Google is replacing Wikipedia as its knowledge reference for Knowledge Panels because its fact repository, or Knowledge Vault, has outgrown Wikipedia. Wikipedia has been the primary source for Google fact-checking for over 10 years.
The Knowledge Vault contains 50 billion entities, and Wikipedia has just 6 million articles. Google uses facts about entities (people, places, things, and concepts) to create and populate Knowledge Panels and other rich search result features.
Google has exhausted the facts in Wikipedia and is unable to continue collating “the world’s information” and representing that explicit knowledge-based understanding in Knowledge Panels because it has surpassed its primary source of “fact” verification.
Google ran an algorithm update in the Knowledge Graph from July to September 2023. The update resulted in a 50% reduction in Wikipedia being referenced as a source of facts about people.
Getting a Knowledge Panel for a person is easier because Google is niching to more trusted sources to verify its facts.
Note: Google’s Knowledge Vault is important because Knowledge Panels about entities listed in the Knowledge Vault are more stable, reliable, and safer than Knowledge Panels about entities listed in other Google Knowledge Graphs.
Note: Google has multiple knowledge graphs, including Google Maps, Google Books, Google Scholar, and the Main Knowledge Graph. People referring to Google’s Knowledge Graph typically mean the Main Knowledge Graph, which at Kalicube we refer to as the Knowledge Vault.
Pro Tip: People considering spending $10,000 on an agency to create a Wikipedia page to trigger a Knowledge Panel need to think again.
What Happened in the July-September 2023 Google Updates to the Knowledge Vault, Knowledge Panels, and Wikipedia Usage
The July-September 2023 Google Updates to the Knowledge Vault (The Killer Whale Update) transformed how Google verifies facts about people. Google allocates a kgid to a person and lists the person as a Person Entity in the Knowledge Vault when it is confident about the “facts” about the person. A person with a kgid will have a Knowledge Panel, but whether it appears in the search results is determined algorithmically. The most significant change was how Google uses Wikipedia to verify facts about people.
July 2023: Reliance on Wikipedia in Google’s Knowledge Vault (Graph) Drops by More Than Half
The percentage of Person Entities from Wikipedia in the Knowledge Vault dropped from 41% in June 2023 to 12% in September 2023. That is a 70% drop. (The exact figures are in the table below.)
87.6% of Person Entities in Google’s Knowledge Vault did not have a Wikipedia page when the Killer Whale Update finished in September 2023.
September 2023: Google’s Reliance on Wikipedia in Knowledge Panels Drops by Half
The effects of the changes Google made to the Knowledge Vault in July started to appear in Knowledge Panels in search results in September 2023.
The percentage of Knowledge Panels for Person Entities using descriptions from Wikipedia dropped from three quarters in June 2023 to half in September 2023.
At the same time, the number of unique domains Google uses for fact corroboration across the internet more than doubled.
What are the Trusted Sources Google Uses that Replaced Wikipedia
The trusted sources Google uses instead of Wikipedia include an increased reliance on traditionally trusted sources such as Crunchbase, LinkedIn, and theorg.com. Google broadened its base of trusted sources across industries, roles, and niches.
Trusted sources are important because we know Google gets its factual information for the Knowledge Vault and Knowledge Panels from them. Trusted sources are niche-specific.
Kalicube has provided a free list of 400 Google trusted sources on our website since 2018. Kalicube Pro, our SaaS platform for digital marketing, public relations, and online reputation management agencies, tracks over 63,000 Google-trusted sources.
The leading sources that Google uses extensively are listed below.
What does the Change in Wikipedia and Google Knowledge Panels mean for Digital Marketers?
- Digital marketers are able to trigger a Knowledge Panel on Google much more easily.
- Digital marketers have more equally effective options than Wikipedia, which are more straightforward to control.
- Existing Knowledge Panels are easier to manage, including adding, removing, and changing information.
How Can You Leverage the Changes to Google Fact Verification to Benefit Your Personal Brand?
To leverage the changes to Google fact verification to benefit your personal brand, follow these steps.
Build an Organic Knowledge Panel Using Your Website as The Trusted Source
Kalicube recommends retaining control of your brand narrative. Avoid handing control of your personal brand narrative to a third party, like Wikipedia and others. Create your place in the Knowledge Vault and build your Knowledge Panel using a website you own and control. State the facts on that website, and then Google can corroborate your data across the web.
For example, kalicube.com is the trusted source Google uses for Kalicube, and Kalicube controls the information about the business instead of a third-party source.
How to Build an Organic Knowledge Panel You Own
Kalicube has created a simple three-step process for triggering and managing organic Knowledge Panels and has successfully triggered and managed thousands of Knowledge Panels for people and companies. Follow the step-by-step instructions to build an organic Knowledge Panel you own and control.
Kalicube Pro is Kalicube’s SaaS platform that automates building a Knowledge Panel for a person (or a company). Using Kalicube Pro, agencies can implement the three-step process efficiently and effectively, saving time, resources, and headaches.
Kalicube Pro has been collecting data on Google’s Knowledge Graph since 2015 and is uniquely positioned to build Knowledge Panels organically. There is a vast dataset inside Kalicube Pro; this article’s data came directly from the platform.
Kalicube Pro contains over 10 million Knowledge Panels, 7.3 million kgid (entities in Google’s Knowledge Graph), and a billion data points.
Using our unique (and unreplicable) dataset, Kalicube Pro can show you everything you need to do to build a Knowledge Panel that is stable, information-rich, and controllable – without relying on Wikipedia.
The Benefits of Having a Personal Knowledge Panel
Status and Credibility with Your Audience
People do business with people they know, like, and trust. Potential clients, investors, or industry peers confirm your credibility online with Google and social media searches. A large, information-rich Knowledge Panel is impressive and provides instant proof that Google trusts you.
For example, when they search for my name, my audience perceives me as an authoritative figure with “Google’s Stamp of Approval.”
Improved SEO Performance for Your Content
The restructuring of the Knowledge Vault in July 2023 is designed to apply E-E-A-T credibility signals to people.
E-E-A-T: Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness are signals Google uses to evaluate the credibility of the author of content on the web. Content created by someone Google recognizes as an expert with experience and authority tends to rank higher in search results.
Google is unable to fully apply those E-E-A-T signals if it does not explicitly understand the author’s identity.
The July 2023 update significantly increased Google’s ability to explicitly and confidently identify individual people, especially writers and authors without Wikipedia pages. Reducing reliance on Wikipedia means Google is able to reliably apply E-E-A-T credibility signals to specific people with niche expertise and authority in specific markets.
Google is applying E-E-A-T signals to any person able to demonstrate Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness within their niche, which means there is a huge opportunity to get ahead in SEO.
People no longer need a Wikipedia article. You can become a Google-recognised authority. Now is the time to act.
Start Your Personal Knowledge Panel Project Today
Google must explicitly understand your entity before the algorithms can apply the E-E-A-T signals. Google’s go-to source was Wikipedia, but Wikipedia is losing ground fast. Now is the time to start capitalizing on your hard work to establish your E-E-A-T.
- Earn a place in Google’s Knowledge Vault,
- Get a Knowledge Panel,
- Build credibility signals,
- Demonstrate your E-E-A-T credentials to Google.
- Get your free DIY Instruction Manual for Triggering and Managing a Knowledge Panel.
- Take the step-by-step Triggering and Managing Knowledge Panels Course.
- Get your Knowledge Panel with the Kalicube Done With You Knowledge Panel Service.
- If you’re an agency looking to offer Knowledge Panel and other digital marketing services with Kalicube Pro, book a call.
When Google knows, likes, and trusts your brand, it prioritizes it in the search results.