Whenever you’re on Google.com doing a search and you type the name of a company into the search bar and hit “enter,” the results you get back will often include something called a “Knowledge Panel.” Displaying somewhere on your computer or device screen, the Google Knowledge Panel is a box of information about that particular business. The basic panel is assembled by Google and includes location and contact information, a photo of the street view of the business, and a link to the business’s website.
On a desktop computer, the Google Knowledge panel is on the right side of the search results page.
On a mobile device, the panel is usually the first Google search result to display on your phone.
The first reason you need the Google knowledge panel is that it is highly visible real estate on Google’s search results page. The images in the knowledge panel and the box around the panel draw the attention of the user’s eye. If Google creates and displays a knowledge panel for your business, you’d be crazy not to take advantage of the opportunity to provide accurate, complete and optimized information that could bring you new leads.
The second reason is equally important. There is a good chance that verifying your location will have a positive impact on your company’s SEO and local search results. (To learn more about SEO, read our article about a five-step process for SEO.)
Claim Your Knowledge Panel
To get started, if Google has auto-generated a knowledge panel for your company, Google lets you “claim” and verify your business information. The easiest way to begin this process is to click the link on your company’s knowledge panel that says, “Own this business?” This link takes you to your company’s listing on Google My Business. (Note: If Google has not auto-generated a knowledge panel for your company, then go directly to Google My Business and register your company.)
Once you get to your Google My Business page, you will complete a very simple five-step questionnaire to confirm your business information.
After you confirm the business name and location, you will be asked a series of questions like “Do you also serve customers outside this location?” (Google supplies some help here by saying, further, “For example, if you visit or deliver to your customers, you can let them know where you are willing to go.”).
Then, you will be asked to choose a category/industry for your business and you will be given an opportunity to add your website address.
Verify Your Business
The final step is the actual verification of your location. Google wants to verify the business address by mailing a verification code to the physical address you have listed for the knowledge panel. This usually takes five to seven business days. Once you receive the code in the mail, you will return to the Google My Business page, log in, and enter your verification code number. Then, your listing is verified.
After you verify your listing, you will see additional features that are available only to verified businesses. Here are some suggestions for getting the most out of Google’s knowledge panel.
- Pictures (or videos) – To show a potential customer what your business is like, add images showing the inside/interior of your location and some pics of your staff. Photos of your facility’s exterior, or of the grounds, can be helpful, too, for some businesses.
- Posts – We recommend adding short posts of 150-350 characters to your knowledge panel. The posts can be up to 1,500 characters, but brief is often better. This is one more place on the web where your content marketing can live and work for you.
- Services – Highlight your business, services, and the benefits you provide to your customers.
- Reviews – When you have a happy customer, ask him to give you a Google review on your knowledge panel. These reviews are quickly spotted by potential customers and could work in your favor to bring you leads.
- Hours – Let your customers know when you are open so they will be encouraged to call or drop by.
- Q & A’S – Use the Google knowledge panel to answer questions for and by potential customers.
- Facebook Reviews – Google gives value to a business’s social media presence. Here on the knowledge panel, Google displays the review/rating from your Facebook followers.
If you want to be a power user of the Google knowledge panel, we recommend downloading the free Google My Business mobile app. This app is available for both iOS in the App Store and Android in the Google Play store. The convenient app will let you manage your business listing, keep up with the notifications, and connect with customers using your mobile device.
Here are some of the things Google says you can do with their app:
- Manage how your local business appears on Google Search and Maps
- Edit your business information (e.g. address, phone number, and hours)
- Respond to reviews, questions, and messages from customers
- Share new photos and post updates on special offers and events
- See how customers find and interact with your business on Google