What is the Google Knowledge Graph?
The Google Knowledge Graph is a system added to Google Search and launched by Google on May 16, 2012. It is a knowledge base to provide more useful and relevant results to searches using a semantic-search technique. Knowledge Graph Panels have been added to the SERP of Google to provide links to external websites, general information (such as locations, reviews, opening hours etc.) and direct answers to questions. Information embedded in the Google Knowledge Graph is extracted from multiple sources, including structured data encoded in web pages using Microdata and JSON-LD formats.
The primary function of the Google Knowledge Graph is to learn about general facts of the world, organize these pieces of information together and understand how they can connect with each other. These ideas and information are organized into entities, each presenting different kinds of information and how each piece of information embedded within it can connect to another entity. For example, if you look up the search query “roman forum,” you will find a knowledge panel that provides a plethora of relevant information about the ancient forum. This includes things such as: photos, reviews, the option to buy tickets online, operating hours, an address and even related search queries of other major attractions in the city of Rome like the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. For Google to understand the Roman Forum as an entity, it connects it to other entities like Rome (as a city), Ancient Rome (as a subject), Place (as a visitable location), as well as a LocalBusiness (where you can buy tickets, attend events and has operating hours).
These entities and the Google Knowledge Graph’s use of these entities are not only a means for Google to organize this information, but it’s also essential in presenting this information on mobile results and through voice search. The Google Knowledge Graph organizes this information not only to be informational but conversational as well. On mobile, this information can be delivered in a more presentable and easier to digest manner than a series of blue links and small text. For voice, a user can tell Google, “Book three tickets to the Roman Forum and Colosseum for next wednesday.” Google can understand what the user is asking by knowing that the “Roman Forum” and “Colosseum” are both attractions and local businesses as well as that next wednesday means April 17th. From there, Google can take this information to complete a task or ask the user for more information or clarification if not enough has been provided.
From “strings” to “things“: Google’s endless quest for clarity
No one really knows for sure when and why languages arose in human history. As British anthropologist, Robin Dunbar suggests, language may have emerged to allow humans to build, foster and maintain relationships. That is what the “Gossip Hypothesis” states. Whether or not this theory holds true, we cannot deny that we live in a world filled with small talk. Yet, through chit-chatting we strive for clarity. When we ask a question, we don’t want answers. We want the answer! That is what Google Knowledge Graph has been attempting to do since 2012. If out of the blue I say “you’re like Socrates,” chances are you’ll be thinking about the greek philosopher. Yet if I said that while playing soccer with my friends that would change everything. Why? Because Socrates + Soccer = Brazilian soccer player That may sound trivial for humans as we do it naturally, but not for search engines!
The Google Knowledge Graph leverages on the relationships between words and concepts to understand the context, thus assigning a specific meaning to a word.
How to get on the Google Knowledge Graph
To get your entities embedded in the Google Knowledge Graph, you will need to establish an online presence and become an authority on your subject. Establishing an online presence is easy, such as creating website content with structured data, registering your site with Google My Business and Search Console and any other important platforms such as Facebook and YouTube. To become an expert on your subject (in the eyes of the Google Knowledge Graph Team), create content using keyword research and structured data. Doing these can help Google create entities using your content and the knowledge you’ve provided.
Google has introduced a new way for any person, brand, company, organization, sports team, event and media property with an existing Knowledge Panel, to get verified and to suggest edits to the information presented by Google. It is a very simple process and the most direct way to suggest edits that will be added to the Google Knowledge Graph.
You can start by clicking on the phrase that starts with “Do you manage the online presence for xyz?”
You will be required to share with Google your social profiles (by taking a screenshot of the browser window where it appears you are logged in) and a photo of yourself holding an identity card. Once this step has been completed, the The Google Search Team will verify the information and you will receive an email from them (mine arrived after two weeks) that will allow you to keep the data on Google always up to date.
Updating your entity in the Google Knowledge Graph
Once you’re on the knowledge graph, you will be able to click the Suggest an edit link (or suggest edits if on mobile) at the top of the knowledge panel and from there click the information that you want to change and propose the changes. In the response box you shall write a short description that:
- Clearly state your suggested change
- Explain why your suggestion is correct and should replace the existing content
- Include a publicly accessible URL that confirms your suggested change
If there are multiple changes or suggestions you’d like to make, make sure you submit the necessary feedback for each change you plan on making.
You can update your featured image and some of the properties being displayed accordingly to each entity type (read here for more information).
The Google Knowledge Graph Search API
The Google Knowledge Graph Application Program Interface (API) enables you to find entities embedded within the Google Knowledge Graph using schema.org markup.This can be used to: get a ranked listing of notable entities in a certain criteria, completing entities in a search box, and annotate/organize content. The API can be found in Google’s API explorer.
Using the API to find entities is relatively easy. Providing information for the different strings can help you find the thing you’re looking for. For example, if you’re looking at the knowledge cards for british monarchs, you can fill out the strings for the query “Pope” and the type “person” to find information about Pope Francis, previous Popes, the Vatican and the Catholic Church. The API then provides data on all the different, relevant entities that exist for the Pope.