Conquering the mysterious Google Knowledge Graph

Why Knowledge Graph logos need a mix of patience and a willingness to embrace your Google+ page

Each time a potential client asks our one of our Social Media staff about the Knowledge Graph, it reminds me of a cartoon I saw in a recent Search Engine Journal Facebook post. It shows Google as the vengeful father of the shunned Social Media platform Google+, determined to make the world love his son. The cartoon is utterly hilarious for people within the SEO industry.

Search Engine Land CartoonWhy? Well, the Google Knowledge Graph pulls much of its information directly from the Google+ page. That’s right, Google+ – not Facebook, not Twitter, not Instagram, and definitely not Snapchat. Google is not pulling these photos and posts from the social media properties that most businesses mainly use.

Google does this because they’re Google and because they can. Oh yes, Papa Google is most vengeful.

On the client side, this creates some understandable confusion. They see the word “Google” in the name “Google+” so they’re not sure how to get an unwanted photo or piece of info off of their Knowledge Graph. So who should they call – the SEO person or the Social Media person? Is there anything they can do to get a product that they no longer carry off of the Knowledge Graph that takes up a good 45% of the page when a customer Googles their business’s name?

This Ford Dealership had a Dodge Charger as its main logo rather than any Ford product.
This Ford Dealership had a Dodge Charger as its main logo rather than any Ford product.

Here is an example of what has happened to a client. That’s no Ford in that Ford dealership’s Knowledge Graph; it’s a Dodge Charger. Understandably, the owner of the dealership was furious. When faced with such a predicament what should you do?

The first thing to do is to take ownership of your Google+ page and change the logo. The Knowledge Graph will pull the logo directly from your business’s Google+ page logo. In addition, you should start posting to the page. I mean, post to it like you mean it. Post to that Google+ page as if it was your Facebook page. When the Knowledge Graph pulls images If you’re going to own the page, you might as well have some control over the “Recent Posts” portion of the Knowledge Graph.

Now, after you start posting, keep posting and then have a little patience. As the old saying goes in SEO, “If you don’t like your results, wait.” This isn’t PPC, friends. It can take a while for the change to happen. Usually it’s a 6-8 weeks at a minimum for the change to take effect.

There is another…

Beyond simply taking ownership and changing the logo of your Google+ page, there is another step that you can take in extreme situations where the Knowledge Graph photo won’t change. It’s covered in the Schema.org Organization Markup guidelines. Simply insert this code into the <head> tag of your website.

 

<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Organization”>

<a itemprop=”url” href=”http://www.yourwebsite.com”>Home</a>

<img itemprop=”logo” src=”http://www.yourwebsite.com/yourlogo.jpg” />

</div>

 

However, there is one little side effect. OK, there’s a BIG side effect. While the rest of the meta tags (the SEO tags that can make your site more search-engine friendly) are invisible to the average user, this piece of rich text code isn’t. In fact, it really isn’t.

In fact, when you put the recommended piece of code in, your site’s home page will go from this:

DPS Before
Here’s a screenshot of our company’s website before applying the code

To this:

This is an image of the home page after applying the code. Obviously something's a little different.This is an image of the home page after applying the code. Obviously something’s a little different.

Do you see that extra logo on the top left corner of the site? That’s due to the coding change. That’s why I said to use this code only in extreme cases when you absolutely need to change the Knowledge Graph logo ASAP. If not, just work with your Google+ page and, as with most things in Search Engine Optimization, hurry up and wait.

Dan Patrick is the Digital Media Group Manager at Dealer Product Services. He also served as a SEO Analyst and Copywriter at Walgreens, CouponCabin, and LocalLaunch! Prior to his career in Search Engine Optimization, Dan was an award-winning newspaper and magazine journalist in the Chicagoland area. In his personal life, Dan is a major automotive enthusiast, having attended major events including the Rolex 24 at Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and the Indianapolis 500. Thus far, he has attended major events for Indycar, NASCAR, NHRA, TUSCC, ALMS, GRAND-AM, TRANS-AM, and more.

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