Featured Image for "5. Knowledge Panel & Entity Optimization | Jason Barnard | Part 2"

In this episode of the Raking Revolution podcast, host Doug Cunnington continues his insightful conversation with Jason Barnard, the founder of Kalicube, discussing advanced SEO strategies, the importance of entity understanding, and optimizing online presence for better Google recognition. 

Delving into specific entity types such as companies, CEOs, reviewers, and authors, they explore how Google’s understanding of these entities influences SEO and organic growth. 

They discuss the shift towards prioritizing authorship and expertise in Google’s Knowledge Graph and how this affects E-E-A-T signals. 

The conversation also touches on strategies for achieving authoritative Knowledge Panels on Google. 

00:00 Welcome to the Raking Revolution Podcast
00:11 Diving Deep with Jason Barnard on SEO and Entity Understanding
00:34 The Importance of Entity Understanding in SEO
01:25 Optimizing for Google’s Entity Understanding and N-E-E-A-T Credibility
02:40 The Evolution of Google’s Knowledge Graph and Its Impact on SEO
06:06 Building a Strong Digital Presence and Avoiding Common Pitfalls
08:11 The Future of SEO: Confidence in Understanding and N-E-E-A-T Credibility
13:10 Navigating Google’s Classification and the Power of Knowledge Panels
25:02 Who is the Ideal Customer for Kalicube?
26:44 Wrapping Up and Final Thoughts

[00:00:00] Doug Cunnington:

Welcome to the Ranking Revolution Podcast, your go-to source for strategies and ideas for SEO, organic growth, content creation, and business. I’m Doug Cunnington, your host. This is part two of the interview with Jason Barnard, founder of Kalicube. If you miss part one, just hit the back button or go to the previous episode, check that one out.

This is a continuation of that. So we’re just gonna jump right into it and get into more details with Jason. For specific entities, can you give just like one or two examples maybe the ones that people need to look at super closely? 

[00:00:42] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard):

The company, the CEO, the founder, the reviewer. If you’re in YMYL, that’s particularly important.

Who has reviewed all your articles? Get that person understood and Google will then understand that somebody qualified has reviewed all these articles. The authors. Those are the key ones for the global website and content. But then you would also wanna go into the products or entities.

So you wanted to understand your products or your services as entities. But generally speaking, at Kalicube, when people come to us, I would love to do all of that in one go, but number one, it costs too much money. Number two, it’s too much work too fast. So what we generally do is start with the company and people say, I wanna optimize my website for entity understanding and, NEEATT credibility.

We say, look, it’s not the website that Google would apply all these signals to. It’s the company behind the website. Even though the company behind the website is simply sorry, a legal entity that allows you to run the website, Google needs to understand the company because once it’s understood the company, it can understand who owns the website and therefore start applying these signals. So the website is important, but it represents the company rather than the other way around. So we start with that. If the CEO or founder has an online presence and is the face of the company, which is often the case, we need to work on them because Google is looking for relationships that are close, strong, and long.

And the CEO is close and strong, but it’s not necessarily long. The founder is close, strong, and long, permanent. So we want the closest, strongest, longest relationships we can find and build an understanding in Google’s brain of company, CEO, founder, website, authors, reviewer. And if we come to the authors, which is a really interesting point, is last year in July, there was a huge update to the Knowledge Graph.

Google tripled the number of people in the Knowledge Graph in four days. So imagine they had 500 million people in the Knowledge Graph on the 1st of July. Four days later, they had 100, sorry, 1,500 million people in the Knowledge Graph. It tripled the number of people. It didn’t add any companies.

It didn’t add any events, it didn’t add any products. It added people. Why? Because it wants to understand who the authors are because that’s how it can apply. E-E-A-T signals, or NEEATT signals as we call them, because a person generally doesn’t have a website and will write for multiple websites, whereas the company owning the website is static and fixed.

The author will skip from site to site. So that’s the only way Google could actually move towards a better application of NEEATT credibility and leave links behind. Almost. Obviously links still do count, but if you think about links, imagine what I’m saying with reviews, with history, with all the things I’ve written, all the podcasts I’ve been on, the cumulative value of all of those credibility signals is huge compared to links.

Let’s say links is 10%, the rest of it’s 90%. If you are sticking just to links, you are missing out on 90% of the opportunity for credibility in Google’s eyes and indeed in your audience’s eye. Sorry, I get overexcited. 

[00:04:16] Doug Cunnington:

That’s great though. I was gonna say, I suspect, you’ve been talking about this stuff for about eight or nine years.

And it’s still the first time some people are hearing about it. 

[00:04:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard):

Yep. And to be fair to people and the world, I built Kalicube Pro in 2015 because I understood all of this and I was naive. Because I thought that’s what Google could already do. But it’s actually taken Google eight years to catch up with me.

It can do it now. It couldn’t do it eight years ago. So I built a machine for the future. Isn’t that lovely? And… Eight years ahead of time. I’ve been waiting for the whole thing to catch up with me, which is brilliant, but it also means that I now have the machine that does the right job at the right time, and I don’t need to wait a year or two years to get developers to build it for me.

It already exists and it’s the only one in the world of its kind. Others are gonna copy us. Now my job is to figure out what the next machine is for eight years down the line. I’ve sent a video to my team and we’ve decided already exactly where we’re going with it and we know where we need to go, and I’m very sure that we’re on the right path.

[00:05:33] Doug Cunnington:

That’s cool. At the end of the interview, I’ll get you to tell me what it is, so everybody hang on until the end. Alright, good. Couple things I wanna highlight. So we’ll come back to Google updates. I wanna ask you about helpful content updates and what all the work that someone can do that you just mentioned, making sure Google understands their brand or their personal brand and how that potentially could insulate them from helpful content updates or similar.

But before we get to that, I’ve been pushing actually for years, like people should be on podcast, they should be on YouTube channels, do collaborations, and just get out there more. And not too many people have the… Maybe it’s confidence, maybe they’re nervous to try something new to actually try to be on podcasts.

You and I like that’s what we’re doing. Like we’re quite comfortable with it, but it’s hard for people to get into it. So you actually highlighted it, but I want you to go a little bit deeper if possible, if there’s more to add about how important it is to be out there, speak at conferences. And really network, whether it is podcast, YouTube, conferences, et cetera.

How important is that? 

[00:06:53] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard):

Right. Ooh, that’s a really interesting question from the perspective of is more better. And one thing that’s happening today is entity stacking. And people think if I create lots of different profiles and push them to Google, Google will understand me and it will understand my entity rather.

At Kalicube, we talk about understanding and then confidence in that understanding. Now, the problem with entity stacking is that you’re creating understanding by repetition across multiple platforms. However, those platforms are not relevant to your audience, so you’re actually throwing a huge curve ball to Google.

The other problem is that they’re very difficult to maintain over time. We all change over time. We all evolve over time. How are you going to keep maintaining those without creating inconsistency. And over time, inconsistency is gonna be your biggest enemy there. So non-relevant, inconsistent, you’ve got two problems when you do entity stacking. Less is more here. If I can do less, but it’s more relevant and I can maintain it over time, that understanding will build and build in confidence. And that confidence in the understanding is what’s gonna be the huge trick to play in the future. If you are asking me, what is the next step?

The next immediate step in the next two or three years is confidence. So if you build a small digital ecosystem and you maintain it very well and it’s relevant, you will have understanding and you will have confidence in understanding. And I’ll give you an example of two people on our team, Allyssa Reyes,

and Mary Ann Buarao have both built Knowledge Panels for themselves. They have tiny digital footprints. But because they’re so clean, they’re so consistent, and because they’re listed on Kalicube, Google trusts Kalicube, they get the Knowledge Panel. So more is not better. More is actually a problem. And the other is moving into the NEEATT.

Once Google’s understood who you are and it’s confident in who you are, you need to then convince it of your credibility. Obviously, if the different platforms are irrelevant, that’s gonna damage your credibility. But then credibility is also to do with notability, demonstrating your expertise, demonstrating your authority, demonstrating your experience, and demonstrating how trustworthy you are and doing it all in a very transparent manner.

At that point, getting on the podcasts, getting your name out there, getting your face out there becomes hugely valuable. But once again, do it with care. It’s not scatter gun hit and hope. Maybe it’ll work. It’s focus in on your audience because if we come right back to the conversation from before, Google is constantly looking over your shoulder.

Who is this person engaging with? Who are they related to? Who are they on the podcast with? Does this make sense to the cohort that I expect them to belong to? And if you think about cohorts, I’m at the middle of the cohort in Digital Marketing, let’s say. If I suddenly do a podcast about plumbing, that doesn’t talk about Digital Marketing at all, Digital Marketing for plumbers will be fine. But if I’m on a plumbing podcast talking about how I love to fiddle with my pikes in my home, which sounds a bit strange now I say it, it’s like a magnet pulling me away from the center of the cohort I actually belong to. So it’s damaging Google’s understanding.

Its confidence in its understanding, but also my NEEATT because NEEATT is niche. Ooh, I like that. NEEATT is niche. 

[00:10:42] Doug Cunnington:

Alliterations are always good. Okay. It’s interesting ’cause again, I’m thinking about my own digital footprint out there and it is somewhat scattered. I actually have two podcasts. I’m in like this sort of SEO and Digital Marketing area, but I’m also in the financial independence and personal finance area.

And the thing is I have two things going on in separate areas and I’m fine. Like I’m fine with that so I can see how it can get, a little scattered. And then additionally, one thing that I have going on and this is just an odd thing, probably a little unusual, but, so I have the Keyword Golden Ratio, and there are a lot of blogs that thought, oh, I’m gonna write an article on that.

And they just go, regurgitate the information typically. And a lot of times they’ll mention my name, but they don’t link back to my site because they don’t, they’re trying to rank for the term, right? So they’re just like, this is a cool idea. It’s good for the blog and they go from there. So not only do I have not very much control, but because I’m out there talking about things, people will also write about it and then it is so scattered.

So I could see how it can get complicated, but I think perhaps I’m a rare… a rare example because I am spread in two different areas that are basically unrelated. So yeah. Any thoughts on that? There’s no question there. 

[00:12:20] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard):

No, there is, multifacetedness, all human beings are multifaceted.

Some are more multifaceted than others. But getting Google to understand that we have multiple facets is part of our job. So if we go back to Boowa, the blue dog and the double bass punk folk music, that information still exists online. Google still knows that I was a musician and that I was a blue dog, but it doesn’t focus on it, and that’s the hugely difficult balance to keep.

And I think that is actually probably the biggest value added that Kalicube brings, because doing it yourself, it’s gonna be impossible for you to find that balance. Doing it with data, data from Google, through the Kalicube Pro platform allows us to figure out where that balance is going to be. And I’ll give you a really good example.

You were talking about classification. Sorry. You’re talking about the helpful content update and Gary Illyes said lots of classification. We’ve reclassified lots of stuff. We’ve become significantly better as classification. The Knowledge Graph update two months before was people. Google deleted the subtitles of…

I think it was about half all the people in the Knowledge Graph. A subtitle is a categorization. They deleted absolutely lows. 50% let’s say. I can’t remember if that’s the right number. Please don’t quote me on it. Look at the article we wrote about the Killer Whale Update, which is what we called it.

The Knowledge Graph update from July is the biggest update I have seen in 25 years working alongside Google by a long chalk. There is no understating how huge this was because it’s the day the Knowledge Graph suddenly got involved with a helpful content update. That is huge. But the one thing that they reclassified the least is writers and authors, which clearly indicates they’re looking for who’s written the article, who’s producing the content so they can apply NEEATT signals and start to figure out where the AI content is.

Because if it knows who the author is, it knows it’s not AI unless the author is cheating and using AI, in which case they use Author Vectors to decide if the author actually did write the article or not. An Author Vector is something Bill Slawski talk to me about is it’s basically your fingerprint. You have a stein of writing that the machine can identify at a glance.

Is this you or is it AI? Is it you or is it a ghost writer? It knows who you are and it can therefore understand, did you write it or not? Then you get your NEEATT signals, then you’re in a really powerful position. So ironically, in the age of AI, handwriting stuff is gonna be more valuable if you are recognized as an entity.

I’ve actually forgotten where this question started. All of a sudden. Oh, it was about classification. And so the example I was gonna give you is that I used to be a musician in Google’s brain. It said Jason Barnard… musician. I was classified as a musician because the musician side of me is the most easy for Google to understand.

Then it classified me as an SEO professional. Then we got it to change me to author, writer. So year, no, when I, when we published the book, this book here, The Fundamentals of Brand SERPs for Business, I got myself reclassified as an author. Google did a Killer Whale Update and reclassified a lot of people as authors and writers because it was saying, for example, Olga Zarr was saying, oh, I want to be an SEO professional.

He said, no, you don’t. You wanna be a writer who specializes in SEO. It’s better to be recognized by Google as a writer who has a specialist topic than be an SEO in Google’s brain, because then your content has more value in terms of credibility. Then of course, Kalicube being Kalicube, Jason Barnard being Jason Barnard, I can’t let that lie.

So against the flow of what Google’s trying to do, identify writers, I decided to change my subtitle to entrepreneur, and we just managed it, took us two months. So Google then switched me from writer to entrepreneur so I can get Google to reclassify people. That classification is huge because as an entrepreneur, if you think about whatever projects I’m doing as an author, my credibility gets applied to my articles.

As an entrepreneur, my credibility gets supplied to my company. That’s better for me. If I start another project, my credibility will be applied to that other project. So you really need to think about your categorization, your classification to understand which is the best one for you in terms of your audience and Google.

And obviously for my audience, if I’m going out saying, I’m an SEO professional, great, wonderful. I’m an entrepreneur, that’s pretty impressive. Makes me seem more important even though I’m not. So being able to, and I will say the word manipulate Google is huge power. 

[00:17:30] Doug Cunnington:

That’s great. It makes me really think about what I might need to do.

I’m lazy by nature, so I may not do anything and just let it sit where it is. But there could be, I’m writing a book right now, so there could be a scenario where it makes sense for me to really manipulate or really it’s giving Google the data that we want it to see upfront, I think. Alright.

[00:17:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard):

It’s shining a light on the stuff that we want Google to focus on, which is what I did with the blue dog, what I’m now doing with entrepreneur. It’s really important to make sure that you decide what, sorry, Google John Mueller, Gary Illyes, they don’t make Google guess. It’s a bit trite as a thing to say, but it’s you who makes the decision.

You decide which pages are important on your website that should be indexed. You decide who you are, you decide how you should be perceived by your audience. Don’t let Google make its own mind up. And I, here’s an analogy I did use in the past and I’ve forgotten about for a while, is letting Google decide who you are and how to represent you to your audience is like letting your mother pick your clothes to go to the high school dance.

[00:18:49] Doug Cunnington:

That’s a good one. We’re coming up towards the end here, and do you have a hard stop by the way? Okay, perfect. So quickly, let’s, cover two things. One, I’m curious about, like helpful content update, maybe some of the other recent updates. I know you’re focusing more on Brand SERPs versus just SERPs in general, but what have you seen from maybe the companies you work with that had a good handle of their Brand SERP versus companies that did not and how they might be impacted?

[00:19:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard):

Which is a lovely question because our clients see growth in business through the multichannel marketing that we’re doing, the omnichannel marketing that we do. So we will place them to be standing where their audience is looking on the platforms their audience hangs out on, show that audience that they have the solution, invite them down the funnel, which is usually to their website.

That is what the Kalicube Process does. By optimizing a digital ecosystem, Google then sees that you are serving the subset of its users who are your audience on these different platforms. So it understands that on LinkedIn, you’re engaging with your audience and your audience is engaging with you in a positive manner.

On YouTube, on Forbes, and that audience is then going to your website and converting. Google sees that you are satisfying these people. Google’s a recommendation engine. It sees that you are a great solution wherever you are solving the person’s problem, and at that point, it’s always gonna recommend you over the competition because it knows that you can serve your audience better.

That’s where the packaging of Google, for Google comes in. If you can package all of these different platforms, including your own website in a way that makes it easy for Google to digest and understand that you’re serving the subset of its users who are your audience, it will recommend you.

As long as you have the content that satisfies that need. So it truly, the word holistic gets overused, but this is truly holistic. Being able to demonstrate to Google that you’re serving your audience means that you have to actually serve your audience, which is great for business. And then Google is simply a natural extension of that.

It wants to recommend the best in market. You need to demonstrate you’re the best in market. To demonstrate you’re the best in market, you actually need to be the best in market. So we’re looking at business and SEO comes last. 

[00:21:22] Doug Cunnington:

Now Knowledge Panel. So I have a lot of content out there and based on what you said, some of your team, they have Knowledge Panels and they have a small footprint.

So it seems like something I should be able to get a handle on. What would it take without knowing anything other than, I published a lot of stuff over time. How long do you think it would take for me to have a Knowledge Panel with the things that I want to be shown and displayed there?

[00:21:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard):

Right, very practical question. Knowledge is in Google’s brain is in three month iterations, so you can expect improvements every three months. So you would, if you cleaned up your digital ecosystem today or this week, in three months time, you would expect to get a Knowledge Panel sprout, which is just that the Knowledge Panel exists, but Google doesn’t show it when somebody searches your name, but it exists in Google’s brain.

It just doesn’t display it. And at Kalicube, we’ve got tools that will help, free tools indeed, that will help you find that. Once you have that, you can give that as a reference to Google on which it can hook all of the other information you’re giving it. So you can then say, this is me in your system, and these are all the corroborative sources that prove that what’s going on here is exactly what the truth is.

Six, three months later, sorry, you will have a bigger Knowledge Panel, so it might have your name, your photo, your description, and two social media channels. At that point, if your name is ambiguous, it won’t trigger when somebody searches your name, but if your name isn’t ambiguous, it probably will. If you’re in a geo region where you are notable, that it probably will as well, but it wouldn’t trigger in Australia, if you’re living in Canada. Three months later, you would probably have your age, a company you founded, and potentially the people also search for, which is the other people that Google Associates with you. So your cohort, and that’s when you start to see where Google sees you as part of the internet, the wider world.

After 12 months, you would expect to have what we call the Knowledge Panel cards. If you search for Leonardo DiCaprio, you’ll see a really lovely representation with Knowledge Panel cards that are colored with a video, with Twitter, with photos, with information, and that process, if you do it right, would take about 12 months, in three months iteration.

And one point about the Knowledge Panel cards, if you search for somebody, Beyonce, Leonardo DiCaprio who are famous, you say, yeah, that’s normal. If you search for Jason Barnard… J-A-S-O-N B-A-R-N-A-R-D, you’ll see the same thing. I look really famous, but I’m not. Google is simply very confident and wants to represent me in the best way it can because I’ve educated it over the last 12 years. And those Knowledge Panel cards are actually precursor to Search Generative Experience.

They were the first iteration of Search Generative Experience and they’ve been around for three years, I think now, maybe four. And we mastered how to manage them two, three years ago. So Search Generative Experience for Kalicube is a tiny step from what we were already doing and what we realized when it was launched Bing Chat then Search Generative Experience in 2023 is Kalicube had already solved that problem before it even became a problem. 

[00:24:50] Doug Cunnington:

That’s cool. Alright, we gotta wrap it up here. I’m gonna link up to all the places that you’re available, but can you tell us who the right user and customer is for Kalicube?

[00:25:03] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard):

Yeah. Anybody who has a personal brand that’s important for their business or their career. So if you own a company, if you’re the founder of a company, a CEO of a company, your personal brand is part of the representation of your business. You are the face of the company. You are the perfect client for us.

If you are an aspiring actor, an aspiring writer, but you’re a C list celebrity and you want to appear to be a B-list celebrity, we can make that happen for you. We can make you look more important, more famous, more authoritative than you really are. If you’re on the speaking circuit, people are gonna Google your name before they book you to speak.

If they see this incredibly impressive result, they’ll think, oh, they’re a B-list celebrity. I’ll book them in ’cause it’s gonna bring the audience, but you’re actually a C or a D-list celebrity. A friend of mine said to me, Jason, you’re a D-list celebrity. I was so disappointed. And then he said, publish a book and we can move you up to the C list.

But in fact, your Knowledge Panel already makes you look like a B-list celebrity. So you don’t need the book because the appearances is what matters. That’s what we do. 

[00:26:19] Doug Cunnington:

That’s so cool. Awesome, Jason. 

[00:26:23] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard):

Scott Turman, shame on you for saying that to me. But it was a really good insight. 

[00:26:29] Doug Cunnington:

Yeah. It’s a good, great analogy. And yeah, this has been a real pleasure, Jason. I wish we could talk for longer. Thanks for pulling the bass around. The double bass around. Yeah the cat. Great guest as well. So yeah, have a great day. This has been a wonderful interview and we’ll link up so everyone can find you and Kalicube and Google Jason out there.

Check out his Knowledge Panel.

[00:26:52] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard):

Brilliant. Thanks so much, Doug. 

[00:26:54] Doug Cunnington:

Thanks a lot to Jason, be sure to check out Kalicube. I still haven’t spent a lot of time trying to get my Knowledge Panel altogether, and it’s just one of those things. I think I have a lot of the pieces in place. But right now, it just wasn’t a priority, although I’m sure if I talked to Jason again, I would probably get really pumped about it and I’d be ready to hop over there.

But anyway, I’ll put links in the description so you can follow along with Jason and if you dig the show, if you dig these episodes, you could help me out by leaving a review, making sure you’re subscribed and leaving a comment if you happen to watch over on YouTube. I appreciate your help and any support that you can provide.

Thanks a lot and we’ll catch you on the next episode.

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