Managing Knowledge Panels at Google
A patent from Google shows a planned approach for people from a business to manage a knowledge panel that may appear when someone searches for their business.
The patent tells us that “entity information can be provided on a webpage,” and visitors to search results can view details about that entity. The patent points out the example of a business entity, and tells us that entity information may be provided that includes:
- An address of the business
- User-provided reviews of the business
- Pictures of the business
It provides some details of how such entity information might benefit someone associated with that entity such as an owner, and that they can “access, edit, and/or update entity information that is stored by an entity listing portal interface on a search results page.”
When that associated person is logged in during a search session, they can provide a search query for the entity that the owner owns. The search engine will access entity information from an entity listing portal interface.
The search engine can
- Determine that the search query is related to a particular entity
- That the user that is providing the search query is the owner of the entity or other user that is closely associated with the entity
That closely associated person does not have to log into a separate system and can access entity information of the entity, which saves them time and computational resources and avoiding a separate, second authentication step.
We are seeing tools to manage entity profile information in Google My Business for business entities, but having access to them directly in search results can be more convenient.
This patent is telling us that these are the actions taken based on the process from this patent:
- Receiving a query from a searcher
- Identifying an entity associated with that query
- Determining that the searchers who submitted the query is associated with the entity
- In response to determining that the searcher submitted the query is associated with the entity, providing search results that include
- Search results responsive to the query and an interface which allows edits to data associated with the entity
An advantage of the entity interface described in this patent is that a searcher who has been given the ability to update entity information in a knowledge panel such as updating address and contact information, business hours, add posts, and more, would not need to have to log into another interface such as Google My Business.
This patent can be found at:
Generation of enhanced search results
Inventors: Ram Brijesh Jagadeesan, Camille McMorrow, and Ranjith Jayaram
Assignee: Google LLC
US Patent: 10,831,845
Granted: November 10, 2020
Filed: April 30, 2018
Methods, systems, and apparatus, including computer programs encoded on a computer storage medium, for receiving, at a search engine, a search query submitted by a user to the search engine; identifying an entity that is associated with the search query; determining that the user that submitted the search query to the search engine is associated with the entity in an entity listing portal; and in response to determining that the user that submitted the search query to the search engine is associated with the entity in an entity listing portal, providing a search results webpage that includes i) search results that the search engine generated responsive to the search query and ii) an interface through which edits to data associated with the entity within the entity listing portal can be provided.
Take Aways about this Knowledge Panel Interface
Presently on my phone, if I search for my name. I am shown an interface that allows me to make suggestions to update the knowledge panel for my Knowledge Panel. Google wants to review any possible changes before they finalize them, but this interface does exist. This is the screen that shows the knowledge panel interface. This seems to be the interface that isn’t necessarily related to a local business entity that has been verified at Google My Business. Google maintains more control this way over an entity that hasn’t been through the Google My Business verification process by accepting suggestions for changes rather than just changes.
If I search for SEObythesea, I get a slightly different knowledge panel interface that allows me to edit my business profile, change my hours, or add photos. There is a “promote” section that allows me to review performance, Advertise, Add Photos, Add an Update or Offer or Event. There is a “Customers” section that lets me look at Reviews (and respond to them) and look at Questions, and provide answers to them as well. As noted in that interface, only managers of the profile can see it.
So there are knowledge panel interfaces for entities that you may be associated with.
These don’t impact how a site may rank in search results, but they show how Google is trying to manage their site to enable people who manage information about entities to use a knowledge panel interface to update the information shown in those panels – and it can be important that Google contains up to date information for searchers. They allow more control to people who have been identified as managing a business entity.
I like patents that describe some of the nuts and bolts operations behind the scenes at places such as Google. This shows us strategies in place behind how Google keeps knowledge panels updated.