If something is written about your brand online, you want to know about it, right?
That’s even more true if it’s an authoritative source speaking about your brand and giving information to the public about what you sell, where you’re located, your hours, your website, and more.
Why do you want to claim knowledge panels? You get to control the narrative. When you tell Google you’re the owner of that brand, you can make sure the information is accurate and up to date.
This is a critical step when you’re using SEO to build your brand.
To claim knowledge panels for your brand is relatively simple and something you want to get on top of to keep customers coming through your doors or to your website with consistency, arming them with the right information.
What Are Google Knowledge Panels?
You don’t have to use too much imagination. Remember the last time you googled anything? The information you were looking for just popped up, towards the top of the screen, with relevant data all in one place.
Enter Google Knowledge Panels. You don’t have to know what they’re called to know what they are. They are the boxes of information you see near the top of a Google search for anything from a person to a brand.
Knowledge panels can include:
- a brand or entity name
- details about the person or brand
- contact information
- featured images
According to Google, it uses different factors to decide what goes in that panel. As you start to look around, you’ll start to notice some information seems gathered from other sources, such as Wikipedia or other online websites.
In addition, Google uses its data involving keyword searches and questions people tend to ask regarding that particular entity or item, and it pulls those questions and answers in.
It’s all based on Google’s Knowledge Graph. Google uses all that data to build the knowledge panels you see when you search for something. These aren’t necessarily generated by the person who has claimed their Google knowledge panel.
Now, let’s look at a couple of examples.
This one is about watermelons. It’s not specifically owned by anyone in particular and therefore not claimable.
Here is an example of a knowledge panel associated with a person. She could go in and claim it using the button on the bottom left.
We’ll discuss more about how this works.
Why Should You Claim Knowledge Panels in Google?
Is it worth taking the time to claim knowledge panels in Google? If you’re the owner of a brand with a knowledge panel, you can verify your relationship to that entity and at least influence some of the information provided in the panel.
There are several reasons why you should consider taking the time to claim knowledge panels:
- increase control over what’s being highlighted about your brand
- ensure accurate and up-to-date information
- keep social media profile links up to date
- choose which featured images are used
- have a more engaged relationship with what Google is showing about your brand
While you don’t have direct access to the panel to make changes, by claiming your knowledge panel, you have Google’s ear, so to speak. You can send in a suggestion or request an update with your Google account associated with that knowledge panel so when Google receives your request, it knows it’s coming from an authoritative source.
Steps to Claim Knowledge Panels in Google
ow you’re ready to claim knowledge panels that relate to you, your brand, or entities that you represent in Google. Here are some steps to get you started:
1. Sign in to Your Google Account
You need to have a Google account to be able to claim knowledge panels. If you have a Gmail address or other Google product where you’ve set up an account, then you are good to go. If not, go ahead and set one up. To continue, you’ll need to be logged in.
Now log in to your preferred Google account. If you use a specific account for your brand or your related business needs, sign in to that one.
2. Search for the Knowledge Panel Topic
Once you’re logged in, use Google to search for yourself, your brand, your entity, or your organization. It may seem self-explanatory, but you need to actually type in the entity for which knowledge panel you’re looking for.
The goal here is to pull up the knowledge panel like any other searcher on the internet would see it. There is no back-end way to see the knowledge panel, like the development or content end of your website.
The nice thing about this is you’ll be able to see what users see. Maybe since you’re sitting down to work on this anyway, you may think of related topics you want to check out. You can do that from here by performing a search for that knowledge panel.
Now that you’ve searched for it, you should see the brand or other name at the top of the knowledge panel. If not, search again. Many brands or organizations have similar or even identical names, so make sure you see yours before continuing. You don’t want to accidentally claim someone else’s—or get stuck not being able to claim your own.
3. Click the Claim Knowledge Panels Link
Look for the link on the bottom that says, “Claim This Knowledge Panel.”
The button is located at the bottom of the box surrounding the knowledge panel. The size may vary, but all are surrounded by a thin line.
Go ahead and click the link. If you don’t see it, the knowledge panel may already be claimed by another entity. Make sure you’re looking at the right panel.
Here you will be able to review the available features. As we mentioned above, knowledge panels are not created by those who claim or verify them. Google uses various algorithms and machine knowledge to pull what it deems to be relevant information into these panels.
4. Look for Profiles You Can Use to Claim Knowledge Panels
Google uses a number of different connections on other web platforms that you can sign into to prove your identity or relation to the knowledge panel you want to claim. You can choose from YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and more. Once you sign in to one of these, you’ve claimed your knowledge panel and can make updates or changes as available.
5. Give Others Access
Once you’ve gone through all the work to claim your knowledge panel, you may want to make sure other people on your team have access to your brand’s knowledge panels as well.
To do this, you need to be logged in to the same Google account you used to claim the panel. Go to Google’s Manage User page.
Click to add people and then add the email addresses of those you want to give access to your knowledge panels. Choose which levels of permission you want to give them. Every level has the option to go in and suggest changes to your knowledge panel, which we will discuss in more detail below. However, an owner or manager can add or delete others from access.
7 Steps to Update Your Google Knowledge Panel
Now that you have verified yourself and have claimed your knowledge panel, you can begin the work of actually managing it.
This won’t eat up all your time or require constant maintenance, but you may want to check in every once in a while. If you do see an error in your Google knowledge panel or if one has been reported to you, you can take certain steps to make necessary updates. It’s at Google’s discretion, however, so it may take some time and patience.
- Sign In
Make sure you’re logged in to the Google account you used to claim your knowledge panel, or the one someone used to gain you access to the knowledge panel. Otherwise, Google won’t recognize you as someone related to that account.
In addition, you need to turn on “Web and App Activities” under Google’s Activity Controls in your Google account. Essentially, this helps track your steps as you are moving around your searches and helps Google ensure you have access to the knowledge panel.
- Search for the Knowledge Panel
Just as when you claimed your knowledge panel, you need to use Google Search to look for the entity whose knowledge panel you want to update. Googling your brand’s name is probably the best and easiest way to get there, but remember to look carefully at the knowledge panel and make sure it’s referencing the entity you intended. If not, keep searching until you find the right one.
- Click Suggest Edits
If you are logged in to the correct Google account and are looking at the associated knowledge panel, you should see a link at the top of the knowledge panel that says “Suggest Edits” or a similar iteration. If you don’t see it, verify you are signed in correctly and are looking at the right knowledge panel.
When you are, go ahead and click it. This is your portal for suggesting updates.
- Choose What You Want to Update
Click the area you want to update. You will be doing each one separately, so if you have more than one change you would like to see, just start with one, and you can continue with more changes later.
Areas you want to update might include images, descriptions or titles, social media profile links, and more.
Here is an example using Boden’s knowledge panel. You can see how each bit of information is broken into different options. You can choose which section you want to suggest an update for.
- Write Out Your Suggested Updates
Because this is Google’s product and not one you can directly control yourself, you can’t just go in and make updates on the areas you would like.
You can, however, ask Google to go in and review your suggestions.
When you click on the area you want to update, a small text box will open where you can enter your suggested update.
Be as specific as possible and provide as much background as you can. This helps the reviewer on Google’s end have as much context as possible to understand the logic behind the suggested change. You can also provide links to any websites or pages to verify your requested change.
This isn’t the easy part, but you will have to wait for your review to be accepted. Google will manually review your suggestion and check for verifiable information online to back up your update for accuracy. That’s why providing the specifics and URLs as mentioned above is important.
When Google accepts your updates, you will be contacted via email.
- Create More Suggestions
You should send each update as a separate request. In other words, if you want to see the image updated as well as social media profile links, you should do these separately.
This keeps the review process clean and easy to follow. It also allows you to be specific and detailed without muddling your requests.
Get in there and make suggestions for updates whenever you deem necessary.
Knowing what people are learning about you and your brand is key to understanding how the public perceives you. If the information at the top of a Google search isn’t accurate or isn’t reflective of what you want to project, you need to claim knowledge panels and request those updates are made.
Claiming knowledge panels can give you at least a little more control over how your brand appears in a Google search, but it’s not the end. In fact, it’s just one step in building an online brand and SEO. There’s so much you can do to improve your SEO and stay in front of your customer base with the knowledge they need to interact with your brand well.
Have you claimed your brand’s Google knowledge panel yet?
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How to Write For Google
Are you writing your SEO content based on the latest best practice tips?
I originally wrote this SEO copywriting checklist in 2012—my, how things have changed. Today, Google stresses quality content even more than before, conversational copy is critical, and there are revised SEO writing “rules.”
I’ve updated the list to reflect these changes and to provide additional information.
As a side note, I would argue that there’s no such thing as “writing for Google.” Yes, there are certain things you should do to make the Google gods happy. However, your most important goal should be writing clear, compelling, standout copy that tells a story.
I’m keeping the old headline in the hopes that I can convert some of the “write for Google” people to do things the right way.
Items to review before you start your SEO writing project
– Do you have enough information about your target reader?
Your copy will pack a powerful one-two punch if your content is laser-focused on your target reader. Ask your client or supervisor for a customer/reader persona document outlining your target readers’ specific characteristics. If the client doesn’t have a customer persona document, be prepared to spend an hour or more asking detailed questions.
Here’s more information on customer personas.
– Writing a sales page? Did you interview the client?
It’s essential to interview new clients and to learn more about their company, USP, and competition. Don’t forget to ask about industry buzzwords that should appear in the content.
Not sure what questions to ask to get the copywriting ball rolling? Here’s a list of 56 questions you can start with today.
– Writing a blog post? Get topic ideas from smart sources
When you’re blogging, it’s tempting to write about whatever strikes your fancy. The challenge is, what interests you may not interest your readers. If you want to make sure you’re writing must-read content, sites like Quora, LinkedIn, Google Trends, and BuzzSumo can help spark some ideas.
– Did you use Google for competitive intelligence ideas?
Check out the sites positioning in the top-10 and look for common characteristics. How long are competing articles? Do the articles link out to authoritative sources? Are there videos or infographics? Do the articles include quotes from industry experts? Your job is to write an essay that’s better than what’s already appearing in the top-10 — so let the competition be your guide.
– Did you conduct keyphrase research?
Yes, keyphrase research (and content optimization) is still a crucial SEO step. If you don’t give Google some keyphrase “cues,” your page probably won’t position the way you want.
Use a keyphrase research tool and find possible keyphrases for your page or post. As a hint: if you are tightly focusing on a topic, long-tail keyphrases are your best bet. Here’s more information about why long-tail keyphrases are so important.
If you are researching B2B keyphrases, know that the “traditional” keyphrase research steps may not apply. Here’s more information about what to do if B2B keyphrase research doesn’t work.
– What is your per-page keyphrase focus?
Writers are no longer forced to include the exact-match keyphrase over and over again. (Hurray!) Today, we can focus on a keyphrase theme that matches the search intent and weave in multiple related keyphrases.
– Did you expand your keyphrase research to include synonyms and close variants?
Don’t be afraid to include keyphrase synonyms and close variants on your page. Doing so opens up your positioning opportunities, makes your copy better, and is much easier to write!
Are you wondering if you should include your keyphrases as you write the copy — or edit them in later? It’s up to you! Here are the pros and cons of both processes.
— Do your keyphrases match the search intent?
Remember that Google is “the decider” when it comes to search intent. If you’re writing a sales page — and your desired keyphrase pulls up informational blog posts in Google – your sales page probably won’t position.
— Writing a blog post? Does your Title/headline work for SEO, social, and your readers?
Yes, you want your headline to be compelling, but you also want it to be keyphrase rich. Always include your main page keyphrase (or a close variant) in your Title and work in other keyphrases if they “fit.”
– Did you include keyphrase-rich subheadlines?
Subheadlines are an excellent way to visually break up your text, making it easy for readers to quick-scan your benefits and information. Additionally, just like with the H1 headline, adding a keyphrase to your subheadlines can (slightly) help reinforce keyphrase relevancy.
As a hint, sometimes, you can write a question-oriented subheadline and slip the keyphrase in more easily. Here’s more information about why answering questions is a powerful SEO content play.
– Is your Title “clickable” and compelling?
Remember, the search engine results page is your first opportunity for conversion. Focusing too much on what you think Google “wants” may take away your Title’s conversion power.
Consider how you can create an enticing Title that “gets the click” over the other search result listings. You have about 59 characters (with spaces) to work with, so writing tight is essential.
– Does the meta description fit the intent of the page?
Yes, writers should create a meta description for every page. Why? Because they tell the reader what the landing page is about and help increase SERP conversions. Try experimenting with different calls-to-actions at the end, such as “learn more” or “apply now.” You never know what will entice your readers to click!
– Is your content written in a conversational style?
With voice search gaining prominence, copy that’s written in a conversational style is even more critical.
Read your copy out loud and hear how it sounds. Does it flow? Or does it sound too formal? If you’re writing for a regulated industry, such as finance, legal, or healthcare, you may not be able to push the conversational envelope too much. Otherwise, write like you talk.
Here’s how to explain why conversational content is so important.
–Is your copy laser-focused on your audience?
A big mistake some writers make is creating copy that appeals to “everyone” rather than their specific target reader. Writing sales and blog pages that are laser-focused on your audience will boost your conversions and keep readers checking out your copy longer. Here’s how one company does it.
Plus, you don’t receive special “Google points” for writing long content. Even short copy can position if it fully answers the searcher’s query. Your readers don’t want to wade through 1,500 words to find something that can be explained in 300 words.
Items to review after you’ve written the page
– Did you use too many keyphrases?
Remember, there is no such thing as keyword density. If your content sounds keyphrase-heavy and stilted, reduce the keyphrase usage and focus more on your readers’ experience. Your page doesn’t receive bonus points for exact-matching your keyphrase multiple times. If your page sounds keyphrase stuffed when you read it out loud, dial back your keyphrase usage.
– Did you edit your content?
Resist the urge to upload your content as soon as you write it. Put it away and come back to it after a few hours (or even the next day.) Discover why editing your Web writing is so very important. Also, don’t think that adding typos will help your page position. They won’t.
– Is the content interesting to read?
Yes, it’s OK if your copy has a little personality. Here’s more information about working with your page’s tone and feel and how to avoid the “yawn response.” Plus, know that even FAQ pages can help with conversions — and yes, even position.
– Are your sentences and paragraphs easy to read?
Vary your sentence structure so you have a combination of longer and shorter sentences. If you find your sentences creeping over 30 or so words, edit them down and make them punchier. Your writing will have more impact if you do.
Plus, long paragraphs without much white space are hard to read off a computer monitor – and even harder to read on a smartphone. Split up your long paragraphs into shorter ones. Please.
– Are you forcing your reader onto a “dead end” page?
“Dead-end” pages (pages that don’t link out to related pages) can stop your readers dead in their tracks and hurt your conversion goals.
Want to avoid this? Read more about “dead-end” Web pages.
– Does the content provide the reader with valuable information?
Google warns against sites with “thin,” low-quality content that’s poorly written. In fact, according to Google, spelling errors are a bigger boo-boo than broken HTML. Make sure your final draft is typo-free, written well, and thoroughly answers the searcher’s query.
Want to know what Google considers quality content — directly from Google? Here are Google’s Quality Raters guidelines for more information.
– Did you use bullet points where appropriate?
If you find yourself writing a list-like sentence, use bullet points instead. Your readers will thank you, and the items will be much easier to read.
Plus, you can write your bullet points in a way that makes your benefit statements pop, front and center. Here’s how Nike does it.
– Is the primary CTA (call-to-action) clear–and is it easy to take action?
What action do you want your readers to take? Do you want them to contact you? Buy something? Sign up for your newsletter? Make sure you’re telling your reader what you want them to do, and make taking action easy. If you force people to answer multiple questions just to fill out a “contact us” form, you run the risk of people bailing out.
Here’s a list of seven CTA techniques that work.
– Do you have a secondary CTA (such as a newsletter signup or downloading a white paper?)
Do you want readers to sign up for your newsletter or learn about related products? Don’t bury your “sign up for our newsletter” button in the footer text. Instead, test different CTA locations (for instance, try including a newsletter signup link at the bottom of every blog post) and see where you get the most conversions.
– Does the page include too many choices?
It’s important to keep your reader focused on your primary and secondary CTAs. If your page lists too many choices (for example, a large, scrolling page of products), consider eliminating all “unnecessary” options that don’t support your primary call-to-action. Too many choices may force your readers into not taking any action at all.
– Did you include benefit statements?
People make purchase decisions based on what’s in it for them (yes, even your B2B buyers.) Highly specific benefit statements will help your page convert like crazy. Don’t forget to include a benefit statement in your Title (whenever possible) like “free shipping” or “sale.” Seeing this on the search results page will catch your readers’ eyes, tempting them to click the link and check out your site.
– Do you have vertical-specific testimonials?
It’s incredible how many great sales pages are testimonial-free. Testimonials are a must for any site, as they offer third-party proof that your product or service is superior. Plus, your testimonials can help you write better, more benefit-driven sales pages and fantastic comparison-review pages.
Here’s a way to make your testimonials more powerful.
And finally — the most important question:
– Does your content stand out and genuinely deserve a top position?
SEO writing is more than shoving keyphrases into the content. If you want to be rewarded by Google (and your readers), your content must stand out — not be a carbon copy of the current top-10 results. Take a hard look at your content and compare it against what’s currently positioning. Have you fully answered the searcher’s query? Did you weave in other value-added resources, such as expert quotes, links to external and internal resources (such as FAQ pages), videos, and graphics?
If so, congratulations! You’ve done your job.
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