Google rolls out new, improved search algorithm

Google is rolling out yet another upgrade to its algorithm today, with its new “knowledge graph” features being implemented in all English-speaking countries.

The announcement comes just a few days after the internet giant said it was testing a new feature that would include users’ Gmail messages alongside their search results.

But should businesses be concerned about changing their strategy? According to SEO experts, this is one algorithm change you don’t need to be too concerned over.

“It’s definitely going to be an interesting change, but…it’s more about collecting information and finding related facts and figures,” StewArt Media chief executive Jim Stewart said this morning.

Google actually announced the “Knowledge Graph” back in May. The feature includes a few new ways of display search results.

The biggest change is that when you search for something which includes a fair amount of detail, Google will summarise that topic in a box on the right hand side of the screen. For example, when searching for a particular sports team, Google will put the information about that team in a box including recent wins, losses, and links to information about members of the team.

The feature rolls out to English-speaking countries today. 

“We’ll also use this intelligence to help you find the right result more quickly when your search may have different meanings,” it said in a blog post

“For example, if you search for [rio], you might be interested in the Brazilian city, the recent animated movie or the casino in Vegas. Thanks to the Knowledge Graph, we can now give you these different suggestions of real-world entities in the search box as you type.”

But as Stewart says, for most businesses, this is one algorithm change they won’t necessarily have to pay much attention to.

“This is more about finding facts or related figures, and that sort of thing.”

“Where it will matter most is if there are searches in certain categories that bring up particular events, something like South by Southwest. Stuff like that is where the graph will come into play, but there has to be a whole volume of data surrounding that.”

Businesses where this might apply could include a manufacturer, listing the types of chemicals they use. But for most, it won’t be a problem, Stewart says.

“Just make sure you have your information all clear on your website, and have your rich snippets done up properly so Google can find them.”

The roll-out of the Knowledge Graph comes alongside a tool that includes Gmail results in search pages. You’ll have to sign up to turn this feature on, as it’s still in trial mode.  

“So if you’re planning a biking trip to Tahoe, you might see relevant emails from friends about the best bike trails, or great places to eat on the right hand side of the results page. If it looks relevant you can then expand the box to read the emails.”

This feature, Stewart says, may not be too relevant for most users.

“I certainly know from my perspective it won’t be relevant for me. It could be where you subscribe to certain lists and so on, and you’re doing research.”

“But I can’t see it being used on a massive scale.”

This article first appeared at SmartCompany.

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