Google, like all search engines, is continuously trying to improve its offering to give its users better results when searching for people, places or individual products and services. But even though the company leads the market ahead of its rivals Bing and Yahoo!, it still needs to evolve if it is to maintain its dominance.
The latest stage in this evolution is the Knowledge Graph, which allows the user to get more information about things, people or places by tapping into various sources and displaying the facts right there on the results page, over on the right hand side.
This is done in 2 main ways:
- Better SummaryGoogle uses the Knowledge Graph to understand the query of a user, providing a summary and a selection of key facts relating to the topic being sought. For example, a search for ‘Winston Churchill’ will give a brief description of the man himself, along with information around his date and place of his birth, death and his wife and children. Further to that, it will display information about the books he authored and similar people who have been searched for.
- Finding exactly what you want
Of course, some words have several meanings, which can mean that Google users can sometimes happen upon results which are meant for another meaning than what they wanted. To make things easier, Google will now provide a choice to ensure it returns exactly what it is you want. Again, using ‘Winston Churchill’ as the example, Google would ask if what you were actually looking for was information on Winston Churchill High School.
All of this is Google’s attempt to answer your next question before you’ve even asked it, but is also an attempt to keep web users ‘on Google’, where they can be served advertising as they search or be taken to their Gmail account or YouTube account for example.
MEC Opinion: The Knowledge Graph is an interesting idea by Google to provide searchers with more information right in the search results. But there is one loser from this in the websites that may now see a decline in visitor numbers when people are looking for information about something.
It could be argued that the searcher still has a choice to click on the organic search result, but if they already have the information, why spend the time clicking on a result just to read the exact same thing?
Alternatively, those sites which feature in the top five organic results may get more traffic as a result of the changes. At this point, it is a little difficult to predict what the results will be until people have been using the Knowledge Graph for at least a couple of months. After all, who knows just how much information Google have to offer, although we can guess it’s a lot!
Google Knowledge Graph is currently available to English Google.com users, when it will be available in the UK is not certain yet but when it is, it will also be rolled out to smartphones and tablets.