Well, the inevitable has happened. Google is changing the way it displays results again, and this change looks to be a big one.
Starting today, Google is rolling out their “Knowledge Graph” in the US, to be followed “soon” (whenever that is), everywhere else.
What is the Knowledge Graph? Why not see what Google has to say about it in the official blog post? (I’ll wait.) Ok. Now you know about as much as anybody else does, but I’ll summarise briefly in case you didn’t feel like reading it all.
Google’s Knowledge Graph
The knowledge graph changes the way that results are displayed, and the way that people interact with the search engine results themselves. It is intended to improve the contextual understanding of your search terms, offer you options on the results to let you filter out unrelated results if your search is for a homophone, (words that are spelt the same, but have different meanings, like rose (the flower) and rose (to the occasion), display related information based on context, and, (what I’m most interested in here), offers users summaries of information that matches what they’re searching for.
Information Summaries In Results
That’s right…think about that for a moment. If you’re searching for information about Marie Curie, (to take a random example from Google’s blog post), then alongside your search results, you’ll see a brief summary of important information about her. Google compiles this summary based on historical search data from their database which shows them the facts that people usually search for about her, and displays it right in the results.
The outcome? The user doesn’t have to actually visit a web page to see the information. They never need to leave the search engine results page if they don’t want to. Now, what sort of implications can this have for SEO?
It’ll be very interesting to see what happens to website traffic for example, when you can get information you’re looking for without actually going to the site on which it appears. And of course, it’ll be very interesting to see the reaction this causes in the SEO industry.
And here’s another implication I’ve just thought of…going by the screen shots in the official Google blog post, it looks like all this extra functionality is going to appear in the side bar of the search results. You know…the place where it usually displays AdWords ads.
Now obviously these are samples, so maybe they’re not showing how ads will display in this new interface, but I wonder if bidding for the top 3 positions is suddenly going to rise, with a corresponding loss of screen real estate on the right?
Obviously this isn’t going to affect anybody else for a while, as at present, only users in the US are going to be experiencing the knowledge graph, but they’re planning on rolling it out globally sooner or later.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic, so feel free to comment. Otherwise, check back every now and then, I’ll be talking about this more as new details become known.