Category Archives: Content

Hacking Google Answer Cards with Freebase (Two Weeks Left!)

Hurry up! Freebase is about to become read-only March 31, 2015.

Freebase optimization was one of the most visible methods of making a change in search results on Google. In early December, Google announced it will shut down freebase, and transfer existing data to Wikidata.

There has been a lot of seo buzz around ‘entity search’ and Freebase was always a part of that conversation. I think of Freebase as a content library that can populate a variety of different structured data coding languages.

Freebase Data as Answer Cards

For SEO purposes, I initially used Freebase to fill in information for hotels. Freebase appeared to be an extension of local SEO and also link building. NAP information needed to be accurate and comprehensive; followed links should be flowing to the proper pages. Once those Freebase fields were correct for an individual hotel, there was room to be a bit creative with the other information to include within the page.

seo freebase optimization

The key with Freebase is to focus on factual information. In this case, I populated the date of a hotel opening. Once complete, many question related search queries asking for the hotel’s opening date return the card-format search result. I do not have a specific timeline for when this card emerged following my initial entry, but it was within a few weeks. (Not able to share the client)

There are perhaps over a thousand different data points to include within an entity’s Freebase profile: attractions nearby, name of architecture, name of enclosed restaurants, number of rooms, etc.

Google Becoming the Ultimate Source?

It appears that when Freebase data is used as the source of information within an answer card, there is no link citation. Google bought Freebase from Metaweb in 2010 so I guess they don’t need to cite; just some speculation.

There are many card-format search results that do have a link citation within them.

google answer cards

What does this all mean?

Freebase was a great experiment for Google and I would say a success. It should be interesting to see how much original content was given to the search engine through the site.

I would bet that most SEOs agree answer cards are here to stay and there will be more. Dr. Pete & Moz showed a 44% increase in answer cards in September 2014. For websites & brands, it’s now an even faster race to establish authority with their space. Why? Google may cite your content within an answer card. More on this in another post perhaps.

St. Lucia September SXSW: Content Marketing Example

[nzs_heading heading=”2″] The Search for Great Content [/nzs_heading]

It’s always great to find content that is genuinely entertaining and of particular interest. This is content that is serving its purpose. The video is an owned media digital asset strategically created in conjunction with several brands, among them Embassy Suites Hotels, SPIN, & SXSW.

As a fan of the Brooklyn-based, St. Lucia, I was browsing some live recordings and came across “September”.  It took place during SXSW, but was actually recorded inside Embassy Suites Downtown Austin & produced by SPIN. The YouTube account is the official account of Embassy Suites Hotels.

This is a great example of content marketing. It is serving its purpose as original content with most definitely a positive ROI.

From the brand’s perspective, it is driving targeted impressions to an accurate target audience. There probably was a bunch of clicks coming through to SPIN from this video of interested consumers searching for more content. From Embassy Suites’ perspective, the content serves as a unique video asset that will gain views & send traffic to Embassy Suites. Random? Not really, there is a lodging component to almost everything. Because of the demographic, a significant number of viewers will likely stay in a hotel. Embassy Suites is now on their radar because they hold concerts for some of their favorite bands in the actual rooms.

[nzs_heading heading=”2″] No Annotations? [/nzs_heading]

It is interesting to note that there are no YouTube annotations (a hyperlinked text or graphic within the video). This is likely the case for two reasons: branding or lack of strategy. These are strategic links links that send more traffic to a site.

From the consumer’s perspective, this YouTube video is exactly what they wanted (for the most part). If you were searching for a live version of “Septemer”, you would likely enjoy this. The consumers are then coming across these brands, perhaps for the first time, in a positive environment. An ideal situation compared to consumer frustration when something annoying can happen; irrelevant banner ads and pop-ups.

[nzs_heading heading=”2″]Great Content=Unlimited Links![/nzs_heading]

Bottomline, this content passes two important questions that should always be asked when creating content for a brand (along with many others). The content is entertaining and of particular interest. Live music is usually entertaining and the interest  involves aspects of all parties; St. Lucia is a rising band, SXSW is a major festival, SPIN is a popular webzine.

Last but not least, when your content is REALLY GOOD, you can get mentions like the blog you’re currently reading.

(I debated giving an editorial link to Embassy Suites Austin Downtown, but i’ll just leave this here…)