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Making use of Google’s Knowledge Graph

Making use of Google’s Knowledge Graph

I’ve spoken about Google’s Knowledge Graph previously, but only compared to their proposed Knowledge Vault. Since Yoast’s WordPress SEO 2.0 was released with additional settings to encourage the use of the Knowledge Graph, and with the recent discussions of a Knowledge Vault, I thought I’d take a closer look at the Knowledge Graph and how to increase the potential for a website to get a prestigious Knowledge Graph block for your business in search results.

What is the Knowledge Graph?

I’m sure you’ve noticed that certain search results might have a special pane that has more information about a company, website, person, television show, movie, and many other matters. That’s the Knowledge Graph.

The Knowledge Graph is Google’s knowledge base of information that has been collected from primary and secondary sources such as:

Why do we need the Knowledge Graph?

End-users can make use of the Knowledge Graph by being presented with additional semantic information about a website or search result. Businesses need the Knowledge Graph to present this information to the end-user. Let’s face it, if someone is searching for your business on Google, they might be looking for the phone number, location, or when your business closes. Wouldn’t it be nice to have that information readily available?

The idea behind Knowledge Graph is that when you search for something, you’re not just looking for a webpage, but perhaps a large set of ideas or concepts surrounding a topic. This is a semiotic approach to search, where Google is finding connections of all things through a massive graph to provide end-users more meaningful results.

Google likes using Leonardo da Vinci as an example. If you search for “Leonardo da Vinci” in Google, you not only get the best web pages about Leo, you get a small biography, life, death, and other information to the right of the search result, rather than having to navigate to several different websites to gather the same information. Wouldn’t it be nice to have all the basic information about your business or website displayed in this same fashion?

Mobile

Google’s Android platform has now has two new features that utilize the Knowledge Graph with excellent results.

Google Now

Google Now is a special card on compatible Android devices that can keep track of how you use your Google account to provide you with usage-based recommendations of blog articles, stock quotes, sporting events, your flight’s status, and my personal favorite, tracking of your packages. Many of the same structured data markup used in Google Now can help get your website a nifty Knowledge Graph block in SERPs.

“Ok Google”

Chrome and Android now have a special feature that competes directly with Apple’s Siri. When you’re on the right tab or home page in Chrome or Android, by simply speaking “Ok Google”, Google will fetch your search result. If the search result is common enough, there might be a Knowledge Graph block for Google to actually read to you like Siri, usually with a slightly less sardonic tone.

Feeding the Knowledge Graph

There are many reasons why Google will have a Knowledge Base block for a website, person, company, etc. It’s primarily due to the popularity of a keyword or topic, but also because the information is readily available. Earlier I mentioned that Google uses a variety of primary and secondary sources to build its data. Previously, Google only used secondary sources such as Wikipedia, the CIA World Factbook, and Freebase to develop its Knowledge Graph. With structured data mehtods such as schema.org, JSON, and other markup, now you can provide Google with primary information to help populate the Knowledge Graph.

Before we go further, there is no guarantee that your website will have a Knowledge Graph (KG) block appear in search results. Your best bet is to follow these steps and help Google better understand your website and content. Even if you don’t get a Knowledge Graph block to show your friends, following these steps can increase your SEO potential too.

Google+ Local

Create or claim and verify your Google+ Local page. If you visit Google Maps and your business shows up, you already have a Google+ Local Page. If you do not see your business listed, visit Google My Business and follow the steps to create and verify your Google+ Local page. You’ll need a Gmail account, and this Gmail account should be used to manage all your website’s Google services.

Be sure to optimize your profile to a full 100%. This way you’re making use of all the possibilities that Google+ provides you. Furthermore, start getting some reviews on your Google+ page.

If you don’t have a local business with a brick and mortar location, you should still be sure to have a and optimized and verified Google+ page for your website or business.

 

Local SEO

Make sure that you’ve got your entire Local SEO presence managed. Not just on Google+, but any major local listing website or social media website. Google looks for NAP (name, address, phone) and other information to be consistent across all websites. That’s because your users expect the same too!

Engage on Google+

Jesse Wojdylo claims that being more active on Google+ in general can help the potential of the Knowledge Graph to appear, but I’m not completely sold on that idea. However, if your website caters to a more tech-savvy crowd, Google+ might be an excellent place to spend some of your social media time and/or budget.

Structured Markup

After you’ve made sure your Google+ Local page and your Local SEO is optimized, now you can make some on-page changes to your website. Google has a knowledge base article on how you can customize your Knowledge Graph, including logos, contact information, and social profile links.

Most of these customizations will require you to be familiar with HTML and change some markup in <script> code. In most cases, you can just copy and paste this code and make changes. The Yoast WordPress SEO 2.0 plugin has new functionality that does this all for you, and I suspect other content management systems will have plugins that can offer the same functionality. Read all the articles about Yoast’s WordPress SEO Plugin at Tampa SEO.

Logo

First, you want your beautiful logo to appear in the Knowledge Graph. Add the following code below to the <head> section of your HTML template and change the example information with your website’s actual information.

Corporate Contacts

Here you can add all sorts of information to help users contact one or more departments by phone. Google allows you to provide markup for the following phone numbers, and whether those numbers are toll-free, accessible for the hearing-impaired, or serve a specific country or countries:

  • customer service
  • technical support
  • billing support
  • bill payment
  • sales
  • reservations
  • credit card support
  • emergency
  • baggage tracking
  • roadside assistance
  • package tracking

Social Profiles

Your business may not just live on your website; you might have an amazing social media presence. Well, Google has special social profile markup for that too! Google will allow you to indicate your social media URLs of the following social media companies:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Myspace

Google even encourages adding additional social media URLs, but only the networks listed above will be shown in search results.

Conclusion

In all, there’s really isn’t too much that you need to do to get your website or business a nifty Knowledge Graph block when your business appears prominently in a search result. However, this information will certainly help give Google a hint to display Knowledge Graph block for your business.

As we’ve seen structured data on your website is becoming more and more important. Structuring data is helpful to users as Google is starting to use this data to populate its Knowledge Graph, as we’ve learned in this blog posts, but also help display data on your website across many devices and applications to provide an engaging experience for users, even when they are not on your website.

Again, like search results, there are no guaranteed results with Knowledge Graph. However, if you have a solid web presence for your business, follow Google’s Guidelines, and continue to improve the functionality and content of your website, there’s no reason why your website doesn’t find some success in increased rankings and even getting that prestigious Knowledge Graph block. With the right steps taken, you’re still positioning your website for better SEO whether you get the Knowledge Graph or not.

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