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Throughout my time as a Google Trusted photographer many small business owners have asked me how to get their information to appear on the right side of a Google search. This information is called the Knowledge Graph (KG) The photos below illustrate what I mean:
Obviously the image with all the additional photos and information is better. Studies show that most Google searchers won't even bother to scroll down to see more results, so the more information on the first screen the better.
If you are a small business owner, do yourself a favor and see if you have a KG. Using Google's Chrome browser, click on the triple line button on the top right of the window and click 'New Incognito Window'. This will open a new browser window that ignores all of your past searches and location, so you can check what a fresh search looks like. Then just search for your business. Try some different combinations, with and without the location, partial name, or even misspellings. If you notice any instances where the KG does not appear, you may want to go through the steps I will outline later in the blog.
First, I'll explain how Google decides which search results to put at the top. Google tracks which links people click on after a search, which is how it's search engine learns which results are more relevant. So if someone searches for the words 'Cymbidium Floral' and they end up clicking on that business's webpage, Google learns that people want to see that webpage after performing that search and therefore makes it higher in the list. I refer to this process as linking a search term to a website. Yes, that's an oversimplification, but it is the basic way that Google decides what to display.
Now, how and when does Google decide to display the KG? Google's search engine will look for information for the KG from several different sources, but the only relevant one here is a Google business page, which is kind of like your online yellow page listing. If Google can find a website on a business page that it has already linked to a search term, then it will display the information from that business page.
Not all Google business pages are the same. There's a myriad of information they can contain and display like: contact info, hours, reviews, photos, directions and my favorite, a virtual tour. The more information contained in a Google business page, the more likely it is to appear on the KG simply because Google wants to show off businesses that it knows a lot about. That's the reason why adding a virtual tour can help a business's ranking and visibility besides the obvious visual exposure gained.
Here and some tips to get your KG to display:
1. Verify and claim ownership of your Google business page. This will allow you to freely make edits and additions to your Google business page. Google has a great guide already in place on how to do that which can be found here.
2. Add all of the information you can to business page. All of your contact info should be there, expect maybe an email address to avoid spam. By far the most important piece of information is your website.
3. Double check to see if your map marker location is correct. This is important for potential customers who are using Google Maps to locate you. Google tracks when people navigate to your location and that gives them more information about your business. You want Google to know as much about your business as possible!
If you have all of the previous information in place, Google will start to learn about you. Check for your KG using the method described earlier often. The first way you will see it appear will be by searching for your business's full name and city/state. Then you will see the KG appear with just the business name. Then just a fragment of the business name, depending on your business name. It may take Google a few weeks to learn to connect your business page with certain search terms. Just be patient, it will happen.
There will be some businesses will always have trouble getting their KG to display because of their name. For example, if you own a restaurant called 'Meat', Google will always display more generic information for the KG than one particular business. You may get a KG if you include the city/state, but it's not a guarantee. This is another case when a virtual tour can help!
If you have questions, feel free to reach out to Convinced Photography for help. We have successfully gotten a KG to appear for many businesses!