The Changing Face of Knowledge Graph

January 9, 2014 - 4 minutes read

Over the past few years, many people have written about the changing face of search engine results. This has led many SEOs and digital news sites, being quick to pick up on tests and changes happening across search engines. One of the most dramatic change in my opinion, was the announcement of Google’s Knowledge Graph. Coupled with the increased adoption for micro formats and structured data markup (something that SEOs will be familiar with due to the benefits of influencing click-through rates in SERPs) this showed a monumental change in the way that information was provided on Google. Gone are the days were it is simply 10 blue links…

Where Do They Get This Information From?

I’ve already mentioned the use of micro formats, rich snippets and structured data markup, something that inevitably aids search engines understanding more about the type of information presented on a specific page.

Bill Slawski, wrote a great blog post that looked into how Google decides what to know in Knowledge Graph. This summarised that this right hand side panel (introduced as part of Knowledge Graph) is built for the following purposes:

  • Providing Relevant Data
  • Speeding up time and effort
  • Improving users’ search experiences
  • Assisting Navigation
  • Supplying new content

Makes sense right?

As he is one to do as well, Bill also went further by exploring the patents registered by Google referring to Knowledge Graph (entitled Providing Knowledge Panels With Search Results, which you can read here). This specified that this ‘knowledge panel’ could play host any of the following information ’templates’:

  • “place”
  • “landmark”
  • “movie”
  • “business”
  • “game”
  • “sports team”
  • “sports event”
  • “disambiguation”

Of course, because it is a patent this is purposefully broad and because of this many SEOs, and search observers have gradually began to notice the varying formats being tested by Google.

So Why Show this Information?

You may be asking yourself this very question. This reminded me of a great presentation that Will Critchlow (of Distilled)  made last year, discussing the various mediums that we now use to interact with search, some of which like Siri many don’t actually consider as a ‘search engine’, however the ubiquitous growth in mobile devices are arguably one of the main influencing factors in the revision of different formats and additional information in the SERPs.

See Will’s presentation below:


This is something that me and Gordon Campbell discussed at length, that formed the basis for this guest blog on his website entitled The Recent Hive of Activity from Google.

Recognised Different Knowledge Graph Information Templates:

Often they are difficult to recognise based on the test area chosen by Google (Europe generally sees very different results than the States). However, below I’ve included some of the formats that me or others have recognised:

Google+ Data

HP Google+ Serps

Direct Links to Facebook and Twitter

Dell Google SERPs Social Links

Flight Tracker Lookup

British Airways Flight Tracker Google SERP

Sports Team & Match Information

Birmingham City Google SERPs

Film Information

The Hobbit Film Information Google Serps

Movie Showing Time Information

The Hobbit Film Showing Times Google Serp

Business Information

BP Google Business SERP

Landmark Information

Stonehenge Google Location SERP

Update: Spelling/Definition Information

Google Knowledge Graph Definition

Update: Personal Contact Information

Google Knowledge Graph Personal Information

Update: Nutritional Information (Health)

Calorie Content Google Knowledge Graph

Update: Music Show Information

music knowledge graph SERP james bay

Update: Hanukkah

Google SERPS Hanukkah

Here we can see many references to the knowledge graph templates in the patent that Bill so thoroughly explored [above].

What’s next? Have You Seen Any I Haven’t?

Have you seen any other examples of search engine formats that I haven’t included above? If you have, I’d love to share them as part of this article! Please get in contact and I’ll update the article linking to the contributor.