Google recently unveiled a new way of displaying search queries, called The Google Knowledge Graph. But what is the Google Knowledge graph and how will it affect SEO? These are both important things to consider for businesses that rely on SEO to generate leads.
What is the Google Knowledge Graph?
The Google Knowledge Graph is Google’s attempt at providing “semantic” search results. That is, search results that answer the searcher’s question without delivering them to an actual webpage. For instance, if a person were to search for “Mitt Romney,” they would see a window on the right side appear that gives some basic information – why he is noteworthy; when he was born; where he is from. The technology is pretty impressive – unless you are a SEOer. In this case, you viewed the rollout with trepidation and concern.
So how will the Google Knowledge Graph affect SEO? In the short term, The Google Knowledge Graph will help clean up “ad farms.” These are sites which target popular search questions in order to make money on Google AdSense. These sites serve no real purpose to Google searchers, as they are purely money making pages, often storing inaccurate information. Before, when a searcher would type a question like “What is the deepest part of the ocean?” they could land on a page featuring optimized content for that search. The page would be populated with Google ads, generating the site owner a potentially large sum of money. Losing these sites is a good thing. But what happens when semantic search takes away from legitimate websites, blogs and small business sites?
How will the Google Knowledge Graph affect SEO?
While there are lots of ad farms out there, much of the last Google algorithm update did a good job of devaluing these pages. However, an unintended consequence of the Google Knowledge Graph will undoubtedly be taking away visits and dollars from legitimate businesses that garner traffic by answering industry specific questions. A welder in Oregon can write a blog answering questions about how hot a specific metal needs to be, but what happens when Google answers this question for him? Work done by legitimate SEO efforts can be undone in an instant. While we have not yet reached that moment, the roll out of the Google Knowledge Graph has many insiders wondering what the consequences will be for SEO.
The Google Knowledge Graph: A New Direction?
With Bing’s recent Social Search, the introduction of the Google Knowledge Graph could signal a change in search strategy for the industry giant. While Bing has created search engine tools that allow you to find information based on input from social networks and friends, Google has worked at creating the opposite – a tool that provides the information via an algorithm. There are pros and cons for both approaches, but what is interesting is that the two main competitors in search seem to be heading in opposite directions. This could potentially be Bing’s move that closes the gap with Google, but we will have to wait and see how the Knowledge Graph changes the search engine game.