Proactive Online Reputation Management by Working with Google’s Knowledge Graph
Jason Barnard who is a famous Brand SERP guy, came to Ukraine this year. We had a spontaneous walk around Kyiv talking about online reputation management, SEO, knowledge graphs, knowledge vault, digital marketing, PR and everything around that. And recorded most of it and now it’s for you to see on YouTube:
Or if you prefer reading, I’ve edited it a bit and here you go.
You can jump to any section you like or just read as it goes. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.
- Approach towards ORM for an SEO-specialist
- Competitors in your Knowledge Panel
- How to prepare for possible negative attack
- Where do I begin?
- Role of schema
- SameAs spam
- Confidence score
- Knowledge graph verticals
- How to trigger a Knowledge Panel?
- About Jason
How Can SEO-Specialist Approach ORM
Jason’s approach is very much proactive brand SERP and knowledge panel management. The idea is that if you organize and control what Google is showing, when people Google your brand name or your personal name, you really can easily control the reputation.
Once you control your brand SERP and all your knowledge panel, you can control what appears, what doesn’t appear. You can basically tell Google, educate Google, what you want it to show your audience about you.
Reputation management doesn’t come from a negative point of view. It isn’t saying, this is bad, I need to get rid of the bad stuff. It’s saying, I want this to represent correctly, positively, accurately, and convincingly. Now, when you’ve got something negative on the brand SERP, traditionally, what our online reputation management experts will do is create new content to try to drown it.
That can be helpful, but it isn’t ideal. The problem with new content of course, is that that new content won’t have any historic value in Google’s eyes. It won’t have backlinks. So that’s an awful lot of work that you need to do to put into getting that to rank. But if you look at page two of your brand SERP, you can find all the stuff that Google is ranking, but it’s not convinced a hundred percent that it’s really representative of you.
All you then need to do is convince Google that that great content on page two represents you and Google can push it up onto page one, which would then push the negative content down and off page one onto page two. I call that leapfrogging. It’s taking great content that’s underneath that bad result, promoting it, doing some SEO for others.
Do SEO for somebody else. Push that page up onto your brand SERP, pushing that bad content off. Solves your problem. And it’s much more effective, much more efficient, much more honest than creating brand new content, bespoke content. And also when you create bespoke content specifically for that reason, your audience isn’t necessarily interested.
Google will tend to figure that out for itself because it wants to show your audience things that are valuable and helpful to them when they are searching your brand name.
First of all, Wikipedia will tend to rank page one when there is a Wikipedia article about the entity, which means that if that Wikipedia article is negative or inaccurate in any way it’s going to rank.
And it’s very difficult to get rid of. So you’re taking a risk. If you go down the Wikipedia route, you’re allowing the Wikipedia editors to say what they want about you. You don’t have direct control.
But It Makes Getting Knowledge Panel Easier
What a lot of people say is if I create a Wikipedia article, I will get a knowledge panel. But the problem with that is that you get the knowledge panel on the terms of Wikipedia. Whatever Wikipedia says is going to be taken to the truth, which means you lack control.
Nowadays, about 50% of knowledge panels are driven by Wikipedia. That means 50% aren’t. That means you don’t need Wikipedia and Rand Fishkin actually had his Wikipedia article deleted because he said, I don’t want some Wikipedia to be controlling my brand message, controlling the truth about me or my brand SERP. And I think Rand Fishkin was right. I don’t think Wikipedia is a great way to go forward.
How to Fix Wrong Information Issue in a Knowledge Panel
Jason had a client who got wrong annual revenue in their company knowledge panel. They wanted to get rid of that. Google has taken the information from a third-party source. That third party source has got it wrong in this case, it’s not Wikipedia, but it could have been Wikipedia.
The answer to that problem in terms of reputation is to provide that information on your own site.
Optimize that information, that page. It will then rank for that specific query. And it will probably appear in the knowledge panel, which gives you control.
Reputation in the knowledge panel becomes incredibly important. Especially now when the knowledge panel not only has the facts, but has entity statements, which are basically questions people ask with the answer in the knowledge panel on the right hand side. And that is presented as fact by Google.
That is, if somebody says, or one of the questions that Google is showing in that knowledge panel is, for example, if the SNCF is legitimate. If you let somebody else answer that question, it could potentially be negative.
If you answer the question on your own site, you give yourself a very good chance of getting the answer, your answer in your own knowledge panel, controlling it and not having that reputation problem.
Competitors in Your Knowledge Panel
Once Google starts showing competitors on your brand SERP, underneath your knowledge panel, if users are clicking on them, if users are interested, Google will tend to leave them.
If Google sees a close relationship that it thinks is significant and valuable and relevant, it will keep showing those related entities.
So in those two cases, you’re really struggling to get rid of them if you want to. You need to demonstrate to Google that another entity is more closely related to you than the entity it’s currently showing.
And that is very difficult to do. But if you look at it the other way round, if your competitors are showing on your brand SERP, you presumably can easily be shown on their brand SERP. And from Google’s perspective, that’s really logical. It’s saying here’s a company you’ve searched for and it will show you equivalent companies that it thinks you would be interested in.
That’s a good experience for the user, not a good experience for you as a marketer. But if one is smart, they can really take advantage of it by doing a great job to valorize their brand in their SERP. Which is arguably an opportunity, not a loss.
How to prepare for possible negative attack
If you consider that Google is projecting, what it thinks is our correct brand message to its users. Then we need to make sure that Google’s correctly understood it. And we should start today. We shouldn’t wait until there’s a problem. Because when there’s a problem it’s really difficult to deal with. With bad results coming up on your brand SERP, you would expect six months of work to get rid of it completely.
Build a Buffer
But if you spend two years gently, easily, simply building up what Jason calls a buffer. Page one, page two, page three. Totally controlled. Totally great for you. It’s very difficult for that negative content to push through this incredibly representative layer. And the other point is that if you have managed to fix in Google’s mind who you are, what you do, who your audience is, and that you’re trustworthy, and you’re a good company who serves their clients, it doesn’t have the motivation to push that negative content up onto page one, because it doesn’t represent you. Because you have convinced Google, you’ve educated Google about how great you are.
So from Google’s perspective, if one piece of bad information turns up, it will ignore it. If it has enough solid information that proves that you are authoritative and credible for its users. So that buffer is not only a buffer of results. It’s also a buffer of confidence that Google has in your good name.
It’s up to you to build up the buffer, physical buffer on the brand side and the psychological buffer of Google’s incredible confidence in your glory.
Where Do I Begin?
Start on your own website.
Think about what are the things you need to communicate. And start by communicating them to Google on your website. So you make sure that every piece of information, every part of your brand message is communicated clearly, concisely and intelligently on your own website.
And then you build out from there.
You need an about page. That about page needs to state who you are, what you do, who your audience is. Then you need a page, let’s say, for reviews. That states why your customers are so happy with you.
There may be another page that says “In the Press” where you show all the press that you’ve had. This glorious press and you point out to it and you show Google. You say, look, they’re talking about me. I am credible. I am authoritative.
It depends on the company, but you need to build a series of pages, preferably in one silo that really explain to Google and convince Google.
Once again, who you are, what you do, who your audience is and why you’re credible, trustworthy solution for its users. You’ve given it the baseline that way. And then you can build on it by pushing corroboration. And corroboration is for everything on any other sites, all other sites that are authoritative around you.
So it’s building out from your own website. This self-fulfilling perpetuation of the message that you’re giving on your own website, incredibly powerful and a really good trick if you want it.
And the priority is whatever’s appearing on your brand’s SERP in order. You go through it in order, it’s really simple.
Whatever’s at the top is considered to be most important to Google. Your home page — sort it out. Your site links — sort them out. Your social profiles — sort them out. Crunchbase — sort it out.
How It Is Organized in Kalicube.pro
There are two sides. One of which is the knowledge panel, and the other is the brand SERP.
The brand SERP’s side just goes through the brand’s SERP. Line by line and says, do this or do that. And you just do it in order.
There is a full checklist inside. A lot of people tell they don’t need Kalicube, they can do it themselves, which is true. You can just look at your brand SERP, and go through it and do it one by one.
Same thing for the knowledge panel. Getting a knowledge panel is a three-step process. It isn’t very complicated. It takes a lot of work, but yes, you can all do it yourselves. That’s fine and Jason is not hiding anything. The power of Kalicube is to make it faster, more efficient, easier, and more effective for you.
Kalicube organizes everything for you. So you can actually just use Kalicube and keep track of what you’ve done, what you haven’t done. And then track both your brand SERP and your knowledge panel and your presence in the knowledge graph over time. So you can measure how well you’re doing. It’s not only organizing your work. It’s providing measurement and tracking that you can then report with and you can reassure yourself with, and it is also an early warning system because what happens when your three page buffer suddenly becomes a two-and-a-half page buffer.
You’ve got a problem on the horizon sorted out now, before it hits page one. Because these things creep up, so you just need to keep an eye on it. And that’s what Kalicube does.
Role of Schema
A lot of people look at schema and think it’s just the way to get the pretty features in SERPs. That’s fine. But that is really only the tip of the iceberg.
What it does is it explains to Google what it is you’re trying to communicate in any given page in Google’s native language. So it’s taking the content of the page and wrapping it up or reiterating it in Google’s native language.
Why Is That Important?
Because Google has probably understood what’s on your page. Google’s pretty smart. Let’s say, it was 40% confident before you added schema markup. You’re adding a reiteration of what you’ve already said in the page that Google has already understood. And that reiteration in its native language that it can digest natively will boost its confidence, let’s say, to 70%.
And confidence is incredibly important for knowledge panels, for the knowledge graph, for brand SERPs, and for any SEO.
If Google is confident in anything, it will rank.
And so in this context, what we do using schema for is to boost Google’s confidence in its understanding, and potentially give it details that we didn’t necessarily say in the page.
Prove What You Are Saying
The other incredible, powerful thing about schema markup, you can point using sameAs to all the corroborative sources that prove what you’re saying. And once again, confidence. Now what we have is without schema we were 40% confident. With schema we become 70% confident because Google has seen a reiteration in a language it understands natively. Then we point out to the corroboration.
It says on all these third parties say the same thing. We’ve now got to 90-95% confidence. Google is incredibly confident in what that page contains and what you’re trying to communicate with the content in that page. That goes for your about page, your reviews page, the CEO page, the board page, and any page which you’re doing SEO on. Building Google’s confidence is absolutely key throughout SEO and not just on brand SERPs and knowledge panels.
Get your PR to boost Google’s confidence in its understanding of you.
And that proactive, preemptive PR is going to save you the effort down the line when any kind of problem does appear. And the other thing about PR, it’s not just about reputation management, it’s also about the knowledge graph and Google’s understanding of, as in the knowledge graph.
What Happens With the Knowledge Graph Confidence Score
If you’ve ever looked at Kalicube.pro, the free tool, you can look up in the knowledge graph using the API from Google, whether an entity is in the knowledge graph or not. And what confidence Google has.
You’ll get the presence in the knowledge graph. You’ll build up a confidence score. Let’s say a 1000 which is a good score. That’s based on the information you’ve provided in the corroborative sources, you’ve indicated. To boost beyond that thousand takes PR, news, coverage, recent events, recent things that are being talked about on authoritative expert sites within your niche. So the PR is necessary just to build up the knowledge graph presence.
It also plays off into the proactive ORM we were talking about earlier on. It also helps your PR, brings in new clients, it’s a win, win, win situation.
How Is It Different from Building Links?
Jason personally doesn’t particularly like building backlinks. He doesn’t think it’s something we need to do. Mentions are fine. You don’t need a backlink from The Guardian or The Times or The New York Times. You can actually just have it on your Press page and point to it using sameAs, or a link directly to them saying, yes, that is about us.
And that’s absolutely fine. That helps Google to understand that this article is actually about us. We can corroborate it ourselves. So getting a link back from them is not actually necessary from a Google’s perspective. Beyond that, the idea of PR is aiming at the right targets and the right targets and PR are the ones that are the most relevant to your audience.
At Kalicube, we will take what we call equivalent entities. We will take a hundred equivalent entities. And equivalent entity is an entity, same type of entity, a person, a brand, a podcast, a music album, a product that’s in the same geo region and in the same industry. And we take those and we analyze them and we find what is ranking on the brand SERPs, what is appearing in the knowledge panels.
Then we can identify which of the sources Google is looking at, which are other sources that Google is promoting, prioritizing within that industry.
Jason had a client who was another NFL player in America. And they needed news. They needed some news to boost his visibility, his career. They gave a hundred NFL players. Jason pushed them all into the Kalicube system and came up with the top news sites, the top video sites, the top social sites. And they could then go to the news sites and they could pitch their PR to the top five news sites for that industry, that entity type, in that country, i.e. an NFL player in America.
What that meant is that they only had to pitch five companies to get the news, to get the pieces of news they needed to boost his career instead of the 20 they usually had to aim for. They could prioritize it because they knew which news outlets ranked within this industry for that entity type in that geo region in the order of importance, in the order of priority.
This is the order that Google is looking at from 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, which is immeasurably useful, because you know, you’re aiming at the right targets when you do your PR outreach.
It’s totally counterproductive.
You can think, oh, I’ll just put as much in there as I can. But what you end up doing is throwing so many entities at Google that it just doesn’t make any sense anymore. For mentions, for example, between four, six, maybe eight tops mentions is enough. Because you don’t want to disperse the message too much.
What are the eight, maximum eight, four to eight entities that actually matter to this page?
What are the eight entities that identify the topic of this page?
What we’re talking about and the validity of what we’re saying?
Jason knows somebody who spammed sameAs, who pointed to all these different sources, thinking this is absolutely brilliant. They lost their knowledge panel.
Why? Because they were pointing to too many sources, but they didn’t make sense, didn’t corroborate and, or weren’t authoritative. So they thought if I throw all of this information at Google, Google will figure out.
What Google actually does is say, I’m not sure any more.
If we look at Google as a child. When a child isn’t sure, it stops talking. When Google isn’t sure, when Google isn’t confident, it says, I better not say anything cause I’m not sure anymore.
So it disappears. Confidence is so important. And if you just throw everything at it, you’re going to break that confidence because you’re throwing so much confusing, contradictory information at it. It’ll just get lost like a child. That’s not how you educate.
How to Measure Confidence Score
You can view a score within Kalicube. There are a control score and a quality score. Initially Google’s API confidence score was used to measure presence in the knowledge graph, but there were multiple problems with that.
First, not all knowledge panels are triggered by the main knowledge graph. Therefore, you can’t measure the confidence score for different verticals within knowledge graph, which means that the given score doesn’t mean anything outside of that specific area.
The other is that, once you’ve got to a certain level it’s news, that’s going to make that confidence score go up. And news actually isn’t a measure of understanding or confidence and understanding. It’s a measure of getting overexcited about this particular entity.
Jason uses the Beatles as a measurement stick. For example, John Lennon had a competence score that was fairly flat.
And then in January, 2021, it went right up. It absolutely shot up. What had happened? In December, 2020 was the anniversary of his death. So there was absolutely loads of news about him. So the competence score in the knowledge graph went up, but in terms of what they are actually trying to do pragmatically and practically at Kalicube that actually isn’t a helpful measurement in and of itself.
Other things need to come into play. They are actually building a score that will measure both Google’s explicit understanding that it’s showing through its API, but also the knowledge panel what’s being shown there. The quality of the knowledge, the brand SERP, the control of that brand SERP. To bring it all together into one school that says Google understands who you are, what you do, who your audience is. It’s incredibly confident, and you are now able to start controlling what Google is showing your audience when they Google your brand name, which is where Kalicube is going from beginning to end. It’s saying take back control.
You’re the responsible adult. Educate Google. Tell Google what you want it to show. If what you wanted to show is an honest representation of your brand or your person Google will show it. It has no reason to show anything else.
Basically all of SEO is based on three things:
It’s getting Google to understand what it is you’re offering and being confident in that understanding.
Making sure that it thinks you’re a credible solution, which is the credibility, expertise, authority and trust, which is the second one.
And thirdly, providing the content to Google in the format that is relevant for Google SERP or Google’s usage for its users, both on SERP and off SERP.
So those are the three things you’re looking at and the three things would need to be measured separately, understanding and confidence in that understanding, credibility, expertise, authority, and trust, and suitability for Google.
The suitability of what it is you’re offering for Google’s product, which is its SERP. Your suitability of what you’re offering for Google’s users when users are searching for whatever term it might be.
If we come back to what we’re talking about, we’re saying, understanding, confidence in that understanding, credibility, expertise, authority, and trust. And the third one is actually is Google on my brand SERP delivering my brand message as I wrote it.
Lots of companies spend thousands, hundreds of thousand millions of dollars creating a brand image and a brand message. And then don’t bother or don’t think to make sure that their brand message is reflected in their brand SERP. Which is foolish beyond belief because that brand SERP is something their audience will see at some point in their journey.
So making sure that your brand message is being reflected in your brand SERP is phenomenally important, vastly overlooked. And there’s a third aspect of understanding, credibility and representation.
Knowledge Graph Verticals
If you look at Microsoft, they’re really focusing on that one big one knowledge graph, which is why, in Jason’s opinion, Bing is probably slightly better with the focus knowledge graph. Because they’re not dispursing their focus.
In Google, there is the main knowledge graph, what Jason calsl the knowledge vault which is the one the API plugs into. That’s the big daddy of them all.
It’s where Google is going. It’s trying to fill this up with information. But it has multiple other data sources, more or less curated that also contain knowledge and also have knowledge graph id. That would be:
- Google scholars,
- Google books,
- Google podcasts,
- Google maps,
- and the web index actually has a knowledge graph built into it.
And each one of these is in a silo. It’s several vertical knowledge graphs that don’t communicate between each other. And that means that from Jason’s perspective, and this is a guess, but a pretty confident one. Google is taking all these knowledge graphs, including Google My Business, and moving them little by little, into the main knowledge graph.
So that has one global source of information that it can refer to entities, relationships, attributes. That is where Google is going. And that is where Kalicube is driving their clients saying, if you’re in the books vertical, we’re going to gradually move you and your books from that book’s vertical into the main knowledge graph, because that is where the power lies.
That is where you’re going to get your return on investment.
Online reputation without the concept of controlling the brand SERP and the knowledge panel is short-term, even meaningless. In the sense that if you’re just saying, I’m trying to drown this bad content, get rid of it all, make sure that it’s kind of pretty enough to get going with, but you don’t look at the underlying problems.
You don’t look at the overall situation, your overall digital ecosystem. Then you’re making a big mistake because it’s going to keep coming back and you’re not building on Google’s understanding, which is the foundation of everything that’s to come in entity-based SEO and entity-based search. In terms of KPI, that’s exactly what they are working on at Kalicube.
There is a set of measurements, the quality, the control of your brand SERP. There is a measurement for the knowledge panel and they are building a measurement for Google’s confidence in its understanding. There will be four or five different measurements that allow you to then track your progress, track that you’re actually moving forwards, but the fundamental thing you want to be able to boast is that you control what Google understands about you. That Google trusts you as a source.
The day that Google uses the description from your own site in your knowledge panel and does it consistently is the day that Google trusts you to provide information about yourself. And that’s the day you’re really starting to win the war.
How Do I Trigger a Knowledge Panel?
If your company or yourself, you think you should have a knowledge panel, but you don’t. The problem Google is having is what John Mueller from Google calls reconciliation. Reconciliation is basically bringing that information together into one consistent whole that Google can actually make sense of and understand and be confident in its understanding.
If we look at that as a plate, the China plate. Google has lots of fragments of this China plate that it’s found all around the web, and it’s trying to piece them together into the full plate and it can’t do it. It doesn’t know how the puzzle fits together. It doesn’t have a reference. So what you need to do is give it a reference.
You need to give it that plate, the puzzle, all put together correctly with all the right pieces in all the right places. And that involves creating that plate on your site, on the about page on your site. You create the plate. You say who we are, what we do, who our audience is. You give the CV of the company and the CV of the person. And you say, this is the complete plate.
Then Google can take these pieces and it can say I I’ve put it all together and it makes sense. Okay, here we go. And if it was almost there, if it had almost got that plate, right, you will trigger a knowledge panel pretty quickly, in a couple of weeks.
If it was quite a long way away and it hadn’t been able to piece it together at all, or it had some bad pieces in, some pieces that aren’t actually you or it got the pieces in the wrong place, or it didn’t have the sticky glue that stuck it all together correctly and it was all floppy and falling apart. Then it will take something like three months because Google needs to actually reconstitute that puzzle and put it all back together again. So the steps are very simple. It’s saying, all the information is out there. I need to show Google how it all fits together. If I can show Google how it fits together, Google has a comparison to how it has fitted it together.
Once it can fit it together. And it’s confident that it’s fitted it together correctly, you will trigger a knowledge panel.
How to Find out Why the Knowledge Panel Is Not Appearing
If you think it should trigger, but it hasn’t, it’s probably that there are some bad pieces, incorrect pieces.
For example, if it has found a fragment over here, let’s say on Wikidata or on Crunchbase, and the fragment is the wrong shape because it’s incorrect. The information is incorrect. It will be trying to fit this piece in and it won’t fit into the puzzle. So what you need to do is go and correct the source: Wikidata and Crunchbase, whatever it might be.
The piece should correctly fit into the puzzle. And once you do that, Google has this full plate. So until you can get that full plate for Google, you will have a lot of trouble triggering that knowledge panel.
How Do We Know Which Sources to Look at?
Which of the pieces that don’t fit?
And this is where Kalicube.pro comes in is that we look around the web and we look at what Google is looking at for you specifically, and we can prioritize. Which of these sources, Google sees as the most important, so we can prioritize, which are the ones that you need to correct. Once you have corrected those important pieces of information that Google already has, the fragmented plate. And it can kind of put it together and it’s kind of happy if you’re still not triggering a knowledge panel, then we can find the other sources where you are not present within your industry for your geo region, for your entity type, where you need to place the information.
And once you’ve got that, then it isn’t a question of, can you trigger a knowledge panel? It’s how long does it take, how much effort does it take? And as long as you’re aiming at the right pieces, correcting the right pieces, or if the piece doesn’t exist in the case of this industry level question, you create the piece so that Google fits it into the puzzle.
And as long as you’re doing that, there isn’t a concept of notability here, Google isn’t saying they deserve it, or they don’t deserve it. Google just wants to understand. And if Google can understand it will trigger knowledge panel.
Will the Knowledge Panel Trigger When Somebody Searches Your Brand Name?
That’s a different question. The fact that it doesn’t trigger when somebody searches your brand name does not necessarily mean that that knowledge panel does not exist. If you don’t find it try typing, about+[brand name] or about+[person name]. That will tend to encourage Google to trigger the knowledge panel.
And if that doesn’t work, then you can also use Kalicube.Pro. Kalicube.Pro has means to find sprouts, which are the tiny little knowledge panels that just have the company name or the person’s name. But you can’t find in a brand SERP because Google won’t show these sprouts because they don’t contain enough information.
Bill Slawski writes about how Google decides to trigger a knowledge panel in a specific SERP. And a big part of that is do we have enough reliable information to trigger the knowledge panel? Yes or no? And if they don’t have enough information to fill a knowledge panel and knowledge panels are judged in terms of enough information, according to industry and entity type.
So Google knows how much information it wants. For example, for an American footballer in the US, it wants this much. For an author, it maybe only wants that much. So within each industry, we also need to build knowledge panel templates, to understand how much information Google needs in order to want to show this knowledge panel to people.
And I’ll come back to the China plate idea as well because the analogy of a child is really, really useful here. Because Google needs to believe that you are telling the truth with your entity home, with your China plate. And when you have that China plate whole, you’ve explained to Google much like a parent explains to a child.
Then the child goes and asks the baker, the police woman, the headmaster, the teacher. And if all of those people are saying contradictory things, or aren’t explaining it in the same way as the parent, the child will be unconfident about information and won’t really believe it. Google is the same. It needs all of these corroborative sources to repeat the information in much the same way you are giving it on your own site.
And they don’t all have to give all the information. Each of them can give a little bit of information or parts of the information. Some of the information doesn’t matter because you’ve given it the plate to which it could compare it. You are the parent who can re-explain what everybody else is saying. So we’ve got two analogies, the broken plate and the child. And for the child, the equivalent of the broken piece of puzzle, the piece of puzzle that doesn’t fit is if the teacher is saying something different, and if you can correct that piece of information, the child – Google will become confident that what you have told it to start with is true, is reliable, is factual.
Go and shout about it in the playground.
Do You Have to Be Popular to Trigger a Knowledge Panel?
No, very simply.
Everybody kind of assumes that Google is a pseudo Wikipedia, which is foolish. Wikipedia has a concept of Notability. And the idea for Wikipedia is what’s the point of filling an encyclopedia for humans, with people, entities, things, companies who aren’t notable, who are uninteresting to people.
If people aren’t going to spontaneously search for a person, a company, a music group, whatever it might be, there’s no real point in having them in a human searchable encyclopedia, like Wikipedia.
Google doesn’t have the idea of notability because it doesn’t have that problem. Google just wants to understand. Google is a child who wants to understand the whole world, and it doesn’t have any particular judgment on any particular part of the world that it wants to understand more or less than another. It’s just going to try to understand everything.
So from that perspective, everybody can get a knowledge panel because everybody can be understood. And Google just wants to understand everybody because by understanding everybody, like it wants to crawl the whole web, because it wants to have the best opportunity, have all the information possible in order to give the best results to its users.
So from that perspective, don’t worry about Notability in terms of being understood. Notability only then comes into play in terms of, is Google going to trigger a knowledge panel. And then that comes to the question of when does Google trigger a knowledge panel when you search for a brand name.
It will trigger a knowledge panel if it thinks that knowledge panel will be helpful and useful to the user, i.e. it fulfills the intent of the user. So an author in Britain will trigger a knowledge panel in Britain. They might not trigger a knowledge panel in America because the author is not known in America. So that difference is incredibly important because for an American who doesn’t know who that author is, having a knowledge panel would not be helpful and valuable to them because their intent would not be the author.
It would be somebody of the same name in America. Same for a company. Companies in America, in the US have the same name, but they’re different companies. So it would trigger theoretically the knowledge panel for the British company in Britain, the American company in America. And that is good user experience because Google is hoping, expecting, and wanting to fulfill the user’s intent. And the user’s intent is often geo local.
The second aspect of knowledge panels is a knowledge panel can appear and then disappear. And that would imply that user interaction hasn’t been sufficiently high, which indicates users are not actually very interested in this entity, the knowledge panel. And Google will put it away. It uses user interaction in the form of clicks particularly to decide whether or not to keep a knowledge panel.
The last one is ambiguity, and this is where we come into the idea of dominant entities. Because if you have multiple entities with the same name, Google is trying to think which one shall I show?
I don’t know which one they mean with the particular brand name or the person’s name. And then it will show a knowledge panel with see results about for the other entities. How does it decide which one gets the knowledge panel, which one gets to see results about, which one maybe doesn’t show at all?
It’s by dominance of that entity and the dominance comes from notability, confidence, and newsworthiness.
How to Tell Google That I Am NOT This
That’s a really, really problematic situation, whereas it’s actually not possible in schema markup to say this isn’t what it is. You can only say this is what it is.
However, in Wikidata, if you have a Wikidata entry there is a way to say this isn’t the same as the other one. A disambiguation which Jason used a couple of times with great success. The other thing, if you don’t have a Wikidata entry and the basically you need to have both entities, whether Wikidata entry and then say, this is not the same as this to disambiguate.
So if the information that Google has got wrong is information from another company that your company also has. For example, revenue. If it’s taking the revenue from the other company and attributing it to yours, what you would want to do is take your entity home. Explicitly tell Google what your revenue is.
That’s a really good solid signal. If you have the entity home, or if you’re building an entity home, if you’re really early in the stage and you haven’t really got your entity home sorted out the best way to do it is a site like Crunchbase, which shows specific information about the different companies, create an entry for each of them, make that information explicit in both of them and make sure, and this is interesting for companies and for people.
The date of creation of the company is the equivalent of somebody’s birth date. The place of creation of a company is the equivalent of somebody’s place of birth. And that is the most important piece of disambiguating information you can find because it’s permanent. Google is looking for information that’s permanent.
For a person to disambiguate between two people, there are lots of Jason Barnards in the world. There were lots of Jason Barnards in the UK. There’s only one Jason Barnard born on the 5th of June, 1966 in Leeds in the UK. That is a permanent piece of information that can never change.
That Google can rely on. And Google does rely on it in order to disambiguate. And it’s the same for companies. The name of the company, the date it was created, the place it was created are things that never change. Whereas for example the head office will change frequently where I live will change frequently.
So you want to make sure that you really got solid in Google’s brain. Those pieces of fundamental information that never can change, that are permanent pieces of information. Once you have that, you can start building the other information on top much more easily. So in our example, it will be saying if I’m going to state what the revenue is on Crunchbase, I have to make sure that accompanying information is name of company, revenue, data creation, place of creation, because that disambiguates.
How Do We Measure Notability?
Very difficult to do. That is one place where the confidence score in the knowledge graph API does come into play, i.e. the notability, the confidence score would indicate importance, newsworthiness, notability, whatever you want to call it. So that would be a place where you would think that would be a good idea to build up that confidence score in the knowledge graph, because that will increase the probability of the knowledge panel triggering every single time.
Is There Any Way, Except for the News to Become More Notable?
PR. You need news, you need recent news. Jason had a really interesting example. Google’s knowledge graph updates regularly. In Kalicube they track when it updates, the days it updates. And the biggest update we’ve seen so far was in 2019. Jason called it the Budapest update.
And it was massive. Absolutely massive. It changed so much in the knowledge graph. Since then there have never been anything quite so phenomenally large. And what was interesting there is Jason looked into entities that he felt were equivalent to look at how that confidence score changed.
Marilyn Monroe is still famous, is still newsworthy and is still talked about a great deal. And her confidence score went right up. She was in a film with Montgomery Clift who at that time was just as famous as Marilyn Monroe, but today, most people have forgotten him or a lot of people have forgotten him. His score went right down.
There wasn’t any recent news about him. No authoritative recent news talking about him. So the knowledge graph is incredibly sensitive to newsworthiness. And we mentioned John Lennon earlier on. John Lennon’s anniversary of John Lennon’s death in December, 2020 caused his confidence score to go right up.
Obviously he will always trigger so that there isn’t a question of whether or not John Lennon’s knowledge panel will trigger. But in the case of ambiguity, where you have that problem, this is a great example of how you can get that to work.
Do You Need to Appear on the Resources from Google News Tab?
Yes and no. News is phenomenally important, of course, but it’s not just news. It’s videos, it’s interviews. It’s articles about you. On blogs, in authoritative niche. Interviews would be just as good as a BBC article. If it’s truly niche, if it’s truly authoritative. And so at Kalicube.pro they identify these sources by geo, entity type, industry. And it goes from social buzz around the entity to news around the entity, to videos around the entity.
Events are incredibly important. If the entity is involved in sponsoring, or part of, or speaking at an event or multiple events, that tends to be something that really builds Google’s confidence because it understands events.
Because of COVID. Google has built up a very, very quickly it’s understanding of events because it needed to be able to say this has been canceled. This has been delayed. This has been pushed back. So events are a very powerful source of information for Google on which it can build that knowledge. So don’t just think about news.
Think about niche. Blogs. Think about videos. Think about events. Think about books maybe. There are an awful lot of different places that Google can get this notability signal from. Make the most of all of them.
Jason Barnard is the Brand SERP guy. The idea of Jason’s job is that if you search his name, it tells his life story. It tells you who I am, what I do, who my audience is. And it gives you the choice of where you want to connect with Jason.
Jason’s website: https://jasonbarnard.com/
DFY Service on Kalicube
Kalicube’s aim is to focus on building the tool, building understanding, building out a series of techniques and strategies that allow control of the brand SERP and the knowledge panel and get agencies on board.
So the agencies can serve the clients directly and Kalicube really focuses on helping those agencies help their clients. The value that Kalicube can bring is understanding experimentation to get to the bottom of how we educate Google, about who we are, what we do, who our audience is and why we would be a credible solution for its users.