Getting a knowledge panel on Google is not limited to famous authors like Margaret Atwood or Salman Rushdie. Google has no concept of notability, it is simply trying to understand. It is up to you to provide the facts about the author, and build Google’s confidence in its understanding. Once it has the facts about the author and is confident in those facts, you will get a knowledge panel.
Before starting it is helpful to understand the problem Google faces and what it is is trying to do. Google is looking at fragmented, often contradictory information that it has collected from around the web. It is trying to piece it together to understand. It is a little like Google is trying to piece together a broken china plate. Google calls this “reconciliation”.
Important – the timeframe for this once you have fully completed all three steps below is 3 weeks to 3 months.
- Identify the Entity Home
Google is looking for an authoritative source to use as the reference point for the facts about the author. We call this the Entity Home.
Generally, Google will choose an Entity Home that contains the best defragmented explanation of the facts about the author – the china plate in one single piece in our analogy. Google is looking for a complete version of the facts about the company (china plate in one piece) to which it can compare the facts it has (the china plate it has built from the pieces).
As you can imagine, the best case scenario is that you provide that authoritative reference point and that baseline version of the facts (china plate in one piece).
Step one is therefore to choose an Entity Home and provide a simple, clear statement of the facts about the artist – the china plate to which Google can compare the information it collects from around the web.
Steps 2 and 3 will both ensure Google accepts your choice and build its confidence in the facts you provided. That confidence in understanding is what gets you the knowledge panel.
Here are some examples of possible Entity Homes (from best to worst):
– The about page or homepage on the official site for the artist.
– An active social profile (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are good candidates).
– The profile page on the site of the official publisher or agent.
- Corroborate and Confirm
You need to ensure that relevant, authoritative sources confirm the facts you are providing to Google on your Entity Home. Google thrives on repetition when it comes to knowledge panels since repetition builds up confidence.
So you need to go to every profile page and article about the author and fact-correct them to ensure the information they contain tallies with the information you provided on the Entity Home.
As a rule of thumb, you need an average of 20 consistent corroborative sources. The exact number depends on the authority of those sources. With a Wikipedia or Wikidata page, you may only need half a dozen (or less). Without either of those, 30 relevant and authoritative sources usually does the trick, even for non-notable named entities.
- Create an Infinite, Self-Confirming Loop
Ideally, every corroborative source you corrected in step 2 should link back to the Entity Home. This ensures Google accepts your decision about which webpage it uses as the authoritative reference for facts about the author. It also creates an infinite loop of confirmation that educates Google.
As a human, repetition can get annoying. For a machine trying to understand the world, repetition is the one thing it craves.
If every profile and article about the author reiterates some or all of the facts you lay out on the Entity Home, and they all link back to that Entity Home, you will have created the perfect infinite self-confirming loop.
Done well, Google will understand, be confident in that understanding and you will get a knowledge panel.
But whether the knowledge panel appears when someone googles the author is another matter!
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