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Keeping Up With Google: Fact Not Fiction

March 16th, 2015 by

A new paper suggests that Google has plans in the pipeline to rank pages based on their truthfulness.

Businesses around the globe do battle with search engines year in and year out; Google’s elusive algorithm continues to cause problems for those wanting to scale the rankings and get some much needed traffic to their websites. Google’s search engine scientists have published a paper (view here as a PDF) recently to introduce their idea of Knowledge-Based Trust (KBT): a new way to quantify the quality of the web pages saturating the ‘net.

It’s no great SEO secret that Google covets popularity. Generating conversation about your website and encouraging third parties to link in to your content are key to search engine success. That said, as easy as that may all sound, it’s is deceptively difficult, as any SEO expert  will tell you. Put simply, Google values good quality content, and as the internet giant moves forward with its algorithm, KBT is set to send websites with substantiated facts racing up the rankings.

So what do they mean by ‘Knowledge-Based Trust’?

Since 2012 Google has been compiling its Knowledge Graph, from which we get those boxes at the top-right of any Google search page containing information known to be true by Google’s gurus. The Knowledge Graph is jam-packed with factual information which predominantly relates to people and places. Should you be searching for a celebrity, for example, a rectangular ‘profile’ of that person will be provided by Google including information known to be true such as their birth date and family members.

An excerpt from Google’s very own blog introducing Knowledge Graph speaks of “the basic human need to learn and broaden your horizons” and how the Knowledge Graph is designed to “help you discover new information quickly and easily”. This thirst for the easy provision of all things truthful and factual has provided the roots for KBT; websites with high volumes of factual content will be promoted up the rankings as if they were a Google ‘trustee’.

So how can you gain the Knowledge-Based Trust accolade?

Firstly, while it would be bad practise to fill your site with irrelevant factual information, there’s not so much room for SEO trickery with this new addition; the ‘Black Hat’ days when a Google algorithm could be fooled by trickery are over. The practices of filling pages with SEO keywords and hiding links and keywords in a website background have been busted, with the culprits subsequently penalised by the search engine. With KBT, though, it is still important to play by Google’s rules:

  • Make sure any information about your business or services is completely factual – this could be an opportunity for you to remove any lengthy description from your ‘About Us’ section and narrow it down to a neat KBT-pleasing fact-file.
  • KBT is just an addition to Google’s already lengthy algorithm – whilst any information on your site should be factual, don’t go out of your way to add in “fun facts” or pop some truths into each page, as the omnipresent algorithm will know your game.
  • Good search engine ranking is all about the reputation of your business online – beyond factual content you should work to build a solid reputation for reliable services built on (truthful) feedback and online conversation. Check out our guide to online reputation here.
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