Posted 10th July 2014 | By ExtraMile

To 'google' something: a verb coined naturally by millions of online searchers worldwide. Synonymous not only with searching on Google, but using any search engine to find an answer to a burning question.

When you 'googled' something in the past, you would be presented with a list of online resources that you could explore. It was great, but it took a bit of searching to find an answer. Recent advances in Google's Knowledge Graph allows us to read an answer on the search engine results page itself. Google is starting to read our mind, to know what we're thinking before even we do! Let's take a look at some of this crazy stuff...

As I explained in an earlier blog post, Google is making it much easier for webmasters to make their articles stand out on Google. The benefit for searchers is more comprehensive on-page information and, in some cases, there is no need to navigate away from search engine results page itself.

Google's Knowledge Graph

Let's have a go now. If we Google 'What films did Quentin Tarantino direct?', we're presented with this:

google's knowledge graph films

It's exactly what we asked for, and much more if we need it.

Let's try 'How many goals did David Luiz score in the World Cup?':

david luiz knowledge graph

Cool huh? Not only does Google provide us with an instant answer of how many goals (2). It also anticipates our next questions and gives us answers or shortcuts. As an SEO geek, it's definitely becoming a bit of a game for me to see just how clever Google can be. Let me know if you fire a tricky question at Google and it comes back with a brilliant answer!

Google is providing us with more and more comprehensive, easy-to-digest information than ever before. The good news is that we can all benefit from Google's advancements, both as businesses and as everyday searchers.

 

Products

rich snippets and micro data for products

Whether we are selling products on an ecommerce website, or out to find the best deal, Google provides us with rating, reviews, prices and stock availability.

 

Events

Event rich snippet

Google excels at providing us with up-to-date action on sporting events. No need to google 'Wimbledon results' or 'Wimbledon, who's playing', simply type 'Wimbledon' and Google's got a pretty good idea of what you are looking for.

Are you starting to see how Google is doing a great job of reading your mind?

 

Recipes

rich snippets for recipes 

Compare recipes easily on Google's interface with recipe calories, time and ingredient information. Be enticed by similar recipes or just be won over by the image. It's not rocket science. Just like publishing a recipe book with pictures will make you many more sales, a search result with a picture will get you many more clicks.

 

Videos

 you tube video rich snippets

If you've got a YouTube video embedded on your site, you've got to make sure you are optimising your site for search engines, so that your videos appear like the above on the results page. It could be a really effective inroad for searchers to find you.

 

Music/People

rich snippets for music and people

Google really goes to town when it comes to famous people. Combining music, events and even social media micro data, a quick glance at this Justin Timberlake SERP means you don't need to go anywhere near Wikipedia.

 

Entity search

And if we ask Google 'How old is Justin Timberlake?'. Bam. Not only do we get his age, birth date and ages of his now and then partners. Google also tells us just how old he is compared to Justin Bieber – getting on a bit JT! See Google isn't just a robot, it can be funny too! Amazing.

entity search results how old is

 

So how does Google do it?

For those that are interested in the science behind all this:

In the past, search engines have had to deal with unstructured data: that is, unorganised information that has not been classified nor ordered in any way. Search engines have always been able to identify patterns within web pages (words) but couldn't attach any real meaning to those pages. However, now, semantic search advancements allow us to classify the data within a website, by labeling each piece of information as an 'entity' along with its relevant connecting and related 'entities'. This is done in the code of the website: we call it structured data. And, as seen above, it can be applied to people, products, events, films, music, places and much more. Schema.org provides web developers with all the information they need to mark up the code of a website to include this information. And Google Webmaster Tools can be used to check that it has been implemented correctly.

What next?

At the rate Google is moving, who knows what the Google interface will look like in the next few years. The key takeaway is that Google is making it easier and easier for searchers to find answers without having to leave the search engine page. If you ever needed a reason not to ignore SEO, I think you just got it.

 

Written by Annabel Ross, SEO Specialist at ExtraMile Communications.

At ExtraMile we try to take an hour out each week to look around us at what others do and to gain inspiration and to admire people's creativity. Each post in this series is one staff member's take on the world of web, design and things online. We hope you enjoy it.

 

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