On May 16th Google took the first steps to transform the popular search engine from being an information engine to a ‘knowledge engine’ through incorporating semantic search into its results.
With this new feature Google now has the ability to consider your search inquiry as a real entity. Your query will no longer be merely a string of characters that Google ingests to divulge sites that contain your search word.
Google’s new acknowledgment of your search being a real entity allows it to bring up a panel of relevant information including facts (mostly obtained from Wikipedia), related searches people have conducted on the topic, and relevant links that may help further your search. The Knowledge Graph contains 3.5 billion facts and about 500 million objects as of now and is still in its testing stage.
Google representatives state they are still analysing the layout and positioning of advertisements to optimise overall performance. Now the question lays what considerable changes will occur in regards to SEO and search results due to this new Google feature.
At the moment the Knowledge Graph is currently only released in the United States, but seems to be popular thus far. Google Fellow Amit Signhal commented that “people are interacting with it [the Knowledge Graph] more”, and that people are, “doing more [search] queries”. Even though it seems to be taking off, some fear that it will detract from searchers checking out the listed website links and there will be a reduction in traffic generated from Google searches.
Google reassures that this will not be the case and that the Knowledge Graph has been built in a way to create more searches. This is due to a number of links incorporated in the Knowledge Graph’s information, photos and ‘People also search for’ category. Google is tapping into the idea that people search to discover something, to learn and expand their knowledge. Now every search is answered with more in-depth content about the subject which naturally encourages searchers to further explore the search topic and related content.
It is still too early to really tell how this refined search intelligence will affect SEO. It is likely to remain that having genuine high quality content and a number of links from highly regarded sites is the best way to rise to the top of organic search.
With the current success of the Knowledge Graph in the states is most likely just a short matter of time before Google rolls it out to the world. To get a further idea of this revolutionary technology, check out Google’s video explanation below.1 June 2012