If you’ve ever tried out different search engines, there’s a good chance that you’ve found Google to be a stronger performer compared to its competitors. Search engines like Bing and Yahoo do their job, but Google almost always helps me find what I’m looking for significantly faster and towards the top of their SERPs.
There’s a reason for this. Google has a lot of complex algorithms that play a part in this, but their knowledge graph is a key component in this accuracy, too.
In this post, we’re going to go over everything you need to know about Google’s Knowledge Graph and how to use this information to your benefit.
What is the Google Knowledge Graph?
Google’s Knowledge Graph is essentially Google’s way of connecting data like people, places, and facts in order to create more relevant and accurate search results. In order to deliver more accurate search results, Google analyzes millions of pieces of data and search results and examines the intent behind the searches.
Context matters, and Google’s knowledge graph and its database works hard to establish not only context but relevance. It’s how they’re able to discern the difference between “big brother” the sibling, “big brother” the nonprofit, “Big Brother” the reality TV show, and “big brother” from the Orwellian universe when evaluating search intent and context.
The goal of the knowledge graph is to provide the most relevant and accurate search results possible, even if the content itself doesn’t contain the exact search phrase users are looking for.
Let’s look at an example. When you search for “dining room ideas,” Google will show you “dining room decorating ideas” blog posts, shopping results for dining furniture, and “design ideas.” These are the most relevant search results, even though none of them are an exact match keyword.
So How Does The Knowledge Graph Affect Marketers?
A lot of people think that SEO is an extremely literal and straightforward game. You optimize for “dining room ideas,” and you’ll show up in the top results for that page. Unfortunately, while SEO can be straightforward, it’s also not something that needs to be approached in a robotic way.
Context is important, and marketers who are able to best establish context in a way that Google will understand are going to see the top search results.
Think of the big brother example above. If you’re writing about the TV show, you might include words like “big brother episode” or “big brother finale.” If you want to write about the government watch programs, opt for including something like “big brother surveillance” in the content.
One simple word can change the context massively, and you don’t even need to necessarily include these extra words as part of your keyword prhase.
How Should I Best Establish Context?
Google’s spiders will crawl all of your content, but providing context through keywords, metadata, post titles, subheads, and things like alt image text will be particularly important. If you have a WordPress site, make sure you’re using keywords in combination with context-creating phrases in each of the points it wants you to hit.
This will often be what Google looks at first, so if these elements are written to explain what your content is about, Google will be able to register it for relevant searches even if your keywords aren’t an exact match.
Is Google’s Knowledge Graph All About Google Crawlability?
This is a good question, and the answer here, unfortunately for some businesses, is no. If there was a magic formula and giving Google the right combination of terms was all that was needed to increase your SERPs, after all, you’d see that formula plastered all over every marketing blog ever written.
This isn’t a bad thing though, because a lot of brands won’t put in the work to get the rest of it right. That’s because the rest of it is a little more complicated, and it’s all about delivering content that your audience really wants to see.
Remember when we were defining Google’s knowledge graph early on and mentioned that Google looks at the intent behind searches and what content seems to deliver on what users are looking for? That’s a crucial part of the equation, too.
Writing Content Your Audience Wants to See
I’ve always said that you should write for people first and Google second. Not only will Google still be able to find the information that it needs, but it will see lower bounce rates, and both will help your SEO overall. Google’s knowledge graph is complex, and it will take all of this into account, so there is no gaming the system.
In order to write content your audience wants to see, you should:
- Do research before writing. What questions are your customers asking, and what are they looking to learn about? While you’re doing this, take keyword research into account and consider looking for question-based keywords. SEMrush’s keyword filtering options can help you with this.
- Write for featured snippets. Featured snippets are the short answers to questions that are featured in the SERPs. Even if you don’t think you have a chance of snagging that spot because your site authority is low, write like you’re trying to rank for them anyways, because it will encourage you to answer important questions succinctly. This will still help you with the SERPs.
- Offer clear value. One of the biggest mistakes a lot of blogs make is they think they’re being helpful, but they don’t actually provide actionable, helpful information. Telling someone to “retarget” isn’t the same thing as saying “set up this custom audience on Facebook by following these steps so that you can get x results.” Think practical instead of the abstract theory.
- Keep readability scores low. Yoast SEO and other tools like Grammarly can help you determine your readability score, which should be kept as low as possible. People coming to your blog don’t want to read the next Hemingway novel; they want quick, easy answers and digestible information. Sentences and paragraphs should be short, and content should be clearly organized into multiple subheads.
- Be as thorough as possible. This will tie in to the whole “offer value” thing, but it can also help you if you have more information that your competitors and your audience is looking for that little tidbit of information missing elsewhere. Something like adding pricing data to your recommended tools post, even if your competitors don’t, will help you.
Google’s knowledge graph all exists in the backend of the platform, but it’s a major factor that dictates how Google interprets all the data available online, user intent, and how it all comes together. Leveraging this information and thinking about big-picture strategies when you’re creating your own content can help you in the long run, so keep the knowledge graph in mind when writing your posts.
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What do you think? How do you feel about Google’s Knowledge Graph? How will it impact your SEO strategy? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!