SEO

The Google Knowledge Graph was launched in May 2012. It’s essentially a system designed by Google to understand how facts about people, places, and “things” are all connected to one another.

Depending on the search query, the Knowledge Graph displays information in various different ways. For branded search queries within local search, Google more often than not returns useful information about a business in the SERPs, with the Local Knowledge Panel dominating a large amount of space above the fold.

When you search “Hallam Internet” on Google, our company’s local knowledge panel does indeed trigger:

Hallam Internet Knowledge Panel

However, it took a great deal of effort on our part to make this so. In this post I will run through the steps we took to finally ensure that our local knowledge panel was triggered by a branded search query.

Just to be clear, there was no “process” involved. Extensive trial and error was necessary, but we now have a better understanding of what is required to achieve the same results for our clients.

How We Got Our Local Knowledge Panel to Show

Citations

Having moved business premises three times within the space of 5-6 years, our first step was to update all of the business directories on which we were listed, ensuring that our business name, address, and phone number was consistent across all citations throughout the web.

We prioritised the major directory sites, before running a citation campaign using Bright Local’s Citation Tracker. In this way, we extracted a comprehensive list of all the sites on which our business was mentioned. We then set about sorting the information available, further prioritising the sites that needed updating.

Google My Business

Carrying out a citation updating campaign isn’t a quick job, so whilst this took place we focused our attention on various other key areas. Our first port of call was to revisit Hallam Internet’s Google My Business profile to ensure that it was fully optimised.

Without going into all the gory details of best practice optimisation for this platform, we essentially ensured that the profile was 100% complete. We checked that our page was verified, that the correct business name was listed, and that our address, map location pin, and phone number details were all up to date. Finally, we checked that our Google My Business Page was linked to our website.

Whilst undertaking this exercise I found one potential issue: the phone number field had our 0800 number as the primary number, followed by our mobile number, and finally our main local land line number. I stripped this right down, removing the first two numbers and leaving our local land line number as the primary number.

The majority of local business citations include this number as the primary phone number, and the knowledge graph works on the basis of connected entities. I therefore wanted to make it clear to Google that our local number is our primary number, to ensure consistency across our wider online presence.

Google+ Phone Number

Structured Data

Our next step was to check our site was making correct use of structured data. We wanted to ensure that we were giving the search engines clear information about our business – who we are, and where we are located.

We noticed a couple of errors in our mark-up, so we decided to remove and replace it with some refreshed JSON linked data, also highlighting and specifying our social profiles to the search engines.

 

Hallam Internet Schema Markup

 

Meanwhile…

We gave the changes we made some time to settle in whilst continuing with our citation campaign. However, the local knowledge panel was still nowhere to be seen.

The only sensible thing to do was what I always do when I have an issue at work: I turned to Google Search for help.

This is where I stumbled across a great post by Mike Blumenthal, which acted as a bit of a checklist. The only problem was that we had already ticked most of the boxes. In Mike’s post he references several focus areas:

1. Undertake a citation campaign; this was the top of our agenda and already well underway.

 

Hallam Internet Citations

 

2. Ensure you have a freebase entry; this is something we set out to achieve some time ago.

 

Hallam Internet Freebase Entry

 

3. Become active on Google+ and gain over 100 followers; we love social media, so not a problem!

 

Hallam Internet Google+ Followers

 

4. Receive reviews of your business; we have a decent amount of reviews. Not loads, but a decent amount.

Halam Internet Google+ Review

5. Make sure you have a good amount of branded links and mentions of your business; this wasn’t an issue and our branded links are ever increasing. They are a natural bi-product of our business’s marketing efforts. A search using ahrefs link explorer confirmed this.


Hallam Internet Braned Links

 

We ticked all but one of the boxes, and that was to gain an entry on Wikipedia, which is easier said than done. We didn’t seek to get a listing on Wikipedia, and this wasn’t the golden ticket that solved our problem.

So What Tipped the Balance?

Because we tried such a wide variety of things throughout the project, it is difficult to pinpoint what it was that actually tipped the balance, eventually enabling our local knowledge panel to show for brand name searches.

Throughout the whole project I frequently returned to our Google My Business profile, thinking that the devil had to be in the details. What wasn’t I seeing?

One day I decided to dig a bit deeper into Google’s guidelines for listing local businesses on their platform, and I stumbled across two key pieces of information.

The first was that you should add a profile photo for your business that is NOT a logo. Logos can be added, and then specified as a logo. Seems logical, but in our case this was simply overlooked.

The second key piece of information I found was related to business categories. Prior to reading this it was my understanding that adding your business to a few additional related categories was a good idea. I was wrong.

According to Google, when listing a business, “you should use as few categories as possible to describe your overall core business”. Google specifically advises against using categories “solely as keywords”.

Based on these two pieces of advice, I re-jigged our business images, and stripped back the number of categories we were listed in to just one super relevant category.

Hallam Internet Business Categories

What happened next stunned me. I returned to Google and punched in the words “Hallam Internet”, only to see this:

Hallam Internet Knowledge Panel

This had to be a one off, right? I Googled it again, in three different browsers, logged out of my Google account, searched in Incognito mode, and repeated the same process using several of my colleagues’ computers.

I genuinely couldn’t believe it. It seemed that after all our efforts, a couple of simple tweaks to our Google My Business account triggered the local knowledge panel for Hallam Internet.

It could have been any one of the factors highlighted in this post that fixed the issues, it could have been the amendments to the Google My Business profile, or it could have been a culmination of all of those efforts combined. In any case, our efforts ultimately paid off.

Conclusions

Having gone through this process, I have learnt that it pays to be thorough and accurate from the outset, and that it pays to follow best practice guidelines. Also, even if you believe that you’ve been clued up from the start, it’s worth double checking your initial efforts. Who knows what mistakes you might have made?

If you’ve had issues getting your local knowledge panel to display in the search results, or if you’re still having problems, then get in touch. I’d be happy to discuss.

3 responses to “Local Knowledge Panel Not Showing? Read On!”

  1. didot says:

    hi i have a current business listed on google my business its on local knowledge panel whenever you type our targeted keyword, its not actually the name of our business but instead a keyword that we have targeted and was able to verify

    it was working for like 3-5 months now but upon reading google’s policy about Service-area businesses i wonder if we uncheck “I also serve customers at my business address. (Your address will be hidden from the public if this box isn’t checked.)” option what will happen? will our business still be shown on local knowledge panel? I wonder how google treat brick and mortar vs service base?

    I asked cause this local knowledge panel is really our edge on our competition, our site is not ranking so well but with local knowledge panel we are being highlighted and able to have a fair share of competition.

    Thank you hope to hear from you soon.

    • Sean Burton says:

      Hi,

      Thanks for your message.

      Unfortunately, I don’t have any direct evidence to suggest that service based businesses experience a lack of visibility with their local knowledge panel, so I can’t confidently say either way that removing your address will have an impact. I would however approach with caution and be prepared to reverse anything you alter, as my experience of Knowledge Panels is that they are highly sensitive to the data fed into them.

      Google themselves state that “whether a business’s information will appear in the Knowledge Panel is determined by a variety of factors. Relevance, distance and the prominence of the business all contribute to its standing in local search results”.

      You will notice that there is no specific mention of business address, so I would like to think that the service area you define will fall under “distance” of the person conducting the search, and therefore your Local Knowledge Panel will still be eligible to appear.

      What I would suggest, is that you review Google’s new guidelines in a bit more detail. Specifically, do you need to remove your address from your listing? Although you service customers outside of your geographic location (as we do), do you also meet with and facilitate customers at your business location? Would it be more beneficial and helpful to your customers to be able to find your bricks and mortar location on Google Maps for business purposes?

      If the answer to these questions is “yes”, then you are well within your rights to display your business address and location information on Google Maps and therefore your Knowledge Panel.

      Please let us know what you decide to do and share any findings!

  2. Thanks so much for this post. I’m currently doing some work for a really large and reputable organisation (with an .ac.uk domain!) that doesn’t have a knowledge panel, so some interesting steps to go through to help with the head scratching 🙂

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