Google Knowledge Panel Definition

What is a knowledge panel in Google?

You’ll see the knowledge panel on the right hand side of search results pages in Google. They appear when you search for entities (people, places, organisations, things) and contain information about the query that Google considers to be ‘fact’.
The information shown in knowledge panels is taken from Google’s Knowledge Graph, so we could call them knowledge graph panels. Importantly, what information is included in Google’s Knowledge Graph (and therefore the knowledge panels) is determined by an algorithm and is completely automatic (machine-driven). the Knowledge Graph cannot be directly edited by anyone inside or outside Google.

Further Information

Knowledge panels show the name of the entity and then, depending on the information Google has in it’s Knowledge Graph : photos, description, social media profiles, related entities…

How to manage a knowledge panel >>

Common Misconceptions

Featured Snippets Disguised as Knowledge Panels

Sometimes Google places a featured snippet on the right hand side. This looks like a knowledge panel, but is in fact simply information from a website that provides an answer.
How to spot this? The featured snippet doesn’t have the share icon, whereas the knowledge panel does.

Wikipedia and Knowledge Panels

A great deal of the information shown in knowledge panels is drawn from Wikipedia which leads to the commonly held misconception that the two are closely linked – that knowledge panels depend on Wikipedia. Although having a Wikipedia page helps to get into the Knowledge Graph which in turn triggers a knowledge panel, it is not necessary – as explained in this article on Search Engine Journal.

Local Knowledge Panels

Local knowledge panels (Google My Business) is not a knowledge panel. Although it shows information about an entity (a local business), the information is not pulled from the Knowledge Graph, it is pulled from Google My Business listing that is controlled by the business itself. These are essentially business profiles. Find out more about that here

Tracking Knowledge Panels will track these 3 things for your brand

  1. Your knowledge panel (and what information appears in it)
  2. Your presence in Google’s Knowledge Graph
  3. Your entire Brand SERP (the whole page that people see when they Google YOUR brand name)

This is a research project by Jason Barnard
Tracking your brand is 100% FREE.

Course: Managing Knowledge Panels. Creating, Correcting and Improving.

This course covers multiple aspects of managing a knowledge panel for a brand or a person.

Creating, improving and managing knowledge panels

  1. getting a knowledge panel for a brand
  2. getting a knowledge panel for a person
  3. increasing confidence scores in the Knowledge Graph (that feeds the knowledge panel)
  4. adding information to your knowledge panels
  5. optimising your images
  6. correcting your knowledge panel
  7. maintaining your knowledge panel over time

Early bird sales – 50% discount on the normal price. Pre-Enroll here >>

The course is scheduled for release at the end of 2020

Transcript of the video

What is a Knowledge Panel in Google? Jason Barnard Explains 

Hi and welcome. I’m Jason Barnard. And I’m here today to explain to you “What is a Knowledge Panel”.

I’m going to explain what it is, what kind of Knowledge Panels we see and where they come from. I’m also going to tell you right at the end, how you can track Knowledge Panels and how you can find out whether your brand, you as a person or the town where you live has a Knowledge Panel in Google or not.

What is a Knowledge Panel?

Number one, it’s on the right on desktop. And it’s what Google shows us on the right, which Google considers to be fact, and we’ll come to that in a little while. 

Examples of Knowledge Panels

Knowledge Panel on Google - Jason Barnard
Knowledge Panel on Google – Jason Barnard

Here’s a really nice example. It’s my Knowledge Panel on the right hand side, I’ve been working on this for quite a long time, as you can see, Google’s understood a lot of facts about me and it’s willing to show them over that on the right hand side of my personal Brand SERP.

And if you look on the left hand side, that’s information Google recommends about me as a person, if you search my personal brand name… and I talk a lot about tha, so if you’re interested in Brand SERPs or personal Brand SERPs, do keep following me or subscribe to the channel.

The difference between Knowledge Panels on desktop and mobile.

 Now, what’s on desktop on the right is called the right rail. And the right rail is facts. Things that Google has understood as being a fact. On the left hand side, the left rail it’s what Google is recommending as an answer to your query. 

Now, if we have a quick look now at the mobile version, it’s very surprising.  There you can see that with Microsoft we’ve got some ads, then we’ve got the homepage. And the Knowledge Panel doesn’t appear until about halfway down the page. So on mobile, it doesn’t necessarily come at the top, which is what some people think. 

If we search for my name, we’ll see that it does come at the top with this lovely red color. It’s obviously picked up on my red shirt.  It shows that color to to make the result look prettier, I suppose. But look here, those videos are not part of the knowledge panel, but those People Also Search For are. 

So what’s happening? Google is splitting the Knowledge Panel into chunks, chunks that it thinks are interesting. So there isn’t TOO big on a mobile.

If you had all of that information in one big chunk, the SERP probably wouldn’t be very user friendly on mobile.

So there we have the difference between Knowledge Panels on desktop and mobile.

What kind of Knowledge Panels can you expect to see? 

Here are two corporations there’s another one, but you also get things like places such as Siwa Oasis or cartoon characters or products or events – here’s  SMX London –  or people and groups. Here’s a cartoon character again from Disney and back to Microsoft. Basically  any “thing”. Google can put up a knowledge panel for any “thing”.

Now, a thing is, as we can see, people, places, product, but it’s also concepts. Economics is a thing because it’s a concept that Google can understand. So Economics also has a Knowledge Panel. 

Where do Knowledge Panels come from?

Well, they come from Google’s Knowledge Graph. I don’t know if you’ve heard about Google’s Knowledge Graph. It’s phenomenally interesting. It’s Google’s understanding of the world. 

Now, this is the example they use. It’s Leonardo Da Vinci  (oops !)  Google knows or Google’s Knowledge Graph knows that he painted the Mona Lisa, it knows that he was from Italy. It knows that he is a painter like Michelangelo and it links all those together.

And it’s dealing with entities and relationships. That is how it functions. Now I prefer this image, which looks like a brain because what Google’s Knowledge Graph is doing is trying to understand the world in a similar manner to humans, by entities and relationships. We understand people, places and things, and the relationships between them. That’s how our brain functions. 

Today we are not going to talk much about that. I’ll come back to that in another episode of this series.

Is Google My Business panel a Knowledge Panel?

A quick clarification. The Google My Business panel on the left is not a Knowledge Panel. It is not part of Google’s understanding of the world per se.

It’s a business listing, a bit of like the yellow pages in the UK. It’s where the business itself gives the information, so the information is not fact. It’s not independently sourced, whereas the Knowledge Panel is. If you look here, it’s the same company Wordlift on the left, you can see their Google My Business panel, which is once again, information that Wordlift have presented and provided to Google. 

On the right, you can see their Knowledge Panel, which is Google’s independent understanding of that entity – it’s understanding of Wordlift as an entity. 

Who controls what appears in Knowledge Panels?

They contain information that Google has collected around the web and nobody is controlling that. It’s a machine that goes round the web and collects facts, collects information and builds this Knowledge Graph as understanding. And once it’s understood an entity, be it Wordlift, be it me, be it Michelangelo, be it the Siwa Oasis, it will place the Knowledge Panel on the right hand side and indicate it’s understanding. It presents it as a reliable piece of information about the entity to its users when they search that entity. 

How much information do you find in Knowledge Panels? 

The amount of information in different Knowledge Panels varies greatly. Here are three companies. On the left it’s my company and there is very little information. It says that I founded it, it’s got the logo, it’s got the name of the company and it’s got the official website.

In the middle, you’ve got Wordlift and it shows a description, it’s got who founded it, it’s got their social channels… a bit more information there. And then Tesco on the right where there’s even more information. It even tells us what other entities we might be interested in that are similar to, or related to that entity, which just Tesco PLC.

 And depending on how much the Knowledge Graph contains about that in entity, it will show more or less information, including photos, related entities, social media profiles, and all sorts of attributes such as who founded it when it was founded and so on and so forth. 

What types of information appear in Knowledge Panels?

And if we look at this, we can see that depending on the type of entity, the type of information that will show varies enormously. Even more than within one type of entity. So  you can see with the music group, the type of information it gives is very different to the cartoon character, which is different to the book, different to the Maastricht treaty, which is a thing too, different to Utrecht and different to the Blues Brothers. 

So the type of information depends on the type of entity and the amount of information Google shows depends on how much Google has understood about that entity. 


Now, very last thing in this quick introduction to “what is a Knowledge Panel”. You can actually track your Knowledge Panel using the Kalicube tool.

And it’s free for you to use. It’s a research project that I’m running myself because I’m terribly, terribly interested to understand more about Knowledge Panels.

Please do visit the webpage, add  yourself, your brand, your local business, your product, your event, your music group, whatever you want to track as long as it’s an entity and Kalicube will track it for you, and it will be part of my ongoing project where I’m studying Knowledge Panels and Brand SERPs. 

Thank you very much for watching. Please do watch other interesting videos on this channel. 

See you soon.


Jason Barnard has over 2 decades of experience in digital marketing.

He currently teaches Brand SERP optimisation to students at and writes regularly for leading marketing publications such as Search Engine Journal, SEMrush, OnCrawl, Searchmetrics as well as appearing regularly on digital marketing webinars and speaking at major conferences around the world such as BrightonSEO, PubCon, SMX London, YoastCon.