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Google Launches “Knowledge Graph” for Better Search Experience

by Kath Dawson on May 20, 2012

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Just in case you blinked and missed something, watch out for Google switching it up again!

Its an exciting time in search as you are never 100% sure how the search results will be presented and what new surprises might be in there.

The introduction of the Knowledge Graph is an extension of Google’s efforts to provide the best search experience and pre-empt the result you want.

Yup, its mind reading spookiness! Well not quite but it could seem like that when you start getting answers to questions you didn’t even ask yet.

What Is It?

It’s a new section at the top right hand side of the search results (pushing PPC results down) which displays key facts about the THING you are searching for. These aren’t links to websites which is why this is different, its an extra section of information being presented right there within Google’s database, this is a big shift in how Google is positioning itself as an information and knowledge engine.

Watch this video to get a clearer idea of what it looks like:

How Does It Work?

Google is pulling this information from specific sources and is presenting it within Google.

Cue the inevitable objections about Google stealing traffic from websites, somehow I can’t see them being in the remote bit interested in these concerns!

How will Google know what key facts to present? We should remember they have all that data from all our previous search behaviour which they can aggregate with everyone else’s behaviour; seems they really do know what we want before we do!

The Knowledge Graph is modeling not only search behaviour but also the inter-relationships between different things by applying a level of intelligence. They can then enhance your search experience in 3 key ways:

Finding the right thing

Google work it out for you and present the result they think you want. Other results are there too but there is greater emphasis on the one they think you want.

Get the best summary

You will be presented with key facts about your search phrase. Google know what the best key facts are to improve your search experience.

Go deeper and broader

The Knowledge Graph provides you with more information on a specific topic you might make some unexpected discoveries. These could then take you along a whole new line of enquiry.

What Does This Mean for SEO?

Until it rolls out in the UK, it will be hard to anticipate exactly how it will affect search behaviour and how visitors go on to interact with commercial websites. It is very likely to have an effect though, as Google will be keeping people within Google for longer rather than pushing them straight through to the available websites.

We know that searchers experience different stages in their search journey, such as a “research mode” and a “buying mode”.

From what we can tell, the Knowledge Graph would seem to serve those in the “research mode” best, could it make people more curious about these potential new discoveries they make within Google? Perhaps new areas of interest will be piqued and this could provide new and more interesting opportunities for commercial sites to attract click throughs.

Protip: It’s got to be worth paying more attention to what Google is currently showing as “related searches”!

How do you think the Knowledge Graph will affect search behaviour?

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About the Author

Kath is Creative Director at Strategy Digital, leading a team of very talented writers, designers, creatives and outreachers. She loves stretching her skill set and learning new things and is currently a student journalist and a budding photographer. Kath can always be found hanging out on Google+, so stop by and say hi.

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