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Weekly Wisdom with Jason Barnard: Knowledge Graph for Brands

Weekly Wisdom with Jason Barnard: Knowledge Graph for Brands

Jason Barnard

Hi, I am Jason Barnard, and welcome to Weekly Wisdom. This week, I will discuss how to get your brand into Google's knowledge graph. Here is a quick intro.

What is the knowledge graph?

A very simplistic explanation is that it is an encyclopedia for machines that they can understand and use independently; think Wikipedia for machines. The knowledge graph is absolutely fundamental to how Google functions today. It is the underlying foundation of Hummingbird; it is the key to entity-based search, and it is, therefore, essential to all your SEO efforts. If it isn't already, the knowledge graph should be a big, big part of your SEO strategy. Start now working on getting your brand into the knowledge graph.

So how does it work? It is really simple. Entities and relationships. Here is a really nice, simple example. Mary knows Kate. Mary likes Pete. Pete is the brother of Kate. Pete was born on the 27th of March 1982.

Weekly Wisdom with Jason Barnard: Knowledge Graph for Brands. Image 0

Now, that was really easy for you to understand because that is how the human brain functions, and here is a really fun demonstration. I met a guy called Chester. He was giving me a trick about how to remember 15 random words in three minutes. The random words were: monkey, iron, rope, kite, house, paper, shoe, worm, envelope, pencil, river, rock, tree, cheese, dollar bill.

Now you will notice I could remember that, but I had to think about it. The reason I can remember all of these words is because he made a story. He said, "it is a fun story," and that was what he was concentrating on. What I realized is it isn't 15 random words; it is 15 random entities, and what he did was join them together with relationships. Here's the trick:

The monkey is holding the iron. The iron is attached by a rope to the kite. The kite crashes into the house. The house is covered in paper. A shoe walks on that paper. There's a worm in the shoe. The worm jumps out into the envelope. A pencil writes on the envelope, the pencil leaps into the river that splashes onto the rock. The rock leaps out to the river, hits the tree, the cheese falls down. It is a cheese tree. The cheese breaks open, and a dollar bill falls out.

What he has done is taken 15 entities and made relationships between them that makes it incredibly easy for the human brain to remember.

Weekly Wisdom with Jason Barnard: Knowledge Graph for Brands. Image 1

In that example, we had lots of nouns and verbs, and nouns and verbs are entities and relationships. Subject - verb - object = equals - entity relationship -entity.

Weekly Wisdom with Jason Barnard: Knowledge Graph for Brands. Image 2

And the latest Google update, that is all about Bert, B-E-R-T, has made this much easier for Google to see subject-verb-object and extract from those entity-relationship-entity. If you want to know more about Bert, look up what Dawn Anderson is saying. She is the go-to person for Bert.

We have the knowledge graph, which is an encyclopedia that expresses entities and relationships that Google uses to understand the world, and Google uses also uses it as its underlying foundation to its ranking system. Sooner or later, if your SEO strategy is to succeed, you have to get your brand in there. Here, I will look at how to make it sooner rather than later and get the jump on your competition.

Now, how do we add information to the knowledge graph?

Chester was asked the question, "Isn't it the case that if I remember all of this useless information about the monkey and the iron and the house and the river and the cheese tree, that I will forget something more important?" And he said, "No, the important thing about memory is it expands, and it expands. The more entities we have in our mind, the more possibility there is that a new entity can be attached to a relationship with another entity that's already in there, and that makes it much, much, much easier for us to remember and to understand."

Weekly Wisdom with Jason Barnard: Knowledge Graph for Brands. Image 3

So, taking this a step further, when you learn about a new entity, if you have no existing entities that have relationships to it, it makes little or no sense. And it is the same thing for Google.

Weekly Wisdom with Jason Barnard: Knowledge Graph for Brands. Image 4

Further still, the more entities you can attach to this new entity with relationships, the more sense it makes to you, and the better you can remember it. The same goes for Google. So that is how you can get into the knowledge graph.

Find entities that are already in there and barnacle on them, use them as hooks for understanding for Google. Now, the question is, how do you find those entities that you can hook onto to push your information into the knowledge graph. With Wikipedia pages, that is the very obvious example, but not all entities in the knowledge graph have Wikipedia pages.

This tool from Kalicube.pro is a good way to check a presence in the knowledge graph. Unfortunately, Google's API lags behind what they are actually using, and it is, therefore, a little bit incomplete, so if the tool doesn't return anything, that doesn't mean to say it is not a candidate.

Weekly Wisdom with Jason Barnard: Knowledge Graph for Brands. Image 5

You can also look for the knowledge panel on the Google results for that entity. Search for the entity — if the knowledge panel turns up, the probability is, it is in the knowledge graph, but be careful of featured snippets.

Weekly Wisdom with Jason Barnard: Knowledge Graph for Brands. Image 6

On that right-hand side, there are a lot of featured snippets that are disguised as knowledge panels, so watch out for featured snippets that are disguised as a knowledge panel. Sometimes on the right, you get a featured snippet, and it looks like a knowledge panel, but it isn't. The sharing symbol is what indicates that it is a knowledge panel and not a featured snippet.

Weekly Wisdom with Jason Barnard: Knowledge Graph for Brands. Image 7

Now, a big hint for choosing the right entities. The stronger and closer the relationship is, the more leverage it gives. So choose entities that you have strong and close relationships with.

What do you need to do to get your brand in the knowledge graph?

You need to explain to Google the relationship between your brand and multiple entities the knowledge graph already knows. Step one, and this is really step one. The first thing to do is to do that on your own site. Write a piece of content that explains the relationship or include the relationship in an existing piece of content such as your homepage, the about us page, or your partner's page.

Pay special attention to indicating clearly the type of relationship, the strength of the relationship, and the closeness of the relationship. To reiterate, the closer and the stronger, the better.

Make sure you add schema.org markup to communicate the relationship explicitly in a format Google can digest easily. Step two is corroboration on trusted sources. Wikipedia is obviously very helpful, but it is not necessary. But that appears to be a commonly held belief, but it is false. You don't need Wikipedia. Wikipedia is simply very helpful today.

So add your entity to Wikidata, Crunchbase, any specialist data sources you can find, IMDB, Google Books, a registry of dentists, whatever's appropriate for your industry.

Weekly Wisdom with Jason Barnard: Knowledge Graph for Brands. Image 8

Step three is to point out to Google the corroboration on your site. Add links to these references from the content where you indicated the relationship back in step one. If there are articles or major publications that confirm the relationship, Google is getting better and better at extracting entities and relationships from content.

Weekly Wisdom with Jason Barnard: Knowledge Graph for Brands. Image 9

If you think back to Bert that I talked about earlier on, that is incredibly powerful. A big powerful media site is a great source because it is trustworthy. All Google needs is to be pointed in the right direction. And once again, at this stage, add Schema markup to be explicit and make things simpler for Google.

Also, add links between the citations that corroborate wherever it is possible, and that creates a lovely web of entities and relationships with your site right at the center.

And that begs the question, how far can you push this?

The answer, infinity and beyond. Once you have that web for your brand, you can build that out. You can spread your web to pull other entities around your brand into the knowledge graph. Products, people, places, events — anything you want to get Google to show to its users.

The more you do this, the stronger your web of entities and relationship becomes, the wider do you can spread that web, and the more you can leverage it for your SEO efforts. Lastly, there was a huge update to the knowledge graph in August 2019. It appears to be a real game-changer. If you want to know more about that and you should, if you are doing SEO, read this article on Search Engine Journal.

Weekly Wisdom with Jason Barnard: Knowledge Graph for Brands. Image 10

Thank you. See you next time on Weekly Wisdom.

Jason Barnard
columnist

SEMrush columnists are authors who had proved their expertise in digital marketing and contribute regularly to our community.

Jason has over 2 decades of experience in digital marketing, he started promoting his first website in the year Google was incorporated and built it up to become one of the top 10,000 most visited sites in the world (60 million visits in 2007).
Today he is a fulltime 100% digital nomad, host and keynote speaker at conferences around the world, whilst interviewing industry experts for his podcast - "With Jason Barnard... The smartest people in marketing talk to Jason about topics they know inside out. The conversations are always intelligent, always interesting... and always fun!". Listen here - https://kalicube.pro/pod
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Olesia Korobka
Enthusiast

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

So, started the experiment today on myself with the info from your article ^^^
Let's see how long it takes till it works :)
Very excited anyways!!!
Olesia Korobka
Enthusiast

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

Olesia Korobka
My wikidata was almost immediately deleted as I am not notable, lol. The wikidata recommendation doesn't seem to work in my case. Is it absolutely necessary for getting in?
Olesia Korobka
Enthusiast

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

Olesia Korobka
Ok, I feel that I need to keep the info updated, lol. So I tried to add wikidata once again, but this time made it in English only and didn't add Russian label, description, etc. And it seems it worked!!! Has not been deleted yet :)
Jason Barnard
columnist

SEMrush columnists are authors who had proved their expertise in digital marketing and contribute regularly to our community.

columnist
Olesia Korobka
Intriguing
Keep us posted as to if it stays :)

Good luck
Olesia Korobka
Enthusiast

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

Jason Barnard
Got deleted again with the following reference: Not notable/Promotion
Mike Belham
Enthusiast

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

Hi Jason, I already have schema local business markup on my website with the "sameas" tags pointing to my business social media and we dont feature in the knowledge graph, however , one of our suppliers does but their entry shows "organisation" not local business.

Do you have any thoughts on this? I'd like to try and leverage the KG if I can

Thanks for your article
Nikola Roza
Expert

Provides valuable insights and adds depth to the conversation.

Hi Jason, wonderful insight on knowledge graphs and brand building in the eyes of Google.
I have 3 simple questions for you.
1- Does answering question on Quora about X and linking from those question to your article(s) on X help Google "learn" you're connected with X?
2- Does answering question about X, but not linking to your site from Quora answers help at all? I mean, can Google make that logical leap from your answer to your Quora profile that links to your site?
3- Which one of the two is better?
Thank you for your reply and feel free to be as brief as you can, since I know you're very busy and it's the holiday season now:)
Jason Barnard
columnist

SEMrush columnists are authors who had proved their expertise in digital marketing and contribute regularly to our community.

columnist
Nikola Roza
Hey Nikola

Thanks for the question :)
Yes - anything pertinent and trustworthy that corroborates a relationship is helpful to Google (that means don't spam ;)
Linking is always better
But no li nk is good too - Google 'gets' these mentions. When it finds them ;)
Quora is a site with a lot of questions - Google may take time to get to this specific question ... You can poijnt Google to the mention by linking to it from your site.
Nikola Roza
Expert

Provides valuable insights and adds depth to the conversation.

Jason Barnard
Thanks Jason, You confirmed my suspicions about not linking directly and still being valuable. I'm glad to know Google can make that leap, especially since it's only going to get smarter, right?
Thanks again!
Mansoor Jarwar
Enthusiast

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

I always love to read by you. Again You have worked like a tremendous trademark.
David Attard
Newcomer

Either just recently joined or is too shy to say something.

Hey Jason,

it's very incidental that I was doing some technical optimizations and came across your tool to create schema for an organization :-)

As for my question? What would be ideal place to add such structured data? Site wide? Specific pages? Homepage / About page?

Should this also be done for the author's on your page? And what would the ideal place to add such structured data?

Would anywhere work, as long as it is there, or are there specific pages which would make more sense / better results?

David
Vsevolod Novozhenov
Enthusiast

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

As always, unique and useful information from you. Thanks!
Newcomer

Either just recently joined or is too shy to say something.

Very helpful summary! I’m off and running with this on a number of projects. Thanks for the jump start, Jason.
Jason Barnard
columnist

SEMrush columnists are authors who had proved their expertise in digital marketing and contribute regularly to our community.

columnist
Aaron Orendorff
Glad to hear it Aaron :)
Newcomer

Either just recently joined or is too shy to say something.

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Olesia Korobka
Enthusiast

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

Thanks, Jason! Those are great insights and unique info. And so practical - can't wait to see the results of my own implementation.
Jason Barnard
columnist

SEMrush columnists are authors who had proved their expertise in digital marketing and contribute regularly to our community.

columnist
Olesia Korobka
Pleasure Olesia
I can't wait to see the results of your implementation too :)
Vsevolod Novozhenov
Enthusiast

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

Olesia Korobka
Здарова)
Olesia Korobka
Enthusiast

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

Vsevolod Novozhenov
Hi there ^^^
Chris Green
Helper

An experienced member who is always happy to help.

I remember us talking about this over a beer or two a few weeks back.

Own what is yours, go searching for anything which leads back for you - that's as much your responsibility as your own website.

Loved the example explanation of the KG Jason, anyone would think you spend all your time tracking this or something 😉
Jason Barnard
columnist

SEMrush columnists are authors who had proved their expertise in digital marketing and contribute regularly to our community.

columnist
Chris Green
Love it Chris

Both you and I know I spend more time than is healthy tracking and thinking about this

Though, I wish I had said this first
"Own what is yours, go searching for anything which leads back for you - that's as much your responsibility as your own website."
too late now :(

I am officially sulking
Hugo Scott
Helper

An experienced member who is always happy to help.

Very cool, as usual !
A ton of useful info and practical stuff to do - great !!
Jason Barnard
columnist

SEMrush columnists are authors who had proved their expertise in digital marketing and contribute regularly to our community.

columnist
Hugo Scott
Thanks, Hugo
Itamar Blauer
Pro

Asks great questions and provides brilliant answers.

Very well explained, Jason!
ngocthang
Newcomer

Either just recently joined or is too shy to say something.

This comment was deleted.
Jason Barnard
columnist

SEMrush columnists are authors who had proved their expertise in digital marketing and contribute regularly to our community.

columnist
ngocthang
Pleasure :)

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