Google has updated its front search page yet again, adding a new feature called the “Knowledge Graph” that allows you to search for a topic and then receive generic information about that search on the front page, separated from the organic search results.
However, search engine optimisation experts say it may not have a direct, literal application for small businesses, which should continue using the same strategies they always have and focus on high quality, relevant content.
“This is probably a major change for the users of Google, more than businesses,” says StewArt Media chief executive Jim Stewart. Google began to rollout the change today.
“But it’s something you have to keep on top of and make sure you’re just always using the best practices to make sure your information can be catalogued and found.”
Google announced the launch of the Knowledge Graph on its Inside Search blog last night and said the graph is a step forward in its attempt to create the “next generation” of search, in which friends influence each others’ queries. The company says this “taps into the collective intelligence of the web”.
“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 gives the example that while someone might search the words “Taj Mahal”, which Google will search, it wants the software to understand “real-world entities and their relationships to one another”.
This plays out in a few practical ways.
The first is a new box that will show up next to your search results giving you a few more options when you search for something that has two meanings. For instance, if you search for “Taj Mahal”, it will ask whether you want to search for the monument or the blues musician.
The second way is that the Knowledge Graph will summarise information about particular topics and then show it on the screen. The example it gives is that if you’re searching for a person, you’ll see a box showing a summary of key information, including links to search for related people.
“How do we know which facts are most likely to be needed for each item? For that, we go back to our users and study in aggregate what they’ve been asking Google about each item.”
“For example, people are interested in knowing what books Charles Dickens wrote, whereas they’re less interested in what books Frank Lloyd Wright wrote and more in what buildings he designed.”
Google says it’s summarising this information because most people end up searching for it anyway. It also plans to include some links to related pages and even some Google products, like books, for some searches.
Stewart says this is a good step forward for Google, as it will help searches become more collaborative and intelligent. But he says businesses should not change their strategies because of the changes.
He says businesses working in the area of factual searches might be minimally affected.
“If you’re doing factual research, you just want to make sure that your papers are written up and everything’s catalogued so Google can index it properly. If you’re getting good citations and links, then you’re going to show up in results.”