Virtually all businesses rely on search engines to increase brand awareness. Google’s algorithm dictates what shows up on your search engine results page (SERP), but there is one way that you can be in direct control of what users find when they search for your business. Knowledge panels are a snapshot of information that Google displays when you search for entities—people, places, organizations, and things—cataloged in Google’s Knowledge Graph. The search engine scrapes the internet for a business’s relevant details—like phone numbers, contact information, addresses, and hours of operation—and compiles them in a table so that users can easily find the information they’re looking for. Businesses can claim their own knowledge panels, update certain information, and give suggestions about other details. Claiming your knowledge panel is a simple process, and it can be extremely beneficial for online brand protection.
Stake Your Claim
If you’re interested in taking this step toward curating how you’re branded online, first sign into your Google Account. Search for your brand or business and locate the knowledge panel on the right side of the web page. Find the button prompting you to claim this knowledge panel. This could look like a hyperlink that says ‘Own this business?’ on a computer. On a mobile device, you’ll first need to open the menu by tapping the icon of three vertical dots. Once you’ve reviewed the information, sign into one of your business’s official sites or profiles such as YouTube, Twitter or Facebook. After you’ve been verified, you can authorize other accounts to represent your business and manage the permissions of each account holder.
Up a Creek Without a Panel
If you search on Google for your business and there isn’t already a knowledge panel to claim, there are ways to increase your chances of appearing in Google’s Knowledge Graph. As with most aspects of being branded online, the key is increasing your online presence and using SEO techniques to strengthen the authority of your web pages. If you’re a local business owner, it’s advisable to open and verify your Google My Business account and update it with the relevant information that would be shown in a knowledge panel. Reviews are also incorporated into the algorithm’s methodology, so encouraging customers to leave reviews on your Google Business profile will also give you a better chance at receiving a knowledge panel.
For personal brands and brands that aren’t location-specific, it’s more challenging—but not impossible—to show Google that it’s worthwhile creating a knowledge panel about you. If you don’t already have a website dedicated to sharing information about your brand or business, claiming that domain is an important next step. Build that website to be a central, comprehensive, first-hand source of information , and bolster your brand’s online reputation by having the same details corroborated on third-party websites. Having a Wikipedia page for your brand is particularly useful for earning a knowledge panel, but creating a strong social media presence and editorial link building are also ways to raise your authenticity according to Google’s algorithm.
Knowledge panels aren’t a superficial part of Google’s methods—they affect real world business outcomes. On the subject of knowledge panels, Google’s Search Team found that “businesses that complete their information are twice as likely to be considered reputable by consumers.” Knowledge panels also integrate with Google Maps—a crucial tool for brands with physical locations—and direct users to your verified websites and social media accounts.
Knowledge panels optimize your customer journey map and ensure that users are redirected to your authentic branded online content. By claiming your knowledge panel, you can be certain that your customers are getting accurate information and increase the effectiveness of your customer journey map.