Aristotle once said, “All Men by Nature Desire Knowledge.” If Aristotle were alive today and working at Google, he might say “All Men by Nature Desire Knowledge Graphs.” Google has once again turned the search world on its ear with the latest of its engine enhancements. This major update has at its core to truly give a user the most relevant semantic search data they seek. The Wall Street Journal had first reported speculation of this change back in March of 2012. At that point in time, due to Google’s cryptic nature on any update, it was unknown how this change would impact search itself. Based on the events of today May 16, 2012, this is and will be a major change to the Google Search interface itself. This is the biggest change the big “G” has made since it Google +’d our social world’s in 2011 and universally enlightened our search by adding image and video in to results in 2007.
Origin Of The Change
Why the change? Google has always pride itself on creating the most relevant search results for users. As semantic search has changed over time, Google has recognized the need to adapt its engine to support and more clearly understand the actual human intent of a search. This type of engine is not anything new, other sites out on the Web such as Wolfram Alpha and Bing have already implemented this type of technology in their respective engines. Wolfram Alpha uses a semantic computational search engine to give you facts and information related to a search in the exact result. Wolfgram Alpha is also a key engine that powers Siri voice search for iPhones. Bing’s semantic development is a more limited semantic engine, which currently has sidebar search displaying social results, but is not as robust as Google Knowledge Graph. Google has been working for some time to create this type of semantic knowledge search result.
Google made its first step toward integrating this type of technology into its engine with the acquisition of Metaweb in 2010 to integrate into what is now the architecture for the Knowledge Graph. The Knowledge Graph’s purpose is to understand and present the user with the most relevant information/result on Google. Google is using Wikipedia, Google Maps, other Google products, as well as some other third party data to create the Knowledge results. Google is really focusing in on keeping people actively staying on the engine (as opposed to clicking on organic results) to find the factual or the related semantic result they seek.
How It Works
In the initial roll out of the Knowledge Graph, the main focus has been on presenting additional information for users related to a general factual semantic search such as the keywords: Star Wars (example #1a, b) or John Madden (example #2a, b). The idea here is to offer in-search facts in the query result as well as offer other semantic related results to the users.
How Will This Affect My Brand?
As stated, the initial roll out of the Knowledge Graph is focusing more on general facts about people, places and things. Also, the people, places and things are limited of total “things” indexed for the Knowledge Graph. When our team conducted a search for the term “Google”, it was still getting the old personalized result and not the Knowledge Graph result. Also, people are only able to see the Knowledge Graph when logged into Google personalized search. All non-personalized searches still display the legacy engine settings. Non-personalized search still makes up around 80-85 per cent of all searches, according to internal research Covario has conducted for most major Fortune 500 brands. For the time being the Knowledge Graph should have limited impact on most non-branded searches. Also, with the nature of this initial roll out, we have not seen anything yet that affects some common non-branded searches inside personalized search (example #3a, b). We will begin to monitor more closely over the coming weeks to see if there are traffic changes (increased term not provided results) or rank changes (highly unlikely) related to this roll out.
5 Key Takeaways
Here is a list of key things to do to ensure your brand has SEO relevance as the Knowledge Graph evolves:
- Google is using a lot of its own products to power the Knowledge Graph: Google Places, Google Maps, Google Shopping, make sure if it’s applicable, your business is listed and optimized in these services.
- Google will be potentially integrating this with Google + down the road, you should ensure your company is working on actively keeping a presence on this platform. Work to optimize your Google+ account for related terms to your business and that you’re building your Google+ Business Pages.
- Ensure you’re increasing your Google circle of followers to follow you on Google+.
- Google is rolling this out on Personalized Search, thus potentially creating more non-trackable searches, keep a close eye on your analytics to see if any spikes occur for overall organic searches.
- Look at integrating Schema.org (microformats) in your site’s architecture in the near future. As semantic results evolve, they will be looking for the quickest and easiest ways to identify relevant pages and results related to an initial query. Using microformats is an easy way to help Google recognize your page as the most relevant result.