You’ve heard it before: content is king. But, what does that mean? Does Google understand the meaning of the words on your website?
Yep. And with the Knowledge Graph (launched in May 2012), it’s getting better every day.
Information Engine to Knowledge Engine
Google is moving to change from being an information engine to being a knowledge engine. There are more than 60 trillion web pages on the internet. You read it right, trillion with at T.
Here’s how it works: Google crawls the web, sorts information and indexes it. When someone does a search, Google’s algorithm jumps into action. This is like a complex equation that uses many variables to generate a specific set of results.
Those variables used to generate your search results depend on many, many, many things like your physical location, what type of device you’re searching on, your search history, whether or not you’re logged into gmail or google+, etc.
Google uses more than 200 factors to rank results and try to deliver people with the best possible options. What are these 200 factors, you ask? Finding out is like trying to get the recipe for the secret sauce, but we do know a few things they’re looking for:
- Site & Page Quality
Quality comes in many forms. It is important for your website design to be current and easy to use. Make sure you pay attention to best practices when it comes to layout, site speed and mobile usage.
Page quality means having good content. Articles on your website should be at least 300 to 500 words in length and strike the right balance for mentioning your target keywords (just enough, but not too much). Grammar and spelling matter – so take the time to craft copy that is easy to read.
Engagement is a factor that goes into determining the quality of an individual web page or website. How long a user stays on a page, whether or not they share it on social media, if they come back to your website more than once. We’re now seeing search results influenced by Google+ – if a friend has reviewed a place or posted about a business, you may see that information filter into your search results.
- Media Rich Sites
Photos and video are important elements of a quality web page or website. Make sure the photos are high resolution. Google can’t read photos, so make sure you have an alt attribute, which is the text alternative that tells the search engine what is in the photo.
Google likes to see websites that are fresh and routinely updated as opposed to being static. Visitors want current and relevant information, so be sure to update your website routinely.
- Safeness of a Website
Search engines spend a lot of time combating spam. Make sure your website is checked regularly to be sure it hasn’t been compromised. If you do find a problem, fix it quickly and report it to Google so they can restore your status.
We touched on this earlier when we talked about how Google gives you results based on things like where you are, what kind of device you’re searching on and what kinds of searches you’ve done in the past.
Another area where context comes into play is with the content. Think about the multiple meanings of some common dental keywords like “crown”, “veneer” and “implant”. Be sure to give these keywords the proper context by including other words like “dental”, “teeth”, “dentist”, “cosmetic dentistry”, etc.
Making The Knowledge Graph Work For You
The Knowledge Graph is constantly evolving. When it first launched, the Knowledge Graph seemed to focus mostly on facts about famous people, important events and places. Last year, Google started to roll out Google Carousel, which showcases up to 20 results in a picture format. This feature is mostly impacting the travel, hospitality, restaurant and entertainment industries, but who knows what the future holds for other businesses.
It’s important for all businesses marketing on the web to try and stay ahead of the curve. You can do this for your business by:
- Making sure you’re signed up for Google Places for Business. This tells Google your basic business information and is integrated with Google maps.
- Verify your Local Google+ Page, which pulls all of the information from your Google Places for Business listing and gives you the ability to build and engage with a social network.
- Upload high resolution images of your business to your Google profile and prioritize them.
- Encourage your customers to leave positive reviews on your Google profile. Make sure that the reviews are well written and don’t come across as spam. Encouraging reviews should be an ongoing marketing effort, Google likes to see frequency and freshness.
By: Kelly McGee, Director of Internet Marketing for Ads Next
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