My local Knowledge Panel does not show in Google when I search on my company name. Why not and what can I do?
We recently got this question in the Local U forum. We are repuplishing my answer here as we think the answer will be of general interest AND we are hoping to entice you to join our forum, where questions like this are asked and answered every day in a low noise, high signal environment.
It's great question and one that is asked frequently. While we have no concrete proof of specifics that lead Google to show the Knowledge Panel, we think that it has a lot to do with the consistency and authority of your local “brand”.
Firstly be sure that there is no NAP (name, address, phone) confusion around the name and location. If your address, phone or business name has changed, Google's knowledge graph algo can be confused, leading to Google not understanding enough about your business. Screwing up there is a great way to NOT get a Knowledge Panel to show.
Secondly there is a time factor. If your business is new or newly verified in Google, there might be a 6 to 12 week delay for Google to have the confidence to show the Knowledge Panel.
But if neither of those conditions apply to you, then here are my best guesses, both educated and not, as to what might lead Google to show the Knowledge Panel more regularly for any business. Clearly all of them are not necessary, but as you accomplish more of these, it will not only increase the likelihood of showing the knowledge panel but will broaden the variations on your name for which it will show:
Get a Wikipedia Entry - Google relies very heavily on Wikipedia to indicate the importance of people, places and brands. An article there a bout your business will guarantee that you show a knowledge graph for your brand. It's difficult but not impossible and I wouldn't attempt it unless you have a great story and some historical or social significance. The chance of any given local business getting this is very small.
Do a citation campaign - Be sure that your business is listed in all of the relevant authoritative local & industry specific sites that Google looks at in your country. Creating a strong and consistent image of your business across the internet sends Google the signal that you do in fact exist and have some prominence.
Create a Freebase entry - Freebase is an open source, community curated database of well-known people, places, and things. Google acquired it when they acquired Metabase in 2010. We know that having accurate data there can help clean up erroneous Knowledge Panels and we think it might increase the likelihood of one showing if it doesn't already.
Get your business name mentioned in authoritative online news sources - Google looks far and wide for mentions of your business. Getting it noted in a local or national online, trusted news source is good way to increase Google's trust about your brand.
Branded links (i.e. links with your business name in the anchor text)– Create some content that generates links to your site with your company name and it's variations in the anchor text from other authoritative local websites. Despite rumors to the contrary, Google still looks at links and still values them. Just be sure that they are earned not bought.
Get >100 followers to your G+ page - OK, that is an arbitrary number but one that has been bandied about as a way to gain brand authority on Google. While not substantiated, its a good goal and one that we think will increase the likelihood of the Knowledge Panel showing. This tactic offers the most benefit if the followers are in your local market.
Make sure that some of the G+ followers are authoritative While Google doesn't use any sort of author rank for ranking of content there are some indications that authority does flow from one G+ user that has lots of followers to posts that he/she comments on and possibly to the person, place or brand they are following. Even if it has no value, it has the benefit of getting you more exposure with folks who can broadly share your content. So there is nothing to loose by engaging users on G+ with strong authority and everything to gain.
Post at least once per month to G+ - Again, there is no proof that this will increase the likelihood of your Knowledge Panel showing but we do know that if you post at least every 3 weeks or so, Google will show that post on a Knowledge Panel when it does show on the front page of Google for a search on your company name. Google is saying in their odd way, that they want you to post at least this frequently. It has been my experience that on should listen up when they offer this kind of signal.
Get some reviews for your local business - Get reviews at a slow and steady pace over time. Its like a heart beat. Google knows your alive and can see that your customers think you are alive. Again no proof that it will lead directly to your Panel showing but it has other benefits and certainly can't hurt Google's understanding of your authority.
I don't think that you need to do all of the above or do everything at once. These recommendations are meant to provide you a long term path to increase the visibility of your Google Knowledge Panel and they will have the side benefit of increasing your exposure on Google in general.
“Barbara Oliver“, my pet custom jewelry client in Buffalo, has managed to get greater KP exposure over time on her full trade name and on may variations and shortened versions of it. Over a period of 5 years she has accomplished many but not all the items on the list above. Google has rewarded her with national exposure of her Knowledge Panel. It's a goal worth achieving.