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Talks and Interviews with The Brand SERP Guy » Brand SERPs » 507 | Optimization of the Brand SERP and Avoiding Mistakes

507 | Optimization of the Brand SERP and Avoiding Mistakes

Jason Barnard returns for the second segment of his interview with EDGE of the Web to discuss Brand SERP optimization. Jason, The Brand SERP Guy, helps us understand how to optimize certain features in the Brand SERP.  Erin and Jason have a great time walking through the rich elements of the BrandSERP and discussing mistakes to avoid in the process of owning the real estate of your brand!

[00:00:00] Erin Sparks: What are the best steps in optimising your Google Business Card, the Brand SERP? We’re talking about your next steps to do that from a new book from Jason Barnard today on the EDGE. 

[00:00:14] Narrator: Your weekly digital marketing trends with industry trend setting guests powered by your digital marketing pioneer, Site Strategics. This week’s featured guest is Jason Barnard, CEO of Kalicube, The Brand SERP Guy. Now here’s your host, Erin Sparks. 

[00:00:34] Erin Sparks: Welcome back to the EDGE. This is EDGE of the Web Radio. I’m your host, Erin Sparks, owner of Site Strategics, a digital marketing firm based in Indianapolis, Indiana. Every week, we’re bringing amazing guests to chat about trending digital marketing topics. We unpack a key marketing topic for our digital marketing audience, whether you are part of an agency, a freelancer, or part of a marketing department in your firm, this show is for you. Be sure to check out all the recent episodes over at edgeofthewebradio.com. That’s edgeofthewebradio.com.

[00:01:04] Erin Sparks: Hey, we’re proud to have Page One Power as the new sponsor of this EDGE of the Web interview series segment. It’s great to have a new sponsor on board and we’re eager to share what they do with our listeners. Page One Power is an SEO agency specialising in sustainable link building and strategic content creation. They create content and links that are tailored to your goals, all with a project manager who will be with you throughout the entire campaign. Visit edgeofthewebradio.com/pageonepower today to sign up for a free 30-minute consultation. Thanks for joining the EDGE team, Page One Power.

[00:01:43] Erin Sparks: Just want to go over a little bit of housekeeping of this show, who’s going to be coming up here in the future. Bill Hartzer is going to be on deck talking about SEO audits. Hey, make sure you check out the recent shows of Mitul Gandhi and Mark Traphagen as well as Eli Schwartz where we talked about Product-Led SEO. If you’re interested in being part of this show, drop us a line at our email [email protected] Set your reminders on YouTube to get notified whenever we drop videos in the lane. Also, make sure that you check out our weekly digital marketing news podcast that we’re dropping each and every Tuesday, covering all the things that are trending right then and there with the indomitable Mordy Oberstein, head of brand SEO over at Wix.

[00:02:31] Erin Sparks: So that said, we will certainly love to hear from you. Why don’t you give us a rating on iTunes? If you go to ratethispodcast.com/edge, you could actually jump on there and be able to find all the rating platforms and your favourite podcast aggregation. We certainly appreciate your feedback and let us know how we do on this show as well as other shows you may have listened to. All right, with all that aside, let’s meet this week’s featured guest.

Introducing Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) as the Founder and CEO of Kalicube, an Author, and Influencer in SEO

[00:02:58] Erin Sparks: Welcome back to the second episode of our Jason Barnard interview. Jason Barnard, just to let you know who he is, he’s the author and digital marketer that specialises in Brand SERP. That’s brand search engine result pages. He focuses on optimisation and Knowledge Panel management. He’s a founder and CEO of Kalicube. You want to check out Kalicube. It’s a great resource for understanding Brand SERPs. And on top of that, Kalicube Pro, which is a fantastic platform to be able to manage your Brand SERP.

[00:03:28] Erin Sparks: As an author, Jason’s first book was The Fundamentals of Brand SERPs for Business, and he launched it this year in January. He regularly publishes in a slew of different blogs and on online trade organisation points of reference, including Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land, Semrush, SE Ranking, Search Engine Watch, Searchmetrics, and the likes. Jason’s been participant and influencer in SEO in all manners of understanding the Brand SERP tapestry that we are starting to come to understand now more than ever before. He’s been contributing into this for the last decade.

Reviewing Topics Talked About From the Last Time Jason Was on the Show and the Recent Improvement of Kalicube’s Brand SERP

[00:04:03] Erin Sparks: So, Jason was on the show last February and things have certainly changed a lot, especially with us is that I’ve been having an ongoing conversation with Jason outside of these podcasts, learning from him as well as utilising the Kalicube Pro platform to be able to manage our own SERPs. So, we did cover a lot on our last episode, Jason. And we covered the concept Brand SERPs, why you need to manage your Brand SERP now as seeing that Google is certainly providing information more and more on the Brand SERP to keep the consumer there, even to the degree that we were talking about the filter pills on a Brand SERP and what the future use of those pills would be for being able to navigate information of a particular brand or person. And your Brand SERP is certainly demonstrable to that. If you just search for Jason Barnard, you’re going to see a slew of filter pills about author, about digital marketer. By the way, welcome back to the show, Jason. How are bringing you on board?

[00:05:02] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Thank you very much. Yeah. I’m absolutely delighted to be back. Yeah. And searching, in fact for Kalicube, it’s been quite an interesting year. Because a year ago, Kalicube’s Brand SERP was pretty rubbish. And we set out this year to build a content strategy to fill the Brand SERP with wonderful information that makes us look incredibly good to our audience when they search the brand name, Kalicube. And that’s included Twitter boxes, video boxes, YouTube boxes, People Also Ask, multiple sites, Rich Sitelinks. And it’s been an interesting experience. Because from a standing start where I hadn’t worked on the company, I’d built out a really beautiful Brand SERP that is a great representation of the work that the Kalicube content team has been able to do over the last year.

[00:05:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the fact that Google, and this is vitally important, Google knows and sees and understands that the videos, the tweets, the images, and the content that we’re creating is relevant, helpful, and valuable to our audience and that they engage with it. That’s the key, that your audience engages with your content. If Google can see that, it will put that content onto your Brand SERP. And that’s demonstration that it’s a great content strategy, even outside Google.

A Brief Definition of Brand SERPs, Its Featured Snippets, and How It Was Optimised 

[00:06:20] Erin Sparks: Very good, very good. And for our audience that’s just coming in and hasn’t heard the other podcast, Brand SERP, just to give a quick ramp up for you, Brand SERPs is what appears on Google whenever someone searches your brand name, either company or persons, users, invariably, search your brand name for and personal name. And it is very important now that you need to optimise your Brand SERP, maximise every opportunity to control how you are actually seen on these Brand SERPs. And the features that are there are People Also Ask panels, image packs, local packs, videos, Knowledge Panels, sitelinks and the likes, all these featured snippets that we are as a consumer very well trained to use.

[00:07:01] Erin Sparks: And as soon as you see all these pieces reflecting a particular individual or company, you can see how well defined, how well optimised that information is and how well and trustworthy Google sees that information because we use the analogy regularly that Google is a child that’s trying to learn, but it also doesn’t have confidence in things until it really does understand that you’re a player in a particular space. So it has to learn and trust. It doesn’t want to be foolish and scream out your name on the playground. So, this is the baseline of what we want you to understand as applies to Brand SERP.

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) On Launching His Book and Changing Google’s Perception of Him to Author in Two Weeks

[00:07:39] Erin Sparks: So, you launched your book and we talked about it briefly at the tail end of our last show. Certainly, congratulations to you. And it was an experiment in its own, right? Because you’re trying to change how Google perceives you from a digital marketer to an author. And you were able to complete that in two weeks after the book launched, right?

[00:07:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. That was really interesting because we launched the book and we purposefully didn’t put it on Google Books because Google Books feed straight into Google, into its brain. Because by Google, Google is confident in that information. So we did it in two steps. We released the book without putting it on Google Books to see if I could switch Google’s understanding of me to an author. And it took me two weeks.

[00:08:21] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And to big up my product, Kalicube Pro, the platform. I sat down on the 21st of January. I spent three hours updating every reference on the web that I could find. And Kalicube, in fact, find them automatically for me. So it provided me a list of 75 profile pages, articles about me, articles I’ve written, webinars, podcasts, so on and so forth. And I went through them all, one by one, correcting all of those that I control and asking people who control the ones that I don’t control to help me by updating them. And it took me in total three hours.

[00:08:59] Erin Sparks: Oh, wow.

[00:09:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And in two weeks, Google’s opinion of me had switched because I changed my description of myself on all of these different sites. And Kalicube, from that perspective, is absolute magic. Because if anybody’s ever tried to do this rebranding in any sort, rebranding in terms of your name or rebranding in terms of the way you describe yourself or your company, it takes months. And I did it in three hours.

[00:09:25] Erin Sparks: That’s amazing.

[00:09:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): That’s the measure of what Kalicube can do. Sorry. I’m getting a bit of excitement.

Tracking the Change of Facebook’s Brand Name to Meta

[00:09:29] Erin Sparks: No, no, no. That’s amazing. We reported on a story while back, about a year, when did Facebook rename themselves to Meta? It was in end of last year, right?

[00:09:39] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): It was last November.

[00:09:40] Erin Sparks: Yeah, last November. And we actually saw, they all had their hands on the button, all the reference of buttons. Plus, it’s an inside track. So with big data, they were able to change their brand, collect their entire Knowledge Panel in eight hours, I think. Yeah. I think we actually talked to you about that, if I’m not mistaken.

[00:09:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. I was spying on them. I wanted to see what will happen. So as soon as they announced it, I went in and was looking at it. Because at Kalicube, we track 70,000 brands and people and other entities, just a completely random set that I picked at random myself, but 70,000 and obviously, Facebook are in there. I wasn’t tracking Meta, unfortunately, so I didn’t have the previous data for that, but I did manage to get in there within that eight-hour period.

[00:10:25] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And literally, from the moment they changed their name, three hours later, it was still the same. But eight hours later, the Knowledge Panel on the right-hand side has switched to say Meta, even when you searched Facebook. And some people said to me, oh, that’s because they changed Wikipedia. It’s not, partly, but it goes much, much deeper than that. And as you said, they had their fingers on all the buttons and they flipped all the switches at the same time.

[00:10:52] Erin Sparks: Yeah, they really did.

[00:10:53] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): That’s the trick. It was a beautiful trick to play. I don’t like to say that about Facebook or Mark Zuckerberg, but it was a beautifully orchestrated piece of rebranding.

A Brand SERP With a Lot of Blue Links Is Not Impressive and Doesn’t Look Credible 

[00:11:02] Erin Sparks: Absolutely. Absolutely. So the point is that we’re talking about Brand SERPs and the opportunity that they play in both the concept of digital business cards like you’ve referenced before and that’s for brands, people, and companies and the lead generation and the ranking value that it represents. If you have an anemic representation on search for one’s brand, that actually has a direct impact on how the consumer values the strength of that brand. So again, the online consumer is trained to expect certain features and facets coming from Google as it’s understanding your brand in the ecosystem.

[00:11:40] Erin Sparks: And if it’s just 10 blue links, and it could be great that you have 10 blue links and you could very well be owning that in the left rail SERP. But if you don’t have sitelinks, if you don’t have a full control of that, that’s even a detriment. But if you have nothing that’s embellishing and Google sharing that it actually trusts you, you’re at a disadvantage in this marketplace, this digital marketplace.

[00:12:04] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Definitely. The ten blue links is something that we don’t expect to see anymore anywhere on Google. And if you search for a brand and you see ten blue links, whether you realise it or not, you are disappointed. You are not impressed. They don’t look like a credible brand. If you have a Brand SERP, if you search for Kalicube, you’ll see lots of videos, lots of Twitter boxes, you’ll see colours, you’ll see our design, you’ll see our brand message. That gives you confidence that we are trusted and appreciated by Google. And also, that we’re producing content that is relevant because what Google is, what people, sorry, somebody searching for Kalicube will see is content that is relevant to them. So we are getting Google to project to our audience things that are actually useful and helpful, which makes them feel comfortable to be actually thinking or already doing business with us, which is amazing.

[00:13:01] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And another point is if you search my name, Jason Barnard, I’ve got to the point now where I think if you count the word brand in the SERP, it’s about 24. And if you search Knowledge Panel, it’s about 14. That’s an indication of just how much Google associates me with Brand SERPs and Knowledge Panels. That’s a really interesting insight is that Google really feels that that’s so much a dominant part of my person that it puts those words on my Brand SERP to that extent.

[00:13:36] Erin Sparks: Absolutely.

[00:13:37] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): It also shows that it’s all I ever talk about.

[00:13:39] Erin Sparks: Well, yeah. I’m going to put another target for you here. At the point in time that Jason Barnard starts showing up whenever you search for red shirt, I’m going to give you, that’s a lofty goal here, but that is Jason’s brand. Literally, he never shows up without a red shirt on. So I know what you’re doing. You’re actually trying to go after that red shirt crowd as well, right? You’re just trying to, as soon as you get that, then you know you’ve won the game, right?

If I get people who are fans of red shirt to become fans of Brand SERPs, I’m happy because Brand SERPs actually apply to everybody.

jason barnard (the brand serp guy)

[00:14:09] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. If I get people who are fans of red shirt become fans of Brand SERPs, I’m happy because Brand SERPs actually apply to everybody.

[00:14:17] Erin Sparks: Yeah.

[00:14:17] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So it doesn’t matter who follows me or who’s interested for whatever reason, because the idea of what appears when somebody googles your name or your brand name applies to people, companies, local companies, movies, songs, bands, podcasts.

[00:14:34] Erin Sparks: Yep. Absolutely.

[00:14:35] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Even individual podcast episodes potentially. So, it’s this wonderful situation where anybody I talk to is going to be interested in what I’ve got to talk about up to a certain point, obviously. My daughter gets very bored of this topic of conversation.

[00:14:51] Erin Sparks: I was going to say, my kids can’t stand it anymore. As soon as they hear SEO, they run screaming from the room to their different rooms. Now I do start pulling on the EDGE of the Web voice and they all moan in unison. All right. So let’s get back to…

[00:15:09] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Brand SERPs are a great conversation starter. They’ve definitely served me well when I meet people and they say, what do you do? And I say, I specialise in what your audience sees when they google your brand name. They go, oh, oh, I wonder what people see when, oh. And then they search on their phone. And then they start asking questions. Great conversation starter.

The Purpose of Rich Sitelinks on Making Your Brand SERP Look Sexy and Exciting

[00:15:25] Erin Sparks: Oh, yeah. Then you get to tell them that their baby’s ugly, right? Because they haven’t taken care of their own Brand SERP. So one of the key things that you reference in your book are the Rich Sitelinks and Rich Elements. So these are SERP features that are our target here. So, again, we highly recommend picking that up. But how do you trigger a Rich Sitelink? So, there’s a number of pieces of real estate that are in the Knowledge Graph. And your book actually goes through very systematically of understanding what we’re talking about then also showing how to actually optimise and also what to avoid. Can you guide us through that from a couple key points there?

[00:16:02] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. What I love about Rich Sitelinks is, generally speaking, because it’s just blue links with a little snippet underneath, it’s the six, four to six results you see underneath a homepage when you search for a brand and they’re not generally considered to be very sexy or exciting. And I think they’re both sexy and exciting because they take up a lot of place on the Brand SERP and you control it. And if you ask yourself, why does Google put these there? The answer is because it wants to give its users or the subset of its users, who are your audience, access to the parts of your site that they want to go to directly from Google’s SERP without having to go through the homepage, which is a great user experience, and that’s what Google is trying to do. So if you don’t have them, it means that Google is unable to understand which parts of your site are important or helpful or valuable or useful to your audience. That means you’ve got a fundamental problem on your website.

[00:17:03] Erin Sparks: This podcast is sponsored by Page One Power. Page One Power is an SEO agency specialising in sustainable link building and strategic content creation. With 11 years of experience, they build over 15,000 links each and every year for their clients. Since 2010, they’ve been offering services such as custom link building, white label link building, technical SEO audit, and content marketing. So visit edgeofthewebradio.com/pageonepower to sign up for a free 30-minute consultation. We’re certainly proud to have them on board as a new title sponsor of this series.

Using Pure Marketing and Pure Common Good Sense Only in Getting the Rich Sitelinks 

[00:17:40] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So I can actually take a look at some of these Brand SERPs and say, you’ve got, for example, a siloing problem or you’ve got a Schema Markup problem just from the initial impact of what you see at the top. Now, getting the Rich Sitelinks, I’ve just done a case study with Wix. And getting them is really easy. It took us about a month. And none of the techniques we used were SEO or specifically SEO or technical.

[00:18:07] Erin Sparks: The structural.

[00:18:08] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Or structural. It was pure marketing, pure common good sense, purely giving to Google what it needed to understand where the audience of, it was called Elle Johnson Company, the company we did this for, where their audience wanted to go on the website, ultimately, because remember your homepage is not a destination in and of itself. It’s always a stepping stone to somewhere else. So, pragmatically speaking for Google, it wants to give you those Rich Sitelinks so that you can get to that somewhere else without going through the stepping stone that is your homepage. And the really simple tricks are things like writing a correct meta title, meta description on your about page, on your contact page, on your login page, on all of these pages that are traditionally not important for SEO, but are incredibly important from a Brand SERP perspective.

The Importance of Rich Sitelinks on Your Brand SERP and Adding Content to Give Google the Context to Understand

[00:19:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And interestingly, Joost de Valk, when I talked to him about this, they now index the login page by default.

[00:19:08] Erin Sparks: Right.

[00:19:10] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And when I explained to him that, in fact, they’re really useful for the Rich Sitelinks, he said, well, now I’m going to rethink that because we did it for security and we realise that it wasn’t important for SEO, but now I realise that it’s important for Brand SERPs because your audience who are already your customers want to get straight to that login page without going through your homepage. 

[00:19:31] Erin Sparks: It’s what’s useful, right? Absolutely. Absolutely.

[00:19:34] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the other neat trick that was really simple was to add a little bit of content. Now, it sounds ridiculous, but Contact Us, most people just have a form and that isn’t enough content. You need a little phrase, maybe 50 words, maybe a hundred that explains contact us any way you want, email, phone, chat. We’re available 24 hours a day. For our customers, for prospects, please do contact us. We’d love to hear from you. And that gives Google the context to understand and be confident it’s understood that that page is where people will go to contact you and your staff. Simple as that.

[00:20:14] Erin Sparks: Simple as that. And these are simple things and you almost have to do a face palm sometimes on it looks.

[00:20:20] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I was hoping you were going to do it. 

[00:20:23] Erin Sparks: All right. So the point being you’ve got these things that are so easy they’re not technical SEO. They’re utilitarian that you’re matching the audience and what the audience needs are. And being able to have that, just a matter of fact, first blush, it’s almost like you’re a physician in a particular way, Jason, of, okay, let’s look at the patient. First thing in just looking at this is do they have sitelinks. If they don’t have Rich Sitelinks, then that’s the first place to start. Just educating Google this is what’s important, this is what you see as important for your consumers. That has to be the first thing that you attend to. If you are not showing that information, you need to get your head at the sand, because this is exactly what Google’s goal is to be able to provide those consumers good destinations as it clearly will understand. That’s what snippets, but there’s some other factors that are also quite valuable, a little bit more difficult to get into the rich snippet areas of the Knowledge Graph.

The Incredible Power of Twitter and YouTube Boxes: A Great Way to Communicate to Your Audience in Real Time on Your Brand SERP 

[00:21:26] Erin Sparks: Twitter is certainly one of the key social media pieces of record for understanding a company. And on top of that, the real estate inside of the Knowledge Graph, that’s where you’re truly seeing, that’s the only social player. If I’m correct, that actually makes its way into the real estate on that first page. Am I correct there? 

[00:21:46] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. A couple of things on that point is number one is Twitter has a fire hose into Google. So everything you put on Twitter goes straight into Google with no delay at all. So once you’ve got Twitter boxes, which are the three tweets that you see at the top of a brand when you search the name, if you search for Kalicube, you’ll see them. If you search my name, you’ll see them. Within 17 seconds of tweeting, that tweet will be on the Brand SERP, which is a great way to communicate more or less in real time with your audience when they’re searching for you.

[00:22:15] Erin Sparks: Yep.

[00:22:16] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Twitter boxes are incredibly powerful, really interesting. Google wants to put your social profiles on that Brand SERP because it knows that what you want as the audience of the brand is to have a choice of how to interact with that brand. So if you search Jason Barnard, you’ll see my site at the top choice number one, and then Twitter, I love Twitter, then YouTube boxes, which we can come to in a moment, and then Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land, potentially the podcast. And it allows you to choose how you want to interact with my work. And it’s prioritised what I’m doing for my audience according to the way that I have educated it to do that. Now, Twitter comes up really high up because I love Twitter, but you were saying it’s the only social platform that does that. And in fact, that’s no longer true. It used to be.

[00:23:10] Erin Sparks: Oh, okay.

[00:23:12] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now with YouTube boxes, I mentioned them very briefly, the last three or four months, Google has started triggering YouTube boxes, which is the same thing. It’s your latest YouTube posts or your YouTube videos feeding straight into the Brand SERP. So if you are going to try to get these Rich Elements on your Brand SERP, the social media platforms to aim for are Twitter and YouTube, because they will trigger these Rich Elements that look really cool and really attractive and helpful and valuable to your audience.

The Future of Short Form Videos, Like YouTube Shorts and TikTok Videos, on Brand SERPs

[00:23:46] Erin Sparks: We just did a report on a news item that came out this past week regarding short form video and that Google’s actually looking to embrace more and more short form video ten second in the like type of video content that it may very well be extracting out of a longer form video and placing it inside of SERP features as well. So not only are we going to be experiencing the YouTube boxes, but we may very well be seeing in the SERPs themselves either an additional carousel or additional showcase of the short form insights or possibly right along with the SERP itself an additional player that’s above the YouTube boxes as well. That’s craziness right there. 

[00:24:30] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. Well, in fact, you think you’re predicting the future, but one part of that at least is now also the present. In the Daily Brand SERPs that we were doing, we found Shorts at the bottom of a famous TikTok star.

[00:24:42] Erin Sparks: Yeah.

[00:24:43] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And it was just TikTok videos and it was a whole Rich Element, which was just TikTok. And I thought that’s just TikTok. But on YouTube, you’ve got hashtag Shorts.

[00:24:53] Erin Sparks: Yep.

[00:24:53] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Which are the same thing, vertical format, but on YouTube. And what it did is what you just described on Facebook. It was extracting Shorts. So it wasn’t cutting the video, but it was reformatting the size so it was vertical. And it will do that with a square video, but it will not do it with a full HD landscape.

[00:25:15] Erin Sparks: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:25:17] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So for those Shorts, which are coming, they’re definitely coming. And this was a particular example. Shorts on TikTok, Telegram, YouTube, all less than a minute or square videos on Facebook, less than a minute, and it will crop them and put them in the SERP. Genius. Wonderful. Delightful. I love this stuff.

[00:25:35] Erin Sparks: How dare they? We’re trying to push away from vertical video syndrome and it’s right back in our face, but, hey, it’s useful for the audience, right? I just think that we’re going down the ADHD rabbit hole that none of our attention spans longer than a goldfish attention span from here on out.

The Value of Rich Elements, Especially People Also Ask, on Brand SERPs  

[00:25:53] Erin Sparks: Back to the case at hand, Rich Elements on the SERP is that they’re an incredible value as they’re much more appealing visually than the 10 blue links. And it gives us an opportunity, as you say in your book, to be able to have that more attractive face to your clients, your prospects, and your audience whenever they search for the brand names. See, I have read the book. So the other Rich Elements are, like you said, the Twitter boxes, the image boxes, the video boxes, and People Also Ask. And I’m going to stop here for a moment and talk about People Also Ask.

[00:26:24] Erin Sparks: Less than, as you say in the book, 25% of People Also Ask questions are actually answered by brand owners. I think that provides a fertile ground for leadership to be able to actually match what users are actually asking, doing the research, finding out the questions around not only your brand, but also products that you serve and the services that are needed by consumers to be able to answer that. It’s a wonderful opportunity for brands to be able to provide qualitative quality information that lead towards an additional factor of expertise, authority, and trust. If you don’t answer the questions from your own business, a third-party website will. So there’s no guarantee about those answers and how factual they’ll be, right?

[00:27:08] Erin Sparks: We’re proud to have Site Strategics as a sponsor of EDGE of the Web. We’re pioneers in the agile digital marketing methodology. Core specialties that we provide are technical SEO, including core web vitals optimisation, search engine marketing, social media marketing and management, focus on conversion rate optimisation, truly focus on results based marketing that works. We’ve also developed a unique omnichannel media marketing and content curation process as guided by our weekly R&D from our EDGE of the Web interviews. We incorporate the best techniques for our content broadcast strategy and execution. If you’re interested in what we can do for you, just give us a call. It’s 877-SEO-4-WEB or 877-736-4-932.

[00:27:53] Erin Sparks: Unbelievable. Yeah. But it’s also a mixture of not only brand, but it’s also other questions that are at least tangential from the brand.

[00:28:02] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah.

[00:28:02] Erin Sparks: That is one of the most simplest opportunities for grabbing a hold of additional value in SERP is to be able to answer what those related questions are. They can take one step away from the brand. People are asking things about comparative content and comparing your service or your product to another. You’ve got that value right there that you should capitalise on. I didn’t need to interrupt you there, sir.

[00:28:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): No, no. That’s fine. What you were saying is just as interesting, if not more so than what I was saying.

What to Do When Google Is Showing SERP Features That the Brand Does Not Want 

[00:28:31] Erin Sparks: So you say in your book, Rich Elements are the single most valuable strategy for developing a distinctive and impressive brand for SERPs. If Google’s actually showcasing a SERP feature that the brand does not want but it’s on the brand’s Knowledge Graph, what’s the recourse to make that disappear? 

[00:28:51] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): That’s a great question. I don’t think anyone’s ever asked me that question before, but the answer is going to be really simple as all the answers to Brand SERP problems are.

[00:28:58] Erin Sparks: Of course.

[00:29:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Google is showing it because it believes that it’s valuable and helpful to your audience. And if you are absolutely sure that it isn’t, then all you need to do is indicate to Google that it isn’t. So, you would pull resources away from that and push resources into something that can replace it. And Google will simply replace this piece of redundant content that it had got wrong or misunderstood with the correct one. So once again, it’s giving you an insight into where you are getting your strategy wrong, either you’re investing in the wrong things or you’re not communicating to Google enough that your audience are engaging or that your audience aren’t engaging and you’re getting it totally wrong. So, for example, if you didn’t want video boxes, you could potentially work to get the Twitter boxes that would potentially replace them.

[00:29:46] Erin Sparks: Got it.

Triggering People Also Ask on Jason’s Own Brand SERP and on Boowa and Kwala’s Brand SERP

[00:29:48] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): You could also, one interesting thing about the People Also Ask to come back to that is that you can actually trigger them by answering questions even though your audience aren’t necessarily asking them of Google. So if you can find the questions that your audience are asking around your brand that make most sense to your audience, Google will trigger those People Also Ask without your audience even asking Google. So you can convince Google to show your audience the questions that you think your audience should be saying.

[00:30:18] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’ve done it multiple times. The Brand SERP Guy, who is The Brand SERP Guy now appears on my SERP when you search for Jason Barnard. What is a Brand SERP, that appears as well. And for multiple clients, what we’ve done is created these questions by asking the sales stuff, what are the questions that people ask you? We answer those questions and we trigger the People Also Ask, which weren’t previously on the Brand SERP.

[00:30:43] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And another example, a silly example with the blue dog, Boowa, that we’ve talked about pretty much every time we’ve met is nobody, they were famous in the noughties. So 15, 20 years ago, nobody really asks questions about Boowa and Kwala or their families. So I can experiment on them and I can be pretty sure that there isn’t any major data out there that is counteracting whatever I’m doing. What I’m doing is actually triggering the things that I’m seeing. And one of the things I did was create pages that answered questions such as how old is Boowa, who created Boowa and Kwala, who wrote Boowa and Kwala, who voices Boowa, who voices Kwala. And now when you search for these characters, these questions appear in the People Also Ask on the Brand SERP for the characters where I know the volume is very small and people aren’t actually asking these questions anymore. 

[00:31:38] Erin Sparks: No. You’re directly affecting the real estate here by educating and being able to, yeah. I’ve seen that a couple times of what you’re doing there is actually started to create the content. And that actually leads into another thought that I don’t think I’m prepared to talk about yet today. And that’s really, the People Also Search, not also search, but people will search next factors because that’s starting to come up on Knowledge Panels that if you search this, it’s not in the same space as the People Also Ask. This is predicting what you’re going to ask for next.

Jason’s Aim Is to Build an Information Funnel to Pull People Down Into the Rabbit Hole of Studying Brand SERPs

[00:32:13] Erin Sparks: Now, that’s a content strategy and a half being able to start walking through the decision making tree that a consumer would have. And even if consumers aren’t there yet creating content that eventually they’ll need, it’s a well of another direction to go down. And you’re going to doing it with some experimentation, but my gosh. Starting to create that next level of education for the Google brain, that child, to be able to understand, hey, you can trust me so far that I’m answering the questions and I’m getting corroboration, but also being able to be that thought leader to the degree of this is information that you’re going to need whenever that your own audience matures Google. Is that also in the tapestry of subject matter expertise to be able to actually lead Google beyond what it’s actually hearing from as consumer base? 

[00:33:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): That’s a brilliant question because it’s such a good way of putting something, putting what I was doing blindly just because I was curious. You’ve just put it into a business context, which is absolutely brilliant. And what I’m doing with Brand SERPs is people don’t know what they are. So what I need to do is drag people into this rabbit hole that I’m in. And I need to find what those searches are that will then trigger that they will want to come down this rabbit hole and drag them down in through all these different stages that we’ve been discussing in a logical order.

[00:33:43] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And educating Google, starting literally today now this second that you just said that to me, one of my aims will be to build an information funnel to pull people down into this rabbit hole, which sounds slightly creepy, but to pull them down into the rabbit hole and get lost in it with me, which would be delightful. We’ll have an overcrowded rabbit hole. How lovely. 

[00:34:06] Erin Sparks: Yeah. And I started throwing other analogies at Jason. You can imagine our conversations as our analogies start creating other analogies. They’re breeding like rabbits at this point. But using the Alice reference, Alice looking through the looking glass and being able to see the reflection, well, Google’s a reflection of so many different factors that are below the surface that we can’t see right away. But as soon you start walking in there, and that’s truly what Jason’s doing is that he’s actually showing what’s behind the looking glass. So on first reflection, yeah, you can see, okay, maybe my sitelinks are great. But to be able to see everything else that Google understands and Jason certainly is the Sherpa to be able to lead us there.

Having an Archive of Data for Brand SERPs in Kalicube and Tracking Its Development 

[00:34:48] Erin Sparks: So to wrap up our conversation here, Jason, and it’s never going to be wrapped up. You understand that. We’re going to go down this journey for another 10 years, I am estimating. We weren’t able to even get to avoiding certain mistakes. We do want to make sure that nobody actually uses any type of black strategies or buying credibility or constructing artificial credibility on PBNs or buying links and the like. Don’t do that. Please read Jason’s book because he certainly covers these spaces.

[00:35:16] Erin Sparks: I just wanted to ask a couple quick questions about the future of entity SEO. Is there going to be an ongoing public repository for maybe search features, either collected independently or from Google itself? Do you see anything in the future where this is now a library of information beyond the fluidity that we’re seeing in Google, but almost like H.G. Wells’ Time Machine? The movie that came out was a reboot a while back and he went into the archives and he sees all this archive information. Is there going to be an archive of a time lapse of rich snippets over time? Any thoughts there? 

[00:35:55] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Well, there’s already an archive at Kalicube for Brand SERPs at least.

[00:35:58] Erin Sparks: You see how I tie that up to him? It was just right there. 

[00:36:01] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): We have five years of data. So we can actually track over time how this has developed, how things are evolving, which is incredibly interesting to look at. And what I’m seeing is I keep all this data. I’ve got 200 million data points in a database, ironically, on Google cloud and I dig into it. And if you start me off in the morning, by the end of the afternoon, I’m still digging into it and I haven’t done any proper work. But if I could, I would just do that all day long because it’s so interesting. And one thing that I’ve noticed increasingly is that you can actually perceive the entity’s identity in the Brand SERP. And you can actually see it taking shape over the months as you work on it, that the identity of the entity becomes clearer and clearer and clearer and clearer.

[00:36:52] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And Koray Gubur, once again, talks about SEO, one pillar on SEO, a new technique, a new area of SEO is going to be molding the entity identity. And I love that because it’s so important that your brand message that you work so hard to project across all your different platforms, through your sales staff, on your social media, on articles about you, when you’re talking to your clients one on one, that’s your brand message. And you spend a fortune and you spend a lot of effort getting that right. Google’s representation of your brand message is through your entity identity in Google’s brain and its confidence that it’s understood what that brand message is. So entity identity optimisation is the future of SEO, entity wise.

Convincing Google That You Are the Best Trusted Authority About Yourself Is the Only Possible Protection Against Entity Identity Theft 

[00:37:46] Erin Sparks: There you go. And all the things that we do around content still have a place. And it fuels the identity and the tapestry that you’re creating, but we’re in a new space of having to sculpt corroboration authenticly, not with any type of bad mojo there to be able to fuel it. Because you can see, and we even theorise here at the shop, there were so many scenarios over a decade ago of negative SEO and link and SEO bombing, entity SEO bombing certainly cropped up in our conversations. And my god, if that actually happens, what’s the spam side of Knowledge Panels and Knowledge Graphs going to evolve into. Who knows there, but hopefully it’s so abstract and it’s not difficult. You’re absolutely right. It’s just organised. You have to make an intentional push. Maybe that itself is a barrier of malfeasance out there.

[00:38:39] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): One thing about, sorry, the idea of black hat or spanning or negative SEO is if you, there are always going to be ways for people to figure out these tricks to trick the machine, at least short term. But if you haven’t made any effort to actually build that corroboration that you were talking about and the confidence, you are going to be dead driftwood, I think you said earlier on, immediately. Cyber driftwood, that was the word you used.

[00:39:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But one thing I have noticed is, and this sounds really weird, the most important thing you can do is convince Google, the child that is Google, that you are indeed the best trusted authority about yourself. It sounds like you should already be that, but you need to convince this child. The child isn’t confident. It isn’t just going to believe you on your own good word. And it takes years to convince Google, to believe pretty much anything you say. And we can talk about this all day and all night and go on and on about it. But what I’ve seen is the more Google trusts you as an authority on yourself, the more that you have control of your entity identity. And that is the foundational important thing in SEO moving forwards and also the only possible protection you will have about entity identity theft as it were.

The Best Possible Solution in a Crisis Is to Proactively Protect Yourself and Create a Cushion of Content That Is Solid 

[00:40:05] Erin Sparks: There you go, last stop along this train. And I appreciate the segue there is how can entity SEO be used in a crisis management situation or a negative public image management scenario. With Brand SERP and entity SEO reputation management has been there for a very long time here. But when it comes down to Brand SERP, do we have any type of immediate type of recourse if something explodes? We certainly seen problems in Google business profile, people getting a hold of things. But when it gets down to an issue, a PR crisis management, do we have any tools in Brand SERP to be able to throw at it?

[00:40:45] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yes, absolutely. We’ve got the best tools in the world. What I found interesting is in the online reputation management space, there is a tendency to think, oh, we can just create lots of new content to drown it. And what they fail to appreciate perhaps is that they’re only 7 8, 9, maybe 10 spots on the first page. Google can’t put all its content on the first page. Even if it’s brilliant, it doesn’t matter. It can only put one, maybe two, because it’s already got established content. And that’s incredibly important. Because if Google has a chunk of established content that’s been there for two years or whatever it is, it’s very difficult for new content to get rid of it. And if it does, and this is the interesting one for those firestorms that people have when suddenly there’s some bad news comes out, it’s temporary. It’s going to rise up and then disappear again because it’s only relevant for that short period of time when it’s hot, as it were.

[00:41:44] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, the best possible solution is to proactively protect yourself, create a cushion of content that is solid, that Google knows is great. It’s relevant and helpful and valuable to your audience. They’re engaging with it. At which point, you’ve got a cushion of protection that makes it much more difficult for this negative content to come up. And if it does come up, then you have the techniques and strategies in the book and also in the courses that we offer on Kalicube Academy to deal with these problems in a more efficient and intelligent manner than just trying to create lots of junk content to drown the negative content we don’t want. And the great thing about it is rather than just firefighting, you are going to be building great content that will serve your audience for years and years to come. So you’re winning on both fronts.

[00:42:39] Erin Sparks: So a cushion of content and I’d also dare say a cushion of confidence. Those are the two factors that will actually protect you short term and long term, right? Something will flame up but being able to actually control the Brand SERP have that, this is preventive safety here, getting a hold of your Brand SERP, getting a hold of all the different factors that influence that Brand SERP to greater or lesser degree of control, but actually have that already taken care of. The garden’s already taken care of in that space. That’s going to tamp down any of those points of crisis, at least. If there’s a void, right? That’s going to suck all the air out of the room. How many analogies can I string along here? I have no idea.

The Child That Is Google Needs to Perceive You as the Parent With Important and Relevant Content 

[00:43:23] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Coming back to being an authority about yourself, the other thing is that the child will actually see this content and it will look to you and ask you, is this actually helpful and relevant? And if you don’t support it, it’s less likely to survive.

[00:43:37] Erin Sparks: Yes.

[00:43:38] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that’s the thing is if the child, and we’ll come back to the child again, if the child perceives me as the parent about myself for the information about myself, I become the single most trusted source, the most authoritative source. And it will tend to believe me. And if I can then get grandma, grandpa, the baker down the road, and the head teacher to agree with me, the child will believe what I’m saying. And from that perspective, obviously, your own site, but also your company website, if you’re a person. From your company, you’ve also got your partners. You’ve got your Crunchbase profile, potentially, your social profiles. If you can push all of this corroborative evidence in front of Google that supports what you are saying to Google about this negative content, which is it doesn’t matter, it isn’t relevant, it isn’t important, all of this stuff is much more important and relevant, Google will follow you right down that path. 

[00:44:32] Erin Sparks: I’m going to follow. We’re going to follow you, Jason, down the path of Brand SERPs on a regular basis here. We certainly do appreciate what you’re doing and shining a light in this space. It’s incredibly valuable. And all SEOs need to be able to embrace this and put this into a discipline because it’s not keyword ranking anymore, folks. It’s entity, it’s semantic SEO, it’s Brand SERP, and rich features that Google’s actually showing. You get a hold of that and create your digital strategy in that space is going to create a longevity bar none in the digital marketing affluence that you have.

[00:45:11] Erin Sparks: So, Jason, thank you so much for the time today. Let’s make sure that we promote your book. Go over to Kalicube. You can actually see Brand SERPs, The Fundamentals of Brand SERPs for Business by Jason Barnard. Kalicube offers a lot of great Brand SERP courses as well that teach students to make Brand SERP positive, accurate, and convincing execution and trigger and manage their Knowledge Panels. So make sure that you check out Kalicube and Kalicube Pro.

Finding Brand SERP Oddities Through the Audience of the Podcast

[00:45:39] Erin Sparks: We are going to be giving away a book and an EDGE of the Web hat to our audience. I want to make sure that if you didn’t catch the last episode, we want to talk about it again. We are wanting from you as listener base to contribute into this dialogue. Show us your Brand SERP oddities. We want to have you provide us some screenshots of some weirdness that you see out in the field, out in the wild, when it comes down to individual components of Brand SERP. So we want you to submit a screenshot and describe what you’re looking at here to #BrandSERPOddities. We’re going to be watching this, and this is going to be an ongoing contest.

[00:46:16] Erin Sparks: We want you as a part of this dialogue. Show us what you see out there, and Jason and I will jump in there and be able to communicate. And Jason Barnard is going to be able to tell you what you’re really looking at, but we want to see the freaky things that Google’s maybe getting wrong in the Brand SERP. This child is a little less confident. It’s not going to show a lot of things out there. But if you see something really odd, we want to know about it. And the winner will be referencing maybe biweekly or what have you. We’re going to be sending you a Brand SERP book as well as an EDGE of the Web hat. Jason, did you want to chime in on that at all? 

[00:46:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Brand SERP oddities, I’m super duper enthusiastic. I love this kind of stuff. And as I said, every day, I learn something new about Brand SERPs. And I can’t wait for people to teach me something about Brand SERPs I didn’t already know. We have a series called the Daily Brand SERP. And I realise that focusing on one small aspect of it is the best way to deal with the whole thing because there’s so much to talk about. And so for the best Brand SERP oddities, we’ll be making Daily Brand SERP episodes about them. It’s a minute where I just describe. And we’ll credit the person who obviously suggested it. And I’m really looking forward to it because I absolutely love Brand SERP oddities.

Final Message of The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard) For the Audience

[00:47:32] Erin Sparks: We’re going to have some freaky things to be seen here soon. So we’re going to ask all of our audience to be doing some reconnaissance out there. Show us your weirdest Brand SERP oddity, and we’re certainly going get a swag pack out to you guys. All right. Jason, it’s always a pleasure talking to you and we’re certainly going to be having ongoing conversations. Final thought for our digital marketing audience. 

[00:47:52] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’d like to say thank you to you, Erin, for being so delightfully enthusiastic about it and for doing such great summaries of the stuff I talk about, because I can talk for 10 minutes and then you managed to say in a minute what I said in 10 minutes with lots of analogies that I never would’ve thought of. And it makes me giggle and it makes me so happy to hear it. And for everybody else, anybody who can come to me with the Brand SERP oddities and teach me something about Brand SERPs, you’re going to be my best friend. And I’m going to be so enthusiastic, you’re going to get so tired of me.

Follow and Learn More About Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and His Own Brand SERP 

[00:48:24] Erin Sparks: Very good. I appreciate the compliments, sir. And keep on doing what you’re doing. We’ll certainly lift you up and showcase you. So thank you so much. You want follow Jason on Twitter @jasonmbarnard. On Facebook, Jason.Barnard.330467. Is that true? You didn’t get that.

[00:48:44] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yes, it is. It’s very silly. 

[00:48:47] Erin Sparks: And LinkedIn, Jason M. Barnard. But you can’t miss him. Just type Jason Barnard and you’re going to see probably the best richest Brand SERP you’re ever going to see. We use this as an example on a regular basis when we’re talking to brands. You can’t swing a dead cat and not hit Jason Barnard, how about that. Maybe that’s the poorest analogy that I go out on the podcast with. All right. Thanks so much, Jason. And we’ll certainly be talking to you in the future.

[00:49:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Thanks a lot, man. Swing a cat and hit me. 

[00:49:19] Erin Sparks: Don’t forget to like and subscribe on YouTube today. Just search EDGE of the Web. And make sure, hey, if you’re really feeling up to it, rate this podcast.com/edge. You can actually jump right there. So it’s rate this podcast.com/edge and be able to give us a review on this podcast as well as many others. We’d love to hear from you, our audience. Thanks to our sponsors. And make sure to check out all the must see videos and much more information over at edgeofthewebradio.com. That’s edgeofthewebradio.com. From all of us over at EDGE and site, be safe, be well, and do not be a piece of cyber driftwood. We’ll talk to you next week. Bye bye.

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