You know how to blog your way to local search engine success. Next, we’ll use Google's knowledge panel to help increase your local search rankings. The knowledge panel provides information in search results about companies and people. Within those categories, there are two types of panels: Branded and local panels. The type of panel we are going to discuss today is the local knowledge panel.
Any agency that wants to increase their local search engine rankings needs to pay attention to this article. A complete and updated knowledge panel is one of the top ranking factors for local search.
The knowledge panel (or knowledge graph) is the information to the right of search results. It usually appears when you search for your agency name, city and state. It looks like the image below. You can add most of the information by logging into Google My Business. But, consumers can add some of the information too.
Knowledge Panel Breakdown
Add at least five company photographs or images to your listing. They can be of your office, your staff, the agency principal, your logo, or anything else to do with your agency. Pictures make a huge impact to customers and prospects. They give a face to an otherwise faceless company on the internet.
- Google Reviews
Reviews are the second most important aspect on a knowledge panel. Make sure you use every opportunity to ask your customers for a review. Be it a testimonial on your website or a review on Google. But, don't stop there.
Respond to those reviews via your Google My Business account. Your responses as the owner show up right here in the knowledge panel. Responding to both positive and negative reviews shows you are a level-headed business person. And, you are willing to make your mistakes right.
Further down the panel, Google will pick some reviews to showcase. This depends on the keywords the reviews contain. This way, a user doesn't even have to click on the link to read all the reviews. They can get a taste (good or bad) by reading a summary further below.
Start with the most general category first. In your case it would be insurance agency. Then, work your way to your most niche category. The reason for this is you want to reach the most people at once. And, most people are probably looking for an insurance agency in your city. But, if your agency writes 90 percent auto insurance, then start with auto insurance agency.
This stands for name, address and phone number. It is the most important aspect of the knowledge graph. NAP counts as one of Google’s local search ranking factors. Your local citations around the web must have a consistent NAP, and it all starts with this listing. This NAP information must be correct. If it is not, you can correct it by logging into Google My Business. If there's only one item you should take care of on the knowledge panel, this is it. At least get your NAP right.
- Know this Place?
This section is for Local Guides. A Local Guide is a member of the community who updates business information on Google Maps. They upload photos, write reviews, and answer questions. They also edit things like NAP when necessary.
But, if you log out of Google, and pretend to be a consumer, you can answer those questions. The questions could relate to your office’s physical location. Or, the pictures uploaded to the listing. Be sure to know what kind of tone you want to present to your customers.
- Questions & Answers
This is a great way to get more information out to your customers and prospects. Again, make sure you're logged out of Google, and pretend to be a consumer. Click on the button to ask a question. Here, you would ask simple questions you think your customers would be curious about.
For example, do you take online payments? Do you take online claims? Are you open 24/7? How can I contact you after hours? You could even add real questions you've received from actual customers at the office. You and your staff could keep a notepad with all the questions that come in from customers. You could post them once a week.
The advantage of this is Google likes to see a complete knowledge panel. Asking and answering questions here will help with this. And, encourage other customers to ask their own questions.
- Reviews from the Web
Encourage customers to review your agency on any website they are comfortable with. Don’t limit them to only your insurance website or Google. It doesn't matter which one they choose. Google will gather them all here, total them, and average them all for you.
Edit your agency’s description in the back end of Google My Business. You can enter up to 750 characters, but put your most important information in the first 250 characters or so. Don't spam and do not include URLs or HTML. Only add information you think your customers would find useful. Like the information on your agency website’s About Us page.
In order for your social media profiles to appear here, two things need to happen. The first is a special schema to add to your website. Schema is a code that identifies your social media profiles to appear in the knowledge graph. The second thing is you must be active on your social media accounts. Google may also only show the profiles relevant to the searcher’s query.
If you ever have problems with your agency’s Google My Business listing, click on this link. You can make changes to this listing as the owner. You can also remove the listing by marking it as a duplicate, having moved to another location, permanently closed, spam, doesn't exist, or a private home.
You may have received an email from Google notifying you that Google+ will soon be going away. Google Posts is what will replace it for business owners. You can use Google Posts to share blogs, events, product promotions and even video!
The main benefit here is few people are taking advantage of it yet. Thus, start answering some of those questions in number six above. Maybe even filming and sharing short video clips. You will probably be the only one doing it. A post will only last seven days, but an event or product promotion will last longer.
There you have it! A complete knowledge graph will increase rankings with your local search. The purpose of the knowledge panel is to provide as much information about your agency as possible to whoever is searching for you. This could range from business hours or to reviews or questions. It’s still valuable information you should be aware of. You should exercise as much control over it as possible. because it makes an impression to prospects and customers. After all, it’s a free advertisement on the world’s largest search engine. What else are you going to do but take advantage of it?
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