Understanding Google Freebase and Optimizing it for your brand

Posted by Varun Sharma on January 14, 2015

With great power, comes great responsibility’ – this quote seems perfectly suited for Google. The search engine giant has outshined all players in the race by a significant margin by continuously providing unprecedented services. Google keeps on incorporating new features to better a user’s search experience so that they can get access to more useful and appropriate data in the least possible time.

Google’s Freebase acquisition is one step in this direction that allows people to access relevant and commonly available information more effectively. This is why a small module with a summary immediately appears on the R.H.S. of the search result page when you search for a person, place or thing.

Freebase is a collaborative graph database for structuring knowledge of people looking for information about a particular person, thing or place on the internet. This ingenious open-source, shared database is the brain-child of San Francisco-based startup Metaweb Technologies, Inc. The company was founded by Robert Cook and Danny Hillis in 2005, and is now an integral part of Google since 2010.

Google Freebase Example

It’s a community-curated database of more than 12 million well-known objects including movies, books, TV shows, locations, etc., which combines structured and unstructured data, maintains the association between them and finally uses it to show Google search results based on both kinds of data. Being an open-source platform, it is available free for use by developers and encourages other companies and users to contribute to enhance its knowledge base of metadata.

How to add your brand/business to Freebase

Freebase swings into action as soon as you enter a search query, and it collects information from various reliable sources such as, Wikipedia and displays it as Knowledge Graph.

If you are the owner of a company and want information about your company/brand to appear on the Knowledge Graph, follow the steps I’ve listed below and see how using Freebase the search engine giant provides better and more contextual results for your brand.

freebase for brands

Step 1Get a Google account

As the Freebase is a Google company, it prefers you sing into it with a Gmail account. If you already have a Google account, then you can directly jump to the sign in/sign up button on the website and register.

Step 2 – Brand listing

If you have a Wikipedia page for your brand, possibility of your brand already being listed on the Freebase is high, since (already mentioned above) it uses information from reliable sources. If you’re not on Wikipedia, then don’t worry, there are numerous topics listed under Domain bar to choose from using which you can describe your brand easily.

After clicking on a category listed under the ‘Domain,’ you will see various types. Choose one that suites your business and proceed to create a topic for it. Clicking the button will activate the ‘gear icon menu’ on the R.H.S of the top bar. Enter the name of your brand and click ‘Create.’

Step 3- Business info

Your business has been listed on the Freebase successfully. Now you need to enter more details about your brand. For that you need to add new value listed under the ‘Topic’ module. You can further edit (add or remove) the information by making changes in the ‘Add Type.’ Enter the type of your brand, business or services you offer. ‘Assert this type’ Freebase pop-up will appear on your screen. Click ‘yes’ to continue.

Step 4 – Enriching your entities

Other important information you need to update for your brand is the logo, general overview, establishment date, name of the founding member(s), business headquarter, official webpage, social media links, etc. And, this is how search result for your brand Freebase will show to a user.

Apple Knowledge Graph

Why Freebase?

That’s all you need to get listed on the Google’s Freebase. But, one question that might be making high tides in your mind is ‘why you need to list your brand on Freebase.’ Okay, here I will try and acquaint you with the answer –

Brand image

We know the fact that having additional information and multimedia about your brand makes you look more reputable in the eyes of the users searching for your brand on the internet.

Free Ad space

This is the best advertisement spot Google offers to the brands. If you are right with the process of adding your brand to the Freebase, you are going to get almost half of Google’s search result page (SERP) for free.


Given that Google keeps enhancing its search algorithm, new updates keep coming in at any point in time impacting search engine rankings for your brand. However, the visual elements Freebase offers with the help of Knowledge Graph can help you stay connected to your potential customers.

Here-in the article, I have tried to familiarize you with Freebase, and how you as a business can use it for your advantage. In case there is something that keeps you begging for more, leave a comment and I will respond to your query. However, on the basis of a recent (official) report surfaced on the Freebase’s Google Plus page, Google is planning to shut down Freebase, but will continue to offer access to Knowledge Graph.

What concerns will it raise?

Following this move, Google will integrate huge Freebase database into Wikimedia Foundations’ Wikidata and the project will be shut down as a standalone entity in mid-2015. Freebase will become read-only on March 31st,2015 and a new API for entity search powered by Google’s Knowledge Graph will be introduced. By the end of June 2015, the Freebase website and APIs will be closed and the final dump of Freebase data, which is offered under a Creative Commons Attribution License, will be released.

This, for sure, is the gentlest retirement of the service ever done by Google, and it would be too early to be judgmental about the decision as one API takes a backseat, and another is ready to enter the service. But, my biggest concern, as a digital marketing expert, is how accurately the data will get updated and transferred from one platform to another. Will the same volunteers work in the Wikipedia community? What would be its impact on Knowledge Graph, good or bad? If you are also concerned about the change, then leave your feedback in the comment section below.

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