Google’s Knowledge Panel

Background:

On November 30, Google began piloting Knowledge Panel, an add-on to Knowledge Graph, which launched in May. Knowledge Graph serves up a reference guide on the right side of certain search results pages, often including examples of other keyword searches users are conducting that are similar. Knowledge Panel now adds ads below Knowledge Graph that are paid search ads relevant to the search term. We have seen this roll out slowly in certain verticals (including health) and only in some cities. For example, the screenshot below shows results from a search for Botox conducted in New York City.

The following screen shot was taken in NY and may appear differently in different areas.

FAQ by Google

Q: How do you ensure the drug information is accurate and up to date?

A: The data comes from a number of authoritative sources such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The data is updated on regular basis.

Q: How does Google pick which drug facts to show?

A: We go back to our users and study in aggregate what they’ve been asking Google about each drug.

Q: How does Google pick which indications to show for a drug?

A: We show indications and clinically-significant uses, both on- and off-label, from governmental sources including the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration

Q: How Google picks the brands to show for a drug?

A: The brand names are compiled from the drug label information sent by manufactures to the FDA. In some cases we highlight one specific brand that is commonly associated with the drug.

Q: May drug manufacturers pay to be included?

A: No, there are no sponsored or paid inclusions here.

Q: Does Google store the drug queries users search for?

A: We log these searches as we do other web searches, but we avoid personalizing ads or search results on the basis of health conditions.

Q: How this relates to the Online Pharmacy case Google settled last year?

A:  No relationship at all.

Q: Is Google providing advice on drug treatments based on just a search query?

A: The results we show are not intended as medical advice, but rather are a reflection of content available on the Web that our algorithms identify as related to a given query.

Implications:

There are three main possible implications:

  1. Click Volume on the Right Rail ads could potentially decrease based on their position being pushed lower on the page.
  2. Knowledge Panel might cause users to focus their attention to the right side of the SERP away from the top left section which is normally the top three ad placements. If this were to happen, there is the possibility of an increase in click volume on the Right Rail ads.
  3. Because there are more clickable links on the SERP, advertisers could potentially see a reduction in click-through-rate.

Recommendation:

At this time, our clients do not need to take any action. We are monitoring all search accounts closely to see if this affects traffic, click through rate or volume. We have already determined it does not affect ads or the wording of ads. We will provide any relevant updates ongoing.