Google Knowledge Panel: Why Is My Subtitle Writer Instead of SEO?

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The subtitle “Writer” replaced “SEO” in Google Knowledge Panels for SEO professionals in September 2023. Google made very few exceptions to the change from SEO to Writer as it rolled out a massive E-E-A-T update to the Knowledge Graph in July 2023. The update cascaded into the Helpful Content Update in September 2023, and thousands of subtitles in the Knowledge Graph and Knowledge Panels were changed or removed. 

Google restructured the Knowledge Graph in July 2023 to identify experts with E-E-A-T and deleted hundreds of subtitles for which E-E-A-T signals are difficult to verify (and/or easy to game). Google E-E-A-T is now unequivocally entrenched in Google’s Knowledge Graph and Panels for writers (with expertise in a topic area). Getting into the Knowledge Graph and building a stable, information-rich Knowledge Panel is essential for any personal brand looking to meet E-E-A-T requirements for Google.

And Kalicube has the data to prove it.

What Did Google Change in the E-E-A-T Knowledge Graph (Vault) Update in July 2023?

Google changed the classification of subtitles for thousands of people in the E-E-A-T Knowledge Graph (Vault) Update in July 2023. Google did this to identify known experts with strong E-E-A-T signals. 

Google reorganized entities and their semantic relationships to other entities and reclassified subtitles in the Knowledge Graph in July 2023. The 14-17 July 2023 Knowledge Graph update, which Kalicube has named “Killer Whale,” was the most significant update in the Knowledge Graph since its creation in 2012.

The re-organization and reclassification of entities and their relationships to other entities positioned Google’s machine learning algorithms to apply E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) signals to writers, content creators, and website owners as Google prepares to roll out Search Generative Experience. 

The Knowledge Vault (the vertical in Google’s Knowledge Graph that stores Google “facts”) grew by 30%. The number of people (entities) in the Knowledge Vault increased by 76%. 

What Impact Did the E-E-A-T Knowledge Graph (Vault) Update Have On the Helpful Content Update in September 2023?

The impact of the E-E-A-T Knowledge Graph Update was seen in the September 2023 Helpful Content Update (HCU). The HCU implemented the changes Google made in the Knowledge Graph in July 2023. 

The reclassification of entities, their relationships, and the subtitle changes in the Knowledge Vault was embedded in the search results between September 20 – 27, 2023, resulting in a massive increase in the number of people with Knowledge Panels and a huge shift in the subtitles attached to the Knowledge Panels. “SEO consultants” and “SEO professionals” had their subtitles in the Knowledge Graph and Knowledge Panels changed to “Writer.”

Google has traditionally defined writers as people who write research papers and articles and are authorities in their field. Writers in the Knowledge Graph are considered trustworthy and credible writers on their particular topic. The update meant that SEOs who write about SEO were reclassified as writers on the subject of SEO. 

Why? Knowledge Panels are Google’s summary of the facts about an entity (person, business, or thing). Blue links are Google recommendations. Google must trust the entity and be confident enough to represent it as a fact. Google is putting its representation on the line when it surfaces a Knowledge Panel. Google’s algorithms can apply E-E-A-T signals to writers, whereas applying E-E-A-T to an SEO is challenging. 

Google’s change from SEO to Writer clearly conveys strong E-E-A-T signals are essential for writers creating content for Google. Google seeks experts and writers with trustworthy E-E-A-T signals to serve its users.  Google wants factual information from writers with experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness on their topic.

Google verifies the trustworthiness and credibility of entities (and writers) using third-party sources. SEOs focus on Wikipedia, but there are over 40,000 sources Google trusts to verify what an entity or person says about themselves online.

What is Google Knowledge Vault?

Google’s Knowledge Vault is what Kalicube calls the central database of machine-readable facts that are housed inside Google’s Knowledge Graph. The Knowledge Vault contained 1.6 billion Google-verified facts in October 2023. Google updates the Knowledge Vault every year to update the classifications of the entities in the Knowledge Vault based on its machine learning algorithms, semantic relationships, and updated worldview.

The Knowledge Graph contains 6 verticals: The Knowledge Vault (or the fact graph), Google Books, Google Maps, Google Podcasts, Google Scholar, and YouTube Music.

Knowledge Panels are populated by facts drawn from the Knowledge Graph. The  Knowledge Panel determines subtitles algorithmically, using trusted third-party sources across the web. 

The Details. Changes in the E-E-A-T Knowledge Graph (Vault) Update in July 2023

The 14-17 July 2023 EEAT Update to the Google Knowledge Graph (Vault) increased the size of the Vault by 30% between 14 and 17 July 2023,  representing a threefold increase in just one year and 3 months. A further 3% growth in the Vault occurred on 3 September 2023 and was accompanied by a massive spike in volatility on the same date.

The update increased the number of entities (people, companies, and others) in the Knowledge Vault by 31%, increasing from 2,803,838 in July to 3,663,102 in September 2023.

The number of people in the Knowledge Graph increased by 76%. There were 864,631 people in the Knowledge Graph Vault in May 2023; by August, the number of people had increased to 1,524,056. Of the 76% of people added to the Knowledge Vault, 15% have a “Writer” subtitle.

Companies were largely undisturbed, growing by 10% from 1,210,159 in May 2023 to August 2023. An unambiguous signal that this update was about PEOPLE and E-E-A-T.

The update eradicated the concept of “Author.”  Google has swapped author for writer.

The update reorganized and deleted hundreds of subtitles.  The number of “Null” entries for subtitles increased from 50% to 76%. A clear signal: Google’s algorithms must be highly confident about an entity before assigning a subtitle. Losing a subtitle means Google is not confident about an entity.

Knowledge Graph update
Person Entity Growth Summer 2023

The details. Changes in the Knowledge Panel in the E-E-A-T Knowledge Graph Update in July 2023

The 2023 E-E-A-T Update to the Knowledge Graph (Vault) increased the number of people with a Knowledge Panel by 21%. 10,042 people had a Knowledge Panel in May 2023, and in September 2023, 12,150 people had a Knowledge Panel.

Knowledge Graph update
Google Knowledge Panel update for persons

There was a 514% increase in the number of people with a Knowledge Panel with a Writer subtitle. There were 149 Knowledge Panels with Writer subtitles in May 2023, which increased to 916 in September.

“Author” subtitles in Knowledge Panels were decimated, reducing from 825 Knowledge Panels in May to 11 in August 2023. 

Google cleaned up the subtitles in the Knowledge Panels as it cleaned them up in the Knowledge Graph. NULL entries for people for Knowledge Panels increased by 600%.

However, there was an increase in the subtitles for people Google considers experts and is confident E-E-A-T signals will be meaningful and helpful: Writers, researchers, professors, scientists, mathematicians, computer scientists, and academics,

The number of Knowledge Panels changed very little when the Knowledge Graph was updated in July and even into August. The September core update integrated the Knowledge Vault into the search results to an extent we have never seen before.

Why? To quote Barry Swartz in his article, “Impact of the Google September 2023 helpful content was big for the SEO industry. “This algorithm update aims to help searchers find “high-quality content,” Google told us. Google wants to reward better and more useful content that was written for humans and to help users. Searchers get frustrated when they land on unhelpful pages that rank well in search because they were written to rank in search engines or “search engine-first content” or “SEO content.” 

The SEO community saw little SERP volatility in September, and the update is widely considered “a minor core update.”

SERP volatility
SERP volatility in September 2023

The update was huge for PEOPLE (entities) and  Entity SEO, Brand SERPs, and Knowledge Panels.

SERP volatility
% of Company Brand SERPs with a Knowledge Panel
SERP volatility
% of Personal Brand SERPs with a Knowledge Panel

Knowledge Panel presence on Brand SERPs is generally very stable, with fluctuations of less than 1% monthly for both people and companies.

The September update Shows a 36.5% increase in the presence of Knowledge Panels on Personal Brand SERPs and a 2.33% increase for companies. The time to get your entity in the Knowledge Graph is now.

Why is the July 2023 EEAT Knowledge Graph (Vault) Update important?

As marketers, business leaders, and SEOs, we know our clients do business with us when they know, like, and trust us.

Google is no different from other customers. When Google knows, likes, and trusts us, it prioritizes us in the search results. 

Google is able to apply E-E-A-T signals to people it knows (those with a Knowledge Panel). 

Positive E-E-A-T signals ensure Google ‘likes’ the person and builds trust (trust and confidence being the most important). 

The July 2023 Knowledge Graph update focused on people and their subtitles and classification: identifying writers (and presumably their specialist topics). This approach allows Google to identify the authoritative people quickly. These are the foundation for professionals across various industries who write for and are published in trusted third-party sources Google relies on for corroboration. 

Writers, website owners, and the page content must demonstrate strong E-E-A-T signals.  The update to the Knowledge Graph demonstrates this emphatically.

Google has rolled out the Knowledge Vault into the semantic web to control the quality of the search results. The content in the Knowledge Graph represents the best data according to Google and is used directly and indirectly in both traditional search results and generative AI results. Google has a monopoly on search and wants it to keep it.

The SERP is a product. Google earns money from the search results as a user-freemium product.

  1. Search users “pay” by providing Google with monetizable behavioral data
  2. Advertisers pay for clicks on the myriad of ad elements
  3. SEO, businesses, and other creators “pay when they provide Google with the free content that populates the SERP. The free content “feeds” Google proprietary Large Language Models (LLM) and Knowledge Graphs. The LLM and Knowledge Graphs are growing as the content source for the Generative AI results in Bard and Search Generative Experience.

Why Does Kalicube Know About the July 2023 EEAT Knowledge Graph (Vault) Update? 

Kalicube Pro (Kalicube’s proprietary SaaS platform) tracks and measures Knowledge Graph updates using multiple metrics.

Aside from Google, Kalicube Pro has the single largest repository of Knowledge Graph data dating since 2015, covering over 1 billion data points, thousands of industry sectors, and dozens of countries. Kalicube Pro has 7 million KGMID (entities) in its database and a dozen countries. Kalicube Pro tracks over 100,000 entities and dozens of countries. Kalicube Pro tracks 5 million Knowledge Panels active on the Brand SERPs. 

Kalicube Pro knows which sources Google trusts to corroborate information online. Google uses over 40,000 trusted sources, and Kalicube Pro knows which ones they are. 

Kalicube Pro is the only tool that tells businesses and agencies what has happened in the Knowledge Graph, what changes the algorithms are making, and the changes in strategy required to protect, stabilize, and enrich Knowledge Panels. 

What Does the July 2023 Knowledge Graph (Vault) Update Mean for Kalicube Pro and Kalicube Pro Agencies?

The update means Kalicube Pro and Kalicube Pro agencies are:

  • Experts at controlling the search results for people’s names
  • Able to trigger a Knowledge Panel for literally anyone (with the full force of E-E-A-T)
  • Effective in building Google’s perception of the notability of the person
  • Able to merge KGMID for the same person. Google creates different KGMID for people it lists in the different verticals. It confuses the audience and Google, especially when the algorithms don’t understand the KGMIDs belong to the same person. 

Pro Tip: Kalicube Pro manages all six Knowledge Graph Verticals and ensures that when any new version of an entity (aka unique KGMID) is moved from one vertical to another, it is recognized as a duplicate and, therefore, merged immediately. 

Businesses with websites grapple with declining visibility, reduced traffic, and pages disappearing from the SERPs. The E-E-A-T Update is vital for businesses looking to stay relevant in search. Websites without a clear brand demonstrating E-E-A-T at the website, writer, and content level will struggle. Kalicube Pro allows agencies to offer digital marketing strategies and Knowledge Panel solutions that provide step-by-step instructions on what any business must do and where to do it to build E-E-A-T signals, build a brand Google trusts and recommends, and most critically, stands where the businesses target market is standing looking for a solution.

Pro Tip: Download the free book on how Kalicube can help your agency increase service offerings at lucrative margins. Stay ahead of the game, establish yourself as an authority in digital marketing and brand building for E-E-A-T, and embed your clients in the prioritized search results across the entire digital ecosystem with a push of a button.

The Improved Classifier and the September 2023 Helpful Content Update

An Improved Classifier was one of the changes Barry Swartz summarized in his 15 September 2023 article “What’s New With the Google Helpful Content Update.” The Helpful Content Update began rolling out on 14 September 2023.

The Improved Classifier announcement reinforced what we have seen at Kalicube for years. Google updates the Knowledge Graph and waits two months before implementing the changes in the SERPs. Subtitle changes began appearing in the Knowledge Panels in September 2023. 

Google also updated its Helpful Content Document to include the words: Is this content written “or reviewed” by an expert or enthusiast on the topic who demonstrably knows the topic well?” This amendment was made in the “expertise” section—another clear signal about writers and E-E-A-T.

What are Google’s Trusted Sources?

Google’s trusted sources are the third-party sources the machine learning algorithms use to verify the information a person says about themselves online.

Wikipedia was one of the original trusted sources, and the latest update saw the reliance on Wikipedia decline considerably. A person can trigger a Knowledge Panel without a Wikipedia page. At Kalicube, we don’t recommend Wikipedia as a strategy for triggering a Knowledge Panel because a person is leaving their reputation to third-party editors who are able to delete the page or publish incorrect information. 

Kalicube has triggered hundreds of Knowledge Panels for people without using Wikipedia. 

Kalicube Pro has a free list of 400 trusted sources people can use to add their information. The paid version of Kalicube Pro has over 40,000 Google trusted sources we can populate for the Google Algorithms to use to verify a person’s information. New trusted sources emerged in the July 2023 update. Very few Knowledge Panels were triggered by Wikipedia in 2023.

As Google implements its semantic web, reliance on sources like Wikipedia for information verification is declining. Google can verify semantic relationships by understanding the relationships between entities using its algorithms.

Knowledge Panels dependent on Wikipedia before and after the EEAT Knowledge Vault (Graph) update of July 2023

Knowledge Vault
Knowledge Panels

Google is deleting 15% of KGMIDs annually.

June 2021 14.73%

June 2022 15.43%

June 2023 16.77%

The KGMIDs from Freebase are approximately 8% of the total KGMIDs Google is deleting annually. Kalicube’s experience tells us that a person has 256 days to enrich and entrench a KGMID in the Knowledge Graph. 

Do not assume once you have a KGMID, it’s yours to keep. 

A person has 256 days on average to hang on to and enrich a Knowledge Panel, and Kalicube makes it easy.

What is a Google Knowledge Panel?

A Google Knowledge Panel is a SERP Element that appears on the right side of search results of a desktop search. A Knowledge Panel is Google’s representation of the facts it understands about an entity (a person, thing, business, or concept). It enriches the search results by giving users a single place to connect and learn about the person or business they searched. 

Google’s algorithms extract facts from Google’s Knowledge Graph to build a Knowledge Panel for any given search. Google updates the Knowledge Graph annually to reorganize entity relationship attributes and remove facts. 

Can anyone get a Knowledge Panel?

Yes, anyone can get a Knowledge Panel. Google’s machine learning algorithms verify the information a person says about themselves using third-party sources it trusts. Getting a Knowledge Panel is an exercise in branding, marketing, and SEO. People verified in the Knowledge Graph are identified by a unique identifier called KGID (no longer used) or KGMID. The information displayed in a Knowledge Panel or whether a Knowledge Panel is displayed for any given search is determined algorithmically. 

Do I need a KGMID in the Knowledge Vault to get a Knowledge Panel?

No, a person doesn’t need a KGMID in the Knowledge Vault to get a Knowledge Panel. Google has six verticals in the Knowledge Panel. A significant number of people with a Knowledge Panel have KGMIDs in the other Knowledge Graph Verticals. 

Knowledge Panels are easy to get if a person uses the sources Google trusts in their niche.  For example, multi-faceted professionals who write books, are notable in their industry and own a shopfront. have different KGMIDs in various Google Knowledge Graph verticals. Google awards a KGMID in Google Scholar, the web index, and Google Maps. The different KGMIDs are duplicates, and in Google’s algorithms believe the same person is a different entity. 

Merging the duplicate KGMIDs is essential because Google must understand the KGMID is the same entity (and Kalicube has the know-how to do it.) Without merging duplicate KGMID, the Knowledge Panel is unstable, a person is unable to control their information, and the entity is duplicated in the Knowledge Graph. Kalicube sees many SEO professionals with multiple duplicate KGMIDs in the Knowledge Graph.

A Knowledge Panel Knowledge must have one identical KGMID across the various verticals (if that entity is notable in the niche). 

  1. Google Books
  2. Google Maps
  3. Google Podcasts
  4. Google Scholar
  5. YouTube Music
  6. Knowledge Vault

Google Algorithms will move all entities to the Knowledge Vault as it verifies its version of the facts about an entity. Personal brands aim to start with a KGMID in a vertical outside the Vault and control the facts about the brand and E-E-A-T signals so Google can verify them. When an entity is moved to the Vault, it’s difficult to change the “facts.” Start in a vertical that allows an entity to control the E-E-A-T signals that Google verifies. 

What now for SEO and E-E-A-T?

The July Knowledge Graph Update rocked Google’s brain to the core. It was the biggest Knowledge Graph update since the Knowledge Graph was created in 2012. The July update cascaded into the September 2023 HCU, which rolled out the reclassifications made in the Knowledge Graph in July.

The shift from strings to things is a reality. In the HCU, the semantic application of the algorithms reached a new level (context, concepts, and intent), Entity SEO became mainstream, and E-E-A-T is a foundational criterion in the Knowledge Graph.

Kalicube knows this because aside from Google, Kalicube Pro has the single biggest knowledge base of Google Knowledge Graph data. Kalicube Pro SaaS has data on 10,000,000 Knowledge Panels, tracks 7,000,000 KGMID, and can analyze over 1 billion data points across hundreds of industries and a dozen countries. The data goes back as far as 2015.

Google is identifying people it knows, likes, and trusts (or people with strong E-E-A-T) as writers. Google wants to serve the best, most accurate, and most suitable search results for its users, cost-effectively. 

And people are feeling the impact of no E-E-A-T. Websites with anonymous owners, writers, and content are being de-indexed, not indexed or relegated to the abyss of the web index.

Staying relevant in the age of AI search results means now is the time to build your E-E-A-T signals, get your entity and brand into the Knowledge Graph, and build a Knowledge Panel. 

Contact us at Kalicube for data-driven, statistically proven, Done For You Knowledge Panel Services. 

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