Knowledge Graph Reduces Google’s Dependence On Keywords

    May 17, 2012
    Chris Crum

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
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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.