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Understanding Google My Business & Local Search

Thoughts About Local Knowledge Panels Not Showing for Branded Searches

Last week a number of agencies noted that theirs and their client’s Knowledge Panel were not showing on a non- geo-modified brand search when they had been previously.

I don’t doubt that Google changed something. The reports were too pervasive to think that it was just a Google brain fart.

What I think that they changed was the relative importance of Knowledge Panels vis a vis the other universal results.

Google has stated that they have a relevance value of disparate types of results (ie video, organic, KP, etc) that orders search results to any query.

I assume that for any query there is a threshold for any given type of answer (ie video etc) to make in into the results.

Have you ever seen a local website outrank a KP result for a brand search? Last week we saw a number of them.

That implies to me that all of the sudden that number that was applied to the KP that dictates when and where a KP shows was lowered compared to the website.

A similar logic applies in the missing branded KP results: the newly ranked KP entity does not now meet the threshold value required to appear for that given value due to its lower relative value.

Obviously my hypothesis is just that. But for a start it is consistent with the facts.

Next step would be to test my hypothesis and see if with some combination of tactics you can escalate the relative importance of the entity for a simple name only brand search.

Ideas to test:
– reviews at Google and Yelp and around the web that include the brand name
branded mentions at high profile sites
– more branded anchor text across the web
– increasing the use of brand name in title tags and headlines of the web the website – ie lead with brand on your home page title tag
– perhaps some internal branded links back to the home page from the about us or contact us page

Another source of ideas to test would be to do a local comparison of your location’s attributes to those of local entities that did not lose their KP

Like I said, it’s just a hypotheses. But it is one that at least offer a path to testing to see if some of these can be recovered.

Alternative ideas? Suggestions? Let me know.