What Is a Google Knowledge Panel and How To Acquire One?
The Google Knowledge Panel is one of the most beneficial SEO components that you (probably) didn’t know you needed.
Having a Google Knowledge Panel can boost clickthrough rates from organic search results and help you maximise your search engine real estate.
It’s also a powerful tool to educate your target audience on what your business does and point them in the right direction to learn more about your brand.
If you’ve heard about the Google Knowledge Panel, you’re one step ahead of the pack. But knowing about it is just the first step. You need to obtain your own Knowledge Panel and optimise it if you truly want to use it to improve your page 1 visibility AND user experience.
That’s exactly what we’re going to cover in this post. You'll get an in-depth view of Knowledge Panels, why they matter for SEO, and a step=by-step guide on how to get one.
What is a Google Knowledge Panel?
A Google Knowledge Panel is a rich result that appears on the right-hand side (a.k.a. the right rail) of Google’s search results, and contains information that Google considers to be factual. This information is pulled from Google’s Knowledge Graph, a database of billions of facts about entities — in other words, about people, places, and things.
Even if you’re not sure what it is, you’ve definitely seen one when running a Google search:
Knowledge Panels are designed to serve four purposes, according to Google:
Supply a user with basic factual information about entities.
Help a user navigate to different web pages that have related content, such as a company's subsidiaries or related characters in a movie.
Provide content that would have otherwise required users to conduct multiple searches and visit multiple pages.
Help a user obtain information faster without needing to visit multiple pages.
Here’s an example that demonstrates this perfectly:
Image source: SEMrush
Keep in mind: Knowledge Panels aren't the same as other rich results, such as a Google My Business listing or a featured snippet. Google will ONLY show Knowledge Panels when it is confident it is factual, and when it believes it will be helpful for a user’s search.
Why the Knowledge Panel is critical for your SEO strategy
One of the most tried-and-tested ways to improve your performance from organic search is to take up as much real estate as possible.
Google’s Knowledge Panel is incredibly effective at helping you do this.
It allows you to take up the entire right-hand side of the search engine results — which is more search real estate than the top result, ads, featured snippets, and images COMBINED.
But it’s not just the Knowledge Panel. Google uses the Knowledge Graph to create a Knowledge Card for relevant searches:
By having a Google Knowledge Panel, you can maximise your visibility and better reach your audience when they’re searching for your product or service. Your target audience can quickly and easily learn more about what your brand is and what you offer, then click through to your website’s Instagram page, Facebook, website, or learn more about your founders.
Google and, in turn, users, also consider this information as a fact. If you’re appearing in the Knowledge Panel, there’s the added benefit of a boost in trust and authority amongst users.
However, this visibility does come at a trade-off.
A study by Sistrix found that search engine results pages with Knowledge Panels have a lower clickthrough rate. The data showed that the average first position in search results only received a CTR of 16.8%, as opposed to 28% without a panel.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however. In fact, many users simply find the information they’re looking for straight in the panel itself, without needing to navigate to different pages for the result. This is part of Google’s push to make search engine results more relevant for a user with semantic search.
When do Knowledge Panels appear?
As we touched on earlier, Google will create Knowledge Panels ONLY when its algorithm is confident it has ‘understood‘ a fact, and believes the information will be relevant to the searcher. This information is gathered from multiple sources, including Wikipedia, Crunchbase, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Wordlift.
Where do Knowledge Graph facts come from?
In the words of Google itself:
Facts in the Knowledge Graph come from a variety of sources that compile factual information. In addition to public sources, we license data to provide information such as sports scores, stock prices, and weather forecasts. We also receive factual information directly from content owners in various ways, including from those who suggest changes to knowledge panels they’ve claimed.
Once your data is in the Knowledge Graph, a Google Knowledge Panel can appear for any search related to that known entity.
For example, if you’re Tesla, you might have a panel that appears when someone searches for your brand name. This includes details on your company history, social profiles, and a 'People also search' section:
But that’s not all. The brand appears when someone searches for Elon Musk:
Tesla's brand name might also come up for searches related to electric vehicle companies...
...and in relevant search queries about the company:
How do you get a Knowledge Panel for your business?
There isn’t a clear-cut path to getting a Google Knowledge Panel for your brand name. Like anything with Google, the algorithm ultimately decides whether or not to create a panel in search results. However, there are some steps you can take to put your brand in the best position possible to acquire a Knowledge Panel.
Verify your business on Google
Creating your local Google My Business listing with your Google account is the first, and most important step in getting your brand seen as an entity in Google’s Knowledge Graph.
This allows you to verify that your business actually exists, and gives Google a clear source to pull data on your opening hours, street address, photos, contact information and more.
If you have an updated and verified GMB listing, you dramatically increase your chances of having your Google Knowledge Panel appear in local search results.
Create a ‘home’ for your business information
On top of creating a local Google My Business listing with your Google account, you should have a ‘home’ for your entity (a.k.a. your brand). This is the go-to place for Google to source data about your brand, and where your entity lives in the Google Knowledge Graph.
Your entity ‘home’ should be a page on your website, such as your About Us page. Populate this with information about your brand and business, such as your company history, founder, core products and services, and more.
Using Wikipedia to get into the Knowledge Graph
Wikipedia is often seen by brands as a shortcut to getting into Google’s Knowledge Graph. Having a Wikipedia page will almost certainly trigger a Google Knowledge Panel for your brand, but this shouldn’t be your silver bullet.
There are a number of risks involved in using Wikipedia as your sole strategy. The process to submit information can be time-consuming, and your Wikipedia page can be edited by any person — putting your company information completely out of your control. On top of that, if your listing is deleted, chances are your Knowledge Panel will disappear along with it.
We suggest keeping your entity ‘home’ in a place you can control, rather than on a third-party website. You can use Wikipedia to corroborate information about your business (more on this next), but we’d recommend against using it as your main strategy.
Use schema mark-up to set out the facts
Once you have a home for your entity, it’s time to start populating this with the ‘facts’ you want Google to understand.
Create different sections for different aspects of your business, such as your:
brand and company history
Founder and CEO
products and services
Keep it simple so it’s easy for Google to understand, and stick to the facts. Add the Organisation Schema.org markup as well to the page, in order to reiterate the information in a Google-friendly way.
Corroborate your facts with other sources
Like any good research, you need to corroborate your brand and company facts from sources that Google trusts. The more external sources you have with the same information that you do on your entity ‘home’, the more likely Google is to take that information as a fact and list it in a Knowledge Panel.
After you’ve identified a relevant source (such as a business listing or article), it’s important to make sure that all of the information aligns with what you’ve listed on your entity ‘home’. This is the one instance where having duplicate content is a good thing, as it confirms the ‘facts’ to Google and gives the algorithm more confidence that the information is accurate.
Once you’re comfortable with these sources, you can add in the links to your Organisation schema markup.
Improve your domain authority
Having a good Domain Authority (DA) is crucial if you want your brand to rank on the first page of Google — and it’s also important if you want to appear in the Knowledge Panel.
Your DA is Google’s trust signal for your site. If you have a high domain authority, Google automatically believes your site is a credible and trustworthy source of knowledge.
There are a number of steps you can take to improve your DA, including:
Optimising your on-page elements, including meta descriptions, heading tags, and alt text
Ensuring all elements of your technical SEO are on point, such as mobile site speed, redirects, crawlability and indexability
Creating and sharing valuable content related to your industry or niche
Increasing the amount of links back to your site from quality sources. This could be done by writing an article as a guest post, building up your directory profile, sending press releases to get an article written about your business, and more.
Claim your Knowledge Panel
Once Google has recognised your entity home, it’s time to go about claiming your brand Knowledge Panel.
You’ll know when Google recognises it because you’ll get the little global icon in the Knowledge Panel when a search is run for your business:
As long as you’re the recognised owner of that site and account in Google Search Console, you can claim the Knowledge Panel in a few easy steps:
Log in to your Google account.
Scroll to the bottom of the Knowledge Panel and click “Claim this knowledge panel”.
Review the displayed information about features granted after verification.
Sign in to your official site or one of the social profiles listed, such as Google Search Console. This also works with a YouTube account, Twitter account or Facebook account.
If you don’t have a globe icon or social icons next to your brand, you’ll need to manually apply to claim your Knowledge Panel through your account. During this process, you’ll be required to provide ID and prove your relationship to the entities through legal documentation, screenshots and more.
How long does it take to get a Knowledge Panel?
Unfortunately, there’s no clear-cut timeframe for getting a Knowledge Panel for your brand or website. The process could take a few days, weeks, or months depending on which route you take and how well-known your company is.
Why do Knowledge Panels disappear?
Just like Knowledge Panels can appear, they can also disappear. There are three main reasons why a Knowledge Panel might be removed:
Google has updated its Knowledge Graph. Core updates may affect what Google sees as a ‘fact’ and, in turn, lead to Knowledge Panels disappearing. If you have more sources corroborating your brand, you’ll be less prone to the impacts of Google updates in the future.
Your entity ‘home’ has been deleted. This means the source of truth that Google was using to verify facts about an entity has been removed. For example, if a brand Knowledge Panel was based on a Wikipedia page and the Wikipedia page was removed, Google may, in turn, remove the Knowledge Panel.
A person reports or gives feedback on the panel. This most likely happens if the information on a brand, person, place or entity is reported to be incorrect, misleading, non-representative, or in violation of Google’s search policies.
Checklist: How to Build a Solid Knowledge Panel
Create a local Google My Business listing with your Google account
Make sure you have verified your local Google My Business listing
Ensure all of the information in your GMB listing is up to date
Create an entity ‘home’ for your brand on the web (preferably that you own)
List out the key facts about your business on your entity home, such as your company history, founders, subsidiaries and more
Corroborate your business information across multiple sources, such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, or Crunchbase
Add these sources to your Organisation Scheme markup
Improve your website Domain Authority with on-page SEO and technical SEO
Build links back to your website with article guest posting or press releases
Submit a claim for your Knowledge Panel with your brand's account or social profiles
Keep your entity home and sources up to date at all times
Maximise your visibility in organic search results
Having a Google Knowledge Panel can help you dominate the first page of Google search results amongst your target audience.
With time and patience, you’ll increase your real estate on page 1 and get a one-up over the competitors.
But that’s just the first step to skyrocketing your revenue with SEO.
To truly reap the rewards of SEO, you need to have a solid strategy that touches all bases — from keyword research to on-page optimisation, local listings, technical SEO, and link building. What’s more, you need to keep up with Google’s algorithm changes if you want to rank on top both now and in the future.
Our Gurus are here to help you get ahead and stay ahead in organic search results. Best of all, it’s completely FREE to get started. Request your SEO audit and 6-month game plan below.
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@ Toast Creative