Everything You Need to Know About Google Knowledge Graphs

526 296 Daniel Morris

The Google knowledge graph was launched by Google in May of 2012 and is a system that understands facts about people, places and things and how all these entities are connected.

It is used both behind the scenes by Google to help improve search relevancy but it also presents knowledge boxes within search results, as you can see in the example below.  When “Thomas Jefferson” is typed into the search bar, a number of results come up, including the knowledge graph that offers some quick bits of basic information about our third president.  The facts that are provided within the Knowledge Graphs tend to be those that are the most sought after in general searches.google-knowledge

In the five years since Google launched the Knowledge Graph feature, they have quickly gained traction and proven to be an invaluable tool for businesses wanting to be found on Google.

How does the Knowledge Graph Help Businesses?

Google launched Knowledge Graphs in answer to the fast-growing mobile searches that have overtaken desktop searches.  The vast majority of Google searches now happen on a mobile device rather than a desktop so when search queries are typed in, consumers want a quick and specific answer rather than having to sort through massive search results.  This trend has allowed businesses to become more easily accessible in the search engine, offering specific information such as location, business hours, and even directions. Over time, Google has been able to offer a more thorough and sophisticated search, pulling data from a wider range of sources and then narrowing and refining search results to a single entity.  As the queries become more specific, the searches can be more refined and targeted.

How can Businesses Optimize the Knowledge Graph?

There are three components to optimizing your business for Google Knowledge Graphs:

  • Optimize the entire entity associated with your business. This means if you have multiple locations, take stock of that and make sure all the location information is accurate.
  • Data Amplifiers are basically the sources of information the search engines will use to build your entity, such as Google, Apple, Yelp, Bing, and Facebook. Providing all of these data sources with accurate information about your business is one of the primary keys to optimizing the Knowledge Graph. Making sure that these data amplifiers have your accurate data will enable Google to draw from a comprehensive collection of information to build your entity.
  • Identities and Attributes are the pieces of information that will make up your entity. Identities are the unchanging facts about your business such as location, business hours and contact information.  Attributes are the specifics that will give your business a competitive edge such as “members of our staff speak multiple languages.”  Google places equal importance on both identities and attributes, so it is important to carefully maintain both.

Monitor your Graph Entry

Once you have optimized your business information, it is very important to consistently monitor your information to ensure its accuracy and maintain optimization going forward.   Here are three reasons why it is important to monitor your graph entry:

  • Errors: We all make them and Google is no exception. Mistakes happen and if you are consistently monitoring your graph for accuracy, you will be able to quickly catch and correct any mistakes.  As mentioned above, accuracy is a key component of optimization.
  • Common Names: Sometimes entities can share the same name, for example, athletes and actors, or your business name may be competing against a generic term. In cases such as this, those entities with the most relevance and highest score within the knowledge Graph algorithm will rank better and their knowledge graph will be the one to show up, instead of yours, if a less specific query is entered. Consistent monitoring will allow you to respond quickly should your graph start to fall in the knowledge graph rankings.
  • Updating: As you change and update information about your business, this can help Google better understand and perceive your business in the graph.  Additionally, Google can validate optimizations that you may be doing on your website.  Again, accuracies ensure better optimization.

Concerns

While Google’s Knowledge Graphs have proven to be popular, there are those who have concerns that they will impact site traffic. This is certainly a valid concern; if all the needed information is “right there” that may eliminate the need for people to click over to the website thus impacting overall traffic. According to Ahmit Singhal, head of Google Search, they have found that most of these queries do not take traffic away from specific sites. According to Singhal, the knowledge graphs seem to encourage further searching which eventually takes people to other external sites.