19 Dec 2017

How to get a Google Knowledge Graph for musicians


When searching for your favourite bands and musicians on Google, you’ve probably noticed that many have a panel dedicated to their music on the right-hand side of the first results page. This is called a Google Knowledge Graph.

Google Knowledge Graphs (also known as Google Knowledge Panels) are filled with all the essential stuff you want your fans to see, including images, biography, tour dates, social profiles, songs, albums and more. They’re a great way to help new listeners get to know you at glance. Here's a good example from singer-songwriter Tash Sultana:




But how do you get one?

The first thing you should know is that Google will decide for itself how to display your panel. So you will need to use some SEO (search engine optimisation) techniques to make sure it can access all the information it needs.

You should also be aware that this isn’t an exact science, and getting a knowledge panel really depends on how well-known you are within the music world. With that in mind let’s look at some of the steps you can take to give yourself the best chance of success.



Set up your Google accounts

The first and most obvious way to make sure Google knows who you are is to tell them directly via your Google accounts. There are a few ways to do this, and while these methods alone won’t guarantee a panel, they're a good place to start…


Log in to your Google account or create a new one

Once you're logged into your Google account, you’ll need to stay logged in to the same account as you complete the rest of the steps.


Create & edit a Google Brand account

By creating a Google Brand account, you’re essentially letting Google know you exist and that you are a band or musician. You don’t have to actively engage with your account once you’re set up, but you’ll need to do a few things at first.

You should manage and edit your brand account so it contains all the essential info about you and your music, including links to your website, social media profiles and any more information you can add.


Get your music on Google Play

Uploading your music to Google Play is a great idea whether or not your main aim is to get a knowledge panel. There’s no real evidence to suggest that getting your tracks on Google’s music streaming platform is required for the purpose of this article, but there’s absolutely no harm in doing it anyway. It can only help your chances.

If you haven’t already, you can get music on Google Play through Ditto Music.


Register your website in Search Console

Another important step, strongly recommended by Google themselves, is connecting your band website to your Brand Account via the Google Search Console.

Rather than simply linking to it from your Google Plus profile (which you should also do), this method verifies that you own your website and makes an official connecting between your brand and website that Google will recognise.

This also comes in handy down the line, as once you’ve been recognised as the genuine representative of your brand, you can suggest changes for your knowledge panel directly in the future.



Publish a Wikipedia page

A published Wikipedia page is a great way to show off your reputability as a band or artist. What’s more, Google uses Wikipedia to source the bio information for its Knowledge Graph, so getting one is a big step toward securing your panel.

However, securing a Wikipedia page for your music isn’t straightforward. The site has strictly enforced rules for the creation of new pages. Put simply, the page needs to be neutral, and your music needs to be notable and verifiable. But what exactly does this mean?

Wikipedia states that articles must be from a neutral source. This means it can’t to be a promotional page for your music, but rather a factual resource detailing your music career. To avoid a conflict of interest, it might be a good idea to get a fan or friend to write the page and upload it for you.

The information you provided must also be verifiable. This means it must backed up by a reliable, 3rd party source, for example, a media publication rather than your band’s website.

Perhaps most importantly, your music must be notable. This term may be subjective, but Wikipedia offer the following examples of what 'notable' means to them.


- Multiple articles covering your music or a tour

- Albums or singles in the official charts

- Prominence within a certain genre or sub-culture

- Award or competition wins or nominations

- Your music featured in another form of media, eg. TV shows, movies, games

- Involvement in political activism or controversy

- Worked with other famous figures

- Performed at major festivals or well-known venues


Tip: It’s also worth creating an entry on Wikidata.org as well as Wikipedia. Wikidata has more structured entry fields, and Google relies on data for its knowledge panel from both resources.



Publish a MusicBrainz entry

MusicBrainz is another resource that Google uses to find information about bands and artists. It’s similar to Wikipedia, but focussed purely around musicians.




The site has its own guidelines for additions, which you can check out here before you create an account and contribute.

Firstly, check that you’re not already featured on the site, and if not, add all your band or artist details to the database, including your website and any album or song information available. 

Remember to be as comprehensive as possible and follow all of the rules to make sure your entry is accepted.



Optimise your images

Right at the top of every music Knowledge Graph, you can see images of the band or artist you’ve searched for.

Exactly how Google chooses these images isn’t public knowledge, but there are some techniques you can use to optimise the images so Google recognises them as you.

Upload plenty of high-quality images to your website and make sure your band or artist name is in the image's file name and alt text

For example, if your band’s name was Cool Band, before you upload an image, rename it to something like:




Then when you come to upload it to your site, set the alt text to ‘Cool Band Press Shot’. If you use a common CMS (content management system) like WordPress, you should see an alt text field to fill in when uploading your image. However, if for some reason this isn’t available, you can set your alt text in your site’s HTML code, within the img tags:

I’d also recommend you try to get any media publications who publish your images to do the same thing, or at least provide images with optimised file names.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that images on your Google Brand account and YouTube thumbnails may also be used on your Knowledge Graph.



Quick recap

Ultimately, Google decides whether to display a Knowledge Graph for a bands or artists and there’s no guarantee these techniques will work for everyone. They will, however, give you a much better chance of success.


Here’s a quick recap:

- Set up your Google accounts

- Publish a Wikipedia page & Wikidata entry

- Publish a MusicBrainz entry

- Upload plenty of high-quality images and optimise them

- Be consistent with the information published online



Have you got a Google Knowledge Graph for your music? Any questions or tips to share with other artists? Let us know in the comments.