Google Unveils Knowledge Graph and Gets Closer to Semantic Search
A few days ago, Google launched a new feature called the "Knowledge Graph". With this new update, Google is getting one step closer to semantic search by attempting to understand the meaning behind the strings of keywords that users search for. Google sums up the Knowledge Graph nicely by saying that it enables users to search for "things", not "strings".
What is Google's Knowledge Graph?
The Knowledge Graph finds relationships between different items including people, places and things. Google has developed a huge library of over 500 million objects and 3.5 billion facts, sourced from Wikipedia and the CIA's World Factbook amongst others.
At present, the feature is only available for the Google.com index but it will soon be rolled out to other countries in the coming weeks.
Below is the official video by Google introducing the new feature:
Benefits for Google's Users
There are three main benefits:
1. Improved relevancy
Google will be able to better determine which item you are specifically searching for. In some instances they will provide users with a box to select the appropriate item which they are looking for. For example, if a user searches for "taj mahal", the user will be able to choose if they want to see results related to the monument in India or to the famous casino in Atlantic City.
2. A quicker search process
Normally, if you searched for "china" in Google, you may have decided to visit the appropriate Wikipedia page which is the second result in the SERPs. However, Google now provides some details within an information box in the SERPs which includes the capital city, dialing code, GDP etc.
3. Suggestions for further research
When searching for "william shakespeare", the information box provided shows a selection of his most notable plays as well as people who are in some way related to or are similar to William Shakespeare. Users can discover Shakespeare plays that they may not have heard of before for example.
SEO Implications : What Changes in the SERPs?
Our opinion is that sites such as Wikipedia may be affected in the long-term as often people are just searching for one fact; providing an entire web page about a certain item means that more information is provided, but this actually makes it less efficient for a user who is just looking for a specific fact.
The Knowledge Graph is primarily focused on providing facts to users. This means that for the vast majority of business and ecommerce sites, there will be minimal/no impact. It will mostly affect users who are in the research stage of the buying process; not necessarily users that websites should target so early on.
As always we will closely monitor how this new development changes the search landscape.