Google has made a significant change in its search engine the latest years, the passing from a logical search engine to a semantic one, what is now called the Knowledge Graph.
I am not interested here for the technical stuff, what I like to do is to stress how the search results have changed when served from Google and what it does that to the SEO competition.
At Google, they seek to provide comprehensive information collected from credible sources all over the web, illustrated in different styles and media formats that they continuously test and update.
All this information they collect from credible, I repeat the adjective here, sources serve to build a semantic entity around a topic, which then they use when retrieving and offering relative, media-rich information and answers to their users.
I have used the term ‘credible’ twice because it affects the SEO industry and competition profoundly. Reliable means authority. If you take a look at the image below I have pulled today, entering the name “Tom Cruise,” all content served to answer my query is from websites with high-credibility, large user base, and visitor traffic.
They tried to answer my query with pages from Wikipedia, Internet Movie Database (imdb.com), the official Facebook page of Tom Cruise, his Twitter account, his official website, etc.
Content retrieved from these sources gives the general idea to someone looking for a broad view of Tom Cruise, more in-depth details and recent updates on his work and whereabouts from News sources.
Now, news and movies and YouTube videos, and other stuff that offered in the form of answers, tweets, etc., all constitute the knowledge graph around Tom Cruise.
The bottom line is that this example can be applied to just about any topic or search term with enough competition, be it a product, a service, a travel location, etc. If there is a topic that has interest, users will search for it; marketers will advertise products, services, websites, and Google will build the Knowledge Graph. In those competitive terms, only significant, authoritative, credible sites will play in the results.
Of course, topics that do not bear any interest they will not be part of the Knowledge Graph, and smaller sites will be able to battle for a first-page result; the question is if they will need it with such weak competition. They might be working and spending money on the wrong term.
Semantic search is used to gain a better understanding of the user’s intent in a query, and to get the general idea of the topic via content published in trustworthy web pages. Google is seeking to offer more detailed answers and wealth of information to users and leave behind the old practice of connecting the dots via web links to relevant content for the given search term.
A semantic entity can be anything, e.g., a celebrity, a monument, or an abstract idea. The knowledge graph is diagnosing the user’s intent and seeks to satisfy the queries, desires, emotions, emergencies, scientific facts. It does that by using snippets in answers, facts, auto-complete suggestions, videos, images, the knowledge box (right side of the screen as in the picture above), rich snippets, and other types of data.
Leaving the Knowledge Graph, there are more updates from Google:
They rolled many updates to clean the spam from the search results and answer better their user queries. Updates like the Google Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird, Mobile-friendly you can find in my posts below:
- The Impact On Search From Google Mobilegeddon
- Rankings turbulence
- Recovering from a Google Panda penalty
- The Google Penguin penalty
- Google Ads: no more payday loan ads
- Google Knowledge Graph and Semantic Search
- 7 tools to research your competition
- SEO and Internet Marketing Tools – Free and Paid
- Why is the mobile-friendly label missing in SERPs
- What Is The Impact On Search From Google Mobilegeddon
- What is the impact of social signals to SEO
- Which Are the Best Post-Penguin Link Building Strategies (2017)
- Penguin penalty: How to remove and recover from a Google Penguin penalty
- Panda penalty: Remove and recover from a Google penalty