In July 2023, Google unveiled a significant update to its Knowledge Graph. The Knowledge Graph is a database of billions of facts about people, places and things. This update primarily aimed at enhancing the Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) signals, particularly for individuals and institutions.
As the search landscape evolves, understanding the implications of this update is crucial for anyone interested in personal brand or entity-based SEO. Here are the key takeaways from this transformative Knowledge Graph update.
A Surge in Person Entities
One of the most noticeable changes brought about by the July 2023 Knowledge Graph update is the substantial increase in person entities, while corporate entities remained relatively stable. Google appears to be honing in on refining the classification of individuals, placing them under specific subtitles. The search engine clearly wants to bring out a content creator’s professional title. This shift underscores Google’s emphasis on pinpointing specialist expertise and authority within the realm of personal branding.
Basically, Google wants you to demonstrate first-hand experience and industry knowledge. As content marketing has become a backbone for inbound marketing, many firms have opted to outsource writers for purposes of SEO. While this not wrong, Google wants writers with authority and expertise in a subject. So, an article on child care by a pediatric nurse will be given more authority by Google’s Quality Raters. Similarly, a first-person account by a mother to a new born baby will give good E-E-A-T signals. Because yes, the first E is for Experience.
Reduced Reliance on External Sources
Previously, Google heavily relied on external sources like Wikipedia, government sites, MusicBrainz and IMDB for populating its Knowledge Graph. However with the recent update, this dependence has diminished significantly. Wikipedia’s contribution dropped from 41% to a mere 12% in generating new person entities.
Similarly, traditional databases such as IMDB have also decreased in influence. Google’s focus has shifted towards algorithms that build semantic connections autonomously, reducing the need for human-curated sources. A semantic search engine considers the logical context of both search queries and content, enhancing its ability to comprehend meaning more effectively. Furthermore, these search engines analyze the connections between different entities and shared attributes in order to curate more relevant search results.
While the primary impact of the Knowledge Graph update is observed in person entities, corporations are likely to be the next target for similar changes. The decrease in reliance on Wikipedia is indicative of this shift. Brands that rely heavily on Wikipedia for their Knowledge Panels should be prepared to re-evaluate their SEO strategies. As it is, Google is clearly distancing itself from such dependencies.
Today, if you search for a corporate brand, you will notice more and more that Wikipedia is rarely among the top results.
Knowledge Graph Opportunities for Building Authority
For individuals and brands alike, the Knowledge Graph update presents a substantial opportunity. Building authoritative and trustworthy profiles on diverse, high-quality websites has never been more important. Google’s move away from algorithmic reliance on potentially spammy tactics used to manipulate Knowledge Graphs underscores the significance of E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) in content and optimization strategies.
For companies and individuals, this change reinforces the importance of establishing a robust online presence. It also means fostering a positive online reputation. As google reduces dependency on Wikipedia and the likes, simply being a big brand is not enough. When user searches your brand, the Wikipedia page with rich content might not show in the top results. If your website with thin content shows first, the brand may lose prospective clients.
Digital and Influencer Marketing
Digital Marketing has seen brands bring out the faces behind the brands. This has been mostly for social media campaigns and podcasts. Now, a brand dealing with Electric Vehicles for example, will do better in its content marketing if it relies on its engineers to write content. Yes, those website blogs from an accounting firm need the expert auditors to contribute. If outsourcing, a spice brand will do better do have a person who has built reputation as a chef to write an article. Furthermore, an article written by an actual expert is more likely to attract high quality back-links. That will do your website a lot of good.
Brands that rely on influence marketing need to change tact. Traditionally, some brands have relied on reach rather than relevance. You will find for example a comedian doing content creation for a phone company. However, in a world where Google relies on Authority and expertise, relying on a seasoned tech writer for example will a phone brand better placement on search engines. The same applies for video content. For healthcare topics, Google has began verifying Healthcare content creators. In future, this will definitely give more online authority to brands that work with such creators.
Individually, one who wishes to grow as a personal brand must do so strategically. Google is borrowing signals from across all platforms. Hence, if you are a dentist, this will be identifying as on across all your platforms. It also means sharing authoritative content that can be linked to you. Doing this strategically will build your online reputation. It will give Google the signal that you are an expert and overtime content you share will perform better. That means if someone is looking for a dentist and you run a personal facility, you may witness growth in foot traffic.
It also means, that professionals must learn how to write about their field of work. Once brands incorporate E-E-A-T in the SEO strategy, your lack of writing ability might edge you out of a lucrative position.
Embracing these changes and aligning SEO efforts with the principles of E-E-A-T will be paramount for individuals and brands seeking to maintain a strong online presence in this evolving search landscape.