Late last week Google announced the release of their long anticipated semantic search capability named “Knowledge Graph”.
Despite the geeky name this is something you should be aware of because it represents a very significant and fundamental change to how Google presents search results, (a change as big or bigger than Maps and Universal Search being incorporated into traditional search results).
The BIG question this begs is what impact will it have on SEO and search advertising?
But first, just what is “Knowledge Graph”? It’s a huge collection of facts that Google has assembled about people, places and things in the world, and – this is the important bit – how they’re connected to one another. Currently the Google Knowledge Graph is reported to contain over 3.5 billion facts about 500 million objects and the relationships between them.
As a result of this new found ability to recognize the actual meaning of words, (semantic search), Google can now present facts or direct answers in response to search queries, rather than just links in their search results to relevant pages on external websites.
Google’s traditional search model is based on presenting links to pages that match query terms or keywords. So search on, say “Leonardo da Vinci”, and Google has, until now, presented a search result page like the one below which primarily consists of links to external website pages it considers most relevant for the query.
The difference with Knowledge Graph is that Google now understands the search term “Leonardo da Vinci” is not simply a collection of characters making up words, but represents a real entity, (in this case a person). As a result, Google is able to enhance the traditional search results with a panel containing key facts about Leonard da Vinci; things related to him (in this case, paintings); and popular related searches other people have done. This knowledge panel appears to the right of the traditional organic search results.
If this is hard to get your head around, check out the video from Google at the bottom of this page. A key quote in the video is that Google is in the early stages of transforming from an information engine to a knowledge engine.
So in summary, at this stage it’s too early to make any definitive statements about how Google Knowledge Graph will impact websites and SEO strategies. Naturally it’s something we’re closely monitoring.
Some further reading on this:
Search Engine Land – Google Launches Knowledge Graph To Provide Answers, Not Just Links
Mashable – Google Search Just Got 1,000 Times Smarter
Mark is a Partner and Senior Consultant at SureFire which he founded back in 2002. Prior to establishing SureFire he worked for KPMG Consulting.Today Mark heads up SEO, embracing the challenges that can come with complex website implementations.