer to your query, without having to go down any labyrinths.

Let’s get to the reason you may be reading this article – how to get onto the knowledge base and get higher SEO rankings.

Get your company name, address and telephone number (nap) onto as many reliable sources as possible so that you become visible and Google can recognise that you exist and are real. Use mark-up languages such as Schema. Then enlist your company onto Freebase which is a huge directory that is owned by Google and is open source. Here people can add information about topics such as people, places, books, films etc. so add as much information that you can about your company. Google will then add this data to their Knowledge Base. The more valuable content you write here, the more likely Google will find you and spread the word to the rest of the world. Freebase is more geared for companies than Wikipedia.

Google Plus

A lot of information is sourced directly from Google Plus, therefore it is vital that you have optimised your content for this resource. In fact they feed off of each other, so ensure your small business is making the most of Google Plus and the Knowledge Graph for the best results.

Now all you need to do is fit all this information together and use it to get the following results:

Page Ranking

Understanding and effectively using the Knowledge Graph is essential for any business or SEO specialist to grasp. If you continue to use the old-fashioned way of keyword dumping, Google will penalise you, and your page ranking will drastically decline by up to 50%. Making sure that your business is online is one thing, but it is another to make sure that it is being seen by the correct people, if any! It is like a clothing store with a beautiful window displaying their latest fashion line, but set behind tinted windows – customers will assume there are clothes there, but they will not know what they are and will likely just pass on by – so it is with your website. If you have not used Google Knowledge Graph to optimise your website, people will click straight to another website and you will lose valuable rankings.

So what to do, diversify your online footprint of where people can find you, on newspapers, blogs, directories, etc… BUT keep it coherent !!

Visibility

If you are not active across platforms like Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter etc. how are people going to find you? Just think of the millions of people using these resources every day in their homes. That is a huge market that you have to tap into. You must know for yourself when you browse through Google Plus and you see daily/weekly posts by other companies that you are interested in that their visibility is effective – they are constantly on your mind. So it goes for your company, you have to be optimising your web presence for the Knowledge Graph. Without it you are a mole in a hole with a few piles of sand to show for yourself. Another important factor to note about Google Plus and the Knowledge Graph is that if you are active on Google Plus (+1ing posts and commenting on things of interest) Google will notice this and personalise results to your queries for things you are interested in. Indeed, they are reading your mind!

Credibility

This is a big one and it takes time. Google wants to know that your site is legit with useful content that has been optimised using the best SEO practices out there. Becoming credible for Google and your clients is essential, otherwise nobody is going to trust you or what you are selling. Make sure you are not placing information or links on your site that are suspicious, or there just to draw attention, but have nothing to do with your business. By using the Knowledge Graph the correct way, when users search for something they will find your site, which will hopefully answer their questions. If a user ends up on your page and you do not answer their questions or provide them with the information they are looking for, you will lose credibility, not to mention decreased traffic and high bounce rates.

Summing up

Let’s try to bring all this information together to help your business. If you do not know what your business is about and what your clients need to know about you, and you have not used the Knowledge Graph, you are dead in the water. The internet is all about information, information that is made up of little facts and titbits that end up all relating to each other. If you provide Google with these little facts and titbits about your company, the Knowledge Graph is going to eat this information up and spit it out in the correct places, allowing clients to find you. Valuable content has replaced keyword dumping, apologies if you know this already, but now with the Knowledge Graph, you need to pound this into your head even more. You have to be clever to practise good SEO, not a genius, but clever, informed. Otherwise you are wasting your time floating around the internet hoping someone or something will just bump into your site.

If the above has not got your attention, the following should: The Knowledge Graph has a database filled with information about 500 million people, places and things. It indexes over 3.5 billion attributes and makes connections between these items. There is nothing your business needs more than instant access to this structured data.

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