Google’s “Knowledge Card”.

It’s arguably one of search’s best status symbols. It solidifies your brands authenticity, increases above the fold click through rates, and helps those lucky enough to have one to enjoy more traffic to multiple vanity profiles. 

Brands want them, agencies have to edit card information, and most solo entrepreneurs ask how to acquire their own knowledge cards.

If you were perplexed by how to accomplish any of that, great news!

We’ve analyzed over 100 knowledge cards, created 8 signals, and collected over 1400 data points to shed some light on how Google pieces together thier sidebar snippet. As a bonus you’re going to learn a few tips to edit a knowledge card.

Knowledge Cards

Signals

Data Points Counted

In order to understand what we were dealing with it was crucial for us to examine the sidebar snippet across multiple industries and breakdown the characteristics of each person/entity within a knowledge card into several data points.

Our goal is simple.

To understand what Google looks for in an entity before they feel they’re “Knowledge Card Worthy” and what you can do about it. 

There’s A LOT of variables. Seriously. The Rank{it} team manually inspected each snippet for a variety of signals. Below we’ll demonstrate what all we were examining before we get into the finer data analysis results.

Name Rank Position

What position a knowledge card holder is ranked for in Google’s search results.

wikidata Entries

An analysis of how many snippet holders are included within Wikidata’s framework.

v

News & intitle Mentions

Our team searched if they were mentioned in the news and if they were placed intitle.

google books

We examined if they published a book and if that book was included in Google books.

wikipedia presence

A check to see if the person or company has a Wikipedia page or not.

R

social media verification

Each person and company was checked for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram verification.

related family

A variable detirmining if they have notable family mentions within the snippet.

awards

We scanned for credible awards or if they were included within the Google snippet.

Let’s start this study by breaking down the total numbers first among the entire data and how the signals stacked up. Then we will continue our journey by focusing on each individual sector that we explored.

Our aim is to provide each signals weight placed on the sidebar snippet. You can be the judge as to what is most important by the data.

%

WikipEDIA profile

%

WIKIDATA tables

Out of all knowledge cards examined just 49% mentioned a wikipedia. We even manually checked if the entity had a wikipedia which the snippet did not mention.

This statistic shows 4% have a Wikipedia profile but was not a part of the Wikidata program. Furthermore, those with Wikidata had more images within the snippet.

A majority of companies and persons who have a sidebar snippet rank for their name or organization. Only 6% have a Knowledge Card and don’t rank first place.

22% of those with a knowledge card had a prominant award. It’s important to note only 7 of those 22 are literally featured within the snippet itself.

%

Rank #1 For Name

%

AWARDS MENTIONED

  • LISTED IN GOOGLE BOOKS 67%
  • PUBLISHER 53%
  • SELF PUBLISHED 14%

Google loves authors.

As you can see in the aforementioned data, a majority of Google Knowledge Card holders are also authors. There were published authors among those listed on Google Books than those who brought their books to the market as a self-published author.

Now let’s see how social media stacked up.

%

Twitter Verified

%

Facebook Verified

%

Instagram Verified

Twitter was by far the winner.

Over half of all knowledge card holders enjoy being verified on at least one social media platform. Instagram was the rarest platform to see verified. 

%

Family Referenced

%

News Mentioned

Some knowledge card recipiants are benefactors of well known family members. 25 of our snippet data was companies. So 12% of 75 snippets mentioned family.

Of all knowledge cards examined, 76% of the companies or persons listed were at least mentioned in a newsworthy article. Look below for a further breakdown.

  • INCLUDED INTITLE 57%
  • ONLY MENTIONED IN THE ARTICLE 19%

Being media worthy is obviously a big plus.

The majority of data collected shows that people with Google sidebar snippets have been mentioned around the web. Note how many were in the title of the news articles too. We didn’t count lame press releases, only authoratative magazine mentions.

COMPANY ORIENTED KNOWLEDGE CARDS

The previous data was an overview of all 100 knowledge cards examined. To understand the process better we inspected 25 sidebar snippets of companies exclusively. That way you can have a breakdown of the statistics.

The same signals were collected. 

Please note that the below data is a representation of 25 as a whole. The “Family Member” signal has been omitted from this data since it’s not relevant for companies. Let’s take a look at our findings and compare them to personal snippets.

%

WikipEDIA profile

%

WIKIDATA tables

A majority of company snippets included a reference to Wikipedia. Notice a much higher rate of companies with a Wiki profile compared to individuals.

Wikidata nearly paralleled Wikipedia profiles with a very rare 4% having a Wiki profile without being included in the Wikidata project.

Each company that acquired a knowledge card was ranked #1 in Google for their organizations name. Notice a higher prevelance compared to the data overview.

32% of all organizations with a sidebar snippet received an award in their respective fields. Note that 0 out of 25 actually had the award mentioned in the snippet.

%

Rank #1 For Name

%

AWARDS MENTIONED

  • LISTED IN GOOGLE BOOKS 8%
  • PUBLISHER 0%
  • SELF PUBLISHED 8%

Companies don’t do books well.

A very small percentage of companies actually published a book. It was interesting to see instructionals (Manuals.) making their way into Google Books. One problem companies have with books is if the CEO published a book, it’s under their own name.

Let’s compare companies social status.

%

Twitter Verified

%

Facebook Verified

%

Instagram Verified

Again Twitter comes out on top.

The prevelance of a company being verified on at least one platform was astonishingly consistant. Instagram was the hardest platform for companies to build a presence.

%

NEWSWORTHY

Nearly all companies with sidebar snippets have been featured at consequential news websites. An obviously higher frequency than seen in the overview data.

  • INCLUDED INTITLE 100%
  • ONLY MENTIONED IN THE ARTICLE 0%

Intitle mention frequency was nearly a standard.

Unlike the data overview we see a complete parallel between news placements and the companies being mentioned in the title of the articles.

PERSONAL BRAND KNOWLEDGE CARDS

You’ve seen the overview data and a breakdown of 25 company knowledge cards. Now it’s time to see what the numbers look like for personal brands. These are bloggers, personalities, consultants, and random people.

We collected our data on all 8 signals. 

All data is represented as a percentage of 75 whole knowledge cards collected. You can compare this segmented data with companies and the whole sum of all sidebar snippet statistics. Let’s break it down.

%

WikipEDIA profile

%

WIKIDATA tables

A smaller amount of individuals included in the Google sidebar snippet had a Wikipedia profile. This could very well be an indicator of a lack of personal references.

Those who enjoyed having a Wikidata table generally had a better rate of their knowledge card including a featured image of them.

The prevelance of individuals ranking for their names was high, but slightly lower than companies who were featured in the sidebar snippet.

Out of 75 individuals we concluded that 17% were awarded, however only 6 out of 13 of those with awards had thier award mentioned within the knowledge card.

%

Rank #1 For Name

%

AWARDS MENTIONED

  • LISTED IN GOOGLE BOOKS 88%
  • PUBLISHER 72%
  • SELF PUBLISHED 16%

Individuals can leverage Google Books.

It’s not easy for a company to publish a book, but an individual can. Most Knowledge Cards featuring people also included their books. 

Where do individuals fall out on the social stage?

%

Twitter Verified

%

Facebook Verified

%

Instagram Verified

Individuals have less verified accounts.

For the first time in our study we can see where people verified on Twitter are more likely to also be verified on Facebook. Instagram is still very difficult.

%

Family Referenced

%

Newsworthy

No shock here considering company Knowledge Cards did not have any family and the signal was omitted from that section.

Newsworthiness is an important signal for individuals. Most people with a Google sidebar snippet are included in popular internet magazines.

  • INCLUDED INTITLE 47%
  • ONLY MENTIONED IN THE ARTICLE 25%

You see a decline of intitle news mentions.

Compared to company sidebar snippets we see a solid decrease in intitle mentions. It makes sense considering landing interviews at popular magazines isn’t easily earned.

Where do we go from here?

We published the data and now it’s your turn to leverage it for your own use. Whether you’re building a company or personal image you will know which signals matter most. Feel free to share your thoughts and conclusions in the comments below.

 

6 Comments

  1. Charles

    Great case study! It sure did take snippets to the next level. Would you care to comment on what signal you put the most effort into for personal brands?

    Reply
    • Joseph

      Thank’s Charles, I’d put being a published author at the top of the “to-do” list for people who want a Google sidebar snippet for their personal name. Even a self published book is an easy way to trigger a snippet. =)

      Reply
  2. Zan

    Could you tell me how to submit myself to Wikidata because I can’t find any way to…maybe I can get a picture for a client…thanks in advance…ps. keep up this it’s awesome.

    Reply
    • Joseph

      Hello Zan, at this time you can’t self submit to Wikidata. Just like with Wikipedia you need good references and a valuable editor account to get started. Look into provided more structured data/markup on your website, that should help!

      Reply
  3. Linda

    What an awesome post! I too have noticed most of the people with a snippet have a book but I never have seen detailed numbers on it like this. Would you mind telling me what the awards were about? I rarely see an award unless it’s an athlete.

    Reply
    • Joseph

      We didn’t cover athletes in this study Linda. Most of the awards were like “Top 50 Blogger” or Webby awards. Sometimes their industry would have it’s own specific awards. Glad to see you enjoyed the white paper!

      Reply

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