Google Now and other new features, like the new overlay containing information about a source in a search query, are great technological advances. However, there’s a problem with this quick, on-demand knowledge graph information…it virtually eliminates the need to visit websites.
If a person types or speaks a query like “How tall is Mount Washington?” Google will answer it. The search engine will also answer questions about currency conversion, whether or not it’s supposed to rain, and even show information about a recent online purchase. And, to those looking into the future, this isn’t acceptable because they want traffic to their website. After all, if someone asks a question and Big G answers it without having to leave the SERP, what’s the point of clicking over to a website?
Well, there’s plenty of reasons.
The Knowledge Graph is Shallow
First and foremost, your company probably doesn’t publish weather forecasts or support currency conversion calculators. But, it does sell a product or service. And that means people have questions; lots of questions.
You see; the problem with the knowledge graph API is that it can’t tell someone how to do something or explain how something works. But your website can.
There’s only so much real estate on the SERP and Google isn’t going to populate it with a long, drawn-out answer because that’s not what its customers want to see. They want the best results, sure, but they also demand choice.
Most answer boxes are primarily text, contain a relatively short answer (when possible), and may give limited information about the source of the answer. –SEOmoz Blog
What’s more is the knowledge graph search can’t explain possible changes or differences between like products and services. Google will leave that to the seasoned professionals in their own industries; hence, the roll out of the writer verification mark-up code known as Google Authorship.
Preparing for the New Normal
When the knowledge graph goes into full swing, it will actually help many websites gain traffic. That’s right, gain traffic. Cookie-cutter answers won’t satisfy many people, and will turn off a good percentage. That’s where businesses can take advantage of what might be known in the future as knowledge graph SEO (maybe not, but it could happen).
The graph will be ideal for converting measurements, picture searches, and getting movie times, but it won’t help people learn what they’ve searched for. Here are some ideas for beating out the graph’s grasp on search:
- Get into detail. As previously stated, the graph doesn’t go into detail. And that’s where your business can make a lot of headway. By expounding on a subject, you can turn a couple of sentences into an entire blog post.
- Offer a different perspective. Following the crowd doesn’t do much good to distinguish your business from the competition, so it’s a cinch to conclude that bringing another perspective will be a benefit.
- Start a series of series. A sure-fire way to beat the digital synopsis is to begin an ongoing series, and wrap it up by leading into another one.
- Leverage social media. It might be a foray into digital sharecropping, but it will allow your business to get more exposure and help to make you an authority in your industry.
One more idea: get visual. Content comes alive and has more meaning when it’s got a companion image. Use original images and surround them with informative, quality content and that will allow your business to bypass the obstacle the knowledge graph presents.