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Knowledge Graphs can help search engines like Google leverage structured data about topics.

Semantic data and markup, in turn, help to connect concepts and ideas, making it easier to turn them into structured data to populate Google’s Knowledge Graph.

SEO professionals need to understand how to influence topics in the graph if they are to affect meaningful change in Google’s understanding of their content.

What Is Google’s Knowledge Graph?

I like to think of a knowledge graph as a cross between an encyclopedia and a database. Each article is called an “Entity” by developers, or a “Topic” in Google’s customer-facing articles.

A topic can be about anything. Like most databases, it has a unique identifier, which you can sometimes see in Google’s URLs. Something like: [kgmid=/g/11f0vfyswk&hl], although the parameter name “kgmid” can change depending on the topic type.

There are usually multiple statements about the topic:

A name or label (Like “Elvis Presley”).

A Type or Types (Like “Person”).

A Description (Say “Singer”).

A list of Image URLs (Usually with the associated usage rights).

A Detailed Description (Usually some Text with a URL of the source).

However, Google also states that while the information in the above list might be available directly in their search API, they augment this data considerably internally.

So the topic, in this case, might also include the date Elvis was born and died.

It might say he was married to Priscilla Presley.

His works of art might include “Hound Dog”.

The list could go on.

You can see how this is really not very different from an encyclopedia article, but because all of the facts are in fields like “Married to,” it becomes much easier for a machine to connect the dots between topics.

It also supports the machine in retrieving the right information at the right time when a person asks (for example). “Who was married to Elvis Presley?”

An Important Note on Disambiguation

There are many knowledge graphs in the world. The Google knowledge graph is just one. Others include chúng tôi chúng tôi and chúng tôi (full disclosure: my company).

Indeed, any semi-structured data could be described as a knowledge graph, including encyclopedias or databases like IMDB.

Google is known to have built out its knowledge graph initially from other data sets including Wikipedia and the CIA Factbook.

There is also a common misconception that Google’s Knowledge Panel is Google’s Knowledge Graph. This is not the case, although the Knowledge panel may represent a subset of data in the graph.

The Knowledge Panel is a visualization of items of data connected through Google’s Knowledge Graph, but Google’s knowledge graph is a less visual record about topics.

A final disambiguation is in the terminology. A Knowledge Graph is generally described as being made up of “Entities” but Google tends to refer to entities as “Topics” in its public documentation.

This is a more “user-friendly” word to use but can make it harder to know when Google refers specifically to entities. This article will use the phrases interchangeably.

Entity Topic Types

Any entity is generally given a topic type. It may be a Person; Organization; Event; Place or Country.

If it is none of these, it is usually simply labeled as a “Thing,” although entity types might continue to be developed by Google.

Google’s Natural Language Processing API gives clues to suggest that many entity types are being used, such as “Work of Art” and “Consumer Good.”

Many others are listed on their Knowledge Graph Search API developer page, but Google currently seems quite weak at correctly categorizing many entities.

In addition, primary research conducted weekly by my company indicates that less than 20% of entities are recognized entities in Google’s own Natural Language Processing algorithm than are returned in their public offering.

Some Benefits of the Knowledge Graph (for Google)

By organizing the world’s information by topic, rather than by crawling and simply indexing webpage and websites, a search engine can leverage several benefits. These include scale, diversity, information integrity, and speed.

Scaling Benefit

The number of webpages is a hotly contested subject and while many argue they are countless, they are certainly in the trillions and expanding at a vast rate every day.

By contrast, the number of topics understood by humanity is much smaller (perhaps in the order of hundreds of billions) and is growing at a far smaller rate.

This means that there is an inordinate duplication of ideas in the content on the web.

By storing the information about a topic in a semi-structured way, the world’s information takes a lot less space and has a lot less duplication.

Diversity of Data Sources Benefit

Storing information about a topic allows Google to cite multiple data sources, rather than always sending the user to a single webpage.

This means that Google can collate salient facts about a topic and display them on the screen or through other mediums in a more appropriate way for the user or the user’s query.

In addition, information about a topic can in theory be derived from other sources beyond the Internet.

Information Integrity Benefit

Whilst Google’s Knowledge Graph can still contain factual inaccuracies and errors and may be open to manipulation by SEO professionals or bad actors, the approach has the benefit of providing Google with a “single point of truth” — at least for non-controversial topics.

A new fact about a topic may have to pass some quality threshold before it is added to the Knowledge Graph, but these thresholds are unlikely to be discussed openly by Google.

On the negative side, a single point of truth can reduce the diversity of information and can be prone to bias if the underlying data sources are themselves biased.

Information Retrieval (Speed) Benefits

By organizing information by topic, it becomes much faster to retrieve information — both by Google and by the user looking for a needle in a haystack.

How It Works: Where You See Google’s Knowledge Graph Used

Having explained how the Knowledge Panel is not the same as the Knowledge Graph itself, it remains the most overt use of the Knowledge Graph for most SEO pros.

However, for many Android Smartphone users, the most prevalent use of the knowledge graph is in fact in the “Discover” feature on their home screen each day.

Google can use information about your behavior to understand what Topics are important to you and can surface-related topics based on user history.

Topics can also be seen in Google Trends.

From here, Google also gives an indication of topics that might be closely related to each other, although it appears that this data is currently gleaned from pulling other searches by the same users, which can sometimes lead to rather unexpected related Topic lists.

Google also provides a Knowledge Graph Search API as shown above, and surfaces entities in the output of its NLP API.

Google Search: As well as the Knowledge Panel, when you type in a question in Google Search that it can answer using the Knowledge Graph, you also get a rich display in the SERPS. This is often at the expense of the core search results, pushing links to websites way below the fold.

These answers are also then in a format that Google can use in voice search. The Priscilla screenshot is an example of this:

Entities also are highly visible in Image Search, often grouping images around a notable person or place in particular.

This is an excellent example of how the Knowledge Graph can be used to act as a repository for other data sources than webpages.

More Resources:

Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, March 2023

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How To Make A Bar Graph In Google Sheets

Bar graphs can be extremely helpful when it comes to visualizing data. They can display one set of data or compare multiple data sets. 

In this article, we’ll go over how to make various types of bar graphs in Google Sheets.

Table of Contents

How to Create a Bar Graph in Google Sheets

Add at least one column of data. Enter a label in the first cell of the second column, and add the data in the cells beneath it.

Next, follow these steps to insert a bar graph to represent your data.

Whichever method you choose, Google will insert a bar graph into your sheet. (Google calls it a column chart. This is the same thing.)

Making a Bar Graph with Multiple Data in Google Sheets

To make a bar graph that includes multiple sets of data, just add more columns of data.

Follow the same steps as above to insert a bar graph representation of your data.

In this case, Google uses the categories in the first row of data as the chart title. 

Making a Stacked Bar Graph in Google Sheets

When you use multiple data sets, you can show the part-to-whole relationships in your data by opting for what’s called a stacked bar chart. In our example above, the chart showed how many books each person read in a particular month. If we switch the bar graph to a stacked bar chart, we’ll see how many books each person read that month compared to the total number of books everyone read that month. 

There are a couple different flavors of stacked bar charts. First we’ll look at the Standard stacked bar chart.

Under Stacking, choose Standard. 

Now you’ll see the values of each category stacked into single bars. 

Alternatively, instead of Standard, you can choose 100% to make a stacked bar chart that depicts the ratio of individual data to the whole. Use this when the cumulative total isn’t important. 

So for our example, we might not care how many books were read in total each month—only how many books each person read relative to other people.

Notice that in the 100% Stacked Bar Chart above, the labels along the x axis are now percentages.

How to Swap Columns & Rows in a Chart

Using our example, let’s say you want to make it easy to visualize how each person’s reading habits changed from month to month. Google Sheets makes it easy to turn your columns into rows and vice versa. 

Our regular bar graph now looks like this:

If we switch rows and columns on our stacked bar chart, it will look like this:

You can see that each of these different options is ideal for telling a particular story about our data. Think about what story you want to tell, and determine which kind of bar graph most clearly makes your point.

Customizing Bar Graphs in Google Sheets

You may have noticed the Customize tab in the Chart Editor.

Select that tab to change the look and feel of your chart. Next we’ll go through each section of the Customize tab.

Chart style allows you to choose the background color, border color, and font for your chart. If you don’t like the changes you made, you can always select the Reset layout button to start over. 

Checking the Maximize box will decrease the white space in your chart. Try it and see if you like what you see.

Selecting the 3D box will make your bars three-dimensional, like this:

Compare mode will highlight comparable data when you hover your mouse over different elements of your chart. In the chart below, notice how the November data (the top-most section of each stacked bar) is highlighted.

The Chart & axis titles section is another place you can change the chart title as well as its font, font size, format (italics, bold, etc.), and text color.

In the Series section, you can change the appearance of your series labels. In our case, that’s the months and their corresponding parts of the bar graph. For example, you could change the November data from yellow to gray. 

In the Legend section, you can change the legend font, font size, format, and text color.

The Horizontal axis and Vertical axis sections offer similar options for formatting labels on each of your chart’s axes.

Finally, Gridlines and ticks is a relatively new feature (as of June 2023) allowing you to emphasize parts of your axes by inserting tick marks, formatting them, and setting the spacing between them.

Google Sheets Makes Bar Graphs Easy

Now you know almost all there is to know about making a bar graph in Google Sheets. If you’d like to learn more ways to use Google Sheets, read about the 5 Google Sheets Script Functions You Need to Know.

Google Starts Showcasing ‘Videos From The Web’ In Knowledge Panels

A new and unannounced feature has been spotted in Google search results which highlights popular videos from the web in an entity’s Knowledge Panel.

The feature was first discovered by Sergey Alakov, and later covered by local search expert Mike Blumenthal.

While the two noted that it was found in local search Knowledge Panels, upon further searching I found it also extends to other entities. Here are some examples of what it looks like for other types of searches:

It’s possible the ‘Videos from the web’ feature exists for other searches as well, but that’s all I have been able to find so far.

Freshness seems to be a significant ranking factor when it comes to surfacing videos in the Knowledge Panel, as every example I could find contained videos uploaded within the past several months.

It would actually be more accurate to call these ‘Videos from YouTube’, rather than ‘Videos from the web’, because the videos do not appear to be coming from any other source.

On one hand that makes sense because Google owns YouTube and it doesn’t serve the company’s best interests to highlight other services. On the other hand it’s misleading to say these are videos from all over the web when they’re really all coming from one place.

In any case, this new feature provides businesses with a unique opportunity to stand out in search results through video marketing. If video marketing isn’t already part of your search engine optimization strategy, there’s now more incentive than ever to get your business on YouTube — which is already one of the world’s largest search engines on its own.

Google Clips: All You Need To Know

Google introduced several new products alongside the launch of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones last year. One of the new products that the company announced is the Google Clips. Every year, during the Google I/O conference, the company announces something new and interesting.

Most of these new products are based on a new idea and are different from the rest. Google Clips is a new idea that people may or may not like. Remember the Google Glass? This is not exactly similar though as you don’t wear it on your head, and given the AI’s rise, this new Google product is AI-powered, too.

What is Google Clips?

Alright, so let’s get right to it. Google Clips is a small portable camera that will automatically take photos to capture moments as and when they happen. It can even take short video clips of your close ones, friends or even your dog. You attach the Clip on to your body and activate it, but a better way to sue it would be to place it somewhere where it has the view of the area where your kids play, or whatever it is that you want to it to capture.

Everything happens with the help of the machine-learning AI system on-board. You don’t have to take photos, instead, you can just place it a convenient place, or even wear it if you don’t find that creepy, and whenever Clips finds interesting moments, it will automatically start to capture photos and videos of you, your family, and even pets within that area of view.

You can import the recordings as either stills, videos, or GIFs. It comes in a tough package as well, allowing the users to use it outdoors. It has an IPX4 water resistance certificate as well, that should protect it from water splash, but not when it is submerged in water. It’s only a bit of protection from water, so take care. You can connect the Clips’ to your Android or iOS smartphone via Bluetooth or WiFi. Also, Pixel users get free storage for their Google Clips photos and videos!

Google Clips is priced at $249!

Google Clips compatibility

Google Clips, sadly is not compatible with many, let alone all, Android phones and tablets yet. In fact, only a few devices are a go for Google Clips, and that includes the obvious ones in Google Pixel and Pixel 2, Samsung Galaxy S7 and S8, while on the iOS side, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

Google Pixel

Google Pixel 2

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S8

iPhone 8

iPhone 8 Plus

Google Clips Specs

The Clips features a single 12-megapixel camera with a f/2.4 aperture, a 1.55µm pixel size, and a 130-degree field of view. The camera also has auto-focus, a nighttime mode, and can record videos at 15 FPS.

It doesn’t record sound though, as there is no microphone. It comes with 16GB of internal storage and a battery that can last up to 3 hours on the continuous shooting mode.

Reasons to buy it

The second good enough reason is the software of course. Using the camera is simple, as you just need to twist the lens. Then you can either place it on a spot, or wear it on your, and forget it’s even there. Most people will not forget though, as the camera isn’t very cheap. So, whenever some activity appears in the drawing room, where you have put up Google Clips, the device will automatically capture it — we all know it’s not always possible to pick out our smartphone because those moments cannot be anticipated, created, or repeated.

If you’re a parent or someone who loves to travel, then this is a good option for you. Instead of mounting on a GoPro and taking pictures yourself, the Google Clips will do it for you without your interference. Parents can take endless photos of their kids, which they love doing, without missing the action themselves. Usually, when you point the camera at kids, they tend to stop what they’re doing and pose, but that won’t happen with Clips’!

Adventure goers can also use clips to capture moments on the go, without having to stop and take photos. However, the first case scenario is better suited for Clips, as it will associate with faces much more easily than new places.

So there you go, there are some really good reasons to buy the Google Clips camera, especially if you’re a parent! And over time, the A.I will get better and Google may allow it to recognize unfamiliar faces as well and it could act as a security camera. The potential with A.I is huge and that’s what makes this camera very interesting.

How Google Clips works

The software will look at things around you and your life. It will then familiarise itself with the faces, people, things that you always see. It will remember your actions, the things you like to do, and much more. The face recognition software runs on the camera itself, which makes things faster.

As and when it thinks a memory is worthy of being saved, the Clips’ camera will take a burst of shots at 15FPS. You can then use the entire set of photos as a GIF, or you can select your favorite still photo from the bunch.

You get an accompanying app that you install on your smartphone, from where you can edit and select which pictures need to be uploaded to the cloud. The best part is that all the photos captured by the Clips’ camera are stored offline within the device. It’s not uploaded to Google servers, or anywhere else that its own storage, which is pretty secure. And makes it less creepy.

The Google Clips camera also has a shutter button though, tapping on which takes a shot clip. A light indicates when it is taking pictures, but it’s very subtle. Google actually says that it is best to just leave the camera somewhere. The clip case provided with the camera acts as a stand or a clip.

Is it worth the $249 price?

This is the big question, isn’t it? Should you spend $250 on a camera that’s not better than a standard GoPro, and doesn’t let you do much. But then it’s all about not doing much, and still save moments that are automatically identified and captured by the AI. So, it really depends on you.

If you’re someone who likes to live in the moment and not behind the lens, and at the same time don’t care much about image quality, then this is for you. Yes, the price is on the higher side, and the specs aren’t that great either, but that doesn’t matter — it is not your price-for-specs thing, it’s rather a price-for-moments thing. But you do get a different experience with Google Clips, unlike any other camera.

For others, the Clips’ is just a waste of money, so don’t bother purchasing it if you’re all about professional looking photos and videos. There are many cheaper cameras that can clip on to your shirt or jeans and record videos.

When does Google Clips release?

Google has already released Clips’ and it is available for purchase through the Google Store. However, as of now, the Clips is out of stock and we have no idea when it will return. Previously, when it was briefly available, the delivery dates ranged up to March 2023.

So, yes, if you’re interested in purchasing the Google Clips’ camera, then you will have to wait a little longer. All you can do right now is join the waitlist there!

So, what do you think about Google Clips? At what price Google Clips would have made a nice purchase for you?

How To Get The Most Out Of Google Sheet’s “Explore” Feature

One of the lesser-known features of the Google line of online office suites is the Explore feature. Explore does something different in each app. For instance, in Google Docs it helps you research and cite papers as you go. In Sheets, however, the Explore feature truly comes to life. It can provide a lot of information based on your data and even updates itself depending on the data you have selected. This makes the Explore feature in Sheets something that every Sheets user should check out.

How To Access Explore

What You Can Do

So now that we have Explore open, how can we use it to “explore” our data?

Asking Questions

Of course, you can’t just ask Sheets questions in human-styled English. For example, it won’t know what to do with “how much was spent on food?” You’ll need to type this query as something along the lines of “Total of Cost for Food,” and then Google Sheets will give you the answer.

However, it doesn’t stop there. If you like how the result turned out and want to represent it somewhere within the sheet itself, you can place a formula into Google Sheets that gets you the data you just asked about. This makes it very useful if you can’t wrap your head around coding formulas; simply ask Google what you want from your data and use the formula it provides!

Formatting

Graphs

If you scroll a little further down in the Explore pane, you’ll find that it has suggested various charts you can use. This includes a few typical pie and bar charts as well as a pivot table. You can mouse over each one for more information.

If you like the look of one in particular, you can drag it out of Explore and onto your sheet. A more detailed version of the graph will be placed onto your sheet.

Exploring the Explore Feature

While you can manually create graphs and charts for your data, Explore takes a lot of the hassle out of the process. Now you know how to use the Explore feature, where it shines, and how you can tailor it to your needs.

Does this make your Google Sheets usage easier? Let us know below!

Simon Batt

Simon Batt is a Computer Science graduate with a passion for cybersecurity.

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Get Google To Display The Right Publication Date In Search Results

Google is reminding site owners how to specify which date is displayed next to a web page in search results.

In an article where Google explains how dates are determined, the company lets site owners know there are ways to help Google get it right.

How Google Determines Dates

Google determines dates using a variety of factors, including:

Any prominent date listed on the page itself.

Dates provided by the publisher through structured markup.

Google stresses that it does not rely on one single factor, it uses a combination of those listed above.

However, even when Google determines a date, it might not always get displayed in search results.

Google only shows the date of a page when it’s considered particularly relevant to the content.

An example would be pages that have time-sensitive content, such as breaking news articles.

How to Specify a Web Page Date

To help Google to pick the right date, site owners and publishers should:

Show a clear date: Show a visible date prominently on the page.

Use structured data: Use the datePublished and dateModified schema with the correct time zone designator for AMP or non-AMP pages.

When using structured data, make sure to use the ISO 8601 format for dates.

Different Requirements for Google News

Google News has a stricter set of guidelines, requiring pages to show both the date and time.

Structured data on its own is not enough for Google News. The date and time of publication must be visible between the headline and article text.

Changing Dates After Publication

“If an article has been substantially changed, it can make sense to give it a fresh date and time. However, don’t artificially freshen a story without adding significant information or some other compelling reason for the freshening.”

Best Practices for Most Web Pages

Google concludes its PSA on web page dates with a list of best practices for most web sites to follow.

How to help Google determine the best date to show in search results:

Show when a page has been updated

Use the right time zone

Use a consistent date & time format in the structured data and visible on-page content.

Don’t use future dates or dates related to what a page is about.

Follow Google’s structured data guidelines.

Troubleshoot by minimizing other dates on the page.

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