Knowledge Graph Defined

As the knowledge graph becomes more and more part of our life, I thought this might be a good time to start to define it. As the Google My Business starts its campaign to get all small business on the internet, this will become something required for all small business to know about.

Establishing an online presence is often like shooting at a moving target, and the Google Knowledge Graph is another challenge now facing companies. The search engine giant is constantly reworking its algorithms and adding additional tools to detail its search results further. That’s great for the user, and it can be great for a business that acts quickly and intelligently. However, the Knowledge Graph does have the capacity to siphon off traffic from sites that do not adapt to it, so companies will need to adjust accordingly.

What is the Google Knowledge Graph and how does it work?

Google normally likes to pair its new tools with big announcements, but this one snuck through the radar for many people, including search engine optimization professionals. Launched in 2012, it may have an analytical sounding name, but it’s rather simple in application. Specifically, the Google Knowledge Graph is a knowledge base that maintains information about a huge variety of subjects, from historical figures to commonly inputted questions, to data about businesses and websites. The information is scraped from a variety of third party sites, including Wikipedia, and is presented in a small box offset on the search results page.

In most cases, the presented information is taken from sites that maintain extremely high rankings, and because the data is often paired with photos, maps or reviews, it is a hotspot for users’ eyes. So, companies that can get their information scraped by the graph are securing a major advantage over even the second and third ranked results.

This goes both ways then, obviously. Businesses that take a lax approach to their online marketing risk similar companies jumping ahead of them and getting their information top billing. That can deal a devastating blow to a business’s ability to capture traffic.

There’s no better example of just how powerful the Google Knowledge Graph is than to consider Wikipedia itself. Since the tool was released, the online encyclopedia juggernaut has suffered from a 20 percent decline in traffic. If a seemingly innocuous tool can have such a major impact on a well-known site like Wikipedia, imagine what kind of impact it can have on a small business site.

What can a company do to improve its chances of appearing in the Google Knowledge Graph?

A site that produces quality information will have the greatest chance of being scraped for the graph. Some other basic guidelines include:

  • Producing a clear, concise title and pair it with on-point H1 tags
  • Organizing the site into clearly defined sections, each offering a body of information that is thematically consistent
  • Listing the authors of the content on the page
  • Making judicious use of the most important keyword

In general, a site that maintains a smart SEO approach will also increase the chances of being scraped for Google’s tools. That’s just one more reason why it makes smart business and financial sense to bring in an SEO expert for online marketing purposes.

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