Google’s Knowledge Graph has undergone a number of significant changes since its initial release in 2012, making it one of the most powerful search engine features available. As a SEO agency, it’s important to understand how the Knowledge Graph has evolved over the years and why it can be such a valuable asset for businesses.
What is the Knowledge Graph?
Google’s Knowledge Graph is a system that uses artificial intelligence to create connections between pieces of information on the web. It’s designed to aggregate data from multiple sources and use it to offer more relevant search results based on user queries. This outcome is accomplished by understanding the context in which each query is made rather than relying solely on keywords.
Google’s Knowledge Graph aims to make the search experience more intuitive and efficient for users. By understanding their context, the Knowledge Graph can provide more tailored results to the user’s needs. For example, suppose you were searching for information about a particular car. In that case, the Knowledge Graph could give you results related to that specific make and model as opposed to generic car-related information.
The Early Days
When Google first announced the release of its Knowledge Graph in 2012, it was greeted with excitement by marketers and SEO experts. The Knowledge Graph was seen as a revolutionary development, enabling users to take advantage of semantic search capabilities that weren’t available before. It allowed people to search using natural language and receive specific results related to what they were looking for.
At the time, the Knowledge Graph was powered by Freebase and had a limited number of entities. Therefore, finding information about things that weren’t in the system was challenging. Nevertheless, Google was able to use natural language processing techniques to provide relevant results even without the exact name being used.
In its early days, the Knowledge Graph was limited to providing search results directly related to a query. So, for example, if someone searched for “Disney movies”, they would receive a list of Disney films.
A Decade of Development
Over the past ten years, Google has made a number of improvements to its Knowledge Graph system. The most significant changes include:
Expanding Data Sources
When the Knowledge Graph was first introduced, it was a relatively simple system that relied on structured data from a limited number of sources, such as Freebase and Wikipedia. Over time, however, Google has dramatically expanded the scope and capabilities of the Knowledge Graph, incorporating new references of information, including that from government agencies, academic institutions, and other authoritative sources. This development has greatly expanded the range of information available through the tool, making it a more comprehensive resource for users.
Better Quality Results
While initially, the Knowledge Graph was primarily focused on providing basic facts and definitions, it has since expanded to include a much broader range of information. For example, the Knowledge Graph can now provide detailed information about local businesses, including their hours of operation, contact information, and reviews. It can also offer insights into trends related to specific topics and even provide recommendations on things like restaurants or movies.
Google has also improved the way in which the Knowledge Graph is integrated into the search experience. Originally, Google displayed the Knowledge Graph in a separate box on the right-hand side of the search results page, but it has since been combined more deeply into the search results themselves. So, for instance, when you search for a person, the Knowledge Graph may now display their picture, biography, and other relevant information directly in the search results rather than requiring you to click on a separate box to see these details.
Additional Features & Advancements
The addition of the Knowledge Panel in 2017 added an extra layer of functionality to the Knowledge Graph. This panel provides users with a snapshot of information about entities, including images, related facts, and links to other relevant sources. The Knowledge Panel has become increasingly important for businesses looking to strengthen their visibility in search results.
In 2018, Google announced it was adding a new “entity type” feature to allow users to search for things by category or type. This advancement benefits users looking for specific information about a person, place, or thing.
Google has also rolled out a “conversational search” feature that allows users to ask questions in natural language and receive detailed answers based on the Knowledge Graph. This feature is handy for more complex topics, as it enables the system to provide comprehensive results without manually entering each query.
Integration into Existing Services
The Knowledge Graph has more recently been intertwined with other Google products, such as Google Assistant, Home and Maps. This unification allows users to easily access information from the Knowledge Graph without leaving their current app or service.
Fast forward to 2022, and the Knowledge Graph is a vastly different tool than the one first released in 2012. What was once a simple tool for providing basic facts and definitions is now an intricate system that can provide detailed insights into a wide range of topics and entities.
Google now uses its own proprietary knowledge base, which contains over 70 billion data points and relationships, allowing the Knowledge Graph to offer more comprehensive search results that are much more specific and reliable than before.
Going back to the previous example of “Disney movies”, a search of this topic today would produce not only basic facts about the movies but also recommendations on similar movies, actors and actresses in the films, and related information for music, characters, production companies and more. This progress is all thanks to Google’s improved understanding of user intent and ability to draw connections between different pieces of data.
The Last Word
Google’s Knowledge Graph has come a long way since it first debuted in 2012, and its continued evolution is proof of Google’s commitment to providing users with the best search experience possible. As AI and machine learning technology continue to improve, we can expect to see further enhancements in the accuracy, speed and relevance of the information provided by the Knowledge Graph. As long as Google continues to invest in this technology, there’s no doubt that it will remain an essential and integral part of the search landscape for many years to come.
If you would like to learn more about the Knowledge Graph and how we can use it to help your business, please get in touch with us today. Our team is always available to answer any questions you may have.