What is Google Knowledge Graph? A Dive into Semantic Search

Adam Steele
Apr 12, 2024
what is google knowledge graph

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Launched in 2012, leveraging automated systems, Google Knowledge Graph began to catalog the world’s information. It cataloged 570 million subjects and 18 billion related facts within seven months. By 2016, this expanded to an astounding 70 billion facts. In 2020, Danny Sullivan claimed Google Knowledge Graph “…has amassed over 500 billion facts (on) about five billion entities.”

Impressive, right? But beyond these numbers, what is Google Knowledge Graph? And more importantly, how can you leverage it to enhance your SEO strategy?

By the end of this guide, you’ll understand

  1. what Google Knowledge Graph is,
  2. how it differs from Google Knowledge Panel,
  3. and what its implications are for SEO and user experience.

What Is Google Knowledge Graph?

The Google Knowledge Graph is a vast repository that offers direct, accurate responses to user queries in Google search results. The topics the Knowledge Graph collects information on, called entities, range from prominent figures, companies, and landmarks to events, objects, animals, cuisines, and even abstract concepts.

Learn more: Interested in broadening your SEO knowledge even further? Check out our SEO glossary, where we’ve explained over 250+ terms.

Real-World Google Knowledge Graph Example 👉

To demonstrate what the Google Knowledge Graph looks like in action, let’s have some fun and tackle an abstract idea: astrology. If you type the search query “astrology” into Google, this is how the information that Google Knowledge Graph has cataloged, structured, and interpreted on this entity looks in search results:

The information the Knowledge Graph has accumulated on astrology is displayed in the Google Knowledge Panel. In this case, the Knowledge Panel offers a synopsis pulled from Wikipedia of the topic, sprinkles in some visual elements, and, below the fold, lists noteworthy books that may be helpful to search engine users.

What Is the Difference Between Google Knowledge Panel and Google Knowledge Graph?

So, what’s the difference between the Knowledge Graph and the Knowledge Panel? 

As highlighted by our above astrology example, Google Knowledge Panels are the surface-level, bite-sized, user-friendly displays that appear in Google Search, offering a snapshot of key details about a topic.

While the Google Knowledge Graph is the brains of the operation. The deep, expansive database that comprehends and archives facts about entities.

Why Is Google Knowledge Graph Important?

The amount of data and information we have at our modern-day fingertips is actually insane. But none of this is of any use to anybody without automated systems to compile and interpret this ocean of information.

This is where the Google Knowledge Graph, underpinned by the philosophy of “things, not strings,” comes into play. And what’s “things, not strings”? Let’s take a look.

The Evolution of Search

From Keyword-Centric to Context-Centric Search:

Back in the day, search engines primarily matched user queries with keywords nestled in website content. While this approach was useful to some extent, with the rise of more complex search queries and voice searches, it often fell short. Missing the deeper intent behind a user’s search intent.

The Google Knowledge Graph, driven by the “things, not strings” mantra, represents a shift away from simply matching search queries with keywords. This new method ensured that search results were in tune with user intent, offering a richer and more intuitive search experience.

Understanding User Intent with Things, Not Strings:

Dissecting this a little further, “things, not strings” is about discerning context. For instance, a search query like “jaguar” could refer to the animal, the carmaker, or even a sports team. To deliver a search result that’s pertinent to a user’s search query, the Knowledge Graph uses the “things, not strings” philosophy to determine the most probable intent, bettering the chance a search result is contextually relevant.

SEO Implications

The Changing Landscape of Search Engine Optimization:

As you can imagine, the introduction of the Knowledge Graph, combined with the “things, not strings” approach, changed SEO forever. Content optimization no longer requires simply integrating keywords into a web page’s content. It demands topical relevance, an authoritative voice, and information and answers to search queries that are actually helpful to readers.

Embracing Semantic Search Strategies:

These new algorithmic preferences mean content creators must adopt a more holistic content strategy. One that embraces semantic search strategies. So, what does this look like in practice? Optimizing content for the meaning and intent behind keywords rather than just the keywords themselves.

The Mechanics Behind the Knowledge Graph

Okay-doke. So, how does Google compile, interpret, and structure the data displayed by the Knowledge Panels? Let’s find out.

Data Collection and Structuring

Google doesn’t simply rely on a single wellspring for the factual information it compiles. Instead, the search engine turns to a variety of renowned sources, including Wikipedia, Freebase, and the CIA World Factbook, among others.

Once the data is collected, Google structures it by determining the relationship between entities, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of each topic, no matter how complex or nuanced.

User Experience Enhancement

The data has been collected and structured, so what next?

When you conduct a search on Google, as we demonstrated above, the Knowledge Graph summarizes the information on the entity at hand and, using the capabilities of the Knowledge Panel, displays it in a digestible way.


Q1: How Do I Get Listed on Google Knowledge Graph?

Answer: Structured data, often in the form of schema markup, helps Google understand the content on your site and its relevance to specific queries. Maintaining an active online presence across reputable platforms, including social media and authoritative websites, enhances your chances of being recognized and included in the Knowledge Graph.

Q2: Is Google Knowledge Graph Free?

Answer: Yes, the Google Knowledge Graph is a free feature of Google Search designed to enhance user experience by providing contextually relevant information. However, while accessing the Knowledge Graph is free, businesses might incur costs if they seek professional services to optimize their content and online presence for better representation within the Knowledge Graph.

Q3: Does Wikipedia Use the Knowledge Graph?

Answer: Wikipedia doesn’t use the Knowledge Graph. It’s the other way around. Wikipedia is a primary data source for the Google Knowledge Graph. Google often extracts and utilizes information from Wikipedia entries to populate its Knowledge Panels and provide users with accurate, reliable information.

Conclusion and Next Steps

Navigating semantic and user-centric search might seem daunting, but understand that you don’t have to go this thing alone. At Loganix, we pride ourselves on staying ahead of the curve of search engine algorithm updates and craft and shift our strategies accordingly.

So, if you’re ready to elevate your online presence and harness the power of the Knowledge Graph, discover Loganix’s suite of SEO services today.

Hand off the toughest tasks in SEO, PPC, and content without compromising quality

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Written by Adam Steele on April 12, 2024

COO and Product Director at Loganix. Recovering SEO, now focused on the understanding how Loganix can make the work-lives of SEO and agency folks more enjoyable, and profitable. Writing from beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.