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I work with a lot of musicians building websites for them. Within the last year or so, I've noticed that Google has started adding an informational overview of some bands and musicians when you search for their name directly.

Clearly the descriptions generally come from Wikipedia and the photos from google images, and the other information is gathered from a variety of sources.

Are there any meta tags or special HTML content or attributes that can be placed on an artist's website that will get populated into this area?

Does something like the code below this exist? (quasi-code)

If yes, does it have the potential to effect this google "Musical Artist" info box, or does all of that data get pulled exclusively from Wikipedia?

<html>
  <head>
    <meta name='type-of-site' content='this-site-is-a-band'>
    <meta name='band-image' content='/images/my-cool-band-photo.jpg'>
    <meta name='active-from' content='2013'>
  </head>
  <body>
    <h1 data-band-name='this_is_a_band_name'>John Doe and the Unknowns</h1>
    <ul data-members>
      <li>John Doe, guitar</li>
      <li>Jane Doe, drums</li>
    </ul>

    songs...
    albums...
    other music related data...
    etc...
  </body>
</html>

screen capture of google search resulting in a "band" overview box

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Wow - this recent video is an amazing wealth of information on the subject.

Highlights about the Knowledge Graph:

  • Yes, for now they are pulling a large amount of the data from Wikipedia
  • No, they are not exclusively using Wikipedia
  • You can tap into the Knowledge Graph with the Freebase API
  • You can checkout an enormous amount of data about why your band/group/other entity is showing up with particular information using http://freebase.com

I also discovered that http://schema.org offers guidelines for marking up your data in a fashion that is easily consumable by the Knowledge Graph and other similar databases. Here's the listing for Music Groups including example HTML markup.

It appears unlikely that google will pickup on this data on small sites in the short term, so doing upkeep on Wikipedia is still probably the best bet for immediate results. But as the system continues to grow, schema.org markup will be the way to pass off the data, so that will be important for long term application development, etc.

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The results in the boxes on the right hand side of Google search results are part of what is called the "Knowledge Graph," which does seem to often pull from sources like Wikipedia. For now Google has not revealed any official way to "get into" the graph, and it often seems to be somewhat arbitrary, although it is thought to be based on having enough search volume to warrant being considered by Google's algorithms - a threshold that may have been recently lowered.

So until Google releases instructions, it seems the only way to get "in" is to make sure the band has a good Wikipedia page, try to improve their popularity so more people are searching for them, and hope the algorithm shines upon you favorably.

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Sweet - searching "Knowledge Graph" is going to keep me busy for a while... –  squarecandy Aug 28 '13 at 22:01

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