Google Knowledge Graph

May 18, 2012

Google Search is about to get a little more sensitive to your needs.

Wednesday, Google announced the launch of Knowledge Graph, which is an attempt to make search more human. Based on new technology Google has developed and acquired, Knowledge Graph will make the search engine algorithms act “more human” by providing instant answers to search questions.

Knowledge Graph will first be available to US-based users, and soon rolled out globally. Google’s Knowledge Graph follows similar efforts by Bing’s “Snapshot” column, which is now providing dynamic content mixed with the typical list of websites in the search results. Last week, Bing launched Snapshot with a complete site redesign. Google may have accelerated the launch of Knowledge Graph to compete with Bing, but Google’s new search tool has been in development for years.

What is Google’s Knowledge Graph?

Knowledge Graph will significantly change how search results will be delivered to the user. If that sounds like a big change, that’s because it is. Of all the recent changes to the search algorithm—Panda, Penguin, etc.—this is something much different and more important. Google is changing how users will interact with search.

Rather than merely providing search results of the top websites based on keywords, Google is going to give users a true portal to the web. So if you search for information about a historical figure, you may see a summary from Wikipedia or relevant answers from Q&A sites such as Quora. The premise behind Knowledge Graph is that broad keywords mean different things to different people.

Google has been floating around two prominent examples of Knowledge Graph in action. The first is a search for the Taj Mahal. According to the user’s data—such as location, your past searches, and social sharing on Google+–the user might be a high school student looking for historical data for a history project; or the user might be on her way to Atlantic City and is looking for data on the Taj Mahal Hotel and Casino; or the user might be a traveler in Agra, India looking for directions to the Taj Mahal. Based on user data, Knowledge Graph can infer what you are really looking for and provide intelligent results that offer a portal to the web.

The second example is a search for Matt Groening, the creator of the Simpsons. Now with Knowledge Graph, a user will be provided search results that represent a more comprehensive view of the web. Rather than the top 10 websites for that search, the user will now see photos of Matt Groening and his family members, a short biography, and other pieces of valuable content.

Google Search is Getting Better

Knowledge Graph marks the next big step in the development of search engine intelligence. Now users are more likely to find more personalized data. In case there was any doubt, Knowledge Graph makes it official: Google is no longer a directory of top websites based on keywords. Google Search is now a repository of all valuable content on the web.

Users discover new information they wouldn’t find in the old Google Search. Now users will find valuable content from Facebook, Pinterest, Wikipedia, Quora, LinkedIn, and other top social sites.

Knowledge Graph offers a more complete picture of where personalized search is going and how user-friendly it might be. Simply put, Google Search is getting better.

Why is Google Doing This?

Ever since Larry Page reemerged as CEO last year, Google’s mission has been laser-focused. Google wants to build an integrated platform that lets users find everything they need without leaving the platform. This is the guiding force behind Google+, social search, YouTube, Gmail, Knowledge Graph, and all the recent algorithm updates.

Google is doing this for two reasons. 1)Larry Page is confident that the web is moving to integrated platforms that combine search and social. 2) If Google can keep users on its platform for more time, this means more ad revenue for Google.

Marketing Takeaways from Google’s Knowledge Graph

As marketers, it is our job to read the tea leaves and know how new technology impacts your business. As usual, there are important marketing takeaways with Knowledge Graph. Here are our top marketing takeaways.

1. Think beyond SEO.
Traditional SEO is changing radically as Google itself changes.
2. Being optimized for Google means being optimized for the entire web. Yes, you still need a great website. But you also need an organic footprint all over the web.
3. Content is everything. As Google pulls in more data from other sites, offsite content becomes as important as the content on your own site. This means you should creating valuable content around the web to build your brand.
4. Increase your social media engagement. As personalized search and offsite content becomes more important to Google, the search engine rankings are going to be impacted by the social signals that define your brand as popular and valuable.
5. Invest in your personal brand. Google is not only going to promote your company, but your own personal brand. If a customer searches your company, there’s a good chance information about you is going to be found. So it’s a great idea to invest in your own brand and build an identity as an industry thought leader.
6. Google+ leverages everything you do. Google’s new integrated platform is all tied to your Google+ profile. The more you can share valuable content on Google+, the more likely your customers are to find your content in the search results.
7. Quality linking becomes more important and more accessible. Links remain a vital part of the Google search algorithm. But you must generate quality links to take advantage of this. So generate inbound links by creating and sharing content on your blog, your social profiles, business profiles, social bookmarking sites, Q& A sites, and all the best “neighborhoods” that encourage community engagement.
8. It’s about Traffic, Not Rankings. Knowledge Graph is the latest example of how Google’s new integrated platform is going to be driving traffic from a variety of places all over the web. Meanwhile, Universal Search is getting more saturated by the day and more difficult to achieve rankings for broad keywords. So focus on long-tail keywords and a variety of traffic generation for cost-effective lead generation.

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