What is the Knowledge Graph?
The Knowledge Graph is the mechanism that helps the Google algorithm understand how different people, places, and things are connected. When a user enters a query into Google, the Knowledge Graph gathers information, finds the best sources and presents snippets of content in informational boxes, known as Quick Answers, above the search results. Quick Answers are a way Google easily and conveniently presents information or answers to questions that are 'how to' or 'what is' oriented.
For instance, if you ask “When was the wife of Lincoln born?”, Knowledge Graph is responsible for giving the answer: “Mary Todd Lincoln, December 13, 1818”. Even though you did not mention Mary Todd Lincoln’s name, the algorithm understood that Lincoln meant Abe Lincoln and that his wife was Mary Todd. The graph mechanism was launched in May 2012, reportedly expanded in 2015, and now is included in about 1 in 5 searches.
How has the Knowledge Graph impacted search?
The Knowledge Graph has impacted SEO for businesses and websites in three main ways. Some sites saw a decline in traffic when this new feature was launched. Wikipedia reported a 21 percent decline in page views after it went live.
It complies Quick Answers at the top of SERP for how-to questions and definition queries. In these instances, the Knowledge Graph interprets information from authoritative websites and offers answers to the query in a white box at the top of the search engine results. Many marketers fear that Quick Answers reduce the need for potential customers to click on results. However, it is likely that any traffic Google siphons through the Knowledge Graph were visitors who just wanted a quick answer and would have exited the page after finding this answer. In other words, these users were not likely to convert.
Another area of significant impact has been the creation of sidebar panels, which exist for nearly every business, from major corporations to small businesses. These panels show up in response to a branded query, and they offer quite a bit of information about your brand. The panel often includes a summary, optimized photos, reviews, social profiles, competitors, and even stock prices for applicable brands.
How does the Knowledge Graph work?
- Consider the queries that will result in Quick Answers for your industry, such as ‘how to’s’ and ‘what is’ questions. Create content that answers the question sufficiently to improve your odds of being picked as the authoritative source for the answer. Answer customer questions in clear and easy-to-digest ways. Monitor the impage of Google's Quick Answers in terms of traffic and click-through rates. You may see a clear increase for some chosen as an answer. This can boost trust for those scanning the SERP.
- The people who want more in-depth replies, the ones more likely to convert, are likely to scroll past these Quick Answers to the results below. Optimize your content to keep your site as highly ranked as possible. You can do this with several SEO best practices including optimizing image alt text, title tags, increasing keyword density, adding backlinks, and so much more. Become a master in SEO to increase your chances of being seen by the Knowledge Graph and becoming a Quick Answer.
- Make sure that all the information about your business in the sidebar panel is accurate. Customers trust the information found here. Focus on cultivating positive reviews on Google+, uploading engaging pictures and building a strong social media presence. This will create a positive image for your brand, improving your odds of conversion.
The Knowledge Graph helps users find the information they seek quickly and easily. Marketers can use this feature to their advantage by optimizing their content and writing new content targeting Quick Answers.