Knowledge Panels & Knowledge Graphs

One of the first and key components of Google’s rich results, Knowledge Panels, are a key ingredient to any successful SEO campaign. For digital marketers who are usually promoting/marketing people, organizations, places, and things, knowledge panels – and to a lesser extent site links – are important, because they maximize brand visibility in navigational queries.

What is a Knowledge Panel?

Above is a marketer’s take on knowledge Panels. However, Aaron Bradley, a noted knowledge graph enthusiast and advocate for using knowledge graphs in content creation and information repositories, had this to say on what a knowledge panel is:
5:32 What is a knowledge Panel?

Aaron Bradley talks about how he uses a knowledge graph for EA Sports’ many games to keep content consistent over multiple platforms. I believe that you should think of maintaining the information on internal and 3rd party sites like you do for website content and Local NAP, by doing audits to determine that there are no or few bad signals (inconsistencies) in what is found in searches. It’s the web, folks – a few inconsistencies like a misspelled address in a NAP audit is not something worth losing sleep over. Then too, it also depends where the inconsistencies are found.

I mentioned earlier that I would discuss how maintenance of a Google Maps listing is causing me to wear a helmet before doing a search for it on Google. A few months back, I decided to return SEO Pros to its roots as the first SEO Organization and consumer advocate. Aggregators, also known as directories, used to burn me up – when I was working in an industry, they were the big boys on the block, to the point that I found them showing up in Local Packs, but soon disappearing after someone submitted SERP Feedback. I went into GoogleMyBusiness and thought I’d delisted it, but there is incorrect data all over the account, because it was promoting my services prior to my retirement as a web developer and SEO.

What I need to do at this point is not found in any standard SEO procedure I’ve seen to date. I can’t do a permanently closed like the Dixon Jones architecture firm and as long as Google Maps is the current source for the data, I’m snookered. The site has had sitelinks in the past so I’m going to try and claim the panel using GSC to verify I am the SEO Pros owner/rep.

I am also going to remove all the data from the GMB listing. This sort of issue is also why you should think twice about using your name for your business name, as you better hope nobody notable has already got the panel before you. Like a number #1 ranking, once a site is in that position, it is a lot harder to replace, because to some degree, they are the standard to which all others are compared.

Assessing Knowledge Graph Sources

To some extent, I’d say assessing knowledge graph sources is a lot like evaluating any other resource or reference for sustainable link building. What is the quality of the data or content, in the case of link building. The known information repositories that were purchased like Freebase and later given to WikiData; trusted authority resources easily parsed like WikiPedia, and the Google Knowledge Panel cited resources listed above are the home runs in knowledge graph sources.

Then, depending on the industry, I would look for some sort of aggregator for topics associated to the entity, like IMDB for actors. In regards to doctors and demonstrating medical expertise, I have to believe that to some degree, their expertise from mentions on hospital websites, universities where they studied and papers they are cited in on the web (and possibly offline) have an excellent chance of being in the knowledge graph because of the trust and authority of the sites they are found on.

User/Personal Graphs for Personal Assistants and Knowledge Panels

First off, I have to give credit where it’s due: to Bill Slawski’s post – A Personalized Entity Repository in the Knowledge Graph and the private discussions we’ve had about how personal graphs could be used for personal assistants, like devices, and Knowledge Panels that aren’t as dependent on the entity being notable. For instance, if someone searched for Terry Van Horne and had just performed an SEO related search or a had a personal graph that showed an interest in SEO, Google could show my knowledge panel rather than a dead Senator’s. I can always hope that happens, can’t I?

Why are Knowledge Panels and Graphs Important for Your SEO?

IMO, this is the future of SEO, with knowledge graph results and their younger brothers, passages and featured snippets being better suited for the needs of mobile searchers and in particular, personal assistants, like Alexa. On a phone, people aren’t looking for a 1200 word diatribe but rather a “snippet” or passage that enables them to do something with the info they received in the phone search or Alexa reply.

That’s also why for many products, you see the discovery/research is done on phones but the sale happens on the desktop and tablets where it is easier to read large passages of text and in particular, view the images. The majority of you who thought my twitter poll was whacked, where I pointed out that SERP features like featured snippets and the recently announced passages would dominate SERPs… LOL! We didn’t even know about passages when I posted that, but the writing is/was on the wall, if you’re bothering to read it!

Special thanks to Aaron Bradley for sharing his experience with knowledge graphs in the video and to Bill Slawski co-host of the “Entity Hour” for his participation in the video and his feedback on the post. Lastly you all should thank Doc Sheldon for his input as editor which made this a much better read!