[This article has been updated following some changes in Freebase's structure and interface]
When Matt Cutts spoke about the Knowledge Graph at SES San Francisco in 2012, he revealed, for the first time, the primary data source behind Google's things-not-strings endeavor - Google's Freebase.
Freebase is a Google-owned database of topics/entities associated with real-world things. It compiles information from multiple sources such as Wikipedia to display it on the Knowledge Graph. What could be of particular interest to Web marketers is that the project is open-source and anyone can contribute to it.
So, if you've been wondering how to make the information about your company or brand appear on the Knowledge Graph - this post will teach you how to enter it straight into Google's Freebase.
How Freebase data is organized
Freebase's most basic elements are topics. Each topic represents a single concept or a real-world thing, for example, William Shakespeare, Eiffel Tower, Friendship, etc. Each Freebase topic is assigned a unique ID number, can be broken into more topics or merged with other ones.
In their turn, topics are made of types that are essentially different perspectives on a topic. E.g., William Shakespeare is a person, an author, etc. Each type has a fixed set of properties that define it. For example, as a person, Shakespeare has a date of birth, a place of birth, etc. As an author, he has works written, a particular school/movement he belongs to, etc.
And, on top of this all, each type falls into one of the larger categories called domains in the Freebase jargon. For instance, the author type is part of the Media domain that also includes such types as translator, illustrator, and others.
Basically, when creating a topic, one chooses the Domain, the types and the properties that best match real-world characteristics of the object/concept the topic is being created for.
How one can add a business to Freebase
Now, where do you begin? First off, you need to create a Google account or sign in with an existing one. Go to Freebase.com and click the Sign in/Sign up button on the top right.
Then, check if your business already exists in Freebase (Freebase collects information from Wikipedia and many other databases automatically). To check if your business is already listed, use the little search window on the top left.
If no desired topic can be found, browse through available domains and pick one that best describes your business.
Note: you'll be able to associate your topic with more domains later on.
For now, let's navigate to the Business domain:
Once you click the domain's name, you will see that it includes various types (the sub-sections I have mentioned earlier). Choose a type that best suits your biz and proceed to create a topic for it.
Note: You'll be able to add more types to it later.
For instance, let me choose Employer. This is what we have picked so far: domain= Business; type = Employer.
Once you hit Employer, the Add Topic button in the drop-down menu on the right becomes active (click the gear icon to access the menu).
To start a new topic, enter the name of your company and click Create.
Now you can enter the details about your business according to properties available (whichever apply). To do that, move the mouse to the left of the property name and choose Add new value.
You can edit or remove values at any time by choosing Edit/Delete from the same drop-down menu.
And, like I said earlier, you can add more types to the topic you have created. For that, start typing the name of the type you’d like to add in the Add type field (on the right).
Hint: to find out which types are available, go back to the Freebase homepage and browse the domains and their types listed there.
Each new type allows you to specify additional information about your business. For example, if I add the Software Developer type, I can specify the name of the software pieces we have developed, etc.
Freebase will ask you to assert the name of the type which hasn’t been originally associated with your topic. Click Yes to continue.
You might have to refresh the page to see the change take effect.
Important Types and Properties
While populating your newly created topic with information, make sure to specify properties for the following types:
- Also known as (property)
Specifying this property lets you create aliases (alternative names) for your company name
- Description (property)
- Image (property)
- Official website (property)
- Social media presence (property)
- Headquarters (property)
- Organization locations (property)
- Date founded (property)
- Founders (property)
Now, how do you add these 2 types to your topic? The Topic type is added to each Freebase topic by default, so, you won’t have to worry about that. To add the Organization type, start typing "Organization" into the Add type window on the right.
Google did say they use Freebase expansively to supply the Knowledge Graph with data. However, many people (including me) have observed that, if one has a strong Google+ (or a Google+ Local) profile, information from it often pops up in the Knowledge Graph. For example, here is the result for Link Assistant:
As Google said, they are now moving away from serving webpages in search result to serving immediate answers or direct information about real-world things. In the course of this shift, many marketers are looking to better present their information to Google.
According to Matt Cutts, an important role in the change is being allocated to Google's Knowledge Graph and social media in general. And, as Google's Freebase is an important source of Google's Knowledge Graph data, it is high time digital marketers looked into it to gain extra exposure for their businesses.
back to SEO blog