Guide to Google's Local Knowledge Panel on Mobile - Transcript
Hi there, I’m Mordy from Rank Ranger and today we’re going to take a look at some Local Knowledge Panels on mobile. The mobile Knowledge Panel can be really just a bit overwhelming. There are just so many different kinds of panels. Movie Panels, Book Panels, Hotel Panels, Publisher Panels [,etc.]. To make it all the more confusing there are so many features and variations of each panel depending on the entity being displayed within it.
So instead of throwing all of these "souped-up” variations of the Knowledge Panel at you all at once, which I plan on doing at some point… here’s a sort of quick look at the mobile Local Panel. Think of it like a mobile Local Knowledge Panel 101, because just here in the mobile Local Panel it's a bonanza of different features and panel variations. Seriously, we could spend hours on just this one type of Knowledge Panel, but don’t worry, I won’t. For comprehensive overviews of this SERP feature, see our guides to the local knowledge panel and the corresponding desktop knowledge panel.
A lot of what Google offers up in the mobile Local Panel has a lot to do with the type of local business we’re looking at. For our purposes, we’re going to break this down to a local service business (you know, a lawyer, a dentist, a bank, etc.), a local store, and a restaurant. Why? Well, because each of these categories brings up a different set of features, because Google is diverse and smart like that.
OK, let’s get right into this! Up first is a mobile Local Panel for a local dentist, which I literally brought up at random. What you get first is a quick summary showcasing the entity's name, rating, and description. We then get tabs, tabs of different content. Actually, we sort of lucked out here, this panel has some more tabs than we might usually see for a business like this. Really, it’s a good example of how a local business can leverage the mobile Local Panel. So pay close attention if you are such a business yourself or are doing SEO for such clients. I’m going to get back to those tabs in just a minute, FYI.
In the meantime, let’s keep moving down the Overview tab. You have your "buttons” here that let you call a business, pull up directions, save the panel for a midnight dentist cleaning, and go to the entity’s actual site. Now Google asks us to describe this place, which is really interesting and it makes me wonder if we’re going to get a "Highlights” carousel here. "What’s that?" you may ask. We’ll get there, don’t fret (not that you actually are). But, if we tap over here we get a chance to list some of the "traits” that apply to the business.
Back to the panel! Next up is the address of the business, which kind of makes sense that it would be here… a little map icon that you can utilize as well. Here are the hours of operation, and being that I’m up early today, the good dentist is closed. Notice by the way that since I’m recording on Martin Luther King Day here in the States, that Google is cautioning that the hours that normally apply, might not today, which is great if you hate going to the dentist, so score for you.
Here’s an odd one, Menu. The last place you would expect a nice steak is the dentist, unless your dentist is different than mine. OK, this is a bit of a misnomer, and I’ve seen it a lot. If you pull up a Local Panel for say Macy’s in Herald Square (that’s the big one where they do the parade, I only know because as a kid my dad would schlepp me there at 6 am to freeze my rear-end off every Thanksgiving), you’ll see the same menu option, and of course Macy’s is not a restaurant. What this is, is a failure to communicate. The business offers a variety of services, the way that McDonalds offers a variety of grade Z hamburgers. This itemized variety of dental delights is being picked up by Google as a menu, as if the dentist were really an Arby’s. Notice by the way that tapping the menu icon brought us to the Menu tab.
Here’s another nice one, you can be directed to the site’s booking page right here. Notice that Google has the site in gray, that’s because this is not the Google Booking feature. For certain businesses, or really businesses that utilize certain booking software that has partnered with Google, there is a booking feature that shows in the Local Panel on mobile that is part of a whole Google booking behemoth, but that’s for another time.
Onwards! Obviously you have the phone number, and if you’re wondering why it’s so far down, it’s not, you have the call button I pointed out earlier right at the top of the panel.
OK, this is the Q&A feature, it’s quite cool, it’s super important for a business, and I’m going to skip over it.... For now….Because the good dentist isn’t utilizing it (which is surprising considering they’re employing Google Posts… I’ll get there).
This is pretty unique for a local business, but it’s a set of reviews, and it’s great that this business is utilizing them properly.
Let’s expand the panel now. We leave the normal results page and are in what I’ll call the mobile Knowledge Panel ecosystem.
So let’s push past what we already looked at.
Now you have access to some more images, reviews, and a whole heap of carousels for various subsets of dental services… Cosmetic Dentists, etc.
Here, and this is an addition that came towards the end of 2017, you have organic results in the panel. OK, without opening a Pandora’s Box, which I would gladly do if this were a full-on guide to the mobile Local Panel, there’s a bit of question as to the relavency of these results. Just quickly, look at the last one. It’s for a site to book an appointment with this dentist. Great, but we had such an option earlier, and with the dentist directly. You see where I’m heading with this…
Next tab please! Posts! OK, so Google has this feature where you can post content right to the SERP and fittingly it’s called Google Posts. It’s basically like a Facebook post for the Google results page, or in this case the Knowledge Panel. So, if we scroll down we can see what these posts basically are. I’m a bit surprised that the business is utilizing Google Posts and not the Q&A feature, which as I’ll show you, is possibly far more important.
The Menu tab we saw [already].… Reviews…. Essentially what you saw on the Overview tab, but with the full writeups.
Lastly, the Photos tab, and you get a nice set of images. You can see that Google subcategorizes the images, in this case we have a subset of pictures supplied by the business themselves. This will actually become more relevant when we look at restaurants. I mean, do you really care if a patient or the owner posted the image?
Next panel please. Let’s take a look at a store. I’m going to go with a larger chain, only because such panels tend to have some more features that I want to point out to you. Here is a mobile Local Knowledge Panel for Harrod’s in London.
So, like our NYC dentist, you have some an initial rating, your tabs, your buttons (Call, Directions, Save, Website). Obviously you have the address and the hours. Actually, let’s expand this and you can see the hours on a per day basis, which of course is relevant to a store like this who has different hours on Sundays.
OK, here’s the Q&A feature in action. In fact, this question highlights how important this is to a business. Here someone asked about the parking at Harrods. Instead of getting an answer that it’s horrendous, we learn that they have valet parking, which I have to say is brilliant! So instead of blowing off a trip to the store, this user probably headed down and made use of the valet service…. You see it now right?.… Super important. I would guess by the way that the answer here was supplied by Harrods themselves (users can also answer questions). Since the answer refers us to the company website, I’m guessing this is the case. Either way, a business can ask and answer their own questions here. Meaning, if you’re a business Google is giving you a way to put an FAQ right on the SERP… super important!
I’m actually signed in (which for these sort of videos I tend not to be), but I want to show you what you get when you try to ask a question… so here you go.
Got to move on, because there’s another beauty of a feature I want to show you. OK, so now Google gives you a little summary from Wikipedia, a bit of trivia (not sure I get why this is here, but alrighty then), and we get some of the reviews from across the web that we saw earlier.
Now, this is just fabulous… Popular Times. If you’re like pretty much everyone on earth, you don’t like waiting… waiting in line especially. Here comes Google to the rescue. The Local Panel, in cases such as this (which is why I pulled up a more notable entity), will tell you what the traffic in a store is like on a per hour basis. In fact, if the store were open now, you might even get a live look at how busy the place is. The point being, if the store is super busy right now, you might want to avoid it like the plague if you love shopping as much as I do. Oh, you can see just how "popular” a place is per day as well.
Notice, just underneath this, Google tells you how long people generally spend at the store, so you can prepare yourself for just how painful this is going to be.
OK, next we have the People Also Search For carousel. So, if you’re in London, these are some attractions you might or might be interested it.
Let’s expand the panel and backtrack a bit. Upon expansion you’ll notice that we get an indoor map, which is just astoundingly awesome. Of course your local pharmacy won’t have this in their mobile panels, and if they did I doubt it would help anyone, which is why they will probably never get such a feature. Another bonus is a carousel of images from inside the store that appropriately follows the indoor map.
Also, the summary gets a bit fuller when we expand the panel and as the panel appears to almost overlay the results page. In this case we see who the CEO of Harrods is, some pretty random looking sales numbers that don’t look correct, etc.
Moving past what we already saw, and you now get links to the company’s social profiles and some organic results that suffer from the same problem I mentioned earlier.
Reviews tab, nothing new here. Same with the Photos tab.
Onto the mobile Local Panel for restaurants. Here’s what we get for the New York eatery Vesleka. You know what, let’s just expand this thing off the bat. Very good. Up in the blue heading, and unlike the panels we saw thus far, we get a quick look at the pricing. And of course some tabs, buttons, and a new sort of summary. So this summary, when tapped, gives you a itemized list of let’s call them "establishment traits,” pretty darn neat.
Here we get an actual menu, as opposed to a form of dental exam. As you can see it’s pretty comprehensive. You actually have a carousel for different elements of the menu. So you can see the breakfast menu, brunch menu, etc.
Back to the Overview tab then and to something pretty darn fantastic…. You can actually place an order from the mobile Local Panel… and if we tap on this option you can see we get a list of delivery sites like doordash.com…. What will they think of next?!
What they thought of next is a carousel of food found on the menu! Then of course your handy dandy Q&A feature.
This is a nifty one, Highlights. Basically, what you have here is a characteristics carousel. For example, this eatery has great dessert, coffee, but small plates and college students…. That’s a toss up!
OK, now there are the Reviews From The Web that we’ve seen before, except here they stand in contrast to formal critic reviews, which makes sense since we’re talking about a restaurant here.
Ah, again we have Popular Times, which only hit restaurants in the mobile Local Panel towards the end of 2017. In this case, you can see an actual live take on the traffic at the restaurant. Actually this is far more important for a restaurant than say a department store, no one likes to wait at a restaurant, especially since most cities are filled with endless options, so why go to a place where Google tells you that you’re going to have to wait?
Also unique for restaurants, On These Lists. Here, Google shows you what "best of” lists the establishment has appeared on.
Finishing off on this tab, some reviews, social profiles, [and] carousels of other eateries (as an aside, if the restaurant has more than one location, you would probably see a carousel showing such locations here as well).
Oh, right, Web Results. Great.
The Menu tab we saw…. We all know what the Reviews tab is going to give us… reviews.
Remember how I mentioned that the Photos tab, with its subcategorization, was particularly pertinent to restaurants. Here’s why. In the case of an eatery, Google dissects the images and places those of the food in a separate subtab than those of the atmosphere. So if you’re looking to plan a visit to a restaurant and want to check out how cramped the place is, Google gives you an easy way to do so!
And with that, we’ve hit the end of the road for today. I hope you found this survey of the mobile Local Panel insightful, perhaps even a bit… fun. Keep a look out for our full-on guide to the mobile Knowledge Panel and until next time, stay classy.
Mordy is the CMO of Rank Ranger as well as the host of The In Search SEO Podcast. Despite his numerous and far-reaching marketing duties, Mordy still considers himself an SEO educator first and foremost. That's why you’ll find him regularly releasing all sorts of original SEO research and analysis!