Google’s Knowledge Graph, Explained

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Google Knowledge Graph

GOOGLE'S KNOWLEDGE GRAPH, EXPLAINEDGoogle search engine results provide more than just page titles, URLs, and meta descriptions. When you search for a person, place, or thing, you might see the information you need without even leaving the search results page.

Businesses don’t have to sit around and wait for their information to be displayed on different Google search results. In this post, we’ll explain the Google Knowledge Graph and how it is used to display information to users. We will also give brief instructions on how thought leaders and businesses can input the right data to becoming an entity that Google can create a Knowledge Graph for; by adding and optimising specific data on your website, you can have more control over where your information appears on relevant Google search results.

What Are Knowledge Graphs?

Knowledge Graphs provide search results for entities rather than text. With a Knowledge Graph, users get answers rather than links. Many Knowledge Graph results allow users to get the information they need without clicking on any additional websites.

A Knowledge Graph will probably not show up for text searches like “guitar tuning” or “interior design trends 2018,” but it will show up for an entity like “Steve Jobs,” or “Movies directed by Quentin Tarantino.”

Brief History of Knowledge Graphs

We have seen Knowledge Graphs appear on Google searches for the past few years. The origins of Knowledge Graphs come from Freebase, an online database that was developed in 2007 and purchased by Google in 2010. Freebase organised information by “topics,” which is similar to what Google identifies as “entities.” Each topic was supported by a selection of facts organized by “types.” These facts were collected from Wikipedia, NNDB, and also user input.

Freebase was the launching pad for Knowledge Graphs. The organisation of facts on Knowledge Graphs is similar to the setup of Freebase. Knowledge Graphs was launched in 2012, but Google closed Freebase in 2015 and replaced it with the Google Knowledge Graph Search API. This is a read-only version of the Freebase database. We’ll go into more detail about the API later in the post, and how you can use the Search API to collect data about your entity and how it is perceived by Google.

Facts from the Knowledge Graph are pulled to give answers through Google Assistant. Knowledge Graphs have been called the foundation for AI technology. The development of this feature shows the direction that Google is moving in to provide users with informative, relevant data to satisfy their searches.

What Do Knowledge Graphs Look Like?

Knowledge graphs are hard to define, but easy to identify. It’s a part of the SERP that catches a user’s attention very quickly.

One example of a knowledge graph is the box that you see on the side of Google search results, usually when you search for a person. These graphs don’t always have the same elements, but they often contain:

  • A collection of images
  • Name
  • Website and social media profiles
  • Job title
  • Movie/TV credits
  • Birth and/or death details
  • Family information (spouse, children, etc.)
  • Quotes
  • Related searches, people, etc.

This isn’t the only type of knowledge graph that you may see on Google search results. If you search “Books by Ernest Hemingway,” for example, you’ll see a knowledge graph at the top of your search results that includes images, names, and dates of books by Ernest Hemingway. (A second knowledge graph will appear below the carousel of books. This knowledge graph is the traditional graph mentioned above.)

Can You Become an Entity?

Knowledge Graphs are one of the many ways that Google helps users find what they are searching for based on their intentions. If you want to be able to distribute this information, and appear at the top of SERPs, you can make certain steps toward becoming an entity.

Who or what can become an entity?

  • Thought leaders and individuals
  • Businesses and organisations
  • Places
  • Events
  • Media (movies, books, etc.)

Think things, not strings.

Once Knowledge Graphs started becoming a popular feature of SERPs, SEO experts experimented with becoming entities themselves. If you want to take the steps to creating an entity that Google can create a Knowledge Graph for, know that this process isn’t done overnight. In one case, expert Tony Edward of Elite SEM became an entity after three months of taking intentional steps involving coding and optimising the right information.

How You Can Optimise Knowledge Graphs

Knowledge Graphs display information about businesses and thought leaders throughout many different industries. If you can optimise your online content and distribute the right information, you can help Google create a Knowledge Graph that is relevant to your business goals.

Provide Information to Wikipedia

Wikipedia and WikiData are primary sources for Knowledge Graphs. If there is information that you would like on a Knowledge Graph, make sure it is on a Wikipedia page first. Wikipedia pages about your business or influencers are key to providing quick, relevant information to users.

If you want to become an entity as a thought leader, you will have to create a Wikipedia profile and include information that you would want to appear on the Knowledge Graph. Include your job title, current employment information or business ventures, etc. This is one of the top sources that Google will pull from while creating a Knowledge Graph.

Create Relevant Schema Markups  

Another top source for Knowledge Graphs is Schema Markups. Schema was created by Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo to add more context to the content that you put online. Markups are a piece of HTML code with microdata telling Google what data is on a certain website. Some of the most common Schema Markups describe the following attributes:

  • Company information (name, logo, contact information, social media profiles, etc.)
  • Person information (name, job title, affiliations, images, etc.)
  • Local business information
  • Products and offer information (price, currency, relevant information)
  • Articles (headlines, images, news sources, etc.)
  • Event information (movie times, concert dates, etc.)
  • Recipes

The information you find on Google Knowledge Graphs are very similar to the information you can create with Schema Markups, and that is no accident.

If you want to give more context to your web pages and increase your chances of becoming a search entity on a Knowledge Graph, implement these markups throughout your website. Let Google know who you are, what events you are trying to advertise, etc. with this microdata.

Once you have created a Schema markup, be sure to check the markup with Google’s Structured Data Testing tool. This is a free feature that allows you to see how Google identifies your query based on your markup.

Pull Data with Google Knowledge Graph Search API

Another way to find data for Knowledge Graphs is the Knowledge Graph Search API. We mentioned earlier in the post that this replaced Freebase back in 2015.

When Google made the announcement about replacing Freebase with the Knowledge Graph Search API, it described three purposes for using the software:

  • Getting a ranked list of the most notable entities that match certain criteria.
  • Predictively completing entities in a search box.
  • Annotating/organizing content using the Knowledge Graph entities.

Businesses cannot directly influence the exact parameters and design of specific Knowledge Graphs, but the API can help you see your “status” as an entity and what Google recognises about a specific search query.

The Knowledge Graph is a piece of the overall Google API Explorer page. In order to check relevant query parameters and grab relevant data about entities, click here. Enter your query into the appropriate form and press “execute.” If the query is an entity, you will be able to see information, including:

  • ID (the ID given to the query through Freebase or Wikidata)
  • Type of Entity
  • Descriptions  

Use this information to track how Google identifies facts and data about your business or relevant entities. If Google is not picking up the information you want to see on a Knowledge Graph, you will have to optimise your content further, create more content, or add more markups.

Optimising Your Website Is A Key Foundation to Appearing on Knowledge Graphs

Don’t jump too far ahead in your SEO journey. If you haven’t taken the steps to optimising the content you currently have, you have a lot of work ahead of you. Before you start to optimise your content for search engines, optimise your content for the people that you want to target. How do website visitors currently interact with your website? Can they find the information they need in a matter of seconds? Do you know what that information is in the first place?

Evaluate user experience and take the steps to optimise your website. Use the Google Knowledge Graphs as inspiration. Users (and Google) want to see content that easily answers questions based on the user’s intention for searching. How can you provide that experience with your landing pages, blog, and other content?

Learn more about proper search engine optimisation for your website by reaching out to the experts at Digital Squad, your go-to Google & AdWords marketing agency.

Megan Okonsky is a copywriter and content marketing specialist with Digital Squad. She is originally from Philadelphia but has landed in Melbourne after traveling for eight months in Southeast Asia and New Zealand. She also teaches vinyasa yoga online.

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