Over the last year, Google has been putting more emphasis on its Knowledge Graph, and this will only increase in 2015. Inbound marketers who pay attention to this underutilized portion of the Google search results page will see huge impact for their efforts in the coming months.
Read on to find out how to adapt your inbound marketing efforts to emphasize structured data and why your implicit and explicit signals to Google matter.
1. Google Believes this is the Future of Search
Whether it is the prominent position given to Knowledge Graph results or the expanded percentage of queries that return Knowledge Graph results (now over 30 percent), Google has made it clear it believes the future of search lies with this feature. Google has been expanding the sources of content for the Knowledge Graph since its inception, and there is no reason this will stop.
Google’s Hummingbird algorithm update in late 2013 was specifically designed to better understand and answer conversational search queries which often take the form of a question. The Knowledge Graph is often the source of the answers to the very type of queries that Hummingbird emphasized and improved.
Google is making a big bet on the Knowledge Graph, and as the percentage of queries returning Knowledge Graph results increase, then you’ll need to focus on this search feature.
2. It Allows You to Answer a Question in Your Industry
One of the Knowledge Graph features that's caused the most consternation among digital marketers is the “answer box” (or direct answers in Google results page).
While these answers have resulted in fewer clicks on search results, the answer box gives companies a golden opportunity to provide the definitive answer to questions in their industry. This may result in more traffic for that company’s site, and it will definitely position the company as a thought leader in their industry. Google’s understanding of queries has improved, and a larger percentage of queries will likely be originating from voice search in the coming year.
3. Your Company Can Dominate Search Results
The Knowledge Graph gives you a chance to have even more results on the page. Combined with great organic results and effective paid search campaigns, a good showing in Knowledge Graph results will have your company owning a large percentage of the immediately visible search results. This is especially true with branded search results, where a company Knowledge Graph is highly likely to show.
4. It's Getting More Social
Google recently added social profiles from Google and non-Google social networks to some company and personal Knowledge Graph results. Combined with the existing “recent posts from Google plus” area that sometimes appears in results, this suggests that social will influence the content of the Knowledge Graph and provide another channel for you to engage potential users with social content.
5. The Knowledge Graph Sits in a Prime Spot
A number of eye-tracking studies have shown that Google Search users focus on a distinctive triangle area starting at the top left of the search results page, moving to the right and then gradually moving down and to the left.
This is the exact position in which much of the Knowledge Graph content sits. Because of this, top organic listings result in many fewer clicks when the Knowledge Graph answers the user’s question.
6. If You Don’t Take Control, Someone Else Might
Even though Google recently announced that it is shutting down Freebase -- a major source of structured data for the Knowledge Graph -- you can still update and add entries to Freebase until March 2015. The data in Freebase will move to Wikidata. Your company, executives and products likely have an entry in Freebase (and Wikidata), and if you aren’t updating the information, then someone less knowledgeable about your company may be adding incorrect information.
The same goes for Wikipedia pages -- many companies have suffered from incorrect or vandalized information from Wikipedia showing in the Knowledge Graph. Monitor your company’s Wikipedia page and correct bad information as soon as possible. Wikipedia, however, has a strong bias against self-promotion and conflict of interest, so limit edits of your company’s Wikipedia entry.