How Google Branding Works

By June 23, 2016Branding

Google’s Knowledge Graph

And how to get your business found…

 

how to rank my website in Google

 

By now you know the importance of a high ranking for relevant keywords on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). And, while there is no doubt this definitely improves your search presence, you can take your visibility to an entirely new level by targeting your placement in the Google knowledge graph.

Unfortunately, getting listed in the Knowledge Graph isn’t easy. The requirements aren’t readily available and they tend to change without being published for weeks or even months. As a result, it’s hard to know when, or even if, you’ve met the requirements for inclusion.

While it does require effort and time, having your brand’s information listed in the Knowledge Graph can greatly benefit your brand.
Before we go any further, let’s take a few steps back.

 

A Look at the Knowledge Graph

You may not be familiar with a Knowledge Graph, so let me explain. Google’s Knowledge Graph details information the search engine has collected about people, places, and things directly on the SERP. It was first launched in May 2012 in an attempt to provide an accurate and brief bit of information on the subject the user is searching for. Essentially, the system is trying to understand the user’s goal is when performing a keyword search.

When you are searching for a well-known individual or brand, the Knowledge Graph can be found on the right side of the search results in a boxed section. (This is what we will be focusing on below.) If you are searching for something with multiple items, you will see the Graph appear at the top of the results.
The Goal of the Knowledge Graph
We all know that Google’s goal is to make information available and useful throughout the world. The Knowledge Graph is designed to enhance accessibility. While users used to have to click through various pages looking for specific information about a topic, the Knowledge Graph offers this basic info on the search results pages.

Here’s an example of a right-sidebar knowledge graph display for the well known brand Amazon.

 

knowledge graph example with Amazon.com

 

Keep in mind that the Knowledge Graph details information about a certain individual or brand. It usually appears when the searcher looks for something very specific. For example, if you search for “Cold Pay”, the graph, which will be on the right side, will provide a short biography, including info about their personal life and care, as well as a list of people they are associated with.
It’s pretty easy to see why a brand would find this beneficial. It not only offers information, but it also provides legitimacy and promotes trust. After all, Google isn’t going to dedicate a section of their search results to just anyone or any company, are they?

A Knowledge Graph carousel that appears at the top of the search results typically details information about a search that returns various results. In most cases, it offers a definition, bit of information, or data from Wikipedia. For example, if you search for “best Game of Thrones characters.” You’ll see a pretty complete list appear.

 

characters in the game of thrones via google search

 

While there’s no doubt top carousels are beneficial, they have little relevance when it comes to brands and businesses, which is why, from here on out, we’ll only discuss right-sided Knowledge Graphs.

 

What Does the Knowledge Graph Include?

While Google is committed to providing relevant results for every search term, they don’t automatically know a user’s intention when they perform a search. Some searchers are vague, while some topics aren’t really meant to be summarised in list of facts. As a result, Google has limited what type of searches will appear in a Knowledge Graph. A few of the things you’ll find on the right-sided Knowledge Graph include:

Brands: Google provides detailed information about well-known companies and brands. In the Knowledge Graph, you may see a short Wikipedia bio, the name of the CEO, date founded, where they are headquartered, stock prices, subsidiary information, stock pricing, and links to their social media sites.

 

the Cokacola brand in Google search results image

 

People: From celebrities to sports stars, authors, and other well-known authorities in their industry, the Knowledge Graph will give you a quick summary of their life, a link to their website, and facts such as date of birth, children, spouse, parents, siblings, and height. In some cases, you may see links to their social media accounts, as well as associated people. In the business world, having your founder listed in the Knowledge Graph is great for personal branding.

 

Bristol's Banksy in Google search brand

 

Places: When you search for a city, the Knowledge Graph will provide plenty of pertinent information, such as population, weather info, flight info, and hotel pricing. Depending on the city (Bristol), you may also universities and attractions. Obviously, you are more likely to see a list of attractions for London than you are the district of Totterdown in Bristol.

 

Bristol city avon in Google's knowledge graph

 

Lists: The Knowledge Graph will often include a lists of various products and items. By clicking on one of the results, you’ll reload the search results to show the item you chose. Depending on the specific item, you may or may not get the right-side Knowledge Graph.

 

Knowledge graphs image for best Disney movies ever

Deciding What’s Included

To decide what brands, people, places, and things are relevant enough to be included in the Knowledge Graph, Google uses a variety of algorithmic figures:
Semantic search: This is crucial for the success of the Knowledge Graph. It considers data that is collected in a semantic search, such as context, search location, synonyms, and misspellings. For example, Google doesn’t just look at how users interact with Harrods properties when they do a search for “Harrods,” the algorithm also takes in account all data from searches related to the business.

User behavior: Another important factor is Google’s understanding of user behavior. They examine what users are searching for, what they click on, how long they stay on a page, and what similar terms they search for in succession, among other things. They, then, try to algorithmically relate all of this data to make a determination about the entity.

Indexing entities: Entity recognition and disambiguation is the process of collecting and mapping the data.
How Can You Get Listed in the Knowledge Graph?
Obviously, you want to know how you can get your personal brand or business listed in the Knowledge Graph. First, you should be aware that this a lengthy and difficult process for anyone who doesn’t already have a well-established, satisfactory Google presence. Typically, it is reserved for well-known brands that are searched for on a regular basis and have a reputation for being trustworthy. Getting included in the Knowledge Graph is a huge accomplishment.

Google does not publish their inclusion requirements, but it is known that they requirements are strict. Google collects data from various sources to determine relevance. Most entries are not checked by an actual person, so there are technical aspects that are evaluated algorithmically to decide whether or not your brand will be included.

Of course, it’s not a coincidence that most of the things that help your brand rank high in the search results will also help it get listed in the Knowledge Graph. When you are trying to get included, your goal should be to build a significantly larger online presence for your brand that is more than just a website.

 

Building a Larger Presence Than Just a Website

When determining search engine rankings, Google gives each web site a certain amount of trust. While Google has not revealed the specific details of how a brand’s authority is determined, they do offer an overview of how this works. When deciding if a brand should or should not be included in the Knowledge Graph, they use this information during the evaluation process. Simply put, brands should make every effort to build as large an online presence as possible.

To increase your business’s authority in Google’s eyes, and subsequently improve your likelihood of being included in the Knowledge Graph, here are few tips to keep in mind.
Presence on other web properties: Be sure you have established your brand on social media. Google sees brands that have an active presence on popular sites as being active and engaged.

 

how to rank a website in Google search image

 

A Google My Business local listing: To guarantee Google knows everything they need to know about your business, be sure your company is listed in the Google Local directory.

 

CoolBison Bristol Google My Business Page image

 

Customer reviews: Encourage customers to leave positive business reviews on review website, such as Yelp and Google+. Don’t be afraid to offer incentives to get them to do this.

A blog with several authors: When you have an active blog that is constantly publishing new, useful content, Google takes notice. By featuring the work of several authors, you are showing Google that you have insight from a number of figures in your industry.

Validated markup (Micro data/Schema): Google prefers businesses that stay up-to-date on the latest technology and invest in a website that is properly coded. Poor coding indicates you aren’t willing to invest in your online presence and are outdated. To be sure your website is coded properly, don’t hesitate to have it evaluated by a professional.

Backlinks/ citations: When it comes to ranking in the SERPs, backlinks and citations are critical, which is why they are also so important when it comes to being listed in the Knowledge Graph. Trusted brands are often mentioned all over the web and backlinks/ citations from prominent publications are seen as a good thing in Google’s eyes.

Search volume: Simply put, if no one is searching for your brand, there is no reason for Google to include you in the Knowledge Graph.

A Wikipedia page: Although university professors are not particularly fond of Wikipedia entries, Google sees them as very valuable for several reasons. To being with, Wikipedia is the world’s 7th largest website. In addition, they have a strict moderation team. Finally, everyone just doesn’t get a Wikipedia page, so Google sees those brands that do as being particularly trustworthy.

 

Bristol Pound wikipedia page screenshot

 

While all of the factors discussed above will help establish your authority and improve your chances of being included in the Knowledge Graph, you should understand that nothing is guaranteed. That being said, there is one attribute all businesses that are committed to increasing their search engine presence and possibly being included in the Knowledge Graph should establish. So, what is it? It’s structured data.

Structured Data:
You can use structured data to your advantage, while also providing Google with plenty of information about your brand. It is a quick and easy way to ensure Google has the correct data and information they need to better classify your website. At the same time, it’s impossible to deny that structured data doesn’t improve your chances of being included in the Knowledge Graph.

One of the biggest benefits of structured data is the fact you don’t need to have experience as a web designer or coder to use it to your benefit. In fact, the easiest way to implement structured data is by using JSON+LD, which does not require you to alter your website code.

According to Google’s Introduction to Structured Data, JSON+LD is the preferred markup for declaring structured data. If you are not familiar or comfortable with JSON+LD, you can always opt to use the old Schema markup.

A Few Final Thoughts
The goal of the Knowledge Graph is to ensure users have access to the best information on the people, places, and things they are searching for. Google wants the Knowledge Graph to be incredibly relevant for those terms that are most often searched, which is why they make it so hard to get included.

Unfortunately, small businesses may find it hard to be included, even if they have a well-established web presence. Larger companies with an established online presence may find it easier to get included, but it can still take months, even years, to get included. Despite the time and effort it takes to get included in the Knowledge Graph, brands will definitely benefit from it.

Marcus Rockey
SEM at CoolBison