One SEO professional asked John Mueller about knowledge panels during his submitted questions segment in a hangout.
In recent months, they noticed Google serving knowledge panels for certain name searches consistently in mobile, and not at all on desktop for the same query.
The examples where they were seeing this pattern include business executives who are notable, but they may not have a Wikipedia page.
Is it possible to understand why a knowledge panel is considered appropriate to serve to mobile users, but may not be served to desktop users in this situation?
Is Wikipedia the critical factor for Google when deciding whether or not to actually show a knowledge panel?
John answered that he isn’t aware of anything specific that they do differently on mobile and desktop, regarding knowledge panels. However, it’s very common across the different search features, depending on the device type and the real estate they have available, that Google will turn on some features and turn off others.
This is done to make sure they are showing something that’s useful to the user based on the query that they were using.
From this perspective, John emphasized that he would not be surprised if you see different knowledge panels on desktop and mobile. He also doesn’t think that there’s any one particular factor where they would say “This is why you’re seeing this knowledge panel at this time and not at another time.”
Sometimes, regarding these kinds of queries where you are seeing this type of change, it’s possible that it’s just on the border of whether they should show a knowledge panel or not.
Then maybe the device type just turns it over.
And it says yes or no in the end.
Google uses a variety of different sources for knowledge panels, and some of that information is what you will see in the knowledge panel directly.
That’s one thing the SEO professional can follow up on a little bit.
Another tip John mentioned is to follow people who are external to Google who share knowledge about knowledge panels on a regular basis.
One of these examples is Jason Barnard, known as The Brand SERP Guy, and John says he does this really well.
This happens at approximately the 35:16 mark in the video.