How To Get Verified On Google As An Artist
by Dan Coe
You may hold the view that you’re not properly established as a band or solo artist until Google acknowledges you as such. Others may declare this measurement of success arbitrary at best, utterly preposterous at worst. Whatever your take, there can be no denying Google’s unmatched power over the internet and what people find on it (or not, more to the point), nor the value in being recognised on the platform, for those wanting to make a living out of making and performing music.
For the time being at least, being a Google ‘verified’ artist or band means getting yourself a panel. A what now? That’s right. A panel.
Google Knowledge Panels
Knowledge panels are information boxes that appear on Google when you search for an entity of some kind (people, places, organisations, things) that are in the Knowledge Graph, a knowledge base used by Google and its services to enhance its search engine’s results with multisource gathered information.
They are meant to help Googlers get a quick snapshot of information on a topic based on Google’s understanding of available content on the web.
The above image, and the related terminology, should now be familiar to you. As you probably can gather, these knowledge panels make it much easier for fans, both longstanding and potential, to find you and your wares, be that your tracks, your videos, your tour dates, your streaming pages, your social media, or your website. But how do you make sure that the information, links, and images are up to date and that which you actually want displayed? Read on.
Claiming what’s yours
As you will see in the below image, Google’s Knowledge Panels can be claimed (even that of Stone Roses):
On hitting that claim button, you’ll be shown all the benefits of being verified and coiffuring your Knowledge Panel in glorious technicolour.
However, Google have had the foresight to not just let any old Tom, Dick or Harry claim to be the Stone Roses, or Lady Gaga, or the London Philharmonic Orchestra (sorry if that’s a huge let down. You can still dress up as Lady gaga for Halloween, of course). No, rather, you have to have access to other ‘official’ online channels relating to your artist or band persona, or the Google Search Console account associated with the official website.
It should now be clear that in order to claim one’s knowledge panel, one must already have at least some online visibility. You need to make sure your online presence is ‘optimised’. This means ensuring that your artist page on Facebook, your artist YouTube Channel and so on are all clearly labelled with your artist name. You might notice how some music megastars put something whacky as their Twitter name, but they’ll always have a Twitter handle that reflects their actual artist name, or vice versa.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Before you can claim your panel, you’ll need the panel to exist in the first place. As Google creates your panel automatically it will put up just the bare bones of what is clearly available online. So ensuring your online presence is optimised increases the information that they’ll display off their own back.
When you upload music online to services like Spotify, Google will often create your panel after the first couple of uploads. It will then create links to your Spotify artist page for easy access to your music.
Simply put, Google won’t just create a Knowledge Panel because you exist; you will need to have clear online identity. In your quest to get you panel ship shape, it will certainly help getting your accounts verified where possible, more Facebook shares and likes, and adding more structured data to your website, but just having your accounts and profiles consistently labelled with your artist name and a few findable music releases, Google should start to work their magic.
As mentioned earlier, you’ll need to be verified as an official representative through one of your official accounts to make any changes to your Knowledge Panel, even if it’s just your Google account for your website. Once Google verifies you are an official representative for your brand you should be able to see a bar at the top of the panel saying “Is this info up-to-date?”.
If you can, select ‘Suggest a Change’ to edit parts of your panel and make sure that you are represented how you want to be when people search for you on Google.
On saving, Google will review the changes and updates, but assuming it’s accurate and doesn’t infringe on any of their terms (no links to your Only Fans account) you’ll have a newly revamped Knowledge Panel that shows you in your best light.