How SEO May Help Your Business Get Into the Google Knowledge Panel
SEO can help you get into the knowledge panel, but it's not the only factor that determines whether or not your business will appear there. Google looks at a variety of factors when deciding which knowledge panels to show. Bob, Sue, and Jesse talk about the knowledge panel and ways to leverage SEO to increase your chances of appearing there.
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What you'll learn
- Where to find the Google knowledge panel
- Why SEO can impact the knowledge panel
- How you can increase your chances of getting your business into the knowledge panel
Jesse Dolan: And when you do a Google search for those kinds of entities, you're going to see that on the right hand side of the search results, it's going to maybe have, if it's a business or an attraction, maybe a phone number, maybe a link for directions. When it says knowledge panel, it's going to contain a lot of knowledge, a lot of information that Google is able to connect about that entity. If it's a business, that's going to be triggered by your Google business profile, that's kind where you start. You want to show up in the knowledge panel if you want to trigger your knowledge panel, have a knowledge panel in all this.
Welcome back to Local SEO tactics, where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I'm our host, Jesse Dolan. Here on this episode is Sue Ginsburg, Bob Brennan. We're ready to tackle the topics of SEO here. Sue, what are we going to be talking about today?
Sue Ginsburg: Today we have a question that comes up pretty often. Originally comes from a client of ours in Austin, Texas, Tracy Jackson of Simply Racks, a pallet racking company, great business owner. And she asks, "What is the knowledge panel, and how do we get in it? Does SEO help the knowledge panel?" So I thought that's a great question, she's not the only one who's asking it, and that's what we'll be talking about today. So our quote for the day is, "I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down." And that is a quote from Charles F Kettering, the inventor of the electric self-starter. And I thought that was good today, because Tracy's already a really smart business owner. She's always asking questions, always still wants to learn, see how she can.
Jesse Dolan: Sue, I like that because the way that read is the way English comes out of my mouth and brain sometimes. So I was like, that's great. Little choppy, but it's still got the message across there. I don't know. Some of your quotes are super eloquent. His just seem like those are my kind of words. So better or worse. There you go to
Sue Ginsburg: He's an inventor, Jesse, so that's good. That's good. Okay, real world story to set up today. When COVID hit, every business had to make some kind of change or changes and learn new ways to do business. We didn't have a choice. So we learned how to use technology in ways we didn't know, or we didn't think of before. How to have meetings other than in person, how to share documents on Zoom, how to work with our Teams remote versus all in the same office, how to check whether a business was open or if they had changed hours or were now delivering or pickup or whatever, all of the above.
And while the reason to learn new things isn't always as big as COVID, as business owners there is always a reason to learn new things and ways of doing things to keep your business at the top of the game. You may not always know what you need to learn, but there always is something to learn.
And that's what I like about today's question. It's a business owner asking about the knowledge panel, and learning something new that will keep her business thriving, and on top and ahead of her competitors. Really smart. With that, can you talk about the knowledge panel? What is it, how you get in it, what you do to get in it and stay there, and what can we do as SEO experts to leverage it so that it does have a positive aspect on your, positive impact on your SEO.
Jesse Dolan: I think it's something people listening or watching may not even totally know what we're talking about when we say the knowledge panel, right? It's also referred to as the KP, which knowledge panel, KP. And there's I suppose the first thing to talk about is there's two different routes that this knowledge panel will show up. We'll put a link in the show notes too, actually, for everybody listening. Go to localseitactics.com, or whatever you're in for podcast, link to the post on our site, Local SEO Tactics from there. And I'll put this link from Google, for what is the knowledge panel. And it gives a little bit more technical from Google what this is and why it is.
So without diving deep into the weeds on that, the knowledge panel is if you've ever done a search for maybe a famous person, a location, some kind of landmark, anything of some kind of authority or popularity or things like that, it's going to have this knowledge panel. And when you do a Google search for those kinds of entities, you're going to see that on the right hand side of the search results. It's going to maybe have, if it's a business or an attraction, maybe a phone number, maybe a link for directions. When it says knowledge panel, it's going to contain a lot of knowledge, a lot of information that Google is able to connect about that entity, pictures, reviews, things like that.
If it's a business, as opposed to celebrity or a landmark or something like that, that's going to be triggered by your Google business profile. That's kind of where you start. If you want to show up in the knowledge panel, if you want to trigger a knowledge panel, have a knowledge panel and all this, get yourself set up with a Google business profile. We've talked on this show many times on how to do that. If you're listening and you don't have a Google business profile or used to be called a Google My Business, listing a GMB. If you don't have one of those set up, go do that. There's a ton of other reasons we're not necessarily going to dive into today why you need that for your business. It's definitely an A1 thing to do.
But you have to have that, and that's going to trigger getting into this knowledge panel. Influencers, celebrities, things like that can have one without that. Not going to dive into those tactics. I think, Bob and Sue, we've talked to most of our audience, people listening are business owners are marketers, so I don't think we need to go down that road very much. If we're wrong on that, if there's a bunch of you out there looking for PR and more of your influencer status, loop back, drop us a comment to reach out to Sue, let us know and we can dive into that in a different episode.
I'm looking at my notes here, back in episode 107, we'll also link to this in the show notes, we talked about how to get your social profiles linked and showing up in that knowledge panel. And I think in reviewing the information for this episode, I think there's some good stuff in that episode that can be related to this. And again, I'm not going to diverge and talk deep on that, but your knowledge panel will act as the spot for Google that brings in all these things that it knows about you for different entities and links to more information.
This is not to be confused with the actual search results page. If you're looking for something, you're still going to get all these regular results in Google on that page. The knowledge panel is this little widget, this column of information on the right hand side that's going to have all this pulled together kind of specially. If you are not sure if you have one, listening as a business out there right now, just do a search for your brand, your business name and see if it pops up. It's going to be off to that right hand side. If you're showing up, that means you have some kind of a profile set up, and you can take advantage of it, do some things like we talked about in episode 107 for how to add things into your knowledge panel. Otherwise, you can add additional information just by fully filling out your Google business profile.
If you don't have one for your organization, then there's a couple things. One is to make sure you have a Google business profile set up and claimed. Two, check the name of the Google business profile that you're using. Sometimes for SEO purposes, we might use phrases and words that are not the proper business name for that knowledge panel. So if your knowledge panel doesn't show up when you're doing a search for your business, maybe that's why. Maybe you're using some SEO strategies on your GBP that aren't going to trigger it.
That would be an indication for you to maybe pause and think about how aggressive you are on that strategy if you want. Because with this, if you're doing a search for your brand and Google doesn't pull up your knowledge panel, understand Google's not associating that brand, that search with you. So that doesn't mean it's good or bad. It's just something to be aware of and for you to think about.
So if you're searching for your brand, you don't pop your knowledge panel, but you do by typing in the proper phrase or name that you're using for your GBP, I would just see if that makes you tweak your SEO strategy there at all. More than likely it should, because depends on how hyper competitive your GDP is, it is important to build your brand and your entity, which is the underscore of this concept of the knowledge panel for SEO. Google needs to know, what are your social profiles? What's on YouTube? Is there something on Wikipedia for you? What are your hours? Just all this different information, because they don't need to know just the keywords that you're targeting with your website. They want to know how authoritative you are. Trustworthy, reputation, all these different things.
And the knowledge panel is kind of, it's not exclusive, but it's kind of a way we can have confidence in knowing what does Google know about our business. If Google is aware that this Facebook profile is for your business, it's going to show up in the knowledge panel. If it's not showing up in there, again, it doesn't mean you're messing up and doing your SEO wrong. But if you want Google to be aware that's your property and that's your entity as well and related to your business, there's some things you can do, again, check episode 107, to trigger that and start to draw those connections.
And overall, Bob, if you and I are competitors in identical businesses, if I'm doing more online in all these digital areas, and I'm making Google aware of it so they can kind of glue all this together and give me all of that juice, if you will, that's important. Not for a certain page or a certain keyword directly, but just the overall momentum in pumping the flywheel of SEO, that's going to help me outran Bob, more broadly.
So the knowledge panel is important. On the overarching deal here, the knowledge panel is important to trigger for your business, to have it enabled and to show these things, because that's showing you're having a strong brand and a strong entity.
Now, Sue, we were talking a little bit before about certain clients, maybe they're showing their knowledge panel for a service or product keyword search. Everything I was talking about right there is for a brand search, searching for your brand should trigger your knowledge panel. Now, if you're searching for a service or product that you're trying to be found for, odds are you're not going to see the knowledge panel, you're going to see the Google business listings, the map pack, the local pack. The three businesses, usually three, and a map that are listed there. That's pretty typical.
On rare occasion, if you are somehow very authoritative and dominant in your area, if you do a product or service search, Google may show you with the knowledge panel. If that's the case, this is like no industry guidelines here, this is kind of my opinion and statement. If that's the case, you are a dominant for that keyword. Google is making the assumption that there's nobody else that's worth showing the three pack for that. They're only showing you. Again, they're still going to show the natural results there, and hopefully your website is showing up at the top of that, by the way. As a little aside, not exactly knowledge panel related, if you do search for your brand and you trigger the knowledge panel, that's great. But as a side topic, your website should also be the very first listing up there in the naturals, along with all your other citations and review portals and everything else, you should totally own the first page of Google for your brand, or the top of it at least.
Okay, so let me shift gears over to a little bit about what you can do with that too. So if you do have a knowledge panel, you want to leverage it more. Anything you can do, like I said earlier through your Google and business profile is going to be a good thing. Just general best practice is you're optimizing your GBP. Again, you can reference back a ton of our episodes with little tips and tricks for doing that. Just go to localseotactics.com, go to the episodes and you can search by keyword there and find GBP or GMB related episodes.
Wikipedia, Wikidata, any of these trusted online repositories of information are also going to help where you can again, just think about the landmarks and the celebrities. They become authoritative and trusted within Google because there's information about them in a bunch of different areas. In addition to magazine articles and social type stuff, like Wikipedia, different databases. If it's somebody who's in movies there's IMDB, the database and things like that. So for your business and for what you do, maybe there are some specialty listings and databases like that, that you're going to want to get in. Wikipedia, Wikidata, these types of a little bit user generated stuff and moderated.
Search some competitors, search some other brands that you feel maybe you're trying to chase or catch up to, and look in their knowledge panel. If they're having a listing from Wikipedia show up or something else, that's a signal to you that for your niche, for your industry and what you're doing, you should be able to get listed there too and bring that in. So there's not a specific list of places that will only show up or things like that.
So think about your case, your situation, what are these databases and repositories, check your competition, see what they're showing up and get listed in those as well. And again, you're not so much directly doing this for SEO on a page or a keyword, you're building your brand and your entity more and connecting all these dots within Google. And the knowledge panel is giving you the proof that you're doing that when you're seeing that stuff pop up.
The other big trick for all this work, and I think we touch on it in that episode 107 again, is using schema markup on your website. Your website is still a very powerful tool for being the glue that binds all of your other digital marketing together, because of what you can do with schema. Within your schema, on your website, and again, here I'd refer people back to checking out any of our episodes with Terry Samuels talking about schema on the show. You can tell any bot, Google, and anything else reading your website, what you are related to or same as, using that schema code. So within your website, you would say, this is our website, whatever your dotcom is. This is our Facebook profile, this is our YouTube, all these types of things. This is our Wikidata page, this is our Wikipedia page. You can do all that in schema, and make it so Google doesn't have to find this and connect these dots. You can kind of put it on a silver platter to them.
So again, resetting it all you want to own that GBP, you want to get out there and get yourself listed in these various portals and databases where Google is looking for and pulling information, check out your competitors, copy that, catch up to that. Then look at your website and take advantage of schema on your website. That's going to directly help your SEO, but then doing these things bring it over to the knowledge panel and communicate this to Google and everybody else. And that's really going to be where you get the full effect of all of it that come together.
This doesn't guarantee you're going to trigger that knowledge panel for a ton of different stuff. It may only show for your exact brand, right? Don't expect that if you do some of these things, you're just going to erase your competition on the map pack. That's not at all what we're talking about. But more of these things are a sign that your SEO game is strong and your brand and entity is strong within Google if those are triggering and showing,
Hey, everyone, just a quick message about our free SEO audit tool on localseotactics.com. And we'll get right back to the show. If you haven't taken advantage of it yet, go on out to localseotactics.com/freeseoaudit, or look for the yellow button up on the top right corner, click that, and it's going to take just a couple seconds. You enter in the page that you want to optimize, what you're looking for the audit to score against. Enter in that page, enter in the keyword you're looking to get optimized for, and enter in your email address, click the button. And it's going to take you a few seconds and then it's going to send you off a PDF report via email.
It's a great report. It's going to give you an overall score of some vital SEO areas for that page and for your website at large, even though it's auditing this page. It's going to tell you some of the good things that are happening, some of the bad things that are happening too, and give you basically a checklist of some things that you need to shore up, and what you can do to improve your SEO for that page, for that keyword that you're auditing.
Now, you can use this as many times as you want. You can do multiple keywords, multiple pages, multiple keywords on the same page. You can even use this to check against your competitors if you want to do a little reverse engineering, see how they're scoring for a certain keyword, what they may be doing good that you're not, and some things to improve there. So lots of different ways to use it, completely free. Again, go on to localseotactics.com/freeseoaudit, or look for the yellow button in the top right corner of the website.
Being active on social, or really any place that you're linking within that, if Google sees this is your Facebook profile, be active in that profile. They're not only aware that it's yours and have connected those dots. They of course have the ability to see if you're active and what's happening it. So post videos on YouTube, be active in your social, things like that. And then also citations, which are kind of the same thing in some discussions. Whether you're on Facebook or Yelp or MapQuest, Foursquare, things like that, is that a listing? Is that a citation? There's some ambiguity there, but at the end of the day, again, that goes back to wherever your competitors are, that you're chasing on those brands. Wherever they're listed, you're going to want to be listed into same portals.
So super dry and technical there, rambling on a bunch of different aspects and steps, but really that stuff is what's going to trigger and show your knowledge panel. So Bob and Sue, do you guys have any real world non nerd or geeky questions, or things you want me circle back on that? Because it was pretty dry.
Bob Brennan: Oh yeah. So a couple of things. Again, if you're going to focus knowledge panel versus other search terms, I'm sorry, brand versus let's say a search term, would an example of that would be a... Well, essentially you would do your research and find out, I'll just pick on Firestone, right? Do you want to go heavy on your knowledge panel for the Firestone name versus tires, right? I mean, that would be a strategic deal.
The other thing is, I guess I would throw out there that... Not to mislead people out there, and maybe you can comment on this, but let's just take a typically heavy competitive search term, like plumber or plumbing. Common services that are needed, that there's going to be a heavy competitive deal. Would you say, don't expect to own the knowledge panel for that search phrase, plumber, Milwaukee, or Pewaukee or whatever the city is. You're not going to own that knowledge panel more than likely for those search terms, because that's a pretty competitive deal.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah. Definitely an area where it's the old, it depends for SEO, right? How many competitors, how dense? The less competition you have, for sure the more ability you're going to have to just get the knowledge panel for those keywords.
Bob Brennan: Well, the alternative is again, I think Pewaukee is technically a suburb of Milwaukee, or it's right up against it. Or let's just say it's a suburb. You may actually own the knowledge panel for that because it's maybe a bedroom community and there's no other plumbers. So the point is you can put effort into it if you're the only fish in the pond, and you will own that knowledge panel. Or if your service is very unique, Spanish buggy whips, I don't know. It's one of those things where yeah, you should own the knowledge panel on that because it's a unique item or service or whatever the deal is. So I guess what I'm trying to frame up for everyone is pick your strategy, but if it's super competitive, you're not going to probably gain that knowledge panel. But your brand, you should, if that's the strategy you want to go after, is that correct?
Jesse Dolan: So I'll give you, yes, correct in my opinion. And I was searching here as you were going through your previous example, I think this helps illustrate your question/point. So I just did a search for Firestone. It triggers the knowledge panel for Firestone, and their name that they have in there is Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. So that would have been a brand search, Firestone. Then I did another search, which would be a service search, keyword search, if you will, or product search, tire and rubber company. Being that Firestone had their name as Firestone Tire and Rubber company, I was like, oh, maybe they'll show up for tire and rubber company. Well, Goodyear Tire and Rubber company shows up in the knowledge panel for that. Which Goodyear, Firestone are not exactly completely different companies, if I understand it correctly, if I remember right.
So that's interesting. They have the exact same approach, brand name tire and rubber company, is what the rest of it is. So they are thinking about this and doing it. And to your point of what are you using for your name, and are they going after tire and rubber company, or more of the brand? I didn't expect either one of these to say tire and rubber company in their name there. So that was kind of interesting.
Looking down at the bottom within that knowledge panel, Google has people also search for, there's Bridgestone, and their name is just Bridgestone, for example. So they didn't have any extra keywords in there to show up. And it would be curious to have the backend access to these, to compare and see how much difference that makes. But for everybody, do you just go with Bridgestone, or do you go Bridgestone Tire and Rubber Company? What are you trying to be found for? What makes a difference? And really what's going to be good for your GBP in that regard is going to be good for your knowledge panel.
The only caveat is if you show up with your brand or not. And I think for most of us, especially if you're regional or local, we'd probably usually rather show up in the GBPs for that service or product than our brand, because usually that's probably going to be a higher search. Maybe dozens or hundreds of searches per month for your brand versus thousands for the products and services generically. So I think these guys did a good mix of getting their brand in there, and also a couple keywords that describe their company too.
Bob Brennan: Yeah. And I would just throw out you could potentially do both. I mean, I guess you could, again, dominate if you're in a small town and it's 2,500 people and you know it's you and one other plumber, you could own that knowledge panel because if you know the other plumber isn't putting effort into their GBP or whatever, it's very conceivable. And you've got a healthy website and you're correlating everything, good chance you're going to own the knowledge panel. And that could be a strategy. But again, if you're in a bigger market, there's plenty of plumbers, you want to get in the three pack for sure, but it's going to be unlikely you're going to get that knowledge panel. I mean, is that accurate, or?
Jesse Dolan: Yes. For that service keyword, yes.
Bob Brennan: Yeah. And the only way you potentially could, it's not like you couldn't, but the only way you potentially could is if the other competitors are extremely weak in terms of working on their GBP or their Google business listing.
Jesse Dolan: You bring up a good point, Bob. I think people need to understand, it's not like the top tier of GBP SEO domination is you get the knowledge panel. Google's going to show the three pack if there is viable competition. When they only show the knowledge panel, it doesn't mean you won. It means there is nobody else for that in Google's mind. So don't expect to not see the three pack usually, especially if you're more competitive, things like that. You're not failing if you're not triggering the knowledge panel for that service keyword, it's going to be pretty rare. What Bob's talking about is where it's more expected. The smaller market you're in, the more niche you're in, things like that, then you can have an expectation of really achieving that.
Sue Ginsburg: Okay. Is this true? I think this is what I heard you say, Jesse, that you can't control when Google shows up your knowledge panel, but you can control what Google knows about you and your online presence. So if you search for your brand and you pull up your knowledge panel, make sure that everything in there about you online is in there. Is that true?
Jesse Dolan: It would be true. I'm definitely always hesitant about marrying those words, control, Google. And so theoretically yes, we should be able to control that and dictate that, as far as we can present these things to Google, again, through the schema, through our website, blah, blah, blah. It's going to be up to them to actually show that stuff in the knowledge panel. So a little asterisk to your statement a little bit, we can try to control it and we can do all these best practices, but ultimately it is up to the Google machine to actually do that stuff. And I don't think there's a support area for knowledge panel support something's not working right. You know what I mean? So like Bob said earlier, I don't want to mislead people maybe in that direction, that this doesn't guarantee or should or whatever, but these are the tactics and the techniques to manipulate this, if you will.
Sue Ginsburg: Or to try and manipulate it.
Jesse Dolan: Yes. Try to.
Sue Ginsburg: Right. Interesting. But if you do come up on something other than your brand name, it's great because if somebody else is searching and you're the only one that comes up, then you're who they're going to see and click on.
Jesse Dolan: If we're doing things right, and if logic is prevailing, you should show up for your brand search in that as the first thing. And then as you get more traction and more authority, then those product and service keywords. And if that's happening like you're saying, virtual high five yourself, because you're crushing it in your SEO, Google is really looking at you with some respect and authority. So yeah, that's a good thing if that's happening.
Sue Ginsburg: That's great. Really good. Wow.
Jesse Dolan: So there we go. That's the knowledge panel explained. Not in advance, but a little bit more than basic.
Sue Ginsburg: That's great. Anything else to add, Bob?
Bob Brennan: No, that's about it. I think the key is that people have the right, these are best practices. And what would you say, Jess? One out of 10 times, outside of your brand if you're trying to get the knowledge panel for that search term, I mean, you're lucky if one out of 10, one out of 20 times, you actually end up having and owning the knowledge panel. And again, I think that's contingent on the niche of what it is, or service or product that you provide, how competitive that is, and or your market size. If it is a common service that you're either the only game in town and the people that are in your market, they're just weak at doing the proper things for people to see them. Is that about right?
Jesse Dolan: It's hard to put a number, one out of 10, one out of X, just because there are so many variables, like you said, for a competition for niche, everything else. I think most businesses out there would be able to find something. If you're showing for your brand and you're doing these things right, I'm sure you can find something that you're triggering the knowledge panel for that's a product or service keyword.
Bob Brennan: Yeah. That's a good point.
Jesse Dolan: Again, how competitive that keyword is and other things would be the asterisks to all this. It's low competition keyword, low competition geographic area, the lower the bar in a lot of ways, you're going to be showing up for something whether you know it or not. It may be something that's virtually invisible too, though.
So to your point, or more to your question though, the factor of those variables, if it's one out of 10, if you're a small market and the only game in town, yeah, one out of 10 or better. If you're in a major market and you're one of 30 within 20 miles that does the thing, maybe one out of a million, you know what I mean? It's like we don't have the rule book from Google on the whens and the wheres for those things, we just have to try to interpret it. And that's where I'm half joke, half serious. The whole, it depends, in SEO is a joke. But also it's a joke because we say it all the time, because there's so many variables it's hard to pin some of that down. Total clarity through the mud there, right?
Bob Brennan: Yeah.
Jesse Dolan: Such is the game.
Sue Ginsburg: Isn't that the case with a lot of technology, right?
Jesse Dolan: Right. Especially when you get Google in the mix.
Bob Brennan: That's true.
Sue Ginsburg: Okay. I will say, if you remember one thing and one thing only, remember this. The knowledge panel is where Google pulls in everything they know about your business, and it's an indicator that you have a strong brand, a strong business entity, and a strong online presence that Google has enough information about to understand what you do.
Jesse Dolan: Perfect.
Sue Ginsburg: Right?
Bob Brennan: Yep.
Jesse Dolan: Yep. That is the most basic. We kind of make it sound either super difficult, or I do, or tricky or a lot of caveats, but that's the basic drill down right there, Sue. If that's happening, you're on the right track. Cool.
Sue Ginsburg: So that's good.
Jesse Dolan: Great. Excellent topic. Excellent topic.
Sue Ginsburg: And just again, before you close it up, Jesse, quote of the day, "I'd never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down." From Charles Kettering, the inventor of the electric self starter. Keep learning, keep doing.
Jesse Dolan: Yep. What do they say? If you're not moving forward, you're moving backwards, right? If you're sitting still you're moving backwards, or whatever that adage is. Similar. Similar, right there. All right, good topic. Hopefully that helps everybody out. If you're listening and you want us to expand on this, maybe you are that celebrity looking to get the knowledge panel, need some help there like we talked earlier, whatever it is, go to localseotactics.com, scroll down to the bottom, click the link for submit a question. We'll handle your topic and talk it through and help everybody else out too. Check it out and let us know what you think. In the meantime, catch you next time.
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