Merging (De-duplicating) Google Knowledge Panels for a Person: Jason Hennessey Case Study
Who is Jason Hennessey?
Jason Hennessey is an entrepreneur, internationally-recognized SEO expert, author, speaker, podcast host, and business coach. Since 2001, Jason has been reverse-engineering the Google algorithm as a self-taught student and practitioner of SEO and search marketing. He is the founder and current CEO of Hennessey Digital.
Jason Hennessey subscribed to Kalicube’s Done for You Knowledge Panel Services in order to have the Kalicube team solve his Knowledge Panel issues.
The Power of De-Duplicating a Knowledge Panel
This Case Study starts with a simple problem – how to merge (or de-duplicate) multiple Knowledge Panels for a Person. But as our work progressed, we saw the multitude of opportunities and benefits we could achieve from this seemingly simple starting point.
This case study demonstrates clearly how powerful deduplicating Knowledge Panels can be. When done right, of course!
Multiple Knowledge Panels
The problem Jason had was that Google had three kgmid and three distinct Knowledge Panels. Google thought that it had found three distinct people.
Google was confused and thought that the Jason Hennessey from jasonhennessey.com, the Jason Hennessey profile it has on Google Books and Jason J. Hennessey found on Crunchbase were all different people.
Strength in numbers doesn’t apply when it comes to Knowledge Panels. A person with multiple Knowledge Panels is effectively competing against themselves for a place on the SERP, not to mention that the duplication means that Google is confused, doesn’t understand and cannot fully apply E-A-T signals (their “power” is divided between the three Entities !)
Lastly, managing three Knowledge Panels is hugely tricky and makes your Personal Brand SERP unpredictable: whoever is googling your name (an existing client, an investor, a potential client…) might see the “wrong” one.
The Kalicube Process
The three key ingredients in the Kalicube Process for Knowledge Panels
- Optimising the Entity Home: including an NLP-friendly description, photos, and a logical HTML structure.
- Correcting all the corroboration on first, second and third party sites that confirm the facts.
- Creating an infinite self-confirming loop from the Entity Home to these sources and back.
But “where is the Schema.org markup?” you may ask. Schema Markup is “the string that ties it all together”. Kalicube Pro injects that directly into the Entity Home and, because it is connected to the weekly updates (see below), we turn string into rope.
1. The Entity Home
The Entity Home is the page on the web where the Entity “lives” in Google’s mind. It is the reference for Google about the Entity from the Entity. Google talks about reconciliation, so we could also call this the “Point of Reconciliation”. It may seem counter-intuitive, but Google is actively looking for an Entity Home that is owned and controlled by the Entity itself. It looks to this web page to find information about the Entity, and then uses the fragmented information it finds around the web to corroborate and confirm.
A clear NLP-Optimised description is key.
Using Kalicube Pro’s Description Tool, we wrote a clear, well structured description: using headings, semantic triples and creating a meaningful context cloud. Kalicube Pro uses Google’s NLP (Natural Language Processing) to analyse Entity descriptions which helps us better understand how to communicate with Google’s algorithms through copywriting By using Kalicube’s system and breaking the description down into easy-to-understand parts, we were able to explicitly communicate to Google that “our” Jason Hennessey has multiple facets and that he is, in fact, only one single person (despite the multiple facets).
We wrote and rewrote the description until Google correctly understood all the important related entities from the description. In this case, we focussed on Jason Hennessey, Law Firm SEO and Hennessey Digital, and we wrote a description that communicated the facts about Jason, and also the related entities Google knows (his book and his company).
2) Entity Corroboration “Spring Clean”
Crucially, the key authoritative corroborative references to the entity Google is looking at need to confirm the information presented on the Entity Home. At the start of a project like this, there are always a lot of these corroborative sources that need updating – a kind of “spring clean” (#3 in the list).
Kalicube Pro provides us with a prioritised list of authoritative references that Google is using to corroborate the information about a specific Entity. That means we focus on the most important ones first.
For Jason Hennessey, Kalicube Pro gave us a list of 40 sources that needed checking and correcting (prioritised according to their importance to Google rather than their visibility online).
During this “corroboration spring clean”, at Kalicube, we correct as many as we can. However, there are profiles, articles and data sources we cannot correct. For these, we provide the client with a list of web pages to update and details about what needs changing.
Without active work from the client, the Kalicube Process will still work. But, in cases where the client doesn’t act swiftly, the process takes longer – often 6 months or more. However, Jason Hennessey and Kathryn Lundberg at Hennessey Digital did amazing work. They corrected the sources quickly and efficiently which meant that Google saw all the key authoritative corroboration sources change at the same time as the Entity Home. That was absolutely key to the speed of this success story – 6 weeks.
3) The Infinite Self Confirming Loop of Corroboration
Next step is to add links on the Entity Home to all the quality, accurate and authoritative first, second and third party sources from step 2 … and a link back from them to the Entity Home creating an “Infinite Self Confirming Loop of Corroboration”.
Manually, finding these resources for steps 2 and 3 would take us 12 hours, but with Kalicube Pro, it took less than two hours. Here’s a case study that compares researching a digital ecosystem manually versus doing it with Kalicube Pro.
In Addition to the Three Basic Steps, we Went the Extra Mile
Schema Markup – The Rope That Ties All This Together
The Kalicube Pro Schema Markup allows us to feed Google over time and adapt what we feed it in real time week in, week out and thus keep the Knowledge Panel stable and its content predictable.
Weekly Tracking, Analysis and Updates
The three step Kalicube Process is incredibly effective, but weekly tracking and updates are vital to shorten the timeline. Kalicube Pro updates the list of Knowledge Sources Google is using for each entity in the system on a weekly basis. We find new sources for every Entity regularly, and the Schema Markup needs to reflect that.
Additionally, adding a reference (as a hyperlink on the Entity Home or in sameAs or subjectOf in Schema) before it has been corrected is a HUGE mistake. When you do that, you are explicitly signposting contradictory information to Google. So, you need to correct the information on the corroborative source first, and then add it to the Entity Home when it confirms the information you provide.
Lever Specific to Jason’s Case: Alternate Name
Every single project we work on has a specific need. The three step Kalicube Process is a great guide to getting a Knowledge Panel and managing Google’s understanding of an Entity. But, everyone is unique. Every case is unique. Every Entity has at least one “quirk” that requires our special attention. In this case it was the middle initial.
Adding Jason J. Hennessey as an alternateName to his Schema Markup gave the signal to Google that this Jason Hennessey was the same person as the other two it had identified.
Entity Home + NLP Description + Consistent Corroboration, All Tied Together with Schema.org Rope = Success
We started working on Jason’s Knowledge Panel on 18 July, and in 6 weeks, we had achieved our initial goal – the Knowledge Panels merged.
In the Knowledge Panel world, 6 weeks is fast for this level of change. By identifying the Entity Home, establishing a clear description that communicates the attributes and relationships of the entity (Jason), ensuring that the Knowledge Sources corroborate, and then tying it all together with Schema Markup Rope, we “won the Google Game” in record time.
Plus, in the month since we de-duplicated Jason Hennessey’s Knowledge Panels, we have seen multiple additional (stunning) wins – see below.
Merged The Knowledge Panels
The primary aim of this project was to merge the three Knowledge Panels and consolidate Google’s understanding of “our” Jason Hennessey.
The three previously vastly different Knowledge Panels now show identical data, which means that these three kgmid / Knowledge Panels have now been merged. Any updates made in one are also reflected in the other.
Cementing the Entity Home, clarifying the message across the web, and removing that confusion in Google’s mind has brought multiple additional wins.
Complete Set of Social Profiles
Another positive addition is Jason’s social profiles. While Google has already confirmed that these profiles are correct, it initially only showed his Twitter account because it did not know which of the “three Jason Hennesseys” they belonged to.
Google was initially confused and thought that the three Knowledge Panels belonged to three different people. As we all know, when Google is confused and is not sure of the veracity, it doesn’t display information in a Knowledge Panel. After all, Google always strives to give its users the best experience.
Now that it understands that they’re all one and the same person, the social channels Google has identified for Jason have been added to Jason Hennessey’s Knowledge Panel.
Connection with The Jason Hennessey Podcast
The Jason Hennessey Podcast has its own Knowledge Panel, but Google hadn’t been able to make the connection. As with the social profiles, Google didn’t know which of the “three Jason Hennesseys” is the host of the Jason Hennessey Podcast. Thanks to the deduplication, his podcast now appears below the Knowledge Panel as “See Results About”.
Connection with the Law Firm SEO Book
Jason’s second Knowledge Panel comes from Google Books and naturally is linked to his first book, Law Firm SEO. The book obviously wasn’t previously linked to the other two Knowledge Panels. But by merging them, it now shows up in every Knowledge Panel. And even better, we also triggered the Books Filter Pill.
Connection with his Alma Mater
We included Jason’s Alma Mater, University of Nevada to the Entity Description and to the Schema markup on the Entity Home, effectively making that connection for Google.
Added an Attribute: Date of Birth and Age
We included Jason’s date of birth to the Schema markup on the Entity Home, effectively making that connection for Google too. Obviously Google doesn’t believe Jason or Kalicube simply on our Good Name: there are multiple confirmations of this information on other platforms.
Triggered Filter Pills
Filter Pills are important for Knowledge Panels because they allow users to use the Knowledge Panel to view different vertical results based on the filter chosen by the user – think of this as a “mini website on a Google SERP”. Now that Google has merged Jason’s Knowledge Panels, its Knowledge Panel Algorithm can really get down to business: it generates three Filter Pills, Videos, Education, and Books.
Knowledge Panel Subtitle Changed
Since Jason wrote the book Law Firm SEO, Google obviously thought he was an author. While that is true, Jason wants to be known as an Entrepreneur.
Now one of the original three Knowledge Panels showed Jason as an Entrepreneur (the “Jason J. Hennessey” one). How did we get THAT subtitle to dominate and replace Author? You’d imagine Google Books would dominate. And generally, it would. However, with a few simple techniques we achieved Jason’s wish.
- a clear NLP-optimised description that starts with the semantic triple, “Jason Hennessey is an entrepreneur”
- all the corroborative sources use this same semantic triple
- the Schema markup on the Entity Home signposts only those corroborative sources that confirm this version of the facts
Google sees this as compelling evidence that Entrepreneur is more appropriate than Author, and has made the change.
Read more about how to change a Google Knowledge Panel Subtitle here>>
Entity Added to The Google Knowledge Graph
Being added to Google’s Main Knowledge Graph means that you can be sure Google has understood your Entity, and is very confident in that understanding.
This is HUGE, as Google is expressing that it is now 100% certain that the previously different Jason Hennesseys are one and the same. Now that the confusion has been cleared up, every mention of “our” Jason Hennessey will be applied to this single entity in the Main Knowledge Graph.
With three entities, all the signals about Jason were being diluted / split into three. Now ALL the benefits of mentions, articles and other references to Jason Hennessey are applied to just one. That is HUGE for E-A-T (read this article about how entities are essential to E-A-T).
Connecting Related Entities to The Knowledge Panel
Now that we have cleared up Google’s initial confusion, we will focus our work for Jason’s Knowledge Panel on adding associated entities to his Knowledge Panel.
Connecting the Company Hennessey Digital
Another entity associated with Jason Hennessey is his company, Hennessey Digital. We are aiming to connect this entity as we continue to build Google’s confidence to optimise Jason’s Knowledge Panel by educating it with relevant and accurate information.
Constant Updates to the Schema Markup and Up-to-Date Profiles
Considering that Google initially thought there were three different Jason Hennesseys, the initial confusion was a huge problem and this appeared to be a huge task that we expected to take 3 months.
And now we will be able to provide additional information and corroboration over time via the Schema Markup. That means we expect to add attributes such as “company founded” in the coming weeks, giving him an even more rich and complete Knowledge Panel.
Google Is a Child and It Needs Consistency
Google is a child, and it is eager to learn. It needs:
- a reliable source which it trusts (the Entity Home),
- numerous consistent confirmations that the information is indeed correct,
- additional confirmations on third party sources over time to boost its confidence in its understanding
For this reason, it is important that every profile Jason Hennessey has contains accurate and up to date information. Once Google sees this particular profile and confirms that the information associated with it matches that of the previous profile, it will slowly but surely learn.
Consistency is key to educating Google. If multiple personal profiles provide differing versions of the facts about you, then Google will understand them to be different people and trigger multiple Knowledge Panels for that person, as was the case for Jason Hennessey.
Once we cleared up the initial confusion about Jason, Google’s confidence in its understanding sky-rocketed. Plus, the original goal of just merging the multiple Knowledge Panels gave us a wealth of additional wins.
List of all wins:
- Merging of the three Knowledge Panels,
- Jason Hennessey has now been added to Google’s Main Knowledge Graph,
- The merged Knowledge Panels have been expanded with additional attributes (his University and date of birth),
- Complete set of four social profiles on his Knowledge Panel,
- Filter pills have been added (Jason now has a mini-site on Google that we can manage and optimise for him),
- Google now understands the connection between Jason Hennessey, his book, Law Firm SEO and additionally, The Jason Hennessey Podcast
Do you have multiple Knowledge Panels as well? Contact us to discuss how Kalicube Pro SaaS can help you de-duplicate them.
Update 27 October 2022 – Knowledge Panel Cards
Google is testing these Knowledge Panel Cards. Jason Hennessey’s Knowledge Panel looks even more amazing! This demonstrates how important it is to manage your Knowledge Panel long term – when Google updates the SERP interface, you get the benefits immediately.