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21 May 2012

SEO Search Engine Optimisation

Introducing the Knowledge Graph: How Google are taking search to the next level

Google are set to fundamentally shake up the way search results are delivered in the future, having recently announced that users will be presented with “things, not strings”- a reference to the idea that engines have for a long time simply returned a result that matches the keywords in a search query, without any regard to the actual meaning of the words themselves. So what does this mean? And how will this affect websites in the future?

Knowledge Graph Connects the Dots

The basic premise of the Knowledge Graph is that it enables users to find information through search, which is highly relevant and draws on the “collective intelligence of the web”. According to the announcement on the Inside Search blog, the Knowledge Graph has collected and stored information about 500 million objects in its index. The clever thing and its point of differentiation from traditional search is that it has collected 3.5 billion pieces of information which relate those objects with each other. What this means is that the information is no longer void of context and can therefore be presented to searchers depending on their particular preferences.

How does the Knowledge Graph work?

There are three main ways the Knowledge Graph will work:

Differentiation

Results for search terms that have more than one meaning, e.g. rocket (spaceship) and rocket (vegetable) will be grouped according to their meanings. Users will be able to decide which variant they’re interested in and then choose those results for consideration. Effectively, Google now understands the difference between the two.

Assumptions

Using the huge datasets Google has at its disposal, the search giant can now understand the intention behind searches by looking at what people search for on regular basis. For example, many people may search for how to cut a tree down, whereas fewer people will search for how to cut a loaf of bread. What Google does here is to summarise information according to the intentions behind a search query, rather than simply matching the query to a text string. Therefore, searches may also start to throw up summaries on particular subjects, providing the user with relevant information quicker.

Google+

Struggling to understand the point of Google+? Social signals will play a huge role in determining how search results are returned to users, and this could well cause wide ranging implications for website ranking. Using +1 data, Google will surely be able to tailor search results to users’ preferences if they are logged in to their account, meaning that Google can surmise through your online behaviour whether you were looking for a spaceship or a vegetable quite easily. Because of this, website owners will have to seriously consider how to provide content that users will flock to; enjoy; and more importantly share using the +1 button.

Check out Google’s introductory video to the Knowledge Graph:

 

By Adam Cowlishaw

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