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Google's NSFW Knowledge Graph

Posted on 5.28.2015

If you have been involved with search engine optimization for any significant period of time, you are aware how dramatically different today's search results pages are when compared to those of a few years ago.

Today, for example, Google has over 1 billion knowledge graph entities that can (and often) appear in its search results. The Knowledge Graph wasn't even a thing a few short years ago, but today, it's one of the key differentiators of Google's search experience.

During Google’s I/O keynote on Thursday, Aparna Chennapragada, Director of Product Management from Google Now, spoke about Google Now’s improved ability to find and serve Knowledge Graph results for users and how billions of keywords and keyword phrases can currently display a knowledge graph result. That's impressive and awesome and all but, despite the hype, the product still has a long way to go.

The most significant (and somewhat embarrassing) problem Google faces - and continues to face - is that the 'quick answer' results it returns can be of the NSFW variety (take the "how to eat sushi" answer box example from last year or the more recent "stop hiccups" answer box as seen in the image below. Google is obviously/clearly not policing its answers very well - or doesn't yet have the system or processes in place to intelligently predict when something might be offensive.

Since Google still pulls content directly from pages to display them in the answer box of the knowledge graph, however, there's still a chance SEOs can capture some answer box traffic by earning their websites/web pages a place in the knowledge graph.

While there is not much in the way of practical guidance or accepted best practice on how to obtain a knowledge graph result or its highly coveted counterpart the answer box, Website Magazine's July issue (available in just a few short weeks) will tackle this important topic by introducing some schema markup techniques that may just do the digital trick. Stay tuned!


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