Google is on a mission to organize the world’s data. It wants users to be able to type a question into their search and have the answer pop up on the screen right in front of them.
Google is still a little way off this dream, but the firm has made dramatic strides in that direction. If you type a question into Google, like “what is the capital of Bulgaria?” or “how far is it to Alpha Centauri?” it’s algorithms will spit out the answer. (The distance to Alpha Centauri is 4.367 light years if you were wondering).
But why is the search engine doing this? Why not let people type in the questions and then click links to websites that provide the answer?
The reason Google does this is that it wants to help its users, especially mobile users, get relevant information immediately. Nobody wants to type a question into Google and then filter through dozens of search results to find the answer: they wish to know there and then.
If you type in one of the questions above, you’ll notice that the Google page results look different from the regular list of websites you’re used to seeing. The boxed text and images that make up the answer to your question are distinct from regular search results. Google pulls information from sources around the web and synthesizes it into useful chunks that you can then use to answer your question. The idea is to use website resources to improve the user experience, speeding up the search process.
Google calls these boxed results “Knowledge Graphs.” Knowledge Graphs give users answers, not links.
Google is primarily doing this to make search queries better for users and encourage more advertisers to use its platform for Pay Per Click Advertising. But it’s also an opportunity for companies who understand how knowledge graphs work to do better digital marketing. If your firm can create content that appears in Knowledge Graphs, it’ll automatically appear pride of place in Google’s results, complete with a helpful link to your site.
So how do you get into the knowledge graph? What tricks does your company need to learn? Here’s how to get a Google Knowledge Graph.
Best Practice #1: Put Your Business up on Wikipedia
Google loves Wikipedia because the open-source, knowledge-sharing, free-to-use platform is one of the most accurate repositories of data in the world (99.5 percent by some estimates). Whenever you type a famous person’s name into the search box, a place, a film, a or even a concept, there’s a good chance that Google will return a Knowledge Graph panel pulled straight from Wikipedia.
Try this: type “Michael Douglas” into Google search and then watch what the search engine does. Google knows that if a person types in the words “Michael Douglas” then they probably want to know something about the actor. Besides news stores about the actor, Google also puts information about Douglas in a box pulled right out of Wikipedia, allowing users to see things like when he was born, who he married, and his children.
You could also try this: type “Starbucks” into Google and see what happens. Besides a map of local Starbucks locations and the Starbucks website, you’ll see Knowledge Graph results giving you a bunch of information about the company, including the fact that it has more than 30,000 locations, was founded in 1971, and who is the present CEO.
Clearly, if you want your business to have a Knowledge Graph, you need to create a Wikipedia page. Then, when a person types in the name of your business, for instance, “Fat Tony’s Emporium,” then all the details about what you do will immediately appear. Consumers love Knowledge Graphs, and they trust firms that have them.
Best Practice #2: Put Your Business on Wikidata
Wikidata is a version of Wikipedia designed for machines. (Yes – there is such a thing). Wikidata, therefore, is the Google Knowledge Graph’s primary source of information. Writing a Wikidata entry is usually simpler than writing a regular Wiki entry because you don’t have to write in full sentences. All you have to do is select options from various fields and type in a bunch of numbers, and Google’s web trawlers will do the rest.
Best Practice #3: Create a Google My Business (GMB) Listing For Your Business
Google knows that when a person types in something like “phone shop New York” then there’s a good chance that they want to find the location of their local phone shop and either call it up or visit it.
Try typing “phone shop, New York” into the search bar. You’ll be presented with a box, a map, and the top three businesses Google thinks are relevant to your query. Click any one of those, and the search engine will forward you to a new screen with companies and contact details down the left-hand side and a location map on the right. Again, click one of the businesses in the column and immediately a Knowledge Graph will pop up, although a little different this time. It’ll show you the following:
- When the phone shop is the most popular
- User Reviews
- Related business searches (just in case a user wants to find something else)
- Contact information
To put your site on Google listings and improve local SEO, you’ll have to go through the “Google My Business process.” Also, make sure all of the information online about your business is consistent across all social media profiles.
Best Practice #4: Get Featured in Local Press
Tesla hardly spends anything on advertising, and yet the company manages to sell a lot of cars. How?
One method the firm uses is ensuring that news about what it’s doing never ends. It continually creates drama in the media, either because of liquidity worries, production numbers, or the CEO’s Tweets.
The best way to get your business into a Google Knowledge Graph is to create a press release about some newsworthy topic related to your firm. The content isn’t important necessarily, but it needs to be something that your customers are interested in; otherwise, it’ll go unnoticed.
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