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When it comes to knowledge graph Google's algorithm is far from perfect.



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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. 
When it comes to knowledge graph Google
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. 

Comments

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cmoneyspinner

That's some story. But I'm glad you were able to solve the problem. No doubt your client is happy too. It is difficult to get a response from Google Support.



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Cristian

Yes, it feels great when you finally are able to solve a complicated SEO problem, especially result type problems!



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SiamSEO

I have never received any sort of support from Google, and I have been a paying AdWords customers for years. They don't exactly care, because they're making money hand over fist off of you (and your content!) regardless, so there is no incentive for them to help you out, as you'll be staying with them anyways.



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Cristian

Exactly, my client has a lot of money invested in Adwords each month and I'm astonished at the level of ignorance Google is showing towards companies that are paying big bucks for their services. I mean, search results are at the very core of Google's business model, why wouldn't they want to fix and listen to people finding bugs is beyond me.

I for once would be very happy if someone would point out some errors and bugs in on my site.



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SiamSEO

The reason for their not caring is that they know they have such a monopoli that people will keep on using their services and paying for them, so there's no reason to fix stuff until they start to see decline in profits, which won't happen soon. And even then they'll probably just end up closing that specific part of the service instead.



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keen2write

Excellent experience and it is good you got everything sorted on the end. I have heard of similar cases to what you went through and with you explaining everything made sense. This will help me in the future if I do run into similar issues.



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Cristian

Yeah, glad to hear that. It is really a shame how Google handles the situation. I mean, my client was a pretty big brand losing an important sum of money every hour that result stayed active, I know Google's you shouldn't complain about free services but I believe Google should take care of such issues and create a special department that can do something about it.



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treecko142

Great troubleshooting, will keep this in mind for future needs, if ever a similar situation happens. If only Google Support could actually support people in need, lol



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overcast

It's good that you sorted it out. Usually google has no support of any kind. I am not sure how they survived so far. I guess their services having enough proper documentation. That could be one way this is sorted. But keeping that aside, I'd say google has it's set of issues. And they have to sort things up in that case.



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kgord

It is definitely good that you got everything figured out even if took some time. Google is obviously not the Lord of all knowledge liike they would like us to believe. Maybe they need to work a little harder at documenting their services. It would probably be beneficial.



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EfficientNinja

Agreed. No system is perfect. The algorithm that their crawler is using still has many flaws. They need to learn from mistakes like these to improve their system. I hope they could have provided a better customer support though. Google is making it very hard to contact and get technical support for their services.



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kgord

Yes, I guess they don't have the manpower to answer every ridiculous question that comes their way, but they have the money to hire as much customer service staff as they need to answer questions.



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EfficientNinja

If other companies can do technical support, they should too. They are one if not the most popular tech companies of our generation. They should set an example for other companies. They need more contact centers to at least entertain some queries. Because right now, I can't feel their presence when it comes to tech support.



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kgord

They could certainly afford to do so. I wonder why they dont? I guess they don't feel the need to, but their customers certainly have the need to speak to them on a regular basis. It is very important!



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EfficientNinja

I guess they want the people to just Google the solution for their problem? When it comes to knowledge graph Google

Just kidding. I guess they think they won't run out of people using their services and products because they're already a big and known company. Even if they don't provide support to people and those people decided to stop using Google's services, there will still be many users.



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Kakashi2020

I can't believe it you mean Google has support? Really?
Someone answered back? Been trying to contact them for ages and I haven't got any replies from them in years.



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Cristian

Yeah, I filled out a form regarding a legal removal request. Stated my problem there because there simply wasn't a clear way or form for my specific issue, and the legal removal form was the closest thing to removing the wrong result from Google.

Got an email reply, only after my second submitted form. Some generic info that didn't help me at all. I replied back with more explanations, print screens, and everything I could think off.

Their last response was this:
When it comes to knowledge graph Google

After this, I've sent them two more replies. They didn't bother to answer anymore. Felt pretty insulted actually.



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Kakashi2020

Yeah I know what you mean, Google is so big and rich people working there just doesn't care anymore they just want to receive their pay caring less for their customers.



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EfficientNinja

It's a good thing you keep looking for other options to remove that nasty search result. Today I learned that Google support is almost nonexistent and you can't really rely on them even if it's their algorithm's fault in the first place. You've got perseverance that is commendable for finding ghetto methods to have a workaround on the issue. Good job! When it comes to knowledge graph Google



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mona5xu

it is good

https://www.internationalfertilitycentre.com



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Cristian

Update June 26, 2018:

If anyone is still reading this thread or will read this comment in the future, I have a few updates you probably may find interesting about Google's knowledge graph.

So after my initial fix, the problem came back with a vengeance. I wasted a lot of hours trying to fix the issue and eventually manage to get in contact with a senior webmaster at Google. Apparently, the problem was with Google's algorithm just as I suspected the only difference being this wasn't really a knowledge graph result and more of a rich video result that even this senior webmaster was unaware of.

The source of the problem was: my client's video background website.
So if you have a video background on your website just know it can cause A LOT OF PROBLEMS in Google's search as they are still working on figuring out how to teach Google to recognize video background and not take them as actual video snippets.

In the end, we manage to gain a Wikipedia page, and Google finally dropped the inaccurate result. After I've built a wiki data page and read a lot more about knowledge grapp4hs I was finally able to gain one and VERIFY the entity in Google's search as an official company recognize by Google.
If any of you have questions about this last process just drop the questions below.

Cheers.



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BoulderBridges

I actually think Bing gives better video and image results. Elon Musk has only ever talked about one company we should be careful of....there are many videos if you want to listen....that company is Google and AI + monopoly on information is what he refers to usually. I actual check Bing, Duckduckgo, and Google and the search results for Google are not always better. I think if Microsoft and Bing really wanted to they would team up with their partner Facebook which owns Instagram and Mixi and create their own search world away from Google. I have like 5k people on my G+ page and now I have to rebuild elsewhere because of G+ closing. For 10 years my Facebook community page has never had any problems even when I owed them money. I really get the sense that Google doesn't really care about its userbase....because the decisions they make never take into consideration the user.....which is ironic because that's the one thing the Google Webmaster Guidelines says to do....make content for the users.



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Corzhens

I admire people who go to lengths just to know the details of the technical problem. When there is something amiss with the treatment of Google on the site it is imperative to find out what is causing it. But when it comes to the algorithm I guess I will not meddle with such technical details for it always gives me a headache. Even the backlinks are still giving me a bit of headache with the confusing no-follow and do-follow URL.



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