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Have you ever searched for a business or product and been provided by a wealth of information on the right side of their search results? The information in this box is called the Knowledge Panel. More importantly it provides visitors with a snap shot picture and business contact information. Google’s Knowledge Panel offers broad information on entities such as corporations, local businesses, famous people, brands and movies. Knowledge Panel essentially gives searchers an overview of information related to a given entity whilst at the same time providing additional and related content.

How the Google Knowledge Panel Can Benefit Your Business

To Google, a business is an entity that has a relation to others. Relations could be by location, products, industry, and competitors. In fact, everything is somehow interconnected.  The semantic understanding of entities allows the search engine to connect the dots between data across multiple sites on the web. Hence, the Knowledge Panel is a way that Google makes use of this semantic knowledge.
So how does the Google Knowledge Panel benefits local businesses?  Its quiet simple it provides information such as displaying information like phone numbers, addresses, hours of operation and more.  It even shows locations with a link to Google Maps so consumers can find their way to the premises or location. Of course, this is particularly relevant for businesses with bricks and mortar stores.

Remember the key mission of Google is to organize all the information on the web, and Google’s Knowledge panel does a good job in making life that much simpler. Especially, when it can be challenging finding content on disorganized and less intuitive websites?

This makes life easier to users, who can find information about local businesses directly on the search result page: instead of having to click through websites or check out different review sites, customers can easily see information such as how others rate businesses as well as what the business or product is.

Ultimately, Google Knowledge Panel makes life easier for users and promotes information regarding the businesses by having a dedicated place on the search results and should be utilized by all!

Knowledge Panel for Brands

Within the context of search optimization for businesses, Knowledge Panels are incredibly useful in boosting the visibility of businesses. Adding a Knowledge Panel for branded searches helps bury the ads and surely gets your business or product more prominent. These AdWords ads are typically from your competitors, and generating a Knowledge Panel for your brand pushes these down below the fold, and in some cases Google could potentially cease to include the sidebar ads altogether.

If you’re a business that has had some rough days with your customers, and not had the opportunity to resolve these disputes, then negative reviews will be present. One of the most effective ways to reduce the visibility of negative Google reviews in branded search results is to switch Google from showing a local Knowledge Panel to a brand panel. A brand Knowledge Panel does not focus on the local aspects of a business (their address, phone number, hours, and reviews), but rather focus on more important things for a brand – what they do, who their leadership is, what their social profiles are. Such a simple switch could potentially get your business back on track with more traffic and positive online exposure.

Drawbacks of Knowledge Panels

Making sure a business is listed in the Knowledge Panel data sources also has the potential to create some negative side effects. For example, creating a Wikidata profile will be very simple as long as there is access to reliable sources, but creating a Wikipedia page could potentially be far more complex. This is because Wikipedia can be edited by anyone, including attackers with their own agendas. Hence, setting up a Wikipedia page could potentially be harmful.  

Types of Knowledge Panel

There are two types of Knowledge Panels: brand/personal and local.

Brand panels contain general entity information including social profiles, product descriptions, and the entity’s creation date, among others.

Local panels contain locally focused details including locations, building addresses, Yelp pages, and reviews.

The type of business determines what graph displays in the Google Knowledge Panel. A strictly online company would have a brand graph because there is no physical location. Establishments with a strong name and brand such as Disney World would have a local graph. There are also some instances where the type of graph might vary. An example of this scenario would be companies with only a few locations. In this situation, a branded graph would appear for nationwide searches and a local graph for those within proximity to the businesses’ physical establishments.

Knowledge Panel Examples

An example of Zillow, a real estate company’s local Knowledge Panel shows photos, stock price, location, revenue and “People also searched for” section.

As can be seen below, the panel provides a great deal of information and allows credibility and trust to be built virtually immediately.

Zillow Knowledge Panel

Not taking advantage of branded Knowledge Panel panels can result in an opportunity lost. These cards help users engage with your brand by grouping nice-to-know information together, such as a basic description, stock price information, and one or two notable facts.

Not only do these cards contain a great deal of information to searchers, but they can also link directly to your website and social profiles. Depending on the type of business, mobile searchers may even be able to access search boxes and browse products directly through your Knowledge Panel card.

Nonprofit Organizations

It’s not just profit businesses that have exposure via Knowledge Panels, but nonprofits too.

A typical example would be the American Red Cross. Besides pulling some information from Wikipedia, you can also see that customer service phone number is visible along with the purpose of this organization.

Famous & Influential People

Online content is immediately available. Thus Googling for prominent figures has allowed a Knowledge Panel category to be assigned to them.  In addition to famous individuals such people have also morphed into brand names. For example, searches for prominent figures like “Martha Stewart” amount to a lot of information in one area. Knowledge panel cards like this are a great way to group your social media presences and help you influence how you’d like your name – and your company – to be perceived.

Local Businesses

Local businesses stand to gain the most from the Knowledge Panel. For example customers able to find exactly what they are looking for via a Knowledge Panel will most likely increase the customer conversion rate.

Local Businesses

Typical information available on a card would be:

  • Customer reviews.
  • Critic reviews.
  • Daily hours.
  • Popular times.
  • Reservation options.
  • Phone numbers.
  • Directions.
  • A link to your website.
  • Area of service.

For example, giving people the ability to book a table or make an appointment directly from Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) will save time for customers. After all, that’s what customers want, don’t they?  Another example is to know what the popular times are for that business. May be you want to avoid the rush and not be waiting for that swim at LA Fitness or even to pick up an online order from a local hardware store?

These are just some of the benefits small as well as large businesses can gain from this feature. Other examples could include area of service provided by a map.

To get the most out of your local Knowledge Panel card, you just need to make sure your business is integrated with your Google+.

Media Movies, TV Shows, Books, Music…

If you’re a movie fanatic, and many of us may be? Then you’d be interested in the rating, trailers, cast information, and release dates. Depending on your local cinema, you may have even bought your ticket through the card. Similarly, if you’ve ever written a book landing on a Knowledge Panel card is one great way to influence SERP visibility and click-through rates.

Nutritional Information

Our lifestyle is determined by what we consume, and what not better to have information clearly visible on what we eat. The Knowledge Panel is a great way to impart on commonly searched for information, such as links to recipes, food composition, calories, and other nutrition facts. More importantly, this is a perfect option if you’re business or professional that deals with food. For example, creating meal plans, or sharing recipes with the web crowd is one way to get more exposure.

Products

Many small businesses and innovators have built their businesses around specific products. Then why not share your innovation on the web? Product cards are the perfect option and function very similarly to company Knowledge Panel cards. Hence, having such information will increase brand awareness and click-through rate.

However, unlike company Knowledge Panel cards, product cards don’t necessarily get prime real estate on SERPs unless you have a prominent product such as an iPhone? Usually, the top of the page is taken up by sponsored ads.

Data for Knowledge Panel

The Knowledge Panel uses data from the Knowledge Graph which Google describes as, “A massive graph of real-world things and their connections, to bring you more meaningful results.” The Knowledge Graph is basically a huge database of people, places, and things Google has compiled, compared and connected to give better search results, beyond what terms were entered during a search.

Google frequently scrapes information from online databases, social profiles, and other websites when creating its Knowledge Panels. The five primary informational databases Google uses to populate its Knowledge Panels include:

  • Wikipedia – Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia. Google frequently scrapes Wikipedia entries when building a Knowledge Panel.
  • Structured Data – Schema markup on a website that gives Google instructions on what the date and text on a page mean.
  • Google Plus – Google+ is Google’s social media platform and is used by Google when forming both brand and local Knowledge Panels.
  • Freebase – Freebase is an online database. It is not as large as Wikipedia, but it is still a large source of structured data. Freebase entered a read-only mode in early 2015, so the database is no longer editable.
  • Wikidata – A structured database that is maintained by Wikimedia, the same company that runs Wikipedia.

How to Edit Knowledge Panels

Google now allows users to suggest edits to Knowledge Panels after proving that they represent the entity in the Knowledge Panel. Individuals and organizations that have Knowledge Panels can use a verification process to claim their panels and update them accordingly.  

General Steps:

  1. Search for your name or organization to bring up the Knowledge Panel you wish to edit.
  2. Tap on the prompt that reads “Suggest an edit”
  3. Prove that you represent the entity by signing into Google.
  4. Subsequently the Knowledge Panel can be updated and additions made.

Final Thought

Knowledge Panel provides a great opportunity for professionals, and businesses alike to connect with existing and potential customers. More importantly it provides customers with immediate results and fewer clicks to content that they may be looking for.  As you can see Google has streamlined the process to content availability as opposed to sifting through sometimes large websites to just get the store hours.

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Rav Kang

Visualwebz LLC is originally a Seattle web design company based in Renton, WA near Seattle, and now operates in Atlanta, Toronto Canada, LA, and UK. We have a wealth of experience in fostering small to medium sized business websites.