Google’s Knowledge Graph and All of its Capabilities

In May 2012, Google launched its “Knowledge Graph” to provide answers to simple knowledge-based queries like Angelina Jolie’s birthday or Bill Gates net worth. This provides a box on the right side of the search results for this information, containing a short description of the information requested, as well as common facts that are related to the particular query. For example, when searching for Angelina Jolie’s birthday, Google also provides information about her height, children, spouse, and the movies she has starred in. When searching for Bill Gates’ net worth, Google provides his birthday, spouse, children, organizations founded, and a section for famous quotes.

“PEOPLE ALSO SEARCH FOR”

Along with the description and facts Google provides when you search for a knowledge-based query, there is a “People also search for” box right below. A recent update for this provides a small snippet at the top of the search engine results page as shown here:

1st show results:

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But when you click on “Warren Buffet” it brings you through to a longer list of “People also search for”, as show below:

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As you can see, when you show Google that you are interested in similar searches to your original query, it displays a further in-depth and user friendly version of “People also search for” compared to the original box that was directly below the Knowledge Panel on the right side of the page.

*It is worth noting that the original box for “People also search for” is still there below the Knowledge Panel. See here:

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BACKGROUND

This knowledge graph was developed from a combination of CIA World Factbook, Freebase, and Wikipedia, according to Search Engine Land’s article introducing the matter. Google’s primary intention was to bring the quickest answer possible to a user searching for a simple knowledge based query. Google’s mission has always been to, “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” which the knowledge graph certainly achieves. It also adds the timesaving convenience factor.

At first, when this was launched in 2012, fact-based websites had concerns of being phased out due to less traffic. However, you can see that the usual search results are still on the left side of the page, containing the fact-based websites:

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RECENT UPDATES TO THE KNOWLEDGE GRAPH

In 2014, there was a rumor of a “Knowledge Vault” coming into play – a separate, machine learning algorithm-gathering data from the Knowledge Graph. This Vault was said to be gathering it’s own information, ranking the data from its own reliability measure, and compiling all the results into a database. However, Google later came out saying this was just a research paper and not an active product in use.

Recently Google Chrome’s Omnibox has been updated and optimized for the Knowledge Graph. It was first noticed in late September/ early October 2015 when searching for the same queries as mentioned above. Now, there is an autocomplete and quick answer feature within the search bar so you don’t even have to complete the search query before the answer pops up. For example, when I search for “bill gates net” this is what comes up:

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Also, when searching for “Angelina Jolie birthday”:

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This further shows that Google is becoming more understanding of context and intent, shortcutting your queries and saving you valuable time. A terrific graph shows this process in more detail, you can view it here.

PREDICTIONS FOR THE FUTURE OF THE KNOWLEDGE GRAPH

As Google is constantly working to provide more simplicity for the user, generating quick answers for simple questions, we can only guess what the Knowledge Graph will evolve into from here. Since it’s newest update, we have noticed that when you type in simple math equations like “2+2,” it autocompletes just like it would for someone’s birthday or net worth.

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In the near future, we predict the autocomplete and quick answer will become even more prevalent for basic searches and most likely continue optimizing for small screens/wearable technology. If you notice, the latest update is a simple and consolidated response to a user’s search query, presumably to accommodate the smaller screens (i.e. mobile devices, wearable technology, etc.) becoming more abundant for searching.

HOW YOU CAN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS

When your website is optimized correctly, your business can potentially show up in the Knowledge Panel, similar to Jefferson Lines shown below:

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There isn’t as much information about how to optimize for the Knowledge Panel, but results are suggesting that posting frequently with your Google+ Profile and generating a conversation on social networks can help Google recognize you as a brand. As you can see above, when you optimize your business correctly, the whole first page is taken up by your company’s results. This optimization includes Schema markup and on-page optimization, as well as pay-per-click advertising.

Although we can only imagine what will come next, we recommend updating all of your local listings with the correct information (hours, address, phone number, website, etc.), as well as making sure you have optimization present on your site to ensure that Google can gather the information it needs, and, hopefully, display it (if applicable) in the Google Knowledge Panel.