If you Google any major company right now (Amazon, Facebook, etc.), what’s known as a ‘knowledge panel’ will appear on the right-hand side of the search engine results page (SERP).
It will contain a brief paragraph describing who the company is and what they do, as well as other important information.
But why should you care about knowledge panels?
Because they significantly affect SEO click-through rates.
Let’s say that one of your web pages has snagged the top organic position for a query. You’re ranked #1, which means you should enjoy an average click-through rate (CTR) of 28%, right?
Not if a Google knowledge panel shares the SERP with you.
In that scenario, your CTR would drop from 28% to 16% due to the presence of the panel, as most searchers will click on the panel instead.
Yet, if YOU had the panel instead, you’d be the one enjoying all those extra clicks.
Read on to learn how you can acquire a Google knowledge panel for your brand name.
What is a Google Knowledge Panel?
A Google knowledge panel is a SERP feature that provides general information about an identifiable entity (a person, place, building, product, company, etc.).
To generate a knowledge panel, Google must first identify factual information for a user’s search query. To do so, Google’s algorithm pulls data from trusted public sources, such as:
Once it has enough data, Google will generate a knowledge panel containing relevant information about the query.
Important note: The algorithm must be confident that the information is 100% factual before creating a knowledge panel. It stores the data that it feels is accurate in its Knowledge Graph, and the rest of the data remains classified.
The type of information Google generates for a knowledge panel depends on the query.
For instance, if you search for a well-known company, the knowledge panel contains information on its CEO, location, founding date, parent companies, etc.
Yet, if you search for a famous celebrity, you’ll see different facts, such as:
- Popular quotes
- Their filmography
- A brief biography
- Their birthday, spouse, and children
- Any notable awards
- People also search for (related actors)
As you can see, Google alters the facts it provides for each query to provide as much relevant information as possible.
If you search for a building instead of a person or company, such as the Guggenheim Museum, you get facts such as customer reviews, hours of operation, address, architect, and more.
For the most part, knowledge panels tend to be for people, places, and things. Yet, they can also show up for abstract concepts, such as influencer marketing or SEO.
When and Why Do Google Knowledge Panels Appear?
Google is a search engine, and its goal is to provide content that matches the user intent as closely as possible.
The team at Google wants you to be able to search for a keyword and find the perfect information you need within a few minutes (or seconds). That’s why Google created SERP features and knowledge panels in the first place – to enhance their user experience.
Besides Google knowledge panels, there are other SERP features that can show up in the Google search results, such as featured snippets, video carousels, and image packs.
The purpose of these features is to make the search experience faster and more convenient for the user.
For instance, instead of having to scroll through countless text-based search results, users can quickly select a product from an image pack to find what they need in a few seconds.
According to Google’s patent, the purpose of a knowledge panel is to:
“Improve users’ search experiences for queries directed to learning, browsing, or discovery.”
So on Google’s end, it’s all about improving its user experience. That explains why, but what causes a Google knowledge panel to trigger?
After all, not every search results page features a knowledge panel, and some queries don’t trigger any SERP features at all.
Well, knowledge panels trigger whenever Google can recognize what it calls an entity.
Knowledge panels and entities
As stated previously, Google defines an entity as:
- People (celebrities, scientists, notable people from history)
- Places (countries, museums, shops, etc.)
- Things (companies, products, etc.)
Yet, this definition is a bit too simplistic, as knowledge panels can also appear for concepts at times. For instance, searching for search engine optimization on Google brings up a knowledge panel.
It provides a definition of the concept via Wikipedia (which is likely the reason why it showed up as a knowledge panel, but more on this in a bit), a list of SEO books, and some popular SEO blogs.
However, if we get a bit more specific with our query and search for white-hat SEO instead, no knowledge panel appears, nor does any other SERP feature.
Whenever a Googlebot decides to display a knowledge panel, it considers three factors:
- Its confidence level in the accuracy of the facts it found
- The probability that the search user is looking for the entity
- Whether or not a Google knowledge panel will be helpful for the user
If the algorithm decides against one of these three factors, it won’t display a knowledge panel.
That’s why searches with the most popular entities (well-known movie stars, enterprise-level companies, etc.) are the ones most likely to display knowledge panels, as it’s easier for Google to uncover accurate facts and spot user intent.
For example, if you search for Microsoft, the chances are high that you’re looking for information on the technology company – so it’s easy to identify the intent behind your search.
Google’s use cases for knowledge panels
In the official patent we linked to previously, Google lists primary four use cases for its knowledge panels, which will help you get a better idea of which types of queries will trigger them:
- Supply basic factual information from a number of different sources on the entity (Wikipedia definition, social media links, etc.).
- Help users navigate to other web pages with related content (i.e., the ‘people also searched for’ section of the panel).
- Centralize content that would otherwise be spread out amongst several search results (definitions, company founders, social media links, related sites).
- Expedite the search process, so users have to visit fewer pages to find all the information they need.
From these use cases, we can gather that if a query wants to display a knowledge panel, there has to be a lot of reliable information about it online from various trusted sources.
That’s why queries with corresponding Wikipedia pages (one of Google’s data sources) almost always display knowledge panels.
It also helps if the entity has a large online presence spanning a multitude of sources, such as social media sites, Google My Business (for local businesses/local SEO), and educational sites like Wikipedia.
That’s how Google decides whether a knowledge panel is worth it.
The good news?
You can take advantage of the algorithm to increase the likelihood of acquiring a Google knowledge panel for your brand – which will bolster your digital marketing efforts.
What Can a Google Knowledge Panel Do For Your Business?
Google knowledge panels have been around for long enough now that they’re often expected for brand searches. Google any major brand right now for proof, and you’ll see what we mean.
As a result, if a brand DOESN’T have a knowledge panel show up in the SERPs, it can lead some to assume that the brand is less credible.
After all, Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook all have knowledge panels, so why doesn’t your brand?
Besides the credibility issue, having a knowledge panel will lead to boosts in organic traffic and higher click-through rates. Remember the statistic where knowledge panels reduce the CTR for the top organic search result by 12%?
Well, those lost clicks don’t simply disappear – they go to the knowledge panel.
If you aren’t sure if your brand already has a Google knowledge panel or not, do a quick Google search for yourself. If one pops up, congrats! That means you can skip the rest of this article, right?
Well, not quite.
First, you need to verify that Google is displaying information about your brand that’s 100% accurate. Double-check the logo, description, factual information, and social media links. If everything looks good, you’re all set. If not, you’ve got some tweaking to do.
For everyone else that’s yet to acquire a knowledge panel, let’s learn how to encourage the algorithm to make one for you.
How to Get a Knowledge Panel for Your Company
We’ll cover two methods for acquiring a Google knowledge panel. The first involves tweaking your existing content, and the second entails creating a Wikipedia page.
Step #1: Identify your ‘entity home’
The idea here is to uncover the webpage on your site that Google considers your ‘entity home.’
It simply refers to the spot where Google draws information about your company to use in the knowledge panel. To its algorithm, the ‘entity’ (your company) lives here.
You can actually designate this page by centralizing important information about your company in one spot. Ensure that the page ONLY talks about your company and nothing else; otherwise, you could end up confusing the Googlebot.
Our recommendation? Make your ‘About’ page your entity home, as it makes the most logical sense.
Having your entity home on your website is far more ideal than a website that’s out of your control, such as LinkedIn or a Wikipedia page someone else created for your company.
Step #2: State the facts
Next, ensure you include all the important information about your company on the entity home page. To ensure Google doesn’t misinterpret anything, add schema markup – which you can think of as Google’s native language.
Also, use multiple headings to separate all the information in your business profile, such as company bio, founding date, subsidiaries, etc.
Step #3: Corroborate sources
Last but not least, you need to corroborate all your sources to ensure everything is accurate.
Also, the schema markup from step two should include links to trustworthy (in the eyes of Google) sites talking about your company (LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Business, Google Books, etc.).
Before you do that, take a look at all these websites and verify that the information they have posted about your brand is true.
If you can, use the exact same description for your company on each one, or at least descriptions that are very similar. While SEO gurus will tell you that duplicate content is always harmful, this is the exception to that rule.
Consistency is critical, and the more the algorithm sees the same description for your company, the better.
What’s even more impactful is if you can include links to your entity’s home page on each website. That will create an infinite loop of content that confirms your brand identity.
Creating a Wikipedia page for your brand
If you don’t have one already (or if it’s inaccurate), you should create a Wikipedia page for your company. That’s because Wikipedia is one of the most frequently used data sources for Google knowledge panels.
Signing up for an account on Wikipedia is free, and anyone can do it.
When writing your page, ensure that everything is grammatically correct and easy to read. Also, do your best to avoid fluff at all costs. Ideally, each paragraph should be information-rich with relevant facts about your brand.
Not only that, but you need to provide sources for your information for Google to take your page seriously. The types of sources that qualify include:
Do NOT include sources from social media sites, press releases, or blogs, as they aren’t seen as credible.
Once you submit your page, Wikipedia will post it after declaring it reliable. Besides posting it, you should also update the page regularly to keep all the information up-to-date.
Concluding Thoughts: Google Knowledge Panels
Knowledge panels are one of Google’s most useful SERP features, and they can do a lot for your digital marketing campaign.
Acquiring a Google knowledge panel for your brand can seriously boost your credibility while generating tons of organic traffic.
Google displays knowledge panels for entities such as celebrities and well-known brands online. By enhancing your online presence, you can increase the likelihood of getting your own knowledge panel.
Do you need some expert help to get your SEO strategy off the ground?