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When it comes to knowledge graph Google's algorithm is far from perfect.
I'm writing this post because I found zero information regarding the problem I'm going to detail below. Took me about one month to find a solution after numerous failed help request I made on Google support.
So if you find yourself in a similar situation, keep reading, I hope my experience could lead you to a quicker fix.
I recently had to deal with a massive problem in Google's search results: an improper Knowledge Graph result that combined the data of two separate entities.
- One was my client's homepage website.
- And one was some Artist who had an album named after my client's brand name.
Google picked a video (that ran in the background) from my client's homepage and transformed everything into a Knowledge Graph result like the one below. The only problem was the merger of the two parties.
The above printscreen is just a similar example
Clicking the video player lead you to my client's homepage, while below was information about an artist that had nothing to do with my client's brand, activity or niche.
Because of this result, my client lost about 6000 sessions of organic traffic per week and the keyword on which this result appeared was his main brand keyword, practically exact match keyword (the domain was exact match also and a .com).
So here are the things I tried in chronological order:
1. Followed Google's support main advice and started to submit feedback requests on the Knowledge Graph, explaining why the result was incorrect, provided false information and overall lousy user experience.
Did this about ten days, every day, from multiple accounts, asking my connections and team members all over the world to do the same, search for that specific query and submit feedback explaining why that result was improper.
Eventually, the result disappeared for a few days but came back with a vengeance. No I or my team members or connections received any notification from Google regarding our feedbacks.
I believe that someone from Google did evaluate our feedback but didn't do anything about it because they'd had to modify the algorithm itself.
Maybe the problem went further to the technical search team although I doubt it.
2. After the improper knowledge graph result came back, I started contacting Google support.
I actually found something highly interesting: Google doesn't have a special support team for this kind of problems! The "feedback" button is the only link between a problem and a potential way to tell Google about it.
I tried everything!
Contacted every branch of google support even remotely related to search result.
Made a Google search legal removal request.
I even spoke with a guy from Poland and someone from India, both Google employees on different branches, such as Google drive help or Google My Business, help support.
None were able to give me a straight answer, most didn't understand the result itself. All of them told me this was a knowledge graph even though it didn't acted like one since it involved a video snippet and appeared in the search result area and not in the right of the results like a classic knowledge graph.
3. After endless back and forth with Google support, nothing was solved. Google continuously gave me some textbook type answers without looking into the problem, ignoring most of what I was saying and refusing to connect me with someone from technical search.
Eventually, they simply stopped answering to my replies, something that I actually found very rude, because they haven't provided me with an explanation or a fix, just some suggestions on stuff I already did (like hitting the feedback button).
The next logical step was to register a Google my business account and somehow try to claim the knowledge graph. But I quickly found out that this wasn't an option. My client didn't want any kind of Google my business listing; they didn't want their location to be made public on Google maps.
So I was back to square one.
4. Next thing I've tried was Structure Data.
I wanted to make Google understand my client website had nothing to do with that Artist and his album.
So I implemented the following structure data: Organisation, Local Business, Website, Video Object, Sitenavigationlinks, Breadcrumbs and everything in between. Nothing worked. The result was still up and running.
5. So I moved to full on-page optimizations.
I've created a new update sitemap, fixed all the broken links, and optimized everything, titles, meta, headings, EVERYTHING!
And still, the result remained.
6. I figured that my main problem was Google picking up on my client's video that runs in the background of the homepage itself.
The problem was, there were multiple videos, and all of them were hosted on some external domain and server. So I put on a nofollow tag even though this was a <video> and not an <a class>.
It didn't work; Google stilled followed the videos.
7. So, the next logical step was to block them in robots.txt.
But you can't really block external links in your robots.txt. So we created domain based URLs that redirected 301 into the external URL videos.
We did this so that we could implement a Disallow: /videos/ command in robots.txt.
And finally: Success!
The result went away completely in about five days after this implementation.
Hope my experience with all of this kind helps other people with similar problems.
The bottom line is that Google's search result algorithm is far from perfect and if your brand has the misfortune to get into such a mess, don't expect Google to help you with it, you need to find the trigger yourself and remove it.