Knowledge Graph Reduces Google’s Dependence On Keywords

By: Chris Crum - May 17, 2012

Earlier this month, we looked at Google’s big list of algorithm changes from April. One of those, referred to as Bi02sw41, indicated that Google may have reduced its dependence on keywords.

Today, Google announced the Knowledge Graph, which Google is saying makes it smarter at determining what people mean when they’re searching for things. More on the Knowledge Graph here. It also comes in mobile.

Google is indicating that this is a step away from keywords. In the official announcement, SVP, Engineering, Amit Singhal, says:

Take a query like [taj mahal]. For more than four decades, search has essentially been about matching keywords to queries. To a search engine the words [taj mahal] have been just that—two words.

But we all know that [taj mahal] has a much richer meaning. You might think of one of the world’s most beautiful monuments, or a Grammy Award-winning musician, or possibly even a casino in Atlantic City, NJ. Or, depending on when you last ate, the nearest Indian restaurant. It’s why we’ve been working on an intelligent model—in geek-speak, a “graph”—that understands real-world entities and their relationships to one another: things, not strings.

Google’s head of webspam, Matt Cutts, tweeted about the feature:

Big search news: Moving from keywords toward knowledge of real-world entities and their relationships.
23 minutes ago via Tweet Button · powered by @socialditto
 Reply  · Retweet  · Favorite

On Google+, Cutts said, “Google just announced its Knowledge Graph. It’s another step away from raw keywords (without knowing what those words really mean) toward understanding things in the real-world and how they relate to each other. The knowledge graph improves our ability to understand the intent of a query so we can give better answers and search results.”

Keywords have, of course, been a major point of spam, which Google is working hard to eliminate (see Penguin update). The less Google can rely on keywords to deliver relevant results, the less susceptible to spam it should be.

I don’t think the Knowledge Graph has done anything to diminish the value of using relevant keywords in your content, and it doesn’t seem to affect the regular, organic web results, but who knows if this will change somewhere down the line.

It is interesting to see Google continue to clutter up its search results pages, given that its clean design was one of the big differentiators of the search engine in its early days.

Chris Crum

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

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  • Michael

    Well, technically it only reduces the reliance on keywords for ORGANIC search – yes? Correct me if I’m wrong but the last time I checked (today), users still need keyword lists to run ad campaigns.

    So tell us Google – when can we start setting up campaigns based upon “entities” and there relationships? Because until that happens, this looks like another blatant attempt to kill organic search.

    If I sound like I have a chip on my shoulder, I do. Since Google has taken up the mantle of “more transparency” with developers, what has happened?

    – Keywords of users logged into their Google accounts are no longer viewable in Analytics. Matt Cutts said he believed this would only impact 10% of search queries – just do a search to see how wrong that is.

    – Penguin isn’t impacted by negative SEO. Bull hockey, maybe in the future when they have done some tweaking but as it stands right now independent studies (do a search) confirm otherwise. And sorry, SEOmoz doesn’t count. If Matt Cutts will come to your office to do a whiteboard session, you aren’t a neutral party in my book.

    I’ll stop my diatribe right here, but needless to say I could go on.

    Chris – what is your take on Google’s purchase/ownership of and how do you think this impacts (if in fact it does) Google’s building of “entities” and their relationships?

  • Elcor

    Though I always knew that Google would eventually become a knowledge engine, my mouth has been open during this video introduction: