If you are looking to trigger the Google Knowledge Graph for your business reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the last 24 months the front page for Google search results has changed drastically. It is no longer the case that searchers see 10 generic search results with some advertisements dispersed on the sidebar. Some search results look more like a website than a Google search. Business owners may wonder how they get their Google+ Local Photo, Map and Google+ posts to show up on the front page of Google search. The first thing every business should do to trigger this type of search result is get active on Google+.
Unfortunately, local businesses and brands that have not claimed their Google+ Local page will not see a Google Knowledge Graph search result. Many small to medium sized businesses have contacted me asking how they can get their business to show up with the map and Knowledge Graph to the right hand side of the search result. There is no guarantee at this point but every client I have worked with has seen the Knowledge Graph search result pop up after engaging and interacting on Google+ for several months. This takes time and effort but it will be well worth it in the long run. If you need assistance with this please feel free to reach out to me.
What the Google Knowledge Graph Search Looks Like
It is important to note the Google Knowledge Graph does not come up only for specific businesses. It comes up when searching for movies, restaurants, specific answers and casts of TV shows. That said, the most valuable real estate is for a local small business. Imagine seeing your competition triggering the Google Knowledge Graph for keywords you have the desire to rank for. Fortunately, there is help available so you do not have to be concerned with this.
A search for the Law Offices of David Azizi brings up this Google Knowledge Graph search result:
This is a logged out, incognito, search that is the result most Google users will see. Notice to the right hand side of the search result there is a large box that includes how many people are following the Law Offices of David Azizi on Google+, the phone number to the law firm, the address, hours of operation, reviews and the latest Google+ post. This is all valuable real estate on the front page of Google search.
Building a brand is very important when it comes to Internet Marketing. In the past, SEO firms and agencies did their best to manipulate the system with link backs. Every Google algorithm update continues to nail that coffin shut. The Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird algorithm changes have encouraged businesses to build a brand name rather than go after a specific keyword phrase. Enter Google+.
How to Get Active on Google+
The first thing most businesses need to do is to claim their Google+ Local Page. If your business shows up on Google Maps it already has a Google+ Local Page. If you need assistance claiming this page and getting started on Google+ please feel free to reach out to me. I have plenty of packages available that will help all sized businesses when it comes to getting started on Google+.
Once a Google+ Local Page has been claimed it is imperative that a business get active. They do not have to post three times a day every day of the week. That said, from my experience, the Google Knowledge Graph is triggered by the activity of the business through a Google+ Local Page. If you have the time to post three to five times a week it should not be all that difficult to show Google your business deserves to have the Google Knowledge Graph in search. Something else that matters is to build a following and get engagement through +1s, comments and reshares.
Once again, it is very important to remember that there are no set guidelines on what it takes for the Google Knowledge Graph search result to come up. All of my clients are seeing this search result as they have been active on Google+ for over a few months. If this is prime real estate to you it might be a good idea to come up with a strategy for posting to Google+. Google+ is a much different animal than Facebook and Twitter because it is not easy to set to auto post.
Google has to keep their search results reputable so they do not want businesses sharing the same articles and resources over and over. Google+ Local or Business Pages must be updated by a human being. Once again, I have several packages that can help those that are struggling to update their page consistently. If you hope to trigger the Google Knowledge Graph search for your local business it is going to take activity and effort.
What To Do Next
You must determine where you are when it comes to your business and Google+. Once everything is up and running it is a very valuable tool. Google+ communities and posts are indexed in search. Google+ Hangouts on Air are live streaming videos that are uploaded to YouTube. These videos also show up in search. There are plenty of great possibilities to rank in Google search with Google+ related products.
If you are struggling to come up with a strategy or you are looking to execute a Google+ marketing campaign please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com. I will be more than happy to look over a proposal and determine if there is a package that we can agree upon. This real estate on the front page of search is very valuable so don’t let the competition get ahead when it comes to the Google Knowledge Graph.
Google Knowledge Graph Search Results Not Yet Consistent
Google+ local is still a work in progress for Google. The search algorithm is tweaked every single day so expect to see some inconsistent results for the Google Knowledge Graph in the early to mid part of 2014. All of my clients have noticed the Google Knowledge Graph about 80% of the time but there are days when the search does not trigger the photo, map and address on the right hand side of search. There is nothing to be alarmed about when it comes to search results not showing the knowledge graph.
As Google continues to roll out more updates I would imagine we will see plenty of success stories. Hopefully all of my clients will be part of those success stories. With every occurrence of the knowledge graph in search it has been the case that the particular business has claimed their Google+ local listing and they have been somewhat active on Google+ for a few months. This will likely change as we move forward and Google verifies more businesses. What you need to recognize now is activity and proving your worth to users on Google+ stands for something in the eyes of the search giant.
Building that special presence on Google+ is not the easiest process. It can be discouraging to post a great photo or a funny meme and only get two or three +1s. If you do the same thing on Instagram or Facebook you may get 30 or 40 likes. When working with clients I reiterate that a +1 and a like are not created equal. Google has a reputation to uphold so they have to value a +1 accordingly. Facebook and Instagram are terrible at search and they have no reputation to uphold when it comes to social sharing. This is something to think about when you sit down and shell over $3000 a month to a Facebook expert that claims they are going to help you get more business. They may expand your Facebook presence but I can promise it will not help when it comes to Google search and the Google Knowledge Graph Search.
Google Services Going Through a Few Changes
It has been brought to my attention that Google is going through quite a few changes in the early part of 2014. They have updated Hangouts multiple times, there was a small update to Google+ and some are seeing some other issues. With this being the case it is important to recognize that search results are going to differ from day to day. In fact, they could differ from minute to minute. Try not to get too consumed with the current search result. Build authority through Google+, create some amazing content on your website and engage with your audience and you will have nothing to worry about.
Engaging with an audience can sometimes be very difficult. In fact, one of my services is to help businesses better manage a social profile. My area of expertise is, obviously, Google+ but I can help explain the importance of all social engagement. Having a helping hand when it comes to social media can be very useful for a business that does not have an employee that understands the ins and outs of Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Having a presence on all of these social networks is not a necessity but it sure doesn’t hurt.
Rather than spending hour upon hour trying to figure this out take time to think about hiring someone that has already completed the work. Spending over 5000 hours on Google+ has helped me to better understand how Google+ is weaving the social layer into search. To gain this knowledge a business could spend thousands of dollars in labor. Take out the guesswork and hire someone that has social proof. Please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are looking for Google+ or Google search assistance. I have helped many businesses gain exposure online. Ultimately, this has helped them to make more money.
Google Knowledge Graph Success Story – Ashe High Country Realty
My friends at Ashe High Country Realty have been at the forefront of technology for almost two decades now. They were one of the first real estate companies in the state of North Carolina to have a website and now they are one of the first real estate companies in North Carolina to have a strong Google+ presence. They recently reached out to me to help them ramp things up and really get the ball rolling. Having worked with several clients in the last six months it was a smooth transition to help a business that was headquartered in my home state.
The Google Knowledge Graph is something that is very valuable to a business like Ashe High Country Realty. When a potential home buyer searches for their services they want to know that the company has a strong reputation. A home purchase is often the largest money decision in a person’s lifetime. This is not something that is taken lightly. For this reason, most home buyers will want to read some reviews and look at multiple options. Below is what the Google incognito search (logged out) looks like for Ashe High Country Realty:
As you can see, Google triggers the knowledge graph for this particular search. The knowledge graph shows the address, the phone number, the hours of operation and even the recent posts on Google+. If Google feels as if Ashe High Country Realty is a respected company there is a good chance that searchers will as well. Something I have noticed is that reviews play a big part in the Google Knowledge Graph.
I sometimes have to work on a Google+ Local Page for several months before the knowledge graph will show up and other times I will only have to work on the page for a few weeks or a month. The number of positive reviews seems to help make the process a little bit quicker. I have also started to notice more Google Knowledge graph varieties showing up. For Google+ Business Pages that do not have a local address there is simply a “latest Google+ post” knowledge graph that pops up. This has been very common for a few clients of mine.
No matter what your business, the Google Knowledge Graph will prove to be valuable. It is the stamp of approval from Google which is usually the stamp of approval from searches as well. Do not let your competition jump ahead of you by having the Google Knowledge Graph updating every Google+ post they update while you do not even use your Google+ Local Page. If you need help getting more +1s, comments and shares to your Google+ Local or Business page do not hesitate to reach out to me at email@example.com.
How Much Activity is Needed to Trigger the Knowledge Graph?
There is no Google documentation that explains the rules of the Google Knowledge Graph. As with many things Google, the company is going to allow Google+ users and other business minded people to test it out and see what happens. I tis important to understand that most things related to Google search are algorithm based. This means that even the engineers at Google cannot give you a definite answer as to what triggers the Google Knowledge Graph.
I would imagine there will be a few Matt Cutts videos in the near future related to the Google Knowledge Graph. As with most of Matt Cutts videos it will likely be the case that he glazes over the subject without giving a 100% solid answer. This has been all too common over the last several years as he is unable to give an answer to a question that even he doesn’t know the true answer. If all the engineers and the entire spam team got together for a week they might be able to make a few predictions but nothing would be set in stone.
It is also important to remember that activity on Google+ can be enhanced by the followers of an account. Just because the US Olympic Team has only one update in the last week it does not mean the account is not engaging. It may very well be the case that that particular post continues to be reshared and commented on many days after it was published. This is just more incentive to grow a following on Google+. It is not easy but it can help a business or organization go a very long way in a short amount of time.
Sometime I would warn about growing a Google+ following for a business is the “follow back” idea. Many current and potential clients have asked me if they should follow people and ask to be followed back. I am not a fan of this strategy as it seems a little bit desperate. If you are providing great content with your Google+ business page or local page it stands to reason that users will naturally want to follow you. I would also advise against following a large number of users in a short amount of time. I have actually noticed where Google+ will say that an account “cannot add any more users at this time”. This is food for thought when growing a Google+ following for business.
Does Having a Wikipedia Page Help?
When doing research for businesses, musicians, professional athletes and actors it seems quite obvious that having a Wikipedia page does not hurt. That said, it is not 100% necessary to have a Wikipedia page to trigger the Google Knowledge Graph. It will add about three more sentences of information to the knowledge graph and it will add a link to the Wikipedia page. Unfortunately, it is not very easy for a business to get a Wikipedia page.
I tried to do a little bit of research and it looks as if a company needs a certain number of employees while also having a well known image. SEO and social media companies are going to struggle to create a Wikipedia page simply because the moderators of Wikipedia are going to immediately think this is spam trying to get link backs to improve search ranking. Keep this in consideration if you are going to pay someone to build a Wikipedia presence for your business.
Also realize that Wikipedia is heavily monitored by “power” moderators. This is a self policing service but the moderators are very good about removing any type of information that cannot be validated. They will also remove a Wikipedia page that is created by a username that looks eerily similar to the business itself. The best thing a business can do is simply offer wonderful services and products and hope that someone is kind enough to add them to Wikipedia.
I have been an editor and moderator on Wikipedia for several years but I am still not allowed to build brand new pages. All I have is the ability to add to Wikipedia pages that have already gone live. I have also noticed that on some pages in which I submit updates it immediate goes live. On other pages a moderator has to view the update before giving the OK. I am not certain why this is the case. I would imagine that the more highly trafficked pages need to be moderated much more closely than the pages that get just a few pageviews a month.
There have been several potential and current clients that have called me asking if I can create a Wikipedia page for them in hopes of triggering the Google Knowledge Graph. At this point, I cannot say that is the best idea. I would not be willing to do that nor do I have the ability. The best thing to do is to claim the Google+ Local Page, build a presence on Google+ and watch the knowledge graph appear. It should not take all that long to see results on Google+ as the users are very excited to see what businesses are able to do with the product. Reach out to me for help if you are seeking more interaction on Google+ (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Getting the Google Knowledge Graph for “Money” Keywords
Many business owners want to rank for “money” keywords. These are the keywords that bring in tons of business but they are competitive and very expensive through Google Adwords. Money keywords may be “spinal cord surgeon” or “LASIK Eye Doctor in Atlanta”. As most will agree, those searching for these types of keywords are likely to pick up the phone and make a purchase or set up an appointment. Unfortunately, there is not a way to trigger the Google Knowledge Graph for “money” keywords. In fact, the only way to trigger the knowledge graph is the name of the exact business.
If your business name is “Columbia Family Dentistry” you will be able to trigger the Google Knowledge Graph for that keyword phrase but you will not be able to get the knowledge graph for “Columbia dentist”. This is important to remember as you will not want to pay for someone that claims they can help you with the knowledge graph for all the keywords you are looking to rank for. Rather than doing that, look to build a brand name. This is what Google is looking at more and more anyway. If no one is searching the name of your company it looks somewhat fishy to Google and other search engines.
There is no better marketing plan than to have current customers and clients tell their friends about your services or business. This means they will search for your business name on Google which, in turn, will trigger the knowledge graph with all your valuable contact information and your latest Google+ posts.
Knowledge Graph for Universities and Places
The Google Knowledge Graph does not show up only for businesses. It also shows up for universities and places with a physical address. I completed a few searches for local universities and landmarks and almost all of them triggered the Google Knowledge Graph. Here is an example of the Google search for “UNC”:
It is interesting that the address is simply “Chapel Hill” and not the address of an administration or admissions office. I assume the Google algorithm is not able to determine what address make sense to list as there are hundreds of addresses for buildings all over campus. If the college or university has a student body over 100 it looks like the knowledge graph will show up. Even small Erskine College in Due West, South Carolina has the Google Knowledge Graph for their institution.
Obviously, this does not help a business all that much but it does illustrate how Google is continuing to expand the knowledge graph. I will be interested to do some more research on smaller locations such as temples, historical markers and parks. I am not sure what the guidelines are but I would imagine some of the smaller venues with almost no Internet presence will not show up. That said, I just completed a search for “Robbinsville, NC” and a partial knowledge graph shows up. There aren’t many towns in the United States smaller than Robbinsville.
Knowledge Graph Does Not Show Up for Occupations
There are many lawyers, doctors, real estate agents and financial advisors that would love to trigger the Google Knowledge Graph for “New York financial advisor” or “Orlando, Florida personal injury lawyer”. At this time, and in the foreseeable future, it does not look as if professionals are going to receive the knowledge graph for their occupation. When searching the generic phrase “lawyer” or “eye doctor” the search results will have Google Ads on the top of the search. There will be a map to the right and under the map there will be more Google advertisements.
Google is fully aware that these types of keywords are very powerful. These searches are the ones that not only make the doctor and lawyer money but it they make Google money as well. If you were to own a stretch of real estate along the road in a busy part of Los Angeles you are not going to give up that valuable land without a cost. The billboards and signs along that road are extremely expensive. The same is true with Google search. Highly trafficked keywords are going to bring up ads rather than the Google Knowledge Graph.
If you are a lawyer or doctor looking to rank for these “money” keywords it is important to remember that it takes a lot of time and effort. If you are unwilling to create great content and remain patient it is nearly impossible to rank for short tail keywords related to an occupation or service.
New York Times Google Plus Article
Last week, mid February, the New York Times published at article on Google Plus on A1 of the front page of the paper. While some users of Google Plus were not happy with the article I felt as if it were extremely accurate. The journalist pointed out that Google Plus may be winning the social “battle” because users are signed in to Google Plus and they sometimes don’t even realize it. Instead of getting frustrated with all the cat gifs and the political arguments Google Plus users are simply searching and using their Gmail accounts.
In all reality, this is all Google wants. They want to be able to display more appropriate ads and search results for each user. If the user is signed in and has many emails about the upcoming fantasy football season it makes sense that this individual is an NFL and possibly a college football fan. We won’t even jump into the privacy issue here. Let’s just say that Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon have more information on us than we could ever dare to image.
Something interesting in the New York Times article was a mention of the Google Knowledge Graph. The journalist did not dub it the knowledge graph but there were a few paragraphs explaining the prime real estate in search that is to the right of the search page when a specific business is typed into Google.
Something else that was mentioned in the New York Times article was the value of Google+ in terms of SEO. SEO, or search engine optimization, is rarely mentioned by journalists. In fact, most journalists have no idea what SEO. That can be a good thing and a bad thing which is a discussion for another time. The fact that this NYT author mentioned SEO means things are changing in the journalism world. It is no longer the case that a newspaper journalist takes three days to write a piece and then does nothing else with it.
Newspapers and media outlets want journalists that know how to market their pieces. If journalists have a large following on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets it makes them more attractive to companies that want exposure. I think it is safe to say that all newspapers would like a little more exposure these days. Checking the analytics, resharing to Twitter, Facebook and Google+ and simply creating a piece that readers are engaged in has helped some journalists rise to the top of their newspaper food chain rather quickly.
I will be interested to see the fallout from this particular New York Times article. Will more businesses jump on Google+? Will more journalists sign up so they can install Google Authorship? Will companies start to care a little more about the Google Knowledge Graph? Only time will tell but a New York Times article can definitely move the meter.
The Google Knowledge Graph Builds Online Reputation
I think it is safe to say that Google is one of the most respected companies on the Internet and in the world. Websites and businesses have tried, for over a decade, to manipulate the system and they continue to get penalized. Very rarely do you see terrible search results like in the 1990s. With Google having such strong respect from its users it makes sense that any business that has a lot of real estate in the Google search has a strong online reputation.
Through the years most Internet marketers have noticed that users and searchers clicking from Google are much more likely to pick up the phone to contact that lawyer or hit the buy button on a retail website. The searchers feel comfortable because Google basically told them these websites are good, strong businesses. Don’t get me wrong, there are times in which some of the search results are not the absolute best but Google always ends up fixing any type of problem. They have an entire spam team, lead by Matt Cutts, that is always on top of businesses and websites trying to get rich quick.
If your business does not have a Google+ presence nor the Google Knowledge Graph you may be missing out on potential customers. You might be the best doctor in Houston, Texas but you could have a terrible web presence. Do not allow this to continue to happen as there are plenty of ways to increase activity online. Even if you have to hire someone like me, it is an investment that will have a significant return down the road.
Authors with the Knowledge Graph
Most authors want as much publicity as possible. Just today I was reading a book by Jason Mott and there was a sentence that read, “In an age of information, never trust anyone who can’t be found on Google.” I could not agree more with this statement. Anyone that cannot be found through a Google search has not done their homework and many times they cannot be trusted. Today I performed a search for “Stephen King” and, of course, the Google Knowledge Graph popped up.
Interestingly, the knowledge graph had a few sentences from Wikipedia but it also had “born”, “children”, “spouse”, “awards” and “movies and TV shows”. The fact that Stephen King is an author means that he would want his books highlighted. After the five aforementioned tabs there are highlights of his books with the book covers showing in the knowledge graph. The books that are shown are not necessarily my favorites but they are definitely novels he has written. I would love to know how Google decides what books show up in this section.
As an author it would behoove you to get as much publicity as possible. When a reader searches your name it will put the stamp of approval on your works if you have the Google Knowledge Graph show up. This might mean you will also need a Wikipedia page but I will have to do more research to make that statement. As I mentioned in this article, Wikipedia does not guarantee the Google Knowledge Graph will be triggered. That said, an active Google+ page, a Wikipedia resource that is well written and a business that is known throughout the local area will likely trigger the knowledge graph.
As an author, it would also be a good idea to get out into the community. Most authors know this hence the reason they do book signings and donate their time. Not only does this help within the community but it helps around the globe. At most book signings the book store will make an announcement on their website. They will often create flies and promotional materials as well. This means there will be plenty of Internet resources linking back to the author. Some entrepreneurs have asked me if they should desire those links to point to their Google+ page or profile or their website. I am a firm believer that the website is the way to go as this is content that the author owns.
If you are an author and you are struggling to get your name out there please feel free to contact me at email@example.com as I would be more than happy to work with you on promotion. I even offer several packages that will help with both Google+ and search engine rankings. Who knows, you may even become so popular that you are writing several books a year.
Does Google Authorship Help with the Google Knowledge Graph?
My immediate answer to this is no but more in depth research must be completed. Google looks at individuals as authors and websites as publishers. The clients I work with are mostly businesses and not single individuals. They might be a lawyer or eye doctor but they have a practice that employees multiple professionals. In fact, I have seen some Google Maps pop up if you search the name of a lawyer that has been extremely active on Google+ with a local page. This is something to think about when getting started on Google+. Having a map to your location would be very valuable for growing a business.
Google Authorship is still not a polished product. I receive phone calls every week from individuals telling me that their authorship photo is not showing up in search. I have some articles that have the authorship photo in search and others that do not. There is no explanation for this. I know some “experts” have claimed that Google is ranking authors based on authority but I have data to prove otherwise. I have seen my authorship photo disappear for Google+ related articles yet it remains for articles on topics that are just a hobby to me like photography and college sports. This tells me that Google is still working on making Authorship a product that can be rolled out worldwide.
The Oscars 2014 Google Knowledge Graph Update
Just for curiosities sake I decided to check the Google Knowledge Graph for the Oscars shortly after the Academy Awards were announced. Not surprisingly, the Google Knowledge Graph was updated within one hour of the awards show going off the air. Below is a photo of what the knowledge graph looks like the day after the Oscars:
As you can clearly see, this is a full knowledge graph with the right hand side of the search result showing the Wikipedia result. There are also recent posts from the Google+ Oscars verified page. This is a unique result because Google is also showing a modified knowledge graph with the results of the awards show at the top of search. This means searchers do not even have to leave Google to find out who won the Oscar for a specific category.
It is becoming more and more popular for Google to start offering search results that allow users to get all the information they need on the front page of the search result. This can be very valuable for a business that offers a service. Just recently Google announced they were going to start indexing menus from restaurants in search results. Instead of going to a clunky website that is hard to navigate searchers can now look at an entire restaurant menu through Google search. It will be very interesting to see how this affects the traffic that goes to a restaurant’s website seeking the menu.
Google Knowledge Graph for Keywords and Definitions
Something that has recently been brought to my attention is that the Google Knowledge Graph is sometimes triggered with definitions or specific keywords. Although I have not seen this much it is possible. In fact, some businesses have contacted me to tell me that even “money” keywords that they pay for on Google Adwords spring the knowledge graph. Here is an example:
It is interesting to note that for this particular search on Google the CoffeeHunter.org website not only triggers the Google Knowledge Graph but it is also the first search result. I am going to spend some time over the next few days researching other questions like this to see what websites are showing up in the knowledge graph and which ones are not. I do wonder if the .org makes a difference. I have yet to do extensive research but I will let you know after I do some searching around. I would say that most “money” keywords are going to be nearly impossible to rank in the knowledge graph for simply because they are so competitive.
Ranking on the front page of Google search for competitive keywords takes a lot of amazing content and patience. It can sometimes takes months and even years to rank for a keyword that will bring business. The legal and medical industry are full of these keywords. I highly doubt the Google Knowledge Graph will ever come up for Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyer. It will likely come up for a specific name of an injury lawyer but not that specific keyword phrase.
Does the Google Knowledge Graph Bring Traffic?
Time and again businesses ask me to build traffic to their website. What some of them do not realize is that focused traffic is much more important than total traffic. Viral content websites like Reddit, StumbleUpon, Upworthy, BuzzFeed and Facebook can send tens of thousands of visitors to a website but it is highly unlikely they will ever purchase a product or service. Some businesses will spend $10,000 a month to advertise on Facebook yet it will not lead to a single sale.
Before any business considers going after solely traffic it is a good idea to think about the bottom line. Would your business rather get 20 visits that lead to eight sales or 15,000 visits that lead to one sale? Unfortunately, some business owners and CEO’s do not realize this is the case. By looking at Google Analytics it is quite obvious that visitors from specific websites “bounce” much more quickly than others. Not only are these users not making you money but they may be hurting your search ranking because of such a high bounce rate. If this is not easy to understand please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be more than happy to explain it in layman’s terms.
The Google Knowledge Graph may actually bring less traffic to your website. This does not mean it is hurting your business. The Google Knowledge graph will show your phone number and hours of operation therefore some Google searchers may not need to go to your particular website. They may punch in the phone number on their iPhone or Android directly from the search result. I personally feel as if this is going to start happening more and more with businesses that have the Google Knowledge Graph in search.
Is There an API or Code for the Knowledge Graph?
Several business owners have contacted me asking if there is a specific API that can be used to help trigger the Google Knowledge Graph. At this point I have not heard of an API that will automatically spring the Google Knowledge Graph. As I have explained through much of this resource, it takes interaction on Google+ and a business that has made a name for itself. There is no quick fix to getting the Google Knowledge Graph to show up for your business.
The best thing you can do is to claim the Google+ Local page, use it wisely as part of your content marketing strategy and naturally let searchers find your website. By doing this you will prove to Google that you are a reputable name that should show up with extra information on the front page of Google search. Getting engagement and interaction on Google+ is not all that easy so feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com if you would like to work together in a business sense. I have helped many clients reach quite a broad audience through Google+, Google search and other online means.
Google My Business Announced in June 2014
On June 11th, 2014 Google announced the unification of Google Plus Local Pages and Google Places. Anyone that has had to deal with the headache of these two entities was glad to see that Google has finally combined the two. The initial Google business offering was Google Places. This allowed businesses to get listed in Google Maps and set up their Google Adwords PPC account. When Google Plus was released Google offered business pages and local pages through Google Plus. Unfortunately, the Places account and the Google Plus Local account did not always merge. In fact, many times it did not merge.
In the past, I had to make 100% certain that all Google accounts had the same email address owning them. This was difficult for businesses that had worked with multiple SEO, social media and advertising companies. Some businesses were unable to track down the correct GMail addresses and passwords. As most can imagine, this was a process that was not enjoyable. With the Google My Business page it is now the case that all of the Google business listings are combined.
One of the best things about the Google My Business page through Google Plus is the Insights and Analytics. Business owners can now see who is following them in terms of location, age, and other factors. This data will prove to be very useful moving forward. Being able to see and understand reviews all over the web is another useful tool that will likely be used more as the Google Knowledge Graph expands in Google search.
At this point I cannot say, with 100% certainty, that a Google My Business page that is optimized will trigger or spring the Google Knowledge Graph. That said, it makes sense that Google would place a very high value on the quality of the Google My Business page. If you have yet to complete and optimize your page you may want to do so now. I receive multiple emails a day from businesses that cannot get the Google Knowledge Graph for their company. Almost every single time, these businesses have a Google My Business page but they have posted few, if any, updates in the past few months. If you hope to benefit from the Google services you will need to use the Google services.
Something I suggest to all of my clients is to use YouTube for Google+ Hangouts on Air. This tells Google that you are using the products that are available to you. Something great about Google+ Hangouts on Air is the fact that the YouTube videos get indexed in search. This might be an alternative way for you to drive traffic to your website as well. A Google+ Hangout on Air allows you to complete the information box of the YouTube video that can contain links to resources that are mentioned in the video. This is killing two birds with one stone. You are getting a natural link from a Google owned property and there is a strong likelihood that the video will provide some traffic to your website or whatever you link to in the YouTube video. For more information on this please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are many small business owners that are looking to run their Google Plus Local Page independently. There is nothing wrong with doing this if you have the time. In fact, I would strongly suggest using this Google Plus Community to better understand the updates with Google My Business. You can be rest assured there will be many changes over the next few months and years. The one thing we know about Google is they do not leave anything to sit stagnant. Most would agree that Google My Business will continue to adapt as Internet searchers change they way they are looking for services and items.
When running your Google My Business page on Google Plus please remember that it is never good to overdo it. I consistently see businesses try to promote products or services with every single post. There is nothing wrong with offering Google Plus resources on the products you offer but do not go into 20 different communities and repost the same content over and over. Most social media users tend to block these types of accounts. The goal of your business is to build relationships and increase exposure; not make people made because you are sharing too much in a short period of time.
2014 World Cup Google Knowledge Graph
A very hot topic over the last several years is the lack of search results on the front page of Google search. This has become much more apparent as the Google Knowledge Graph has expanded. There are search phrases that are used that do not allow searches to see any results above the fold. A perfect example of this is the 2014 World Cup search. Here is the result for “World Cup” on Saturday, June 14th, 2014:
As you can clearly see, the whole top half of the browser displays scores provided by Google. As you scroll down you will find Fifa, Fox Sports, WIkipedia, SB Nation and other sports websites but how many searchers are going to actually scroll down? As a sports website that generates a lot of traffic through search I do wonder how they feel about the new Google Knowledge Graph taking up so much of the front page. This is not limited to just sports. I have noticed the same thing with YouTube videos. If you search for a TV commercial, music video or movie trailer the top half of the search is a huge YouTube video that you can click to play from the Google search results. This likely means that many searches are going to go directly to YouTube and they will bypass Fandango, AMC Theaters and other websites that provide entertainment in the form of trailers or videos.
NBA Finals 2014 – Heat vs Spurs Knowledge Graph
When searching “NBA Finals” on Google it is interesting to see that the Google Knowledge Graph does not come up. When searching “Miami Heat” or “San Antonio Spurs” the knowledge graph does come up when the game in in progress. When I searched “Miami Heat” around 8:45 pm est on June 15th, 2014 this is the Google search result I saw:
I have read that Google is working much more closely with ESPN to report up to the second scores. For quite some time I have stated that Google searches did not work well for in the moment sporting events. If you searched “Miami Heat” it would give you a preview of the game but most of the time searchers want to see the score at that very moment. It will be interesting to see how Google creates relationships with sports websites in the near future. I would imagine we are going to start to see many more sports scores in the Google Knowledge Graph when a team is playing. During the college football season I will look to monitor this much more closely. I am a diehard college football fan and I love to look at the stats. Yahoo! Sports has a stronghold on this but I think Google could really help searches looking for scores and stats.