In the world of Web Development, creating a beautiful site is only the first step to growing a business online. In order for a site to be successful, you must also fill it up with original, relevant content, and that content must be easily found on the web. When it comes to search-ability, content is the key to giving your visitors what they’re looking for.
With the release of the Knowledge Graph, Google has implemented a new way to combine content strategy with proper coding practices in order to enhance your user’s search experience, as well as your ability to attract visitors to your website. With a little practice, Google Knowledge Graph can be a powerful tool to help users find your content on the web.
What is Google Knowledge Graph?
Google Knowledge Graph is a search engine feature created by Google that was released in 2012 which aims to improve search results by storing not only search terms and names, but also their relationships to other terms and searches. By storing this information, Google can determine what you are searching for, why you may be searching for that term, and display the best answer for your question that it possibly can via search engine results.
This is in stark contrast to previous search engine protocols which simply searched for keywords as a standalone unit when scouring the web.
The Knowledge Graph has been used alongside other Google features, most notably the Answer Box. The Answer Box comes in many forms, from a simple text response to calculators and pie charts. You have most likely noticed this feature when performing searches over the past few years. The information displayed in an Answer Box is pulled from sites on the web (like yours!), and Knowledge Graph answers are pulled from Google’s Knowledge Graph database. This all may sound a little confusing, so let me show you a few examples.
For example, if I was looking to learn more about CSS, I might perform a search like this:
Notice that before I have even reached the first result on the page, I have received an answer to a question: What is CSS? This is an example of an Answer Box where the answer to my question was pulled directly from a webpage (notice that the site where the answer is referenced – Mozilla.org – is not the first organic result).
Now let’s say I want to ask a more specific question. Who created PHP (the scripting language that powers your WordPress/Joomla site)?
This result is an example of a Knowledge Graph result. Notice that the information is pulled directly from Wikipedia, divided into easily digestible factoids, and includes the answers to the most basic questions that you would begin to ask if you chose to further research this topic.
Finally, let’s try to find something local. Local search results are becoming a force to be reckoned with on the web, and Knowledge Graph helps you to use your proximity to a user to your advantage.
There’s Atilus! In this result, the Knowledge Graph database is looking for local businesses that do web design services, and even goes the extra mile and shows you a map of all of their locations without the need to switch to the “Maps” tab.
These are just three examples of what Google Knowledge Graph and Answer Boxes can do. Any time you search and get specialized results such as links to the Google + pages for local restaurants, lists of movies and movie times in your area, links to related actors or similar events, you are experiencing the power of the Knowledge Graph.
The Power of Knowledge Graph & Answer Box
As we’ve written before – search continues to absolutely dominate the web. With more than 20x traffic being generated as opposed to social media and, particularly for retailers or online businesses trying to hook potential customers, search offers – typically – a far better way to attract customers.
And if you are familiar with content writing practices, you know that showing up as high as possible in a SERP (search engine results page) is one of the main goals of search engine optimization. But, conventional, organic SEO is literally taking a backseat to these “newer” kinds of results. As we pointed out in the examples, the results shown by Knowledge Graph are not necessarily the top organic results in the SERP, although they do get to appear much higher on the page than these purely SEO-based listings.
Why do Knowledge Graph results get to appear higher than organic results, and even higher than ads, on a SERP page? Simply put, the Knowledge Graph results are meant to fulfil Google’s mission statement of making information easily accessible to all users and answering questions in the most effective way. While paid ads and SEO-based results can be quite relevant to a search, Knowledge Graph’s database seeks to find and display the best answer to the specific question asked, not reveal the highest-ranked site with information that simply includes the terms searched.
While this may sound frustrating to those who have worked tirelessly on their SEO efforts or who have paid for their ads to show up in SERPs, we should all take this development as a reason to improve our content writing and coding strategies.
In my next article on Google’s Knowledge Graph I’ll dive deeper into how to potentially get your own content into this new offering from Google including strategies for structuring your code, content, and why worrying about the Knowledge Graph may simultaneously be the most rewarding, but challenging things you’ll do for your businesses digital marketing.