Google recently released a blog post outlining how Schema.org organisation mark-up can be used as a way for publishers to tell Google which preferred logo they’d like to appear against their search results.
This had previously been available to brands on Google+ but its availability has been extended following a shift in behaviour by the search engines to try and display this information in a completely new way.
Organisation mark-up is part of the Schema.org vocabulary which has given us rich snippets such as reviews and event data within the search engines’ results pages.
However, Google has taken a different approach with organisation mark-up in that it is looking to use the data within the Knowledge Graph rather than as part of a listing within a search result.
The Knowledge Graph is evolving again
The Knowledge Graph has always been an item of interest for brand-aware digital marketers – providing an opportunity to gain more visibility within the most visited platform in the world.
Google has ploughed immense levels of resource into building out its own semantic directory FreeBase and, as of May 2012, Freebase contained approximately 22m topics.
Today that figure has almost doubled to over 40m with 1.2bn associated facts.
The announcement that Google will now use organisation mark-up to help fuel the Knowledge Graph is very exciting. Bill Slawski recently made reference to a patent from Google describing a template for publicly-traded businesses complete with a full Knowledge Graph panel and the inclusion of a stock market graph for large corporations.
At some point in the future we might get either a local business listing and/or a corporate listing, depending upon where we might be located, and if there is an actual local business presence for the company near us, with a disambiguation set of links based upon informational intent.
We are still not sure how Google will treat the relationship between location and company information within Knowledge Graph panels but evidence suggests there are changes afoot.
Though nothing is ever concrete in the world of search, I would expect to see a drastic change to the way businesses and organisations are displayed further benefiting brands within Google.
A major benefit of using organisation mark-up (and Schema.org in general) is that it’s useful for all search engines. Whereas popular rich snippets such as Authorship (and social-based AgentRank) are only useful for Google searches, the Schema.org initiative was created as a joint venture between Bing, Google, Yahoo! and Yandex to improve how search results are displayed and make it easier for users to find the relevant pages.
With Bing rolling out its Satori-fuelled Snapshot and Yandex creating interactive snippets for its search queries, it’s unlikely that we’ve heard the last of Schema.org as we move closer towards true semantic search.
As I wrote in a recent Guardian article, this new development opens up a huge opportunity for digital marketers to enhance their presence within the search results, influencing what may be the first piece of brand messaging their customers sees within the digital landscape.