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In this week's episode, Jack Chambers-Ward is joined by Sodiq Ajala, Technical SEO Analyst at Second Eclipse. Jack and Sodiq discuss five mistakes you may be making that could be ruling your website out of Google's Knowledge Graph.
Jack: Welcome to Episode 56 of Season Two, of the Search with Candour podcast. I'm your host, Jack Chambers-Ward, and this week I am joined by the SEO technical analyst at Second Eclipse, Sodiq Ajala. And Sodiq and I are going to be talking about a pretty interesting topic I've touched on a couple of times with previous guests and a couple of times on the show. Sodiq is going to go through five simple mistakes that will rule your website out of Google's Knowledge Graph. We'll also touch on Sodiq's career so far, his journey through the FCDC, his internships, and all that kind of stuff, and we'll get on to talking about mistakes that you can make to keep you out of the Knowledge Graph, and why you shouldn't make them, essentially. It's a very interesting topic, Sodiq is a really, really interesting guy, and I'll get into that conversation here in a moment.
But before we get to my conversation with Sodiq, of course, I'd like to say a thank you to the fantastic sponsor of this show, that is, of course, SISTRIX, the SEO's Toolbox. And you, dear listeners, can go to sistrix.com/swc if you want to check out some of the fantastic free tools, such as their SERP snippet generator, hreflang validator, the Google Update Radar, or if you want to check your site's visibility index. And speaking of Visibility Index, there is the latest update, and essentially a roundup, for IndexWatch 2022 for the UK retail side of things. And this is compiled by, of course, the wonderful Steve Paine, over at SISTRIX, who has been on the show previously, funnily enough. And this dives into the, essentially, winners and losers, total and percentage, of all the UK retail websites across 2022. Including big names like Argos and Tesco, Marks and Spencer, B&Q, Primark, all that kind of stuff. The kind of stuff you've come to expect from these SISTRIX retail editions of the IndexWatch.
And yeah, there's some really interesting stuff. Tesco, in particular, have seen a pretty massive rise. I think it was like four or five years ago. Oh, no, that's actually back in 2017, they saw a pretty serious drop in domain visibility when Tesco Direct was shut down. And now they have pretty much expanded a lot of their grocery side of things, and that part of the site is performing incredibly well. Steve also dives into a little bit of data about Primark. There is an ongoing study on Primark that gets updated regularly. Of course, I'll put a link for that in the show notes, so you can check that out if you want to keep an eye on what's happening with Primark and their changes on their website.
And one of the best examples, and one of the examples that keeps coming up on this show, as a fantastic example of the way to create informational content for a transactional website, is B&Q. Which here in the UK is a very big department-store kind of thing, you'd think of in America, lots of tools and things like that, essentially... Lots of garden and home and all that kind of stuff. And yeah, they have diy.com, which is a pretty fantastic domain to start with, but they just continue to grow, essentially. They continue to grow significantly, and they are doing some fantastic stuff. They have their knowledge hubs, which are absolutely fantastic. They have some really, really good category pages as well. There's a pretty significant rise in their category pages and the visibility there.
And then, coming over to the biggest losses, Gumtree is one of those. And that was mentioned a little while ago in one of Luce Rawling’s reports in the IndexWatch of Q1 of 2022, and they continue to lose throughout the year, pretty much. Gumtree are not doing well under their new owners. And yeah, Gumtree are certainly on the way out, it seems. Paperchase is another example of one of the losers, they have gone into administration, unfortunately, and have lost a significant amount of visibility, even just since October of 2022. And, in fact, Tesco have purchased Paperchase as of last week, I think it was, at time of recording. So, we might see them uptick a little bit once Tesco get their hands on that domain and start shifting stuff around. We've seen some similar acquisitions and mergers have a pretty significant change in visibility for some brands over the last few years or so, so maybe we'll see that from that brand, from Paperchase, now that they've been acquired by Tesco. There's plenty of other data to be diving into, and if you want to get a full scope of the winners and losers of IndexWatch 2022 across all UK retailers, in terms of absolute visibility increases and percentage visibility increases and losses, you can go to sistrix.com/blog and you'll get the full breakdown there for you. And of course, links will be in the show notes for all of this stuff at search.withcandour.co.uk.
And welcome to the show, Sodiq Ajala. How are you, sir?
Sodiq: Very fine, thank you very much for having me, Jack. How's it going over there?
Jack: Yeah, good, thank you. It's fairly cold in the UK today. I think you're probably a little bit warmer over in Nigeria, right?
Sodiq: Very, very hot.
Jack: What kind of temperatures do we have over there right now?
Sodiq: I think we have about 36, and because I live in the North-central part, the northern parts of the country are always very hot here. So, yeah, that's the reason.
Jack: I think it's about five or six degrees here, so, pretty cold.
Sodiq: Yeah, we're at 35 degrees right now. I just checked. Yeah.
Jack: Nice, nice. Well, Sodiq, we have a topic to discuss, but we'll get to that in a minute, because I want to talk to you a little bit about your journey and your career so far in SEO and digital marketing. And much like my previous guest, Goodness Azubuogu, you've gone through a similar process through the FCDC, right? Am I right in thinking that?
Sodiq: Yes, yes. Yeah.
Jack: Cool. So, what was the process like for you? Thinking of that, what was your career before, and what was your thoughts of joining the FCDC, going through that process, and becoming the SEO superstar you are now?
Sodiq: Absolutely, thank you very much for that question. So, I studied mechanical engineering, but I started my career as a classroom teacher. I was teaching physics, mathematics, and computer studies. And from being a classroom teacher, I transitioned into management consulting, and as a management consultant, using data to make informed decisions and all of those, so, I got a grasp of data analytics reporting on all of those. And after spending about four years in management consulting, I said to myself, I think it was time for me to leave. And leaving felt that I should learn more skills, and then do more things, so, that way I started by writing freelance. So, with freelance writing I have to incorporate the whole lot of digital marketing, and building on a WordPress website, I was designing graphics, I was writing, I was doing those three cause, and I was also doing a very little bit of data analytics for some of the clients that I end up doing email marketing for.
And that has been my main career for about three, four years now. And then, sometime last year I was just crawling through the streets of LinkedIn, and then I saw Chima's post about learning technical SEO. And immediately told to myself, okay, I'm a technical person, I've studied mechanical engineering, and I also know how to write, and then I think I could fit both together. So I applied, filled the application form, and lo and behold I was selected. And I also joined that course, who would be taught by the queen of SEO, as we always call her Aleyda Solis-
Sodiq: That was the beginning of a brand new exciting journey for me, and it's been super, super exciting so far.
Jack: That is so cool, I love that. Hearing, like you said, that journey from engineering and things like that, and then through to writing and then through to technical SEO. I think that's a perfect way of describing the blend of the two coming together, the technical side and the creative side of your brain coming together and-
Jack: ...creating SEO in the middle.
Sodiq: Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
Jack: That's awesome. I come from a physics background myself, so I find it really interesting when people come from scientific backgrounds and previous careers and things like that. And then learning, you can almost use the same skills... You learn some skills that you can then transfer in problem solving, like you said, data analytics and all that kind of stuff as well. I think they're so useful for when you're auditing a site or when you're looking at things from a technical perspective, those skills can be so useful.
Sodiq: Super useful. A couple of weeks ago I was on a call with my mentor Andrew Cook, and at some point I was explaining my problems to him, telling him, "I do not think I have as much experience for me to do this." And I was like, wait, why would you say that? So you are less than a year as a technical SEO, but you have a background in management consulting, which is all about critical thinking, problem solving, and all of those, project management... So you have all of these skills. So bringing all of those skills into technical SEO, it's the perfect mix. And to him, he said that, "You have three or four years experience as a technical SEO, so even if you're thinking you're not... No, because you have all of the experiences that all fit into the technical SEO space." And I was like, "Okay, if you say so."
Jack: Yeah, definitely. I think that's totally true. You think about how much, like you said, those transferrable skills, how much you can learn and develop and build upon what you've got already, but just apply it in a different way. And like you said, you were already building WordPress sites, you were already on that journey, maybe even before you even realized it.
Sodiq: Yeah, absolutely.
Jack: Cool. So, I understand now you are doing an internship with Second Eclipse, is that right?
Sodiq: Yeah, so the internship ended a couple of months ago, and now I'm a technical SEO specialist at Second Eclipse.
Jack: Amazing. Congratulations, congratulations.
Sodiq: Thank you very much.
Jack: That's incredible. How are you finding remote work, full-time work, all that kind of stuff? Were you doing that when you were writing previously or were you mostly office-based and things like that?
Sodiq: Yeah, so I was writing previously, I deal with a lot of clients, so I'm already used to delivering top quality work before that line. I'm already used to interacting with clients. I'm used to do all of the things, so I'm used to working from home, or whenever I do not feel like working from home, just going over to KFC, have some snacks and then work from there. So I'm used to working out if I want to. So, it doesn't really make any difference for me, and sometimes when I do my work, and maybe on the project management app that we use, Monday, so whenever my SEO lead drops a task for me, expecting that maybe the task will be done in three or four days, and then maybe in a day or two I'm done with the task, they're like, "Wow, you're so fast." I was like, I see that those deadlines as threatening so I quickly want to finish up my task, so I can spend my time doing some other work for the company.
Jack: That's an awesome skill to have. I think that's something I still need to learn a lot of times as well. Those deadlines, those timings and stuff, it's always important.
Sodiq: Yeah, I get it.
Jack: Cool. So, when I put out the call for new guests on the show, this is basically my plan for a lot of 2023, is to have people like yourself, people like Goodness, who haven't had an opportunity to be on an SEO podcast before, who hopefully will get the word out and your career will skyrocket and you'll become the SEO superstar you are destined to be, right? That's the plan.
Sodiq: Yeah. Thank you.
Jack: So, when we first started talking, you brought up a really interesting topic, and it's something I've kind of touched on a little bit with previous guests, but it's something I don't know a huge lot about myself, so I'm very interested to learn some things from you this week, Sodiq. So we're going to talk about the Knowledge Graph, the knowledge panel, and the way you worded it I thought was really interesting, five simple mistakes that brought websites out of Google's Knowledge Graph. And I think that is such a nice succinct way of putting it, a clear way of putting it. Where so many people can get caught up in all the different data and all that kind of thing, but giving five simple guidelines for don't do this, make sure you don't do these things, and it'll benefit you, your brand, and your clients, and things like that. I think that's a really an interesting topic. I very much appreciate you coming prepared with an interesting topic straight away.
Sodiq: Thank you. Thank you very much.
Jack: So should we dive in? We'll start with the basics. For listeners out there who don't know much about the Knowledge Graph itself, give us a little bit about what is the Knowledge Graph and how does it work?
Sodiq: Okay. So most people they have conversations which confuse the feature snippets and the Knowledge Graph, they are not different. The feature snippets is just providing a quick information about something, and most of the time it shows on the left part of the Google SERPS. While the Knowledge Graph provides relevant information about something that you're searching for, and it brings it in, at least in a detailed way, and structures it in a form that you can easily understand that factual thing that you're searching for. And most of the time the Knowledge Graph are always on the right side of the SERPS, on the top side. And Knowledge Graph is simply a semantic network. So what I mean by semantic network is that it represents real world entities, so entities like objects, name, events, situations, and all of those, so I'm going to paint an example for you. So Sodiq is the name, that's one entity. And Second Eclipse is somewhat connected to Sodiq. Technical SEO is somewhat connected to Sodiq. The FCDC is somewhat connected to Sodiq. So those are entities all around Sodiq. And the Knowledge Graph has three main components. So the node which is the entity, and that could be a person, a place, an object, and all of those. And the edge. So the edges are talked about the kind of relationship that those entities have with each other, and then the other part is the labels. And the labels talks about the meaning of the relationship. So these three things work together, the nodes, the edge and the labels, they work together to bring a proper understanding of what that keyword or that entity is. So yeah, that's basically the simplest way that I feel that I can explain Knowledge Graph.
Jack: Nice. Yeah, like I said, we touched on entities a lot when I had Sarah Taher on the show a few weeks ago, we talked about how it's often people think of companies and celebrities and things like that, they're kind of the obvious choices for a lot of people. When you Google something, you Google Apple, or Google, or massive world-famous companies, and things like that. But it can actually be something as simple as your personal brand. And then again, that's something I talked about with Sarah... There was another Sarah Taher that she was trying to essentially beat in Google. Oh, the more famous version of me. Before I got married, my name was Jack Chambers, I know there are more famous Jack Chambers than me. There was a Canadian film director, an Australian dancer, and I was like, do I need to build my personal brand and get the Knowledge Graph built around me and things like that? And I think, yeah, it's essentially a way of easily digesting that information. It's a nice little summary at a glance, you don't need to go scrolling through the results page, or anything like that. It's a nice little, so like you said, on that right-hand side, you just get a little box that gives you essential information, like you said, age, dates, all that kind of stuff. And I think that's the key there, is understanding that information. And I guess the next thing we're going to talk about is, where does that information come from? Because I know that's been a big debate in SEO over the last few years.
Sodiq: Yeah. So, most of the information on Knowledge Graph, they're typically datasets from various sources. And these sources frequently differ in structure. So, this could come from, say, your Google My Business, because Google is trying as much as it can to understand what's that concept, or what that business is? And I'm going to give you an example. So one of the factual things that most times turns out to show up on the Knowledge Graph is factual questions. So somebody asks a question, where is the longest bridge in the world? I think it's somewhere in China.
Anyway, but when you ask that question, only say, where is the Big Bang? So you are likely to get a factual response about these things, and where is Google likely to get most of this information that it's going to use to populate the Knowledge Graph? So one, it would come from GMB, just as I said the other time, Google My Business, publicly available information... When Google crawled web content, licensed data from third parties, and also from users who contributes factual information, addresses, phone numbers, et cetera. So it is this factual information that Google must have also gathered from several other important sources, just as I mentioned.
Jack: Yeah, I think that's a key that, from my understanding, it changed a few years ago, right? Where before Wikipedia was essentially the number one source of information for Google for the Knowledge Graph. And everyone was just like, oh no, everyone needs a Wikipedia page, we all need to write our own Wikipedia page, or find someone who knows someone who works at Wikipedia, one of the editors... And get them to make a Wikipedia page for me, or something like that. But you are totally right, now in 2023 it's pulling from different sources of information, and again to talking about topical authority and EEAT, and all the things we talk about a lot in SEO, having that understanding of where that information, where that data is coming from, can be so important. It can be something as simple, like you said, as an address, or a phone number from a Google business profile, or it could be a Wikipedia page, or your author page on a, say, like a well-respected journal or something like that.
Sodiq: Yeah, according to these days, you could still be on the Knowledge Graph without being on Wikipedia. So, Wikipedia, it's very good if you are, but if you don't you could still be on the Knowledge Graph.
Jack: Like I said, everybody was kind of worried that you had to have Wikipedia, but nowadays there are a lot of different sources, there are a lot of different ways to do it. We're going to dive into some ways of how not to do it, which I think is a very interesting way of looking at it.
Sodiq: Yeah, yeah.
Jack: So should we dive into your top five don't do these mistakes for the Knowledge Graph?
Sodiq: Yeah, Yeah, yeah. So the five don'ts that you shouldn't do is that, when you don't properly list your business on Google My Business, you are likely to be ruled out of the Knowledge Graph. This is very important because for you to feature on that Knowledge Graph, Google wants to understand your business or your brand as much as possible. And one of the easiest places, I could say, one of the trusted places that Google feels that it can better understand your brand or your business is having a Google My Business page. Because with this, Google knows your location, Google knows your work hours, they have your contact information. And everyone is talking about the consistency that an app has to bring for you, talking about name, address and your phone number. So having a very good description of your business and the categories which your business falls into, properly adding your service, and your product, and also not throwing out reviews. Because reviews from users or from other people, as a way of bringing that trust or that authority to your website, it's similar to getting your backlinks from other sites. So it shows that your website has been trusted. So having reviews on your Google My Business page, and also interacting with these people. So someone drops you a review, and saying things or even communicating with that person, responding to customer reviews, also have this beautiful way of making you look trusted, making your information much more valid in the eyes of Google. So whatsoever does not have that proper setting, that proper consistent articulation of what they are doing on Google My Business, would most likely fall out on Google Knowledge Graph.
Jack: Yeah, I think that's such an important part because obviously, they are two parts of Google essentially talking to each other, and we know Google likes information it can verify through its own platforms. We know Google likes this kind of stuff, this is proven time and time again over the years. And I think categories is something so many people get wrong with Google business profile. I know I was talking to a client, I think sometime last year, and they'd essentially picked all the possible categories that they could ever potentially be in, and it was 15 to 20 different categories. I was like, that is maybe a bit too much, assign your primary category and then maybe a few more after that, but don't go too crazy.
Jack: Because I think you are totally right, you can spread yourself a little bit too thin. And with that Knowledge Graph, you want quick information for the user to say, this is what we do, this is what we are best at, this is where you should come and be our customer. Whereas if you're saying, oh we do 100 different things, as you were saying there, you might actually lose some trust, and say, oh right, okay, so Jack does 100 things but he doesn't do any of them very well. But Sodiq, he does three things, and he does three of them perfectly, brilliantly, he's the best in the world. So, I think understanding that balance is really key there. And like you said, clearly conveying correct information from your business profile is so important for both the Knowledge Graph and local SEO in general as well.
Sodiq: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. There was this time that, on my LinkedIn profile, I used to have a technical SEO specialist, digital marketer, structured data... What else? Web analytics, all of what I loved to do was just there. And when I knew more about stuff like this, I felt whoever sees this would just see that this person is a jack of trades and master of none. So it's best that you put one critical thing, or quite a few of those things that you know can do properly so that it speaks straight to people. And whenever people interact with you, they could get to know more about all of the things that you do. So, on my LinkedIn profile now, you wouldn't see a WordPress developer, but if I got on a call with a client and I talk about building WordPress websites, and all of those, so that person could have an idea that, okay, this person knows how to do this thing. But obviously the person came from seeing me as a technical SEO specialist, so that's very, very important.
Jack: Yeah. I think it's picking that key selling point, that unique selling point, your main skill, your main product, your main service, whatever it is, and focusing on that and having that clear thing. And I know LinkedIn has really improved over the last few year, of being a source for Knowledge Graph stuff as well, right? Coming back to that sources of information we were just talking about, I know LinkedIn is very, very important for that. So, if you are looking to build your personal brand, Google business profile, LinkedIn, all that kind of stuff, is super, super important.
Sodiq: Certainly, I agree with you.
Jack: Cool. What's the next one for us, Sodiq? Number two!
Sodiq: Yeah, so number two is that most people think that they can be on the Google Knowledge Graph without having top quality content on your website. And this still goes back to Google wanting to understand you better, and then Google trying to see if that expertise, that authority, that experience, all of those critical things, the E-E-A-T, Google wants to see that you actually have them, before they can see that information, that brand, that business has been factual to appear on the Knowledge Graph. So, if you do not have or if you do not create high-quality content on your website, you might miss out on the Google Knowledge Graph. And creating high-quality websites is about doing properly your keyword research, ensuring that your content provides maximum value to whatsoever your target audience are, and not just creating those content and leaving the content there to stay. And you should also get people to interact with the content, because doing content, content writing, most of your content could say 20%, but promoting that content and ensuring that people get to interact with that content is 80%. And when people do that, when people put comments on your post, when people interact with it, Google also picks all of those data and sees that you have the expertise that you're supposed to have, the authority, the trust, and they can also see that your website is of the level, is up to par, to be on the Knowledge Graph. So, it's very, very important that you create high-quality content on your website to be able to get featured on the Knowledge Graph. And aside from creating those content, you want to also in include schema, because schema is very, very important. You just don't create content because it's part of this structured data that Google put together to properly arrange your content on the Knowledge Graph. And there's schema, identity, and context. So these three things work together to provide structure to diverse data. And how does this work? Schema provides the framework for your Knowledge Graph, identities classify the underlying nodes, like the objects, the place, the person, that are in that data, and your context determine the setting with which all of those interact with each other. And these three key things are what makes knowledge exist. And these components are the ones that distinguish, say Toyota as a brand, or Toyota as someone's name. And the same thing with Apple. So Apple has a fruit and Apple as a brand. So these three key things, the schema, the identity, and then the context, with which they're being explained, are what brings a better understanding of what you're talking about to Google. So, while creating that high-quality content, you want to also ensure that you have structured data in place, that fits that content perfectly. It could be a how-to, could be an FAQ, whatever it is, you want to ensure that is also implemented on that page. So that's the second thing.
Jack: Yeah, I think that's so important. And funny enough, I was talking with Mark about this the other day, and we were having a conversation in the office, and we were talking about how important structured data is, and how nice it is from Google's perspective... You are essentially providing them, like you just said, the framework, the guideline for them to find that data. Instead of having to crawl your site, and find an about page, and all this kind of stuff, you put author schema in there, you put organizational schema in there, all that kind of stuff... You are pointing the flags towards Google saying, hey come and look at this, we are an organization, I am an author, this is why you should care. You are categorizing, you are structuring your data... The clue's in the name already, right?
Jack: It's structured data and Google loves structured data. If they can avoid crawling through and using lots of crawl time and server budgets and all this kind of stuff, going through and looking at loads and loads of pointless data to find the good stuff, structured data is exactly how you highlight that for Google and pick it out. And like you said, combining that with actual valuable content that proves, again, coming back to the EEAT thing, you have experience, you're an expert, you're an authority in this space, and you are trustworthy to your customers... Perfect example. You're ticking all the boxes, you're doing everything right, I think that's totally right.
And missing out on that stuff, and not worrying about it, and just being like, oh yeah, whatever, don't worry about it. I won't bother with schema, I don't need to worry about schema, I don't need to worry about actually providing, let's just make content for the sake of making content. Or as is the hot topic of the moment, create it with AI, because that's been a big topic happening in SEO recently... Just churn out a bunch of AI generated stuff, that's not going to do you any favours, that's not going to get you on the Knowledge Graph. I think you're totally right, Sodiq. Absolutely.
Sodiq: So, the third is that you have to get enough quality backlinks on your sites. And you see where the premise is coming from, because for you to be on the Knowledge Graph, just two things. Google wants to better understand you, and the other is that they want to know if other people crossed you. So-
Jack: That's that trustworthiness in E-E-A-T, right? You've got to have that T in there.
Sodiq: You have to have both. So building high quality backlinks to your website, it's all about trust. So, if someone points to your site, shows that, okay, this person is speaking something factual. So the higher the number of backlinks that you have from other authority sites, makes you much more trusted, one, and makes that mixed information you're providing something factual. And just as I said the other time, the only kind of information we have on the Knowledge Graph are factual information. It supports that fact and all of those things on your site, and that way it’s fit for being on the Knowledge Graph. So, if you do not build high quality backlinks to your website from other reputable sites, you are likely not to make the Knowledge Graph. So, try as much as you can to have those high quality backlinks so that you can signal to Google that your website is credible when it comes to certain information. Once you are able to do that, in addition to what was highlighted earlier, you are likely to make a spot on the Google Knowledge Graph.
Jack: Yeah, absolutely. And we're coming back round to those sources of information, those trustworthy sources are the kind of things, in the perfect world, you would get those backlinks. You would get them from big authoritative sites in your topic, in your area. If you want to write about tech, you want it from TechRadar, or if you want it to talk about, I don't know, science, you want it from New Scientist and scientific journals and things like that. Having those quality backlinks is so important, and again, a very controversial topic in SEO, everybody buying backlinks, and doing dodgy things and questionable things. But I think you are totally right, if you want to establish yourself as an authority, as an expert, in a particular area. And at the end of the day, that's what the Knowledge Graph is all about. Like you said, it's facts, it's factual information, it's stuff that people want to know about your client, about you, about your site, about your brand, whatever it is. That's so important, so totally, totally right.
Sodiq: Yeah. So it's very, very important we're able to achieve that. And also, number four, if you don't do you are likely not to get that spot, is that there are sites that are not technically sound. And as everyone knows, that technical issue is really about three things, the content, the technical, and of course, the link side of it. And all of these three work hand in hand to help you achieve that growth. So, there isn't any sense, and that's the way I always say it, that there isn't any sense in putting so much work in creating top quality content, and then having quite enough backlinks on that content, people trusting you, and then you not having that website in a clean and crawlable state. So, if you have that very nice piece of information cited on your site, and people do not go to it, there is this way that reduces the value, the quality that you think your website should have. So even if you follow the E-E-A-T, you are experienced, you are an expert in your field, people trust you, you are an authority, but your site doesn't have those critical technical criteria that you should have, in terms of speed, in terms of responsiveness... It's a waste of time. So, even if word of mouth, and all of those other marketing means prove that you're an expert, and people say, yes, I've seen him speak at an event, people trust him, he's this, he's that... But your website does not have that technical soundness, then you are going to be nowhere to be found.
And Google would want to see that your content is factual enough, and then place you on the Knowledge Graph, and you dragging back their users, right? Because your website does not load faster, because your website is not responsive enough, going by these days, that quite a lot of people check several things on their mobile phones, as compared to desktop and all of those things. So, the number four thing that you don't want to do if you want to feature on the Google Knowledge Graph is that you want to ensure that your website is technically sound, meets all of those technical SEO criteria, so that you can feature on the Graph, so that's number four.
Jack: Nice. Yeah, I think that's so important. Again, it's allowing Google and allowing users to find the information easily, that's such a key part. That crawlability is such an important part of that, you're exactly right. If you're having broken links or your internal linking doesn't make sense, or whatever it is, you can create all the content in the world, you could be the best writer, the most perfect expert, the world's best in whatever, but if people can't find it, and if crawlers can't find it, what's the point? You're totally right.
Jack: Yeah. And we know some of those elements are ranking factors, we know they're important to Google, they have confirmed as much over the years, many, many years-
Sodiq: Many years.
Jack: ...we know technical SEO is that foundation for everything. And whenever we have a new client here, and I know this is something that I've tied into my career the whole time, is the first thing you should do is look at the technical aspects of the website, and then you worry about content, then you think about building backlinks and things like that. But you've got to have that foundation, you've got to have that starting point for, can users navigate the site? Can crawlers navigate the site? Are we able to find things without hitting broken links, or redirect chains, or like you said, really slow-loading pages. We know page speed is a ranking factor as well. This is all confirmed stuff, and having the basics, ticking all of those boxes, is that perfect foundation for then building that content and establishing yourself as. So if you don't, you're totally right, you're missing an opportunity for sure. And somebody else is going to take the opportunity away from you.
Sodiq: Yeah, definitely. So there are lot of competitions everywhere. So, the number five don't if you want to feature, is that, despite the fact that, and it's funny, that despite the fact that as technical SEOs we know that there's a big difference between the field data and the lab data, and we know that the field data is something that you can actually get from Google directly. So using Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Lighthouse, all of those tools that technical SEOs use, but they're being checked by Google. So, some people do not pay as much attention to Google Search Console as they should. And it's always the facts pains me because I feel like this is Google telling you exactly what it wants. Why not pay the whole attention to Google, and just solve what this person is asking you to solve, and then your site can be technically sound. So, I put up a post on LinkedIn a couple of days ago, and I'm super excited because that was the first time John Mueller liked my post. And I was like, yes, I'm doing something right for John Mueller to have liked my post on LinkedIn, and also liked it on Twitter. But then what's this post about? This post was about Google Search Console, when people just look at data and they do not look as deep as they should. So talking about, say, having about 33,000 impressions, and then having very little clicks. So maybe 1000 clicks. You can see the difference is too... The gap is too wide, because Google's just trying to show your content, but no one is clicking it. So why are people not clicking your content? So you have to take a deeper look at it, maybe change your header, maybe change your meta description, just change some of those little things that show up before the main content, so that it can be much more enticing for people to click.
But, if you do not pay attention to Google Search Console, to monitor your website, to solve all of these little, little problems, you are likely not to make that. So, it's pretty easy, just normal common sense. Google wants you to be on the Knowledge Graph, if you do not follow Google's route, you can't be there. And there are lots of things that the Google Search Console talks about, if you understand. And all of these things are important, so it's important that people trust you, and you can improve your visibility in the search results. And some of these things are big performance insights, so you want to see how this page is doing, and then better understand it. Okay, so this page is a page that I need to be on the Knowledge Graph, but how is this page doing? Is there something that I need to tweak or correct about this site?
Are there some questions that people are asking that I need to include on this page, so I can answer those questions? Are they asking those critical questions about that page? And then doing the regular update as much as you should, are some of the things that would put you on the Google Knowledge Graph. So the Google Search Console will provide you paid performance insight for you to better understand your page. They would give you crawl reports, when your pages were crawled, if you were not crawled. You can even use the Google Search Console to audit your backlinks, who are the people pointing to my site? Are these people authoritative enough, and are these people not the type of people that would want to point to my website? And lots of things, even the Google Search Console shows you the URL testing tool that you can better... It was a couple of weeks ago, there were these websites that we recently migrated, my SEO lead points to me that there's something wrong with the schema somewhere, just go check. And we're able to get that pointer from Google Search Console, and it was very important. And then, I started doing the digging, like, I think this schema is correct and all of those. And then I had to create another schema, put it there, use the Google's Rich Results Test to see... And if you take notes, you see that most of the tools we're using were Google Rich Results, just ensuring that most of these things are the way they should be. Those started from DR testing too, to tell us exactly what was happening. And also with the Google Search Console, you can audit and optimize your rich results for enhanced performance. All of those critical things are very, very important for you to feature on the Google Knowledge Graph. So, these five things that I've mentioned are to provide Google to better understand your site, your brand, your business, what you're doing, and also from the user point of view, that people also trust you. You're also able to put all of these into consideration, and then you're able to act accordingly. Then you're likely to make it to the Google Knowledge Graph.
Jack: Yeah, absolutely. I think it's such a key part of that, to understand where you are failing. And you're totally right, whether it's looking at search console side of things, whether it's looking at your Google business profile, doing an audit almost, and thinking of what you are missing and what you've done wrong, or, say for example, you've worked with an agency who did some bad work previously... We've all been there, we've all seen that, coming on to join a new client. And it's like, yeah, we worked with an agency previously and it just wasn't working. And you find out there's bad backlinks, they've done a bunch of stuff, they've not fixed a bunch of technical problems, and you fall into all of these mistakes. I think that is some really, really good advice to, like you said, level the playing field with everyone. Make sure everything is even, flan out and say, okay, now is your opportunity, if you are looking for that, for your client, for your brand, even for you personally, for your personal brand, this is the time to then say, okay, I've done everything I can. This is the foundation, this is the groundwork for me to get on the Knowledge Graph and build from there. Right, that is perfect.
Jack: Fantastic. Well, listeners, I will give a quick little summary of each of those in the show notes. Of course, links for everything we've talked about will also be in the show notes. If you go to search.withcandour.co.uk, all the links there, and of course, links to everything for Sodiq himself as well. So Sodiq, to finish this off, how can people find you? What's the best place to find you across the internet? You already mentioned LinkedIn, I know we're connected on LinkedIn. You've already mentioned Twitter, we're connected on Twitter. Where are other places people can find you across the internet?
Sodiq: Oh, basically, I just understand that professionally most SEOs that I follow were on LinkedIn and on Twitter. So I basically just stay on Twitter and on LinkedIn, just to connect with the community, learn more from industry experts that I've learned from over the past few months. And shout out to all of them, from Aleyda, John Mueller, Lily Ray, Areej Abuali, Mordy Oberstein…every of those experts, in that field, in that community, has contributed immensely to my career. I'm super, super excited and super, super grateful for all those wonderful valuable content and tips that I keep talking about every time. So, you can basically find me on LinkedIn and on Twitter.
Jack: Awesome, awesome. Well, folks, if you haven't already been convinced, I don't know what else could convince you. Please do go follow Sodiq on LinkedIn and Twitter. Like I said, links for all of his social media, website and everything like that, will be in the show notes, and nice and easy for you to follow and click through. And yeah, go and check out and support Sodiq, because I think you're going to be going far, man. You've got a bright future ahead of you, and I'm excited to see where you go.
Sodiq: Thank you so much, Jack. Thank you. Thank you so much.
Jack: Awesome. Thank you so much for joining me, Sodiq. It's been a pleasure.
Sodiq: Likewise, Likewise as well. Thank you.
Jack: And that's all the time we have for this week. Thank you so much for joining me, Sodiq Ajala, it was an absolute pleasure to talk about Knowledge Graphs and dive into a bit more information about the common pitfalls and misconceptions that catch a lot of people out. So, if you are looking out there to improve your Knowledge Graph and ensure your brand, or you yourself, or the company you work for, or whatever it is, has got a prominent place on Google's Knowledge Graph, make sure you do not fall into those common pitfalls that Sodiq has highlighted there.
I will of course be back next week with another episode, and I will be back chatting with Mark, I believe, hopefully we'll be talking about the latest updates, plenty to talk about in SEO news. I'm sure you're all salivating for us to talk about Bard and ChatGPT integration, and all that kind of stuff. So Mark, and I'll be having a catch-up next week, and I've also got Lily Ugbaja coming up in the next few weeks as well. So stay tuned for that. Thank you so much for listening and have a lovely week.