Mid 2012 Google introduced the Knowledge Graph into their search engine results. The idea behind it was to further enhance the Google search experience by helping us to find answers to search queries more quickly and easily.
The introduction of the Knowledge Graph marked a fundamental shift in the way that Google’s search engine responds to a search enquiry – the Knowledge Graph enables us to more effectively search for ‘things’ rather than keyword strings so a level of intuitive ‘intelligence’ or ‘understanding’ has been introduced into the Google search engine, with the goal being to make the search experience more comparable to the way that we humans understand the world around us.
What am I going on about? Well to see the Knowledge Graph in action try a search for “Avatar”. Google knows that Avatar is a particular entity type (i.e. a film) because it understands that, it can now relate this specific entity with a set of associated or related entities e.g. film directors, actors, theme music etc. This additional information is displayed down the right hand side of the page alongside the traditional organic search results. There is also a “people who searched for this also searched for…” feature as well, designed to second guess your next question or to open your mind to other possible sources of information which you may not have considered.
By the way, Google also knows that Avatar is a Swedish death metal band from Gothenburg and Avatar: The Last Airbender was an animated TV series in the states. But as neither of these are as popular in search terms it assumes you wanted Avatar the movie and puts that information first.
So what we are seeing now is Google basing the search results on an “understanding” of what the thing (entity) is that you have searched for and presenting that to you with a range of other “things” (information) related to your search. Not only that but Google through the Knowledge Base understands the inter-relationships between all these various things, that means it can present you with stuff that you may never even have thought of asking for in relation to your original search but which proves to be valuable or which leads you to open up a whole new area of search around that initial entity. In effect Google is trying to anticipate what you might want to search for next and giving you a head start on that information.
This is highly significant in the search space because the Knowledge Graph is just a step along the path to the ultimate search engine which Google is striving to create.
Google have said “We’ve always believed that the perfect search engine should understand exactly what you mean and give you back exactly what you want. And we can now sometimes help answer your next question before you’ve asked it, because the facts we show are informed by what other people have searched for.”
The Knowledge Graph is a stride into the realms of Semantic Search i.e. “thinking” like humans in the way we understand our world.
When the Knowledge Graph was launched it already had over 500 million objects (entities) in its database and it knew more than 3.5 billion facts about, and relationships between, these objects and Google’s“intelligence” is growing all the time.
So what does this mean for those who want to make their websites or their Internet based information visible to their target audience?
Well – the schema that Google has utilised to help them deliver the Knowledge Graph is publicly available at Schema.org. and is a collaboration led by Google, Yahoo and Microsoft.
Schema.org organises the world into a number of ‘primary’ entity types (Events, Organisations, People, Places, Creative Works, Product, Reviews). It also identifies a wide range of related or associated entity types (e.g. Local Business).
Schema.org provides a collection of schemas, i.e., html tags that webmasters can use to markup their pages in ways recognised by the leading search providers. The search engines use this markup to improve their search results. How? Because on-page markup enables search engines to better understand the information on web pages and so provide richer search results in order to make it easier for users to find relevant information on the web.
Markup can also enable new tools and applications that make use of the structure and we are seeing lots of these coming through quickly now such as Wordlift a WordPress Plugin that provides an easy-to-use method to enrich user-created text (a blog post, article or web page) with HTML Microdata compatible with schema.org specifications using semantic web based content enhancements.
Wordlift claim that using this markup improves the display of your search results (e.g. creating Google Rich Snippets) all of which means that is “easier for people to find the right web pages and increasing the Click-Through Rate of your pages.”
Google support the following microdata types:
- Businesses and organizations
So if your website contains any of this sort of content, you can benefit from use of microdata which will boost your visibility in the search space because you are making it easier for the search engines to identify relevance and connections with entities in the Knowledge Graph.
If we understand the way that search is developing we can see the impact that this is going to have on the need for more original, relevant, and up to date content. I can’t overstate the need to review and develop your website content against this context. Content undoubtedly is key to achieving better results going forward, but creating more content just for the sake of it will not be sufficient. The content needs to be connected, and shared and placed in context through links with ‘authority’ websites and commented on and reviewed via social medial sites. This will mark it as of interest and of value which in turn will help your website to gain in authority.
We also understand the schema that Google and others are using to organise and arrange the information they are serving up in the search results, so we can ensure that our own content and the structure of our web pages mesh with that approach and include semantic markup to enhance the presentation of search results.
The world of search is changing, understanding how and where it is heading will give your business an edge in getting your website found ahead of your competitors.
If you would like to know more about how you can improve your web content to gain more website visitors and boost your business online, please just call us on 01793 886294 or contact us for a friendly, no strings chat. We’d be delighted to hear from you.