Google Knowledge Graph and Advertiser Implications

Posted by Joe Potter, Associate Account Manager Google is constantly testing betas and changing the interface in hopes of continuing its dominance in the search engine landscape.  Betas and interface changes are primarily small and typically overlooked by many users.  Occasionally, larger developments are released with the intention to provide a noticeably better overall user experience. In May 2012, Google announced a large addition to Google Search called “the Knowledge Graph.” Knowledge Graph focuses on getting information to a user faster. This is aimed at providing a better user experience but at the same time fulfills another goal for Google; to keep users on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) longer. What the Knowledge Graph Is Google’s Knowledge Graph is a new addition to the SERP for topics ranging from companies to restaurants from countries to tourist locations and from bands to politicians. It is an information box that is displayed on the right side of the screen with brief and relevant content on the searched topic. This displays in addition to the regular search results. The new function is convenient for quick key facts and organizes suggested links to more in-depth sources or related topics. Knowledge Graph exammple One of the main features of the Knowledge Graph, aside from providing quick information, is its designed ability to understand the search query as the user, not as a computer. As Google said in its blog post about the release, “language can be ambiguous”; the Knowledge Graph is meant to help clarify what the user meant to search. Google uses the example of the Taj Mahal. Did the user search for the actual monument, the casino or another related item? The new Knowledge Graph accounts for varying meanings to the same words or phrase, and provides alternative search results at the bottom. This greatly improves the user experience when searching for specific content. Knowledge Graph Implications for Advertisers Google’s new Knowledge Graph has tripled in size in seven months. This quickly growing product now contains a database of 570 million objects and 18 billion facts that are sourced from a variety of places such as Wikipedia, CIA World Factbook, Freebase, and others. Clearly, this new search tool is here to stay. The Knowledge Graph allows users to access information they need without ever leaving the SERP. This could have a negative effect on paid search overall. People over time will become less accustomed to clicking through to another site unless they are seeking very detailed information. Also, it pushes the ads that typically appear on the top right side of the SERP to below the Knowledge Graph. Depending on the amount of information displayed in the Knowledge Graph, it may push the ads down the monitor requiring the user to scroll. This most certainly will affect CTR. Additionally, if a user is able to find the information without leaving the initial results page, there will be no reason to click on another link. This will affect mobile devices more than desktop or even tablet due to the limited screen size on most devices. The Knowledge Graph will dominate a mobile SERP. At the same time, the Knowledge Graph could prove a benefit to brands, and be a positive addition to paid search. For example, if a user finds information about the company on the SERP and is still interested, they are a better qualified lead. As a result, conversion rates could rise. This would save on CPCs while maintaining conversions. As the Knowledge Graph continues to affect search, Performics account teams will monitor and inform clients of relevant developments.

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