Google Knowledge Graph Strategy for Authors: Books Category

by: Anne Haynes
Post Assumptions: searches conducted In Overland Park, KS – Not logged into Google – Searching for books – Search date: June 26, 2013

SEM and SEO Strategy for Authors: GKG Carousel

I was working on an AdWords proposal today and noticed search queries for book types was displaying Google Carousel Knowledge Graph results. I was hoping these results were just for queries with no ads, but this is not the case. Similarly to Google’s Local Carousel results, advertisements display below the Carousel results.  I did a search query on “Murder Mystery Books” and below you can see the AdWords advertisement.

Book Author Carousel Knowledge Graph

While Google’s Carousels are cool and nice for the end-user experience, this feature only ranks books by the proprietary and secretive algorithm. The design of the Google Knowledge Graph (GKG) carousel dominates the end-user experience by drawing the user to Carousel results instead of AdWords text advertisements and natural SEO text results.

Below is a simulated heatmap, the darker the color of the analysis the more the end-users’ eyes focus in on this item (green to red is the scale). This particular image was analyzed without an AdWords advertisement displayed.  My educated guess is the AdWords advertisement in the first SERP position would generate more attention by the end-users’ eyes.

Heatmap Google Carousel Results

I was not pleased when I saw the Books Category updated with the Google Knowledge Graph Carousel considering I support author’s with their PPC campaigns. The first thing that came to my mind was, Google is going to lose money and authors trying to create an author brand name and increase book sales will suffer. But then I kept clicking and analyzing the SERPs. The strategy for AdWords professionals will change for authors and getting into the Google Knowledge Graph Carousel will need a natural SEO strategy adjustment. Following are my thoughts, I encourage everyone reading this to comment and share your thoughts on the strategy below!

AdWords Strategy Update for Book Authors: Getting into the Google Knowledge Graph  (GKG) Carousel 

Let’s take a closer look at the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). As an end-user I’ve queried the term “Murder Mystery Books” (I’m not logged into Google). Notice there is an AdWords advertisement below the Carousel.  I click on the book “Death On The Nile” by Agatha Christie.  Yes Agatha Christie died in 1976, so Google is assuming I’m looking for historical authors, not living authors.

Case Study: Book Authors Google Knowledge Graph

The end-user is sent to another page with information about the author and the book. Google edits the search query to be “Agatha Christine Death On The Nile” when I click on the book image in Google’s Knowledge Graph Carousel, I’m sent to the page/image below.

From an AdWords professional perspective it’s mandatory to purchase the author’s name and book titles in AdWords campaigns to support the Carousel experience.

Case Study: Authors Google Carousel

Natural SEO Strategy Update for Book Authors: Getting into the Google Knowledge Graph (GKG) Carousel 

In the above example the right side of the Knowledge Graph is powered by the Wikipedia. If you do your own research you will see the Wikipedia saturates the SERP. Make sure if you are doing organic SEO for authors that you make a Wikipedia page for the author. Additionally create new pages and update the author page as new books are published.

When searching for books and Google’s Knowledge Graph Carousel appears, the carousel always states, “Books frequently mentioned on the web” (see the below image). In my professional opinion this statement means social. If you don’t have a book author social media strategy, then build one because this statement speaks volumes. It’s important to start paid social media campaigns in Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Each of the social networks has PPC pricing models and anyone with AdWords or digital advertising experience can manage these tasks. If you want in the carousel, I encourage adding social media PPC campaigns for the authors.

Google Carousel Optimization SEO

Encourage the author to do interviews and get the word out about all of their books. It doesn’t matter if the book is old, Google has no preference from a natural SEO perspective.

Make sure you have social media tracking tools like Raven. There are a ton of tools out there, so make sure the tools fulfill tracking and plotting volume to sales activity and when possible ROI.

Update the book authors Google Analytics to be able to know if the author’s books come up in Google’s Carousel.

When everything is said and done, Google’s Carousel is not going away. While I initially thought Google would lose money with the Carousel, because Google is adding an additional search results page in the Knowledge Graph this could potentially increase sales. As we all know, Google is about the user experience and the Carousel supports enhancing the user experience, I just hope we can buy into Google’s Knowledge Graph Carousel experience one day.

Again, SEO and SEM professionals please leave comments below! If you are a book author and would like more information on this case study, please call 913-735-3832 or send me an email message