Are you interested in getting a knowledge panel for your brand, but not sure where to get started?
I’ve outlined the areas you’ll need to focus on below, but ultimately this is a feature that Google rewards to entities that it recognizes as a brand.
Google will think of you as a brand if you are searched for by consumers, are mentioned in the press, are a publicly held company that trades on the stock market or are a part of some other notable list of successful brands. However, the specific details about how to exactly generate the “brand signals” Google favors are a bit of a black box.
But let’s get started with what we DO know.
What is a Knowledge Panel?
They first rolled out in 2012 and they look like this on desktop search:
Google describes how and why they display Knowledge Panels:
Google Search also delivers structured search experiences that respond to different user search intents—or types of queries. These responses range from lists of results for list-seeking queries to clustered facts for specific entity queries. For example…an entity query for a movie like “Interstellar” can result in content grouped around that entity to encourage deeper exploration, such as showing critic review snippets from various sites
— Google’s developer guide
What triggers the Knowledge Panels to appear?
Generally, Google needs to recognize your brand as an entity. It has to have a variety of trust and verification signs. You can see if your brand is currently considered an entity by searching the Knowledge Graph API database.
I’ve provided those instructions below:
Google’s Knowledge Graph Search API
The Knowledge Graph Search API can be accessed via the Google API Explorer homepage.
Visit Google APIs Explorer and search for Knowledge Graph.
Then click on the Knowledge Graph Search API which will then take you to the following page:
Click on the item above which will take you to the Search Entities Page here:
On the Search Entities Page, you will see a variety of query parameters. Learn about these parameters here.
However, you do not need to use all the parameters to conduct a search query, just simply use the “query” field. As outlined in the image above, enter a keyword, phrase or name into the query field and click on the execute button. For this example, I searched for my name “Katherine Watier Ong” and here are the results.
And when I do the same search for “CreativeDrive” you’ll notice that I get a blank result:
It’s important to note the score of the results as the higher the number, the more relevant you are if you are competing with other companies/people who also have your name. Another interesting thing to note is the @id (MID: machine-generated identifier) which is originated from Freebase.com. My results highlight the MID /m/0015c2pw.
There are different types of Knowledge Panels
Sometimes Google will display a brand Knowledge Panel or a local Knowledge Panel based on what was searched. The Knowledge Panels above are brand Knowledge Panels.
Below is an example of a local Knowledge Panel which is pulled from the brand’s Google My Business (maps) listing:
And it looks like this on mobile:
A local Knowledge Panel is triggered by brand searches that Google thinks is just a local business. Here’s more from Google about its local business panel.
It helps if you mark up your site as a local business. Here’s Google’s documentation on how to markup your site to potentially appear with a local business knowledge card.
Keep in mind that it is unlikely that even if you had a strong brand that you will be able to replace your local Knowledge Panel with your Brand Knowledge Panel across all searches, as Google pivots the results based on the searcher’s intent.
Where does Google get its data for Knowledge Panels?
Knowledge Panels (aka results from the Knowledge Graph), like Knowledge Cards, extract semantic data from a number of sources including human-edited sources like WikiData, data extracted from the Google index, and private data partnerships. All Knowledge Panel results are either based on human-edited data or appear as a result of data agreements with partners. For these reasons, sometimes getting a Knowledge Panel is not possible for some sites.
What is not a Knowledge Box/Panel?
There are a variety of other enhanced search elements that could get confused with a Knowledge Box.
These usually appear on the top of search results as an instant answer to a question and are pulled from the text on one of the URLs that are ranking on the first page of Google:
Sitelinks appear when someone searches for an exact domain (suggesting clear brand intent).
In this case, Google may display an expanded pack of up to 10 site links if the site is using structured data markup, has clear breadcrumbs, or there is a clear user pattern of searching and clicking on those subpages.
How do I work on proactively getting a Knowledge Panel?
There are some signals that indicate to Google that it makes sense to show a brand Knowledge Panel for users searching for your brand:
- Be a brand and get mentions from where Google pulls its data
The first step: Claim the brand name for your corporate headquarters and all locations across the major social media platforms. This includes claiming, creating and optimizing a Google+ brand page and associated YouTube channel, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Vimeo, Slideshare, etc.You should claim profiles on Glassdoor and other recruiting sites and any local business directories that make sense for your particular business. Additionally, Google often pulls its data from Wikidata and Wikipedia, so having a listing there is essential. If you need a Wikidata entry or Wikipedia page, ping me and I can introduce you to my Wikipedia editor.Finally, take note of your competitors and which queries trigger their brand Knowledge Panels vs Local Knowledge Panels. Check to see where those competitors are listed (Wikipedia, Google+, Twitter, etc) as well as what industry lists your competitors are being mentioned on, and try to get mentions/links on those lists for your brand.
- Have a mobile-friendly website without any major technical issues so that it loads quickly
If you’re a multi-location business, make sure each site has its own unique location page optimized for structured data as mentioned below. These pages are essential to search engines, particularly Google, and are valuable to your visitors.
- Create search demand for your brand
You need to engage your audience with larger marketing campaigns and use tools like Google my Business posts on your local office’s Google My Business pages to draw searcher’s in. Google Posts allow businesses to publish offers, promote events, make reservations or allow customers to buy a product or service, learn more or sign up all from the first page of search results or from the Google maps listing.
- Implement Structured Data Markup on your site
At a bare minimum, Google will be looking for “Organization” and “sameas” markup on your homepage or contact page.Google outlines the details around how to use this markup in their help article, but here are the big takeaways.The Markup should include an Organization record that includes a URL (the URL of your official website) and “sameas” (the URL of your official social media profile pages). Here’s an example of what that markup looks like. It should be placed on your homepage or your about page.If you’re on WordPress, you can implement this markup (and others) by using the SchemaApp plugin.Other markups you might want to consider include your Organization Contact number, and your corporate logo.If you have a multi-location business, you should add “sameas” markup for every business you own on the homepage for each business location, or on each contact page that lists each office location. There’s a great article here with more information on how to implement that markup correctly.
- Be a brand and get mentions from where Google pulls its data
Once you get a Knowledge Panel, how do you get more features displayed?
The Knowledge Panel will become more in-depth the stronger your brand becomes. Google takes signals from your social media activity, social engagement, the number of Google searches for your name and mentions across the web.
How long does it take for me to get a Knowledge Panel after I fix everything?
Knowledge Panels can take weeks or months to show up. Sometimes they don’t show up at all, especially if the website isn’t old enough or if there are not enough signals to tell Google your organization is important.
It’s worthwhile to put in the work to help Google understand that you are a brand and that brand stands for certain things. Even if you are not immediately rewarded with a Knowledge Panel, this effort will help search engines better present you in search results.
Like everything in organic search, however, keep in mind that you’re competing for visibility with other brands. Is your website as comprehensive and as user-friendly as competitors? If you’re having trouble getting a Knowledge Panel, check to see if you’ve tackled all of the best practices and then check per keyword to see what insights you can glean about why other competitors are getting a Knowledge Panel and you are not.
What has been your experience working to get a Knowledge Panel for your brand? I’d love to hear. Leave a comment below!