The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Taking Full Control of Your Google Knowledge Panels

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Taking Full Control of Your Google Knowledge Panels

Maps star When clicked on, this gives users the option to either save the location to their map, or to view the location on Maps. Pro Tip: Large, multi-location enterprises should consider pointing each location’s Knowledge Panel to the right landing page. Partly; owner can encourage, monitor, thumb up, and respond to reviews, as well as reporting spam reviews; public can also flag reviews as well as thumbing them up. A business can add more than one phone number to their GMB dashboard, but it will not display publicly. *On mobile, there is no phone number displayed; just a call icon. It’s believed use of Google Posts may impact local rank. Pro Tip: In your Google My Business dashboard, you can and should be responding to your reviews. Partly; brands can’t control the content reviewers post, but they can control the quality of experiences, as well as responding to reviews. Partly; brands can’t control what edits the public suggests. Additional features on some Google Knowledge Panels Some industries have unique Knowledge Panel features.

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They say you can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip, but when the turnip (and your biggest potential competitor) is Google, the lifeblood of the local business locations you market could depend on knowing where to take control.

As Google acts to confine ever-more stages of the local consumer journey within their own interface, local enterprises need to assume as much control as possible over the aspects of the Google Knowledge Panel that they can directly or indirectly influence.

This cheat sheet is your fast track to squeezing the most you can out of what Google is still offering.

How Google changed from local business benefactor to competitor

It may not come naturally, at first, to think of Google as a competitor. For many years in the local space, their offering of significant free screen real estate to any eligible local enterprise was like a gift. But, in their understandable quest for maximum profitability, Google is increasingly monetizing their local product, while at the same time giving more space to public sentiment when it comes to your brand’s reputation.

As this trend continues, your business needs to know which features of the Google Knowledge Panel that appear when searchers seek you by name can be controlled. You’ll also want to know which of these features has the most potential to influence rankings and consumers. We’ll explore both topics, as follows.

Core features on most Google Knowledge Panels

Different industries have different Knowledge Panel features, but the following graphic and key represent the elements that commonly pertain to most business categories. Each numbered feature will be described and designated as controllable “yes” or controllable “no” in the accompanying key. Some features will be labeled controllable “partly”, with notes explaining that designation. You will also discover pro tips for best practices, where appropriate.

1.) Photos & videos

When clicked on, this takes the user to both owner and user-generated photos in a set. Photos significantly impact CTR. Photos must be monitored for spam.

On mobile, there is a separate tab for photos, beyond the initial profile images.

Pro Tip: Videos can also be posted to your photos section, but try to post more than 2 videos so that you’ll get a separate mobile video subtab.

Partly; this is both an owner and crowdsourced element.

2.) Maps

When clicked on, this takes the user to the Maps-based Knowledge Panel accompanied by map with pin. Be sure your map marker is correctly placed.

Partly; owner can correct misplaced map marker, but users can submit placement edits, too.

3.) Exterior photo

When clicked on, this takes the user to an interactive Google Street View visual of the business.

*On mobile, no separate space is given to exterior photos.

Partly; owner can correct misplaced map marker.

4.) Business name

This must reflect the real-world name of the business and be formatted according to Google’s guidelines.

Pro Tip: If your enterprise is a Service Area Business, like a plumbing franchise with no storefronts, your name should match what appears on your website.

Yes; owner provides, though public can edit.

5.) Maps star

When clicked on, this gives users the option to either save the location to their map, or to view the location on Maps. Very little has been published about this easily overlooked feature. Users who star a location then see it as a star in the future on their maps. They are a form of “lists.” It might be posited that a business which many have starred might see some form of ranking boost, but this is speculative.

*On mobile, there is no Maps star. There is a “save” icon instead.

No.

6.) Website button

When clicked on, this takes the user to the website of the company. In multi-practitioner and multi-location scenarios, care must be taken that this link points to the right URL.

Pro Tip: Large, multi-location enterprises should consider pointing each location’s Knowledge Panel to the right landing page. According to a new study, when both brand- and location-specific pages exist, 85% of all consumer engagement takes place on the local pages (e.g., Facebook Local Pages, local landing pages). A minority of impressions and engagement (15%) happen on national or brand pages.

Yes; owner provides, though public can edit.

7.) Directions button

When clicked on, this takes the user to the Maps-based widget that enables them to designate a starting point and receive driving directions and traffic alerts. Be sure to check directions for each location of your enterprise to protect consumers from misdirection.

Partly; owner and the public can report incorrect directions.

8.) Review stars and count

The star portion of the section is not an average; it’s something like a “Bayesian average.” The count (which is sometimes inaccurate), when clicked, takes you to the separate review interface overlay where all reviews can be read. Review count and sentiment are believed to impact local rankings, but the degree of impact is speculative. Review sentiment is believed to highly impact conversions.

Pro Tip: While Google is fine with your business asking for reviews, never offer incentives of any kind in exchange for them. Also, avoid bulk review requests, as they can result in your reviews being filtered out.

Partly; owner can encourage, monitor, thumb up, and respond to reviews, as well as reporting spam reviews; public can also flag reviews as well as thumbing them up.

9.) Editorial summary

This is generated by Google via unconfirmed processes and is meant to provide a summarized description of the business.

No.

10.) Address

For brick-and-mortar businesses, this line must display a genuine, physical address. For service area businesses, this line should simply show the city/state for the business, based on hide-address settings in the GMB dashboard.

Yes; owner provides, though public can edit.

11.) Hours

When clicked on, a dropdown displays the complete hours of operation for the business. Care must be taken to accurately reflect seasonal and holiday hours.

Yes; owner provides, though public can edit.

12.) Phone

This number must connect as directly as possible to the location. On desktop, this number can be clicked, which will dial it up via Hangouts. A business can add more than one phone number to their GMB dashboard, but it will not display publicly.

*On mobile, there is no phone number displayed; just a call icon.

Pro Tip: The most popular solution to the need to implement call tracking is to list the call tracking number as the primary number and the store location number as the additional number. Provided that the additional number matches what Google finds on the website, no serious problems have been reported from utilizing this strategy since it was first suggested in 2017.

Yes; owner provides, though public can edit.

13.) Suggest an edit link

This is the most visible vehicle for the public to report problems with listing data. It can be used positively or maliciously.

No.

14.) Google Posts

Introduced in 2017, this form of microblogging enables businesses to post short content with links, imagery, and video right to their Knowledge Panels. It’s believed use of Google Posts may impact local rank. Each Google post lasts for 7 days, unless its content is designated as an “event,” in which case the…

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