Since we began using search engines, they have been basically about matching up keywords and queries entered by individuals to keywords found in web content. However, Google has taken steps to improve the search experience by going deeper to offer individuals the richer meaning of search queries entered the Knowledge Graph is one of the results of their efforts.
What is the Knowledge Graph?
The Knowledge Graph is a system created to connect different facts and figures linked with different people, places and things and also understanding the semantic meanings of these facts and figures, connecting everything together. It is basically that box that pops up when you search for certain terms or ask direct questions on Google. Google is using this system because they are seeking to improve relevancy of results and also provide direct answers to searched terms right there on the results page. The Knowledge Graph was launched in May 2012. The main goal of this system is to offer as many users as possible the answer to their queries without them needing to click through to the sites hosting the information they are looking for.
Where does the Knowledge Graph get its results?
How does Google know all they know about an individual, a person, place etc.? Where do they get the facts and figures they present to users?
It was in 2009 that Google first tried to gather facts from all around the web with Google Squared. Even though they still have that technology that was used in that attempt, the service that was created from this technology wasn’t able to reach its full potential especially when it came to data accuracy. Google Squared was ditched in 2011.
In 2010, they bought Metaweb and this was the beginning of the Knowledge Graph project. They were finally able to put together a database of facts and figures and also establish a relationship between them. Data contributions happen via freebase but the platform also collates other data from sources like the Google Books, the CIA World Factbook as well as Wikipedia.
People have raised concerns about accuracy of data provided in the Knowledge Graph bearing in mind that Google takes in data from public sources such as Wikipedia. However, the reality is that accuracy is not guaranteed anywhere on the web. Interestingly though, Google offers a link at the bottom of each Knowledge Graph box. By clicking on it, you will be able to suggest a correction to the data that has been provided. It is now down to Google to ensure that the fact is corrected.
How can you Knowledge Graph increase Traffic for you?
Contrary to what many people feel, the Knowledge Graph isn’t bad for SEO and Search Traffic. Instead savvy experts know that they can leverage on the Knowledge Graph to improve SEO efforts. How can you achieve this?
Understanding the Knowledge Graph
If you don’t have adequate knowledge of something and a proper understanding of what it does, you can’t leverage on it. The same is true about the Knowledge Graph. With proper understanding of it, you can be able to figure out how your SEO campaigns should be channelled. It will also help you know how you can get your website to be the knowledge box shown when someone searches for a term.
Correlating with your web content
As have always been the case, the key to leveraging successfully, the Knowledge Graph for SEO depends on content. This is not to say that you should continue adding all kinds of connected. What this means is that you need to ensure that every piece of content you post is connected somehow to other pieces of content you have on your website or other authority sites. With the correlation among the different pieces of content you publish, you can help increase value of the content to users. This will also help your website gain authority and make Google see reasons to give your website its own knowledge box on SERPs.
Content is deemed to be extremely valuable when it is presented in a clear but simple format. When your content is marked up with Microdata, it is easier to correlate with a bigger group of data that is similar across the web making things easier for Google in terms of determining connectivity and relevance. By structuring your content in microdata form, you are increasing its chances of landing in the Knowledge Graph database. Presently, Google supports the following types of microdata: Recipes, video, music, reviews, events, products, businesses and organisations and people. Figure out what kind of microdata you can use on your website and make sure you have a healthy combination of them on your webpages.
Optimise for variety of keywords
There was a time when SEO experts only optimised webpages for 1-3 keywords. When the need for content optimisation for another keyword arose they placed the new content on another web page. The new Google updates have changed things because the practice would have your website marked for having thin content if you use the above strategy now. This because each of the pages you are optimising will be talking about the same topic but doing it without going into depth.
With Knowledge Graph, you can bring these separate pieces of content together on a single web page without incurring any penalties. Bringing your content together will definitely make it more robust and this will make Google see it as valuable. This will increase your search traffic for a variety of keywords and also improve the user experience on your website thereby increasing the possibility of visitors returning in future.
Obviously, optimising for a variety of keywords doesn’t mean you should focus too much on keywords. Instead focusing on keywords, you should be concerned about connectivity, correlation, content and authorship markup etc. Content and Authorship markup reveals the identity of the content owner.
So, Knowledge Graph is not here to kill your traffic and SEO efforts. If you have your content done rightly, Google will pick it up in a knowledge box. Most of the time, the individual will click through to the link at the bottom of the box for more reading. The only time you will lose traffic is when the individual running the search is after a definition or quick answer only. In many cases such users don’t become converting customers regardless of what your conversion targets are.