Google has introduced an important update to its search facility, which goes live very soon. It’s called the Knowledge Graph.
Here’s a summary and why it’s important for PR and marketing professionals:
What is the Knowledge Graph?
The Knowledge Graph is Google’s next step to make search more relevant to users. There are no signups or logins, so everyone will see this change. Essentially it uses semantic search principles to understand the context and meaning of words and serve results that are more relevant. You won’t see the Knowledge Graph as such – it’ll just improve the experience of searching on Google.
As part of the update, Google will display relevant content on the right hand side of the screen. This will be from third party sources, such as Wikipedia, and include images, video and so on.
So, as you can see below, if you searched for Marie Curie you’ll get a box-out show relevant content and what else people are searching for.
Why is Google doing this?
The first benefit to Google is that it keeps people on the search page longer (and therefore more likely to click on an ad) as more information will be displayed on search results pages.
Secondly, it’s part of Google’s ongoing improvement to search results, to make it better at understanding languages and responding to complex question. For example, you get better results for a search like “which UK city has the most rainfall?”, which requires a lot of number crunching. (Personally, I think Google could do worse than buy questions and answers site Quora, which already achieves this through user-generated responses.)
Finally, it fits in with Google’s other major investment: Google+, a big competitor to Facebook and Twitter. Encouraging people to use Google+, learn what they like – and what the people that influence them like – shows that Google wants to be much more than a search engine, but a complete web experience company.
How is this important to PR and marketing people?
- Content on third party sites that are being used as part of Knowledge Graph – e.g. Wikipedia or Freebase – become much more important. While an awkward area for PRs to get involved, an accurate and fairly reflected article on Wikipedia is even more important than before
- A revised SEO story. Less of an emphasis on attacking keywords, more on discovery and context, means that having an active presence on social media channels and creating interesting content is key. You’ll hear SEO consultants using terms like “Latent Semantic Indexing”, which essentially is about how you make the content of a website understood contextually by Google – for example, “interest” can be in the context of “interest rates” or “hobbies”. An important point if you work for a financial services company, for example
- Communications professionals will become organisations’ information curators. Knowledge Graph holds a lot of stock in facts and how they relate to each other. How information about the company is collected, stored and retrieved by Google will become the responsibility of the PR department. Obviously, there’s an internal and external part to this story. In other words, more facts and information, organised in the right way, will mean a better footprint on Google
- With Google collecting all this information about users, the privacy issue is never far away…
- Google Introduces a New Knowledge Graph (freetech4teachers.com)
- Google Gets Semantic, Launches Knowledge Graph Starting Today (allthingsd.com)
- Google’s new Knowledge Graph: Three key features (techworld.com.au)
- Introducing the Knowledge Graph: things, not strings (googleblog.blogspot.com)
- Google Just Got A Whole Lot Smarter, Launches Its Knowledge Graph (techcrunch.com)