I came across a great question Stephan J. Hahn asked on Twitter that really got me thinking about how Authors approach marketing in 2019. (Shoutout to Stephan! Here’s a link to his Twitter.)
Alright #Writing Community. How often do you #Google yourself?
There was a range of responses, but it seemed like many people:
- Didn’t feel inclined to google themselves
- Were disappointed in the results
- Were hesitant to admit that they did Google themselves
The way I see it, Googling yourself is extremely important for any author – especially self-published or indie who rely solely on themselves for marketing…
Why were Authors disappointed Googling themselves?
I felt I needed to make like Scooby Doo and crack open this mystery!
I started by Googling the author that started the thread: Stephan J. Hahn. The search results on the first page seemed to be largely relevant (including a link to his books on amazon and his website) but then I discovered that Stephan had what appeared to be an unclaimed knowledge panel.
Then I asked myself, how many other authors have unclaimed knowledge panels???
DUN DUN DUN!!!!!!!! (Did you hear the Scooby Doo sound effects? Was it too much?)
What is a Knowledge Panel?
Knowledge panels appear during google searches on both desktop and mobile. They are information boxes that appear when you search for people, places, organizations, or things. Knowledge Panels provide a general overview of information about whatever keywords triggered the result. On mobile, they are literally the first thing someone sees when they search you. On desktop, Knowledge Panels are located to the right of the main search results.
Does Every Search Term Have A Knowledge Panel?
No. Only searches that are part of Google’s existing Knowledge Graph.
How can I tell if I have a Knowledge Panel?
Google yourself. If a box pops up with information on the right side of the screen, that is your knowledge panel.
But Candice! I Googled My Name, and The Knowledge Panel Wasn’t There! Does That Mean I Don’t Have One?
Not necessarily. Your knowledge panel might be triggered by adding additional keywords. For example, I googled another author from the thread, R.M. Smith and discovered no knowledge panel for that search result.
But then I changed the search term and added the word “Author”. Look how different the results are.
Instead of getting Fishing Lures and Tackle, I now see the author’s books! (Shoutout to the author! Here’s a link to R.M. Smith’s Twitter.)
What is the benefit to having a Knowledge Panel?
A Knowledge Panel lets you control how you are displayed on Google to some extent. You can add your social media profiles, create stories, articles, posts, polls, and videos that show up when people search for you. Pretty neat, huh?
Right now, my Knowledge Panel is mostly music related because my books have not been published. When they are published, my Knowledge Panel should be updated to reflect that.
There aren’t any posts on my Knowledge Panel right now because I’ve been negligent and posts expire after a week or so to keep things fresh and current from Google’s perspective.
I know, I know… I’m bad. Who writes an article about Knowledge Panels when they didn’t update their own in a while? For shame!
So, posts aside… Here’s a look at how my Knowledge Panel looks right this minute: (Or you can just google me, haha!) As you can see, it’s still got my chosen profile photo and all my social media profiles. Each one had to be verified by google during the process of me claiming my knowledge panel.
I’m FREAKED OUT! What if someone else claims my panel?
Google goes through a verification process to make sure you’re you, so you should be ok. Cleansing breaths.
OMG, But Isn’t Googling Yourself Vain???
If you are a business, entertainer, author, artist, public figure, and you have potential customers, fans, readers… you absolutely MUST take your SEO seriously. It’s not vain. It’s smart. And it’s essential to your book’s success in my opinion.
Authors: if potential readers are going to google you and your work, it’s very important to put work into your SEO to make sure that readers can find you. That means unless you have a super duper fancy marketing team managing your fandom for you – you are going to have to do this yourself.
And that’s ok!
I’m going to post another blog to follow up this one on how to claim your knowledge panel and create posts on Google! It’s not as hard as you think it is. I’m here to walk you through it every step of the way!