Google Knowledge Panel, guide to the Entities informative database

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Let us introduce to you Google’s Knowledge Graph, the huge database of information that allows Google to provide immediate, concrete and, above all, relevant answers to users’ questions in the form of a data-rich information box that appears in SERPs for certain queries. Today we are going to delve into the workings of this valuable knowledge base on the Web, which represents a kind of giant virtual encyclopedia of facts, to also understand how it can influence SEO.

What is Google’s Knowledge Graph

According to Google’s directions, the Knowledge Graph is a collection of automatically generated information from various sources, displayed with a visual layout similar to that of the latest rich results (to the point that it can be difficult to distinguish at a glance between a rich result and an information pane, admit from Big G).

Knowledge Graph results cover so many elements (places, people, companies, and more), on closer inspection some of the entities known to Google, which are shown with additional data such as logo, referring site name, social profile link, and so on, feeds possibly thanks to data provided via markups.

We can think of this graph as a network of information, a cross between an encyclopedia and a database, which functions practically as an interconnected map of data in which the associated points are linked semantically, branching off in all directions and connecting to many other elements. In this way, it manages to provide relevant context to the query, resolving initial ambiguities and providing more meaning to the answers: that is, it turns data into knowledge.

The history of Google’s Knowledge Graph

Google announced its Knowledge Graph on May 16, 2012, with an article by Amit Singhal, the company’s senior VP at the time, presenting the feature as “an intelligent model, a graph in geek jargon, that encompasses real-world entities and their relationships to each other,” i.e. – in an expression that later came to be celebrated – encompassing “things, not strings“.

Initially available only in English, the tool was expanded in late 2012 for Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Russian, and Italian languages, continuing to expand for other versions of Google (for example, Bengali support was added in March 2017).

The information covered by Google’s Knowledge Graph has grown rapidly: at the start it contained 500 million objects, as well as more than 3.5 billion facts and relationships between these different objects, but by the end of 2012 it already included 570 million entities and 18 billion facts; by mid-2016, then, Google reported holding 70 billion facts and responding via graph to “about a third” of the 100 billion monthly searches it handles; in one of the last disclosures on the topic, then, in May 2020, the reach had increased to over 500 billion facts across 5 billion entities, covering much of human knowledge, from niche topics to public interest topics such as medicine and science.