Google’s purpose is to provide the most relevant response to an Internet user’s search query (and to make a ridiculous amount of money doing so). Google’s search engine has gotten pretty good over the past 20 years, moving from only being able to identify [exact match] queries to understanding how semantics, intent, location, and more all intertwine.
But why and how has Google chosen to override organic search results to display its own answer to this query? Using its knowledge graph.
The knowledge graph is Google’s database of knowledge, which contains a lot of information. As of 2012 Google’s knowledge graph contained more than 500 million objects, as well as more than 3.5 billion facts about and relationships between these different objects – and that was 3 years ago.
It contains information on sports teams, cities, celebrities, movies and much more. A significant volume of this ‘knowledge’ is collected from internationally trusted sites like Wikipedia and the CIA World Factbook, but also from newspapers like the Telegraph and media sites such as IMDB.
How does this affect search?
For most users Google’s knowledge graph and its effect on answering search queries is incredibly positive. ‘Who is the prime minister?’ can be confidently answered through the knowledge graph based on the intent of the statement, accessing the knowledge graph and looking at the user’s location.
But Google also uses the connections it has identified between those 500 million objects to predict and answer users’ next queries. Take for example a search for Hulk Hogan. Google’s knowledge graph knows that he has featured in films, that he has a family, along with personal details such as his height, age and social profiles.
Clearly for the webmaster of hulkhogan.com this isn’t good. More queries answered within search results means less traffic and ultimately less $. All of this information is likely available on hulkhogan.com but that’s one extra click and a few extra seconds for users, which means Google isn’t achieving its goal of being the best search engine in the world, which, over the course of billions of searches, will add up.
The future of SEO?
Let’s be honest, backlinks are a fundamentally flawed way of ranking websites. Whilst Google has done very well and gets better each day at removing spam and manipulated sites, it’s still all too easy to manipulate rankings with PBNs, Sape Links and other methods, even if that is purely a rank and bank situation – and Google knows it.
The knowledge graph may one day allow Google to move beyond backlinks and focus on returning search results based on what it knows to be true. This has its own issues – Google algorithmically decides what is true then returns search results according to this truth, meaning the future of billions of peoples’ source of knowledge could be dependant on a multinational business’ decision of what is and isn’t true.
But for marketers that focus on quality content and building a trustworthy brand, knowledge graph integration into organic search could be a step closer to having a spam-free Internet.
We’ve been nominated!
We’re pretty chuffed to announce that we’ve been shortlisted for Media Agency of the Year in the 2015 Drum Network Awards!
It’s our aim to ‘Think and do. Better.’ in all areas of the business, and this nomination is testament to our approach. I for one am proud as punch of the whole team.
It’s been a pretty fabulous few years for us at Boutique – our offering has developed, our team size has grown and our client roster is flourishing. Fingers crossed for a win on 3rd December, and for many more in 2016!
If there was a Richter scale for cringe, it’s safe to say the Apprentice would be an 8.4 in magnitude.
Whilst it makes me recoil in horror and shout at the telly, I must confess, I can’t not watch it. It’s a similar sensation to driving past a car accident, and having to look, or when a lion is chowing down on a gazelle and the other gazelles stand around and watch. It’s a phenomenon observed across the human and animal world – when something displeasurable is occurring, we just can’t not watch.
Like the lion feasting on its freshly hunted gazelle, each week Lord Sugar feasts on the misery of his latest batch of ‘entrepreneurs’ – and each week, I’m sure to be tuned in to observe.
The thing that keeps me tuning in each week, is how infuriatingly inaccurate a representation of ‘business’ the show provides. Each week I am thankful of the inaccuracy, for the entertainment it provides, and the fact that I don’t have to work in such a dreadful reality.
With this, I bring you my top 4 reasons I’m glad the Apprentice isn’t real life (beyond the usual nonsense jargon and inane stupidity):
Each year the Apprentice and Lord Sugar place insurmountable importance on being a master salesman, with pretty much every challenge having at least an element of sales, if not being an entirely sales-focussed task. Invariably the person with the least ‘sales ability’ gets hauled kicking and screaming into the board room and (unless they are completely crazy – see point 2) usually fired. Whilst I appreciate that sales challenges provide entertaining viewing, it implies that to be a valuable member of any business, you must sell stuff, and if you don’t, you might as well check-out of the professional world immediately.
As eluded to in the previous point, my second reason the Apprentice is NOTHING like an actual business interview is that if the candidates are not; controversial, loud, argumentative, and without interpersonal skills, (basically normal) they usually find themselves on a one way ticket to sacks-ville. I use the term ‘normal’ in the loosest sense of the word as how normal can you be to apply for the Apprentice? It seems Lord Sugar either accidentally singles out the most likeable and bearable individual to fire OR he has realised that doing so makes excellent car crash television. Thankfully for those of us in living in the real world the latter is the likely scenario.
Picture this, at the end of every working week, your line manager asks you and the rest of your department to join him in the board room with the MD. Then, you and your colleagues proceed to explain the reasons why each other should be fired, with numerous of you actually joining forces to explain why your manager should get the proverbial boot. Once the MD has made his mind up, the unlucky person gets their p45 to the chops as they try not to let the door hit them on the way out. Then, calmly, your manager and the rest of your team go back to your desks and carry on where you left off…until of course next week. THANKFULLY this isn’t common practice as firing 1/12th of your workforce every week would likely lead to decreased morale, a quite serious labour resource issue and a rather large legal bill from disgruntled former employees.
Everyone who watches the Apprentice knows that marketing is a bunch of people sat around a large table with a flipchart brainstorming, bluesky thinking, and holding their thumbs and forefingers in a rectangle looking through it and closing one eye. Right? Right!!!??? WRONG! As a marketing mogul, I’d expect Sugar to be flying the flag for the advertising industry, and depicting a realistic picture of what planning an advertising campaign entails. However this is rarely the case and often results in some of the worst advertising campaigns UK television has ever seen. THANKFULLY as we know, the media industry is expenentionally more varied and interesting and in contrast regularly produces effective, creative and award-winning campaigns.
With these four points, I ask you to thank the Lord (Sugar, obviously) that this ‘reality’ weeknight viewing, is as far from a business-reality as humanly possible. May the professional world and viewing public share a mutual sigh of relief, sit back, and enjoy the frenzy.