As part of Google’s continuing lust for throwing the proverbial spanner in the works, a week ago (or the 16th of May to be more precise) Google introduced a new algorithmic change which it says “helps you to discover new information quickly” and provides “a critical first step towards building the next generation of search, which taps into the collective intelligence of the web and understands the world a bit more like people do”. The new change, known as Google Knowledge Graph, is a clever enhancement that almost turns the search engine as we know it now into a knowledge engine. To perhaps give a better understanding, it’s worth quoting Google’s explanation:
The Knowledge Graph enables you to search for things, people or places that Google knows about - landmarks, celebrities, cities, sports teams, buildings, geographical features, movies, celestial objects, works of art and more - and instantly get information that’s relevant to your query.So to put things a little simpler, when you type in something like Vincent Van Gogh (an example Google gives in the official Knowledge Graph site) the SERPs display information about that particular query right there in the right hand column – so not need to click around anymore (FYI - Google also provides a video explanation that does a good job at explaining it a bit better). The information that Google pulls in is augmented by resources such as Wikipedia, however Google stresses that it’s not just rooted in public resources like this and so contains more than 500 million objects and more than 3.5 billion facts. Google say that Knowledge Graph helps to enhance search in three ways: 1. Find the right thing This involves tackling ambiguous terms. If your term is somewhat vague then Google are able to understand the differences so you can narrow your query to the particular search through clicking the related links in the right hand column. 2. Get the best summary This is where the whole thing gets pretty ingenious as Google summarises relevant content around the topic you search for and extract the best information. Furthermore, to determine which facts are most likely to be needed for a given item Google studies what users have been asking about each item. 3. Go deeper and broader Lastly, Google says that the Knowledge Graph enhances search by allowing you to “go deeper and broader”. By this they mean that you can discover more information that you weren’t necessarily after (e.g. a connection) that will prompt you to search deeper for more information (kind of like the effect Wikipedia has when reading an article). So that, in a nutshell, is what Google Knowledge Graph is all about. But the question on everyone’s lips is how does this affect SEO? Well, since it’s a new development, there hasn’t been any real insight into this just yet (here in the UK I’m not even able to see this in proper action). However from putting my ear to the ground it would seem that there isn’t a lot of outcry about this, unlike Penguin and Panda (I won’t go there!). Some concerns I have heard however is that Google appears to be/is (delete where applicable) relying too much on trusted major data sources such as Wikipedia, which could spell bad news for other smaller and less established sites (nothing new here I guess). However, from what Google have said it doesn’t appear to be the case as they are taking data across a wide range of sources. Perhaps rather more cynically however, some see this as the first major shift from Google being the traditional search engine and instead placing more emphasis on placing info right there in the SERPs, ultimately resulting in more lost clicks for the little guy. To wrap up, I don’t see Google Knowledge Graph as anything to be alarmed by and if anything it’s a gauntlet for sites to produce content that can be recognised in this section. The fundamentals of organic search are always the same produce great/insightful/creative content, get it in front of the right people and you are on to a winner.