Google recently released more information about Knowledge Graph, which is important because it impacts the way search results appear on Google. The Knowledge Graph is a new technology aimed at offering a new way to display search results that matches search words with entities or concepts instead of web pages. Google launched the Knowledge Graph a year ago but has now expanded it to include far more queries, including many different hospitality-related and local searches.
Upon conducting a search, the Knowledge Graph will appear in a horizontal bar, or carousel as Google refers to it, at the top of the screen. After clicking on one of the images, you will be directed to a search for the unique property. The good news here is that, unlike traditional search, your hotel will not have to compete with OTAs, metasearch engines and directories for top page placement, as the hotel’s direct website will appear at the top of the organic results, just below any paid advertising related to the hotel.
One thing to note here is that the Knowledge Graph carousel that was introduced last year is different than the Local Graph carousel introduced this week. Unlike the Knowledge Graph carousel, the Local Graph carousel doesn’t show logos and instead displays photographs. The Knowledge Graph did not display Zagat ratings or total reviews either. After you click on an individual property, the Local Graph carousel uniquely brings in information from Google+, including a link to the hotel’s Google+ Local page, shows the phone number more prominently and gives visitors the chance to write a review. Finally, the Local Graph pulls in reviews from across the web and Google+ recommendations from your personal network.
At this time, the Knowledge and Local Graphs are only available in North America (in English) and are not available in other languages. However, if there are less than 5 local listings that would be featured in the results, there will be no carousels appearing. Another interesting thing to remember is that, when conducting hotel-specific local searches, Google Hotel Finder will play a key factor in the way the hotels are ranked. That said, it’s important for all hoteliers to be aware of how this all works as a global rollout is coming soon.
To optimize your presence for search now that Graphs have been integrated, consider the following tips:
- Make sure your Google+ Local page is up-to-date. The Local Graph carousel pulls in information from your Google+ Local page as well as your Google hotel reviews. Therefore, make sure that you first have a Google+ Local page and also have it completely refreshed with accurate and visually appealing content.
- Your Local Graph rank works the same as local SEO. While the local search landscape is changing, don’t think that you will need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to optimizing for search. Key factors that play into Local Graph visibility include the same website domain authority and relevance to user queries as before. Nevertheless, Google+ Local page quality and completeness now has become a big influencer as to how your hotel ranks, reiterating the importance of focusing on your Google+ Local page.
- Strongly consider PPC advertising if you haven’t already. Now that the Graph carousels have pushed down all other search results, pay-per-click advertising will be even more valuable to the hotel looking for more prominent page placement and visibility. In sum, PPC can help you drive more direct traffic to your site while you reap the natural search benefits of the Knowledge and Local Graph carousels.