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Strange behavior of Google's Knowledge Graph

     
11:33 pm on Sep 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I just noticed something strange regarding Google's Knowledge Graph.

A client searched for the ranking of the words in his domain (2 words) and a competitor showed up #1 in search results with the usual tear drop that links to Google maps and a the Knowledge Graph box on the right was also displayed (that domain has those two words plus one more). The client now ranks #2 for the words in his domain. These two sites are on opposite sides of the US, so it's not related to local search.

I checked and the competitor's site has structured markup code and the client's site didn't so I assume that is why the competitor's site replaced the client's site in the Knowledge Graph.

This would seem to indicate to me that it's VERY important to have Structured Markup set up - in spite of some saying its not.

I just installed the markup data on the client site and will report back here if it regains the #1 spot like it has had for at least 10 years.
2:19 am on Sept 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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depends..
a) do you want visitors to go to the client site..
b) or do you want them to go to the knowledge graph..and maybe afterwards go to the client site..
it is only very important to have structured markup set up..if you want b)

There is a lot of "assuming" in your post..

I was one of the "some"..still am..being in the knowledge graph does not get a visitor to your site..structured mark up does not guarantee number 1 position..nor does it guarantee the "tear drop" and the "link to G maps"..

I made a site for a friend 2 years ago..no charge..I did not use structured markup..

The site is always at number 1 position..and has the teardrop ( don't need "structured mark up" to get that) and has the link to Google maps ( don't need "structured mark up" to get that )..it is responsive..and it has the phone number "above the fold" in Bold.and it has a "tap to phone" button above the fold..and the phone number is again written on the button..nice reddish orange coloured "call to action button"..200 pixels across...with a slide show just above it of what he offers..

All of that is above the fold..even on a small screen phone..

You are on your mobile phone, you search for the words in his 2 word EMD , he is #1..you click through to his site...you you touch the button..your phone phones his number..he is a very happy man :)

You are on your desktop, you make a search for the words in his 2 word EMD , he is #1..you click through to his site..
you see his number, you phone him from either your landline or your mobile..

or

You are on your desktop, or your mobile, you make a search for the words in his 2 word EMD , he is #1..you see his phone number in "bold" in "the snippet"..you phone him..

The site who is number 3 is in the knowledge graph spot, sometimes they are at number 4 or 5..they also pay for adwords..Their ad shows up every on search..

He does not pay for adwords..he does not have to..he gets loads of traffic from Google search..and his phone is ringing off the hook..all the time..7 days a week..he is in an "need someone urgent" kind of business..

He has a lot of competition..in his "niche"..

He is a happy man..I told him that he would be..:)

YMMV..But I doubt it..

A business needs traffic, that converts , into sales, or contracts..to be successful..

It does not require either being in the knowledge graph, or buying adwords, to get them..
3:23 pm on Sept 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@leosghost Thanks for the input. I just realized the client set up 2 Google+ pages and that is likely why he is not #1 any more.
2:27 pm on Sept 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Good catch Lorel. Duplicate G+ Local pages will almost always hurt your ranking.

The Knowledge Graph example is hard to follow without seeing the specific listings. But usually to get an accurate KG you need to add location to the query. If both are EMDs or PMDs then Google could easily be confused about which you are looking for.

Linda Buquet
3:51 pm on Sept 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@catalyst There wasn't any location added to the query, and both myself and my client did the search for the words in his domain name and the competitor showed up #1, and we are each in 3 different corners of the US.

Yes, both domains are EMDs, however my client focuses on his official 3 word business name that only has one of the words in his domain so he doesn't use the words in the domain for marketing.
7:20 pm on Sept 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Lorel -- If you're looking for a logical explanation, or a logical solution, there may not be one. Oftentimes there's no rhyme or reason for what Google does.
1:37 am on Sept 29, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Agreed. Too many times (after testing and long hours) G just seems arbitrary in this regard. Could that be another aspect of the "black box?".