Anatomy of a Google Knowledge Panel header image

In this post, you will learn the following details about the Knowledge Panel:

  • What is Google’s Knowledge Panel
  • How Brands Can Create and Edit Their Knowledge Panel
  • How Can You Fully Optimize Your Knowledge Panel

When consumers are seeking goods and services, they will often start with a Google search. They may conduct a broad search for, say, shoe stores or deals on electronics, or they might search for a specific brand or store near them. In the latter case, users already know something about the brand in question, but they want to know more information such as hours of operation, address, reviews, etc. And the faster they can access this information, the better.

In the past, in order to find all of this information, users could visit the company’s website (if they have one), call the location and hope someone picks up, or find scattered bits of info from third-party sources. These methods are often time-consuming and not always reliable. In the past few years, Google has made an effort to solve this problem by consolidating various pieces of information about a brand or location via its Knowledge Panel.

What is the Google Knowledge Panel?

Broadly speaking, a Google My Business Knowledge Panel is meant to enhance the result of a Google search by pulling information from several sources and placing it in a single location. The goal of the Knowledge Panel is to aid the consumers’ ability to find information immediately, with as few clicks and scrolls as possible. This means your Knowledge Panel is among your most important online real estate, giving potential consumers a detailed snapshot of your brand.

Knowledge Panels come in two types: brand and local, both of which are vital for multi-location enterprises. Brand Knowledge Panels focus on facts, images, posts, reviews and social links related to a search. Local panels, the focus of this piece, feature additional location-specific details including addresses, phone numbers, hours and local reviews. Both types of Knowledge Panels also appear differently if viewed on desktop or mobile displays. Some features can only be seen via mobile, such as Google Local Q&A.

Why The Knowledge Panel is Important

Online search users want to know what they can expect before they visit a location. The fewer surprises, the better. For example, in the past two years, mobile searches for “wait times” have grown 120%. This clearly shows how much consumers value their time and energy. They do not want to bother visiting a business with a poor reputation, and they also would rather not spend several minutes trying to find a location’s information.

If a user’s search for a particular brand takes too long, they will likely turn to another business with more readily available information. Many consumers will never click through to your website, so, if you want to entice more users to visit your location and improve your online brand presence, you need to focus on your Google Knowledge Panel on both the brand and local level, ensuring its accuracy on a regular basis.

How to Get Started

How do you get your business on Google, exactly? More specifically, how do you acquire a Knowledge Panel, and how do you ensure that it accurately represents your brand and locations? The best way to get started is by opening a Google My Business account, or claim your listings. This will require that you verify you are the owner of your business. Once you have created your account or claimed your local listings, you can add or edit all relevant information about your business. You can follow this link to get on your way.

Anatomy of the Google Knowledge Panel

Since the Knowledge Panel’s goal is to provide search users with a single location for all your brand’s information, it is made up of several parts. Your Panel might not contain every piece of information offered by this feature, but the more you can add, the better. Most important of all, however, is keeping all the info on your Knowledge Panel up to date.

NAP

The acronym for name, address and phone number. These should be listed consistently on your website and any Google local listing.

  • Name–Your actual business name without additional keywords or descriptors like neighborhood information
  • Address—Your physical street address, suite and building info should be in Address 2.
  • Phone number – This should be the local number that is associated to the exact location. If needed, this can be a call tracking number, just include the main store number in ‘Additional phones’ field

Pictures

You can include 3-5 hi-resolution photos of local storefront, interior, and product images or your logo. You should provide unique images by location if possible, but you can begin with a standard image applied to all locations.

Star-rating

This is the average star rating for your location that displays to users considering your business.

Category

Choose the one closest to your company’s core business.

Description

You can include up to 750 words. Promote the positive aspects of your business without being promotional. You can highlight features that cannot be included in other fields (such as unique services, offerings, etc.). Your description will appear under “about” tab on mobile displays.

Hours

Include the daily hours your business is staffed and open to customers. There is no option for “by appointment only” so you should include your hours and add an “appointment link” as an attribute. Seasonal or holiday hours should be submitted separately as special hours.

Link to Website

Your local landing page for the local store or provider (don’t forget to include tracking on these links.) Other important links can be added, too, such as:

  • Appointment – (availability based on category). This is especially important to add for appointment-only businesses. Link to the page or app that is specific to this location and easily allow a user to schedule an appointment.
  • Menu – (availability based on category) Restaurant and service-based businesses can include a local menu of products or services.
  • Reservation – (availability based on category) If available and separate from appointment, include a local URL that allows a customer to make a reservation.
  • Order Ahead – (availability based on category) If available, include URL that allows a local customer to place a to-go or pick-up order

Q&A

Prominent on the knowledge panel, users can ask questions that publish to your listing which should be monitored and responded to.

Reviews

these help to differentiate from the competition and can impact rankings. Google wants you to acquire new reviews as long as you are asking all customers (no matter their satisfaction level) for feedback equally. You should respond to reviews both negative and positive in GMB. Reviewers are also notified when a business responds.

Popular Times

According to Google My Business Help, Google uses aggregated and anonymous data from users who have opted in to Google Location History. Once your business gets enough visits from these users, popular times, waiting times and visit duration are shown. These cannot be controlled by the owner.

Special Hours

These give you the ability to temporarily overwrite your primary hours for a specified day. It is suggested to use these for all federally recognized holidays. If your operating hours will not change for a holiday, you should publish your primary hours to special hours to reinforce to consumers that these are your operating times.

Google Posts

You can create specialized messages to post on your Knowledge Panel to promote offers, events or anything you want to emphasize. Posts appear on your Knowledge Panel for a week and can also include images and videos. These Posts are under the “Updates” section on mobile displays. Each post has its own URL, a character limit of 1500, and the ability to showcase one image and one call-to-action linking to your website or landing page.

Additional Knowledge Panel Rich Features

The Knowledge Panel also offers a number of additional rich features to give online search users an even more detailed look into your brand. Some of these are geared toward specific industries that experience frequent changes in pricing, hours, or product and service offerings. You can further boost your local visibility by taking advantage of these features, which include:

  • Product Editor
  • Restaurant and Service Menu Editor (Mobile only)
  • Messaging 
  • Attributes (under “about” tab on mobile)
  • Local Ads
  • Reserve with Google
  • Gas prices
  • Movie showtimes
  • Events
  • People also search for
  • Spotlighted Reviews
  • Reviews around the web

Knowledge Is Power

With features like the Knowledge Panel, it seems that Google is trying to become the single authoritative source of information for brands and local businesses. Users want to know as much about your brand as possible before making a decision. Leverage this trend by giving your potential customers every piece of info they need to visit your location. While the Knowledge Panel does not offer you complete control over this public data, it gives you the opportunity to optimize and enhance your local presence and increase brand visibility overall. The power is in your hands.