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Google – The Knowledge Graph Update

     -     May 23rd, 2012   -     Accounting Marketing, Search Engine Optimization   -     0 Comments

As we all know by now, Google is constantly making small changes and improvements to their search engine algorithms, in fact they make around 500 small, incremental changes each year.  The newest change however, is the biggest since 2007 – and it’s a real game changer for search results.

In their blog, published May 16, Google announced the addition of the Knowledge Graph – a search for things, not for words and terms.

Interesting concept, right? The idea behind it being that a search engine would be better if it understood the context of what you were searching for.  Are you looking for Mercury the planet, or Mercury the element? The knowledge graph would give you a chance to answer that question without having to perform another search.

In their blog, Google states the following:

“The Knowledge Graph enables you to search for things, people or places that Google knows about—landmarks, celebrities, cities, sports teams, buildings, geographical features, movies, celestial objects, works of art and more—and instantly get information that’s relevant to your query. This is a critical first step towards building the next generation of search, which taps into the collective intelligence of the web and understands the world a bit more like people do.


Google’s Knowledge Graph isn’t just rooted in public sources such as Freebase, Wikipedia and the CIA World Factbook. It’s also augmented at a much larger scale—because we’re focused on comprehensive breadth and depth. It currently contains more than 500 million objects, as well as more than 3.5 billion facts about and relationships between these different objects. And it’s tuned based on what people search for, and what we find out on the web.”

The update/implementation of the Knowledge Graph technology is really comprised of a couple main parts:
Considering Context.
To borrow from our earlier example, searching for Mercury the planet, or Mercury the element? Google now asks you:


See the column to the right of your search results?  It’s bringing up the organic results in your primary column, then its looking to you to give context to the search in the secondary column.  Brilliant!

Once you select your intended search, Google will then adjust your search result accordingly and provide you with even more no-click information about your search topic on the right.


Providing key facts and summaries.

I chose Mercury the planet for my search.  So Google gave me key facts that it thought most people would want to know about that topic.  Although providing the most relevant information to any search topic has always been at the heart of search engines, the new system to display this information – without having to click through to a site – is certainly new.  Google takes this information one step further and models inter-relationships.  So if there is frequently queried information that is related in some way to your query – it will also be displayed as a tangent of information.
So what does this mean for SEO – paid and organic?
It’s still early, so it’s difficult to predict how this change is going to impact search results.  It’s likely that knowledge sites, such as Wikipedia, will see a drop in traffic as the information that it provides is being displayed prominently on the search page.

Paid search results (adwords) seem to be missing from pages that showcase the new knowledge graphic (check out the screen shots above) – so that will definitely be something to watch in the future.


The best advice is to keep creating great content that is relevant and informative for your target – SEO is not a magic bullet for great traffic and higher sales, but it is a good place to start.  Your focus should always be on providing the information that your target wants.

We’ll keep our eye on this one, as it will be interesting to see how the knowledge graph effects ‘Places’ – such as different businesses, and ‘People’ such as business entities.

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