What is that large branded area displayed to the right of organic search results in Google?
Have you noticed that for lots of searches you make in Google, a large panel area appears for a single search result, branded, on the right hand side of the page? A little like this…
This is Google displaying information from a variety of sources, which it calls the Knowledge Graph. Knowledge Graph is a project to pull together information from various sources to improve and supplement search results. This helps Google to display contextual results instead of just strict answers to the search query you entered.
If you search for ‘DMJ Computer Services’, you would see the normal organic links to various web pages. The knowledge panel extends this to include other information that you might also want to know when searching for us. This includes information such as our opening hours, telephone number, whether our clients like us etc.
Information for the Knowledge Graph is gathered from sources. This includes websites, Google business listing, Google Reviews, Wikipedia, and Social Media.
Where and when is Knowledge Graph information used?
Google will display knowledge graph information alongside (generally in a full-length right-hand pane on desktop), and occasionally embedded within, search results. It is also used to answer direct spoken questions (e.g. via the Google Assistant or Google Home devices).
Typically, knowledge graph is used to satisfy searches for brands, people, books, films and other media, products, events, and local businesses. You may also see it when searching for local businesses (e.g.shops, restaurants, cinemas). You’ll maybe see a table of local business on the left hand side, with a map on the right. Clicking any of the listed businesses should display the knowledge graph panel.
Is Knowledge Graph important for my business?
The simple answer is – yes. Knowledge Graph delivers quicker access to basic information about your business or you as an individual. It can improve your brand visibility, reinforce your brand authority, and ‘Owning’ your knowledge graph information is a great way to squeeze out your competitors by giving direct contact. So, yes, you really need to develop this!
However – it often means fewer actual website visitors for you. Think about it – the searcher can either spend their time clicking around a number of conventional search results, and visiting multiple websites, or they can see the information relevant to their query and act on it immediately. If you are looking for a telephone number for a business, you can do it with a simple search and then click on the telephone number to call them directly.
My view – I see the knowledge graph (and other enhanced search results snippets) as one of the reasons sites have experienced a drop in organic search traffic over the past few years. Obviously, changing search algorithms and increased competition from new entrants is also having an effect, but Google’s relentless push towards delivering key information as quickly and simply as possible is a key driver here.
How can I improve the Knowledge Graph for my business?
Google+ used to be a good source of knowledge graph data for Google. Google is closing that platform down for personal users, and so it will become less important as time goes on. What you should do, though, is to add your website to Google.com/business/. Then, add as much relevant information as possible to your Google My Business profile (business address, telephone number, opening hours etc.).
You should also add scheme markup, for example, for event and product information. If you’re not sure what this markup is, or how to build it into your website, take a look at this overview of schema markup by Moz (or ask your friendly web developer). Many WordPress sites will make this easy for you with plugins.
Add yourself and your business to Wikipedia. Google uses information in Wikipedia listings to build it’s knowledge database. One has to ask what the future of Wikipedia would be once Google has ‘all’ of the data itself. It’s also worth looking at Wikidata, and creating an element there for you and your business.
Claiming ownership of your knowledge panel
There is a chance that you may also need to claim ownership of your knowledge panel. Search for your business name in Google, and then scroll to the bottom of the knowledge panel. If you see a link saying ‘Do you manage the online presence of [name of person or organization]?’, click that and follow the prompts to prove that you have the authority to edit the knowledge graph data for this entity. Once ownership is claimed, you’ll be able to suggest edits to your knowledge graph panel.
If you’ve found this useful, please do share it with your own networks, or comment below and let us know of your own experiences for your brand.