When it introduced the Knowledge Graph in 2012, Google dubbed it “a critical first step towards building the next generation of search“.
Indeed, this handy addition to the search results page tends to shorten search time, present accurate and rich information without additional clicks, and dip a little deeper into Google’s vast information plains to pull out the most relevant related search terms in order to contextualize the specific search result.
Welcomed by users but not completely understood by marketers, Google’s Knowledge Graph offers exciting opportunities for small-to-medium businesses. This article will explore this unique offering by Google and give you pointers on how to make the most of it.
Google’s Knowledge Graph, in a nutshell
Knowledge Graph is Google’s shot at making search even more human-friendly by returning not only ranked page results but also an instant overview of the most relevant data on your search term.
For example, when you search for “Katy Perry”, you will notice a panel on the top right, which contains representative pictures of her, her biography, social media channels, music streaming that carry her albums, and other information such as her height and net worth. At the bottom of the panel, there is a list of her albums and a host of related searches, which contextualize Katy Perry as a show business celebrity and associate her to other Hollywood personalities such as pop stars or prominent romantic partners.
This panel of condensed vital information is the Knowledge Graph, a zero-clicks-needed, multidimensional and comprehensive response to a specific search term. You can already see how good it would be for your business to make an appearance there, right?
How Google’s Knowledge Graph works
In essence, the knowledge graph is a vast database Google has amassed thanks to its superior crawling, indexing, and organizing capabilities. This makes any of Google’s 3.5 billion facts about half a million entities instantly retrievable when a user enters the appropriate search term.
Image Source: Digital Reasoning
Knowledge Graph does not only mean quick and accurate search results for the user; it also presents an excellent opportunity for website owners to appear in highly relevant searches and reach new users. Here is how.
Knowledge Graph optimization strategies: Content
It is important to note that content on your website plays an important part when it comes to optimizing for the Knowledge Graph. Since crawling and indexing provide the backbone of Knowledge Graph, your first step towards website optimization is to fall in line with Google’s automated processing concepts.
Curate and structure content according to the latest, highest quality standards, and furnish each page with as much metadata as possible – but always keep it relevant!
One popular element of the Knowledge Graph are Google Answer Boxes, which allow users to find an answer to their query directly in the search results.
Answer Box for Time Search Query
Answer boxes are generated by the Knowledge Graph and this feature was introduced by Google in 2012. It is able to recognize “facts about people, places, and things – and how all these entities are related to one another”.
There are some great opportunities for businesses to optimize for this feature, especially with the ever-improving localized results and due to the fact that, according to Moz, your business does not need to be ranking number one to appear in the answer boxes.
The main ingredients of answer boxes optimization are more about clever research (yes homework is required!) and thinking ‘outside the box’ (sorry!). These are:
- Understanding your audience better and, above all, finding out the most popular questions they ask about your product, services or any other queries relating to your industry or sector that you have great answers for in-house.
- Once you have pinpointed at least 10 to 15 key customer-related questions, you will need to carry out some research to identify those that Google cannot answer directly (i.e. the queries that pull answer boxes content from third party websites). I would suggest using MOZ’s Keyword Explorer for this research. Also, type your questions into Google as you can check suggested questions (as you type yours in the search box), related queries (at the bottom of the page) and the competition if there is any. This is a great way to see who is featured in the answer boxes and gauge if you can provide a better answer via optimizing your content so that you can claim the spot!
- Finally, think about where it makes the most sense for your chosen questions to be featured in your content so that you can match the query exactly (an exact match is necessary), as well as enhance your users’ experience. This might be in your FAQ page, in a content page that compliments your offering or even on your blog. Finally, make sure that the answer is 100% accurate and updated if need be.
Wikipedia is a major source for Knowledge Graph information (and Google Answer Boxes), so keeping your information there up to date and accurate should become a recurrent task in your SEO marketing strategy.
Knowledge Graph optimization strategies: Mark up
While you cannot get into Google’s algorithms and tweak the way it displays the data it has collected on your company, you have a good deal of influence in several key departments. On your website, you can mark structural and visual elements which you want to appear in relevant searches. You can do the same with your Wikipedia entry to ensure Google picks up the information you feel connects best with your target audiences.
As every good search marketing agency can attest, today’s SEO mantra is “structured data”. Revamp your content to match what Knowledge Graph is most likely to display, and you could improve your visibility significantly! Above all, ensure that your SEO strategy includes regular Knowledge Graph optimization, which is in line with how you wish your business or brand to be perceived and represented on Google.
Guest author: Christelle Macri is the founder of ClickJump, a leading SEO agency in Berkshire, with a no-nonsense and ethical approach to digital marketing. She is also a search engine consultant with over 17 years of experience in the internet advertising industry. Having worked for a major search engine and pioneering pay for performance advertising networks, her professional SEO services turns her clients’ websites into consistent revenue streams, using a variety of digital channels.