Thumbnail: 63: What are Brand SERPs and What Do They Mean for Podcasting with Jason Barnard

Did you know that you can use Google search engine results as a digital business card? If you’re doing digital marketing right, my guest Jason Barnard @jasonmbarnard explains how your Brand SERP is a powerful tool for your business and your podcast.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

* What brand SERPs are and why they’re important

* How your SERP works like a business card and how to influence it

* How to maximize search results for your podcast

* What is Google Discover and how to use it

Jason Barnard is the founder and CEO at Kalicube – a groundbreaking digital marketing agency that helps clients optimize their Brand SERP and manage their Knowledge Panel. He is the author of “The Fundamentals of Brand SERPs for Business” and the host of “With Jason Barnard.”

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Introducing Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy), an Author, a Podcaster, and the Founder and CEO at Kalicube

[00:00:00] Angela Kelly Smith: Today I’m chatting with Jason Barnard about something called Brand SERPs. This is a fascinating and important topic within search engine optimisation and for podcasters. I recently read Jason’s book, which gave me a much better understanding of Brand SERPs, so I’m really excited to introduce you to him today.

[00:00:30] Angela Kelly Smith: Jason Barnard is the founder and CEO at Kalicube, a groundbreaking digital marketing agency, that through the Kalicube Pro SaaS Platform helps clients optimise their Brand SERP and manage their Knowledge Panel. Jason’s first book, The Fundamentals of Brand SERPs for Business, was published in January 2022. Jason is also the host of the podcast, With Jason Barnard…, where he interviews the smartest people in marketing about topics they know inside out. Welcome, Jason. I’m so happy you’re here today. 

[00:01:06] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Thank you so much, Kelly. That was a delightful, delightful presentation. It makes me feel important.

What Does SERP Mean and What Specifically Is a Brand SERP?

[00:01:14] Angela Kelly Smith: You are, and I am thrilled to have you here today. So, let’s start with some definitions. What is a SERP? And that’s SERP for people who aren’t familiar with the term. And then, what specifically is a Brand SERP? 

[00:01:31] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): It’s a great place to start, and I often forget because I use the term every day, all day. An SERP is a search engine results page. Now, when we say search engine, we immediately think of Google, but it could also be on Bing, it could be on Yahoo, it could be on DuckDuckGo. I focus on Google, as most businesses do. And I focus on how I can make a SERP, a search engine results page, look better, but specifically a Brand SERP. 

[00:02:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the Brand SERP is the search engine results page for a brand name or a person’s name. So, basically, what it comes down to is what does your audience see when they google your name.

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Coined the Term Brand SERP 10 Years Ago and People Are Now Starting to Understand 

[00:02:20] Angela Kelly Smith: And you came up with that term, Brand SERP, didn’t you?

[00:02:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. I’ve been doing this for about 10 years, and I coined the phrase 10 years ago. And I’ve been talking to myself about it for most of that time. And people are now listening. People are starting to understand that this is important, that Brand SERP is your Google Business Card. 

[00:02:42] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): That when your audience googles your name, which all of your audience will do at some point in their journey with you, what they see is incredibly important. What Google represents you to be to them is incredibly important. And you want to make sure that that brand message you’ve crafted so carefully is reflected to your audience when they google your name on Google.

Why Is It Important for People and Businesses to Focus on Brand SERPs? 

[00:03:09] Angela Kelly Smith: So, why is it so important? 

[00:03:13] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): From my perspective, there are so many different reasons we should be focusing on it. But the most obvious one is to say, because when you have a bottom of funnel prospect that you’ve worked hard to get to search for your brand name, you want to impress them. You want to look positive, accurate, and convincing. 

[00:03:30] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But also, I think people forget that their clients will often google the name to get to the website. And what they see, if it’s positive, accurate, and convincing, everything is fine. But if they start seeing something negative or something that doesn’t work with their mindset, it over time builds up and builds up and builds up. And they may well jump ship. So, it’s also client retention. 

[00:03:57] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Then also, you can look at potential hires who would google you before applying for a job. You would look at journalists who would google you to research you. You could look at potential partners. If you are a startup and you’re looking for investment, there might only be one person, whoever googles your name this month, but that person might hold the purse strings to $10 million in investment. So, it’s incredibly important that you look impressive. 

[00:04:25] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, basically, from that perspective, think about it as your Google Business Card. You are handing that business card to all of your audience, whoever they might be, indirectly through Google. And it’s up to you to design it.

Jason Barnard’s Idea That Brand SERPs Are Your Google Business Card 

[00:04:40] Angela Kelly Smith: I love that you call it a business card. And it is much more powerful than a physical business card that you would hand someone, because everything is right there. They can follow you to your website, to your LinkedIn, to all of your social media profiles, to any stories written about you, to your podcast, anyone else’s podcast you’ve appeared on, everything.

The idea of this Google Business Card is that your audience gets to choose how they interact with you.

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) 

[00:05:04] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Brilliant. Yeah, no, you totally understood the whole thing. We don’t need to do this interview anymore because you’ve obviously understood. The idea of this Google Business Card is that your audience gets to choose how they interact with you. And that’s beautiful. And if we take it a step further as well, what is a beautiful business card on Google? The answer to that is it’s rich. It’s got images. It’s got videos. It’s got social media. It’s got factual information. It’s got your brand message. It’s got your social voice. It’s got your brand image or your visuals on it.

[00:05:39] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): That means if Google is representing you with this amazing content that you’ve created, then it sees and understands that that content is valuable and helpful to your audience. And that means your digital marketing strategy is right on track. And if it isn’t a beautiful business card that represents you the way you want to your audience, then you’re probably getting your digital marketing strategy wrong.

In Designing a Google Business Card, How Much Control Do You Have Over Your Brand SERP?

[00:06:04] Angela Kelly Smith: Yeah. So, my Google Business Card, when someone googles my entire name, Angela Kelly Smith, my website pops up first. My social media handles come up next. LinkedIn is close or maybe the first one. My artist website also comes up, And some images pop up, and episodes from my podcast show up at the bottom. The most recent episodes show up at the very bottom. So, I love it. So, I’m curious about how much control do we have over it? 

[00:06:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): A massive amount. If you work at it properly, you can’t control it, but you can very heavily influence it. And you can understand which content you are creating is going to appear and which isn’t. If you google my name, Jason Barnard, you will see that it shows Twitter Boxes. So, I can immediately put a new image on my Brand SERP just by using Twitter. And it takes 17 seconds from the moment I tweet to the moment it appears. 

[00:07:22] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): With YouTube, it shows my YouTube channel. And I had some videos of me as a musician that didn’t have very pretty thumbnails. So, I changed the thumbnails, and that changed the visual aspect of my Brand SERP because it’s showing my YouTube Boxes. And YouTube, like Twitter, is almost real time, 12 minutes from the moment I post a video to the moment it appears. So, that’s already two pieces of direct control that I have over what Google shows on my personal Brand SERP.

What Are the Steps You Should Take to Rank Videos and Different Websites on Your Brand SERP?

[00:07:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And from a perspective of things like LinkedIn, you can obviously control the title, the description. If it’s ranking, you can improve it. You can change things. And then from my perspective, I would also say, what do you want to rank? What do you want to see on that Google Business Card? 

[00:08:12] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And if, for example, I didn’t have Video Boxes and I wanted them, which I think we probably all do, I would need to a) create quality video that engages my audience and b) put it on a YouTube channel that Google recognises, represents me. And once I do that, basically I can have those videos, the videos I want to appear. And so, those are some simple examples of how you can control what it’s showing. 

[00:08:40] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The most obvious one is you mentioned your .art website. If you can get that to rank number one, you control the top, the centre. And that’s the first thing people see. And most people will read that message and digest that message. And as human beings, we read from the top downwards. And generally speaking, we will think what’s at the top is the most important. So if you can get your website to rank at the top, you get to provide your brand message every time your audience searches your name.

Considering the Distinction Between the Different Aspects of the Same Person

[00:09:11] Angela Kelly Smith: Yeah. My .com is first, which is what I want, and I think the .art is like fourth or fifth. 

[00:09:18] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Which is a really great point, because you’ve got two different personas here. And Google is happy with that. It understands potentially that it’s the same person, but it understands that it’s two different aspects of the same person, and therefore, two potential points of interest for the audience of that person. 

[00:09:36] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, you’ve done it with two websites. We do it at Kalicube with multiple websites. It’s saying, do I have different personas, different offers that truly deserve a website of their own? And if I do, it’s legitimate for me to communicate through a whole website and not just a section, and therefore, control more of what appears on my Google Business Card.

Google’s Huge Challenge: It Wants to Understand Who We Are and What We Have to Offer Its Users 

[00:09:57] Angela Kelly Smith: Absolutely. And these two sites link to each other, just once, but yeah. So, it is telling Google, hey, this is the same person, or at least the websites are related. 

[00:10:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Sure. Google’s huge challenge is it wants to understand who we all are. It wants to understand what we have to offer, remember, its users. They might be our audience, but when they’re on Google, they’re Google’s users. And it wants to understand who our audience is and what we can truly offer them. And if it can understand all of that, then it can represent your brand across all of Google’s properties in the way that you would want.

Besides YouTube and Videos, What Else Could You Do to Improve Your Brand SERP?

[00:10:35] Angela Kelly Smith: Absolutely. So, you mentioned YouTube and videos. That sounds like a really easy way to start to manage or improve your Google Business Card, your Brand SERP. And I did forget that I’ve got at the bottom of mine, because I do share at least my podcast interviews as videos since I record the videos. So, what else can we do to improve our Brand SERP?

[00:11:05] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Coming back to videos are easy, yes and no, in the sense that it takes time. So if you start a YouTube channel tomorrow, it won’t rank the day after. Google needs to see engagement, it needs to understand that it is your channel, and it needs to understand that it’s valuable to your users. So, you need to be patient, and you need to be sure that the content is actually valuable, and that your audience are actually engaging with you, because Google sees all of this, especially on YouTube. 

[00:11:39] Angela Kelly Smith: Because they own YouTube. 

[00:11:41] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yes, exactly. Which is why YouTube and Google interact so quickly together. 12 minutes is pretty fast. And the reason Twitter is so fast, 17 seconds, is because there is a fire hose of everything that’s posted on Twitter goes straight into Google, because they have an agreement. So, Twitter is very powerful as a way to feed Google with information. Also, getting those Twitter Boxes, where you have the images and the text, gives you direct real time control.

Google Loves Images; It’s the Easiest Rich Element You Could Get on Your Brand SERP

[00:12:09] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The easiest thing to get on a Brand SERP is images. Google loves images. It’s very good at images. It can analyse images. It can recognise you. It can recognise me. And so, what will tend to happen is when you start with this, you say, okay, I have just blue links. That’s boring. I want to make it more interesting.

[00:12:33] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): If you start a Twitter campaign, you start tweeting every day, engaging with the audience, you can imagine it will take between three and six months. For YouTube, let’s say the same, probably a little bit quicker. TikTok would be probably about the same as Twitter, possibly slower, but you really would need a lot of engagement because TikTok is very, very, very, very fast.

[00:12:57] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But images are the first Rich Element. I call them Rich Elements, anything that isn’t just text or isn’t just a blue link text. Images are the first thing Google will go for. So, aim at images, get the images. And then the day that you get videos, you will get videos and images. When you get Twitter Boxes, videos, and images, Google will start to think maybe that’s too much, and the images might be taken away. They’re the first thing to get taken away, as well as being the first thing that Google will add. So, images are your easy win, then YouTube, Twitter.

Podcast Boxes Are Now Also Relatively Easy to Trigger on a Brand SERP Because of Google Podcasts

[00:13:34] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I write for different, what are they called, media platforms within my industry. Article Boxes for an author, they’re pretty easy. And then we come to podcasts. Podcasts are relatively easy as well because Google has a platform, Google Podcasts, and obviously it leverages that. So, you can get Podcast Boxes for your podcast name. And if Google recognises that I am the host of the podcast that I run, I can get the Podcast Boxes on my own Brand SERP, because it understands that my audience are potentially my podcast audience.

[00:14:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, I just said images are the easiest target. But in fact, within this specific sphere of podcasting, images and podcasts are probably neck and neck in terms of being able to actually to get it happen. And the nice thing about podcasts is that it’s organised. Because if you have a clean feed from your website, it pushes out onto all the other platforms. Everything is consistent. Google has the information in Google Podcasts immediately. It can be confident in that information. 

[00:14:48] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, it’s a very simple thing for Google to put onto your Brand SERP because it’s understood that it is you. That’s the number one problem for them. And because they understand that your audience is interested because they have the data from Google Podcasts, are people listening to you or not?

Podcasts and IMDb: What Are the Crucial Things to Consider to Properly Present Your Podcast? 

[00:15:06] Angela Kelly Smith: Absolutely. That’s wonderful. So, you would definitely want to make sure that you are listed as the author in your podcast. 

[00:15:16] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yes. You want to make sure you’re the host, you’re the author, you’re potentially the director as well. One really neat trick with podcasts is that they’re distributed obviously throughout the web using your RSS feed, which is the central document of information that all of these platforms use to read from. But you can also add your podcast episode by episode to IMDb. And what you do there is it’s a category, and the category I think is podcast. 

[00:15:52] Angela Kelly Smith: Which they added not too long ago. 

[00:15:55] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. So, that’s an additional move forwards that you can make. IMDb, because it was the source of information for Google about films and TV, Google trusts IMDb. So, adding your podcast to IMDb is a very good idea.

The Future Google’s Recognition of Podcasts: Start Creating Different Cover Images to Represent Each Episode of Your Podcast

[00:16:14] Angela Kelly Smith: Yeah. You don’t even have to pay for IMDb Pro to list it there. If you do Pro, then you can list your photo. If you don’t do Pro, then you can’t list your photo. So, some other benefits of Pro, but yeah. 

[00:16:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, IMDb isn’t necessary because Google already has the data, but it’s certainly a help. And from that perspective, one thing I’m seeing as well with podcasts is that at the moment, for each podcast episode, Google shows the show, the cover image for the show. But you can embed an individual image into the MP3 for your podcast for each and every episode. Some sites use it. I think Podchaser uses it. Some sites don’t. 

[00:16:59] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The reason Google doesn’t is because most podcasters don’t do that. As soon as most podcasters start doing it, Google will show the correct ones because it doesn’t want to show repetitive images. It wants to show the different images that represent each episode. So, a piece of advice I would give is start doing it today, because Google is going to catch up and it’s going to start using them if enough of us use them.

[00:17:23] Angela Kelly Smith: I agree. Yeah.

[00:17:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Everybody together.

What Are the Effects and Benefits of Having a Different Cover Image for Each Individual Episode of Your Podcast Show?

[00:17:26] Angela Kelly Smith: Absolutely. When you post your episodes on your website podcast blog, I highly recommend creating individual episode cover art for each one. It looks so much better on your blog, on the blog page, that is your podcast blog page, than having the same image over and over again or not using an image at all. And then same thing with your podcast hosting provider. If you upload individual cover art, then that’s what shows up in your audio player on your podcast blog. It’s so much prettier than having the same podcast logo over and over again, so absolutely. And that’s a great point that Google will eventually show the individual cover art too. 

[00:18:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. I think all the platforms will. It’s simply a question of not enough people are doing it. And there are two things. Number one, you can put the image in the page. Number two, you can put it into your podcast provider interface. And number three, you can actually embed it and make it part of the MP3 file. 

[00:18:36] Angela Kelly Smith: Yeah, and the ID3.

[00:18:38] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And if you can do that third one, that means that every time the sound file is moved from one place to another, that image is available to all of these different algorithms. I personally use a platform called Auphonic, which is simple and relatively cheap. And then I use that to embed the title, the description, the image, the copyright, my website, so that all of that information is in the physical sound file. So that wherever it goes on the web, all of these platforms have got all the information they need to be able to make the best use of my episode and display it in the way that I want it to be displayed.

More Brand SERP Advice for Podcasters From Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[00:19:18] Angela Kelly Smith: Yeah. That’s wonderful. Anything else that podcasters should keep in mind? 

[00:19:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): You need to keep in mind, from a Google perspective, which is where I’m coming from, engagement on Google Podcasts is important, but Google also looks at engagement and reviews on Apple Podcasts. It looks at Podchaser. It looks at all these different platforms. It looks at Spotify as well. It’s getting its information from all of them. 

[00:19:48] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, don’t think Google Podcasts is enough. You need to make sure that Google sees that you are present on these platforms, and that the audience engaging with you on these platforms is your correct audience or the audience that makes sense for you, and that they are truly engaging, and that it’s consistent across the board. And luckily with podcasts, that’s taken care of by the RSS feed.

If you stick on topic with your podcast, then Google will be able to understand which audience it serves.

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[00:20:11] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, the next thing would be to stick on topic, but this is true of any marketing, especially for Google. If you stick on topic with your podcast, then Google will be able to understand which audience it serves. And Google, it’s a machine, so it’s pre-binary. If you are going to talk about a totally different topic and you’re going to do it more than once, create a second podcast.

Treating Google Like a Child and Educating It About Who You Are, What You Do, and Which Audience You Serve 

[00:20:41] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, you need to put these things in their different boxes and make sure they stay in their boxes. You can mix and match a little bit. But if you do it too much, you’re going to confuse Google. I like to talk about Google as a child. You’re trying to talk to this child and educate it about who you are, what you do, and who your audience is. And children typically find it difficult to understand multiple facets to one individual person, thing, idea. 

[00:21:14] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that’s part of educating a child. For example, in your case, I have the podcasting facet. I also have the artist facet. And it’s capable of understanding it, but you just need to educate it. You need to present it as you’ve done, in fact, with your two websites, saying it’s two different facets that are very much separate, but still the same person.

The Importance of Organising and Categorising Podcast Episodes on Your Website 

[00:21:37] Angela Kelly Smith: Right. And a lot of times, we don’t need two websites. If it’s a different service or a course or something, there are plenty of times where it can all be handled under one umbrella. This case, no, absolutely not. 

[00:21:53] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Absolutely. I think that you’re making a very, very good point. I wouldn’t suggest to anybody, go and create lots of websites for each and everything you do. But yes, when there is a fundamental difference, when it’s a completely different facet, another website is logical, both for human beings and for Google. If I’m interested in you as an artist, I’ll be going to look at your visual art and the podcast will distract me, and vice versa. 

[00:22:20] Angela Kelly Smith: I also, on the whole, don’t recommend creating a brand new website for a podcast. If you’re doing it as an entrepreneur, you put your podcast on your business website under a blog. And you just title it, for the navigation purposes, call it podcast. I don’t even call mine by the name of the podcast because people are like, what’s that, and possibly not click on it. If you call it podcast, they know exactly what it is. For Google, the page title can be the name of the podcast. But in the navigation bar, podcast, keep it super simple. I’ve talked about that in another episode.

Organising and Categorising Episodes Based on Their Release Date Will Help Google Better Understand Your Podcast Show

[00:23:02] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And it’s incredibly important that you keep all your podcast episodes in the same folder. There is an old, old tradition in SEO that you put everything at the root of the site, because it used to bring a slight advantage in getting a better place on Google. That’s no longer true. Google likes to have things organised ontologically, which just means categorised. Ontologies are categories. 

[00:23:30] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the more we can categorise with the folders on our websites, the more Google will be able to understand that everything under /podcast/ is the podcast. I even use /podcast/2021, /2022, which allows me then to have seasons. So, Google understands that this is 2020, this is 2021, this is 2022. And even without seeing the date on the page or in the MP3 file, it understands that the most recent ones are in the folder 2022. 

[00:24:07] Angela Kelly Smith: That’s great. Awesome.

Besides Categorising It by Date, You Can Also Organise Your Podcast Based on the Topic of Each Episode

[00:24:09] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Or you can do it topically, which is another delightful way. If you are talking, for example, I talk about Brand SERPs. So, I could potentially have a podcast that talks about the different aspects of Brand SERPs. So, it would be blue links. It would be Rich Elements. It would be Knowledge Panels. And I would do it by category of the different topics that I’m addressing and categorise it that way. And then Google would be able to understand the most recent by the order and by the date in the MP3 file in the page.

[00:24:38] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And ontologically, that second idea of topicality is potentially even more powerful, simply because Google is trying to understand what topics is this person dealing with. Because by understanding which topics I talk about, it can understand which audience is likely to be interested in me.

Google Discover: Suggesting and Pushing Content to Users Based on Its Understanding of Their Interests

[00:24:57] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And then we come to Google Discover. Because Google Discover is incredibly exciting, and I’m sure podcasts are going to fit incredibly well into Google Discover. The idea of Google Discover is that Google understands me as a user on Android or on Chrome or on Google itself. And on Android, if I swipe right, it will show me what it thinks I’m interested in. It will suggest things. It becomes this pseudo Facebook better, if I might say so, because I don’t like Facebook. And it will suggest articles, podcasts, videos that it thinks I might be interested in. And it’s surprisingly very good.

[00:25:40] Angela Kelly Smith: Is this an app? 

[00:25:41] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): No. It’s part of an Android phone. I’m holding up an Android phone.

[00:25:45] Angela Kelly Smith: So, it’s not Apple. I’ve never heard of this before.

For Podcasting, Google Discover Becomes a Huge Thing Because It Suggests Related Podcasts Based on What You’re Listening

[00:25:49] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Okay. It’s Google Discover and it’s already pretty big, but it’s going to be absolutely massive. Because as well, if you open up Chrome, sometimes you will see suggestions of things, you’ll see some videos or some articles. That’s Google understanding what you are interested in and finding some suggestions. So, from a podcasting point of view, if it understands that my podcast talks about SEO, then somebody who is an SEO could potentially have my podcast appear in their Google Discover. And that’s on Android phones in Chrome.

[00:26:27] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, we’re looking at Google pushing content towards us, as opposed to us pulling it from Google by searching. And I think podcasting, one of the reasons Google is so interested in podcasting, other than the fact that it’s a huge, huge, huge market, is that it makes sense for them when they’re pushing content.

Even With Apple’s Existence, Google Is Playing Hard With the Podcast Game and Other Huge Opportunities

[00:26:47] Angela Kelly Smith: Absolutely. Apparently, something like 80% of my listeners listen on an Apple device. So, I’m going to miss out on that for a while. 

[00:26:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. Apple absolutely dominates. And I think that’s because they got there first. They had the hardware. They had the the store, the app store before Google did. But don’t underestimate Google. When Google play a game, they play it hard. And it looks very much like they’re playing the podcast game now.

[00:27:23] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Something interesting happened last year. I specialise in Knowledge Panels, which are the part on the right, full of factual information. If you search for economics, it will explain what economics is. So, it’s Google’s presentation of the facts. In October last year, podcasts got those factual boxes on the right hand side. If you search for the exact name of a podcast on Google, it will show you that factual box saying the name of the podcast, the description of the podcast, and other related podcasts.

[00:27:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Which means that if you search for, I’m trying to think of somebody, the Search Engine Journal Podcast, for example, my podcast can potentially appear as a similar podcast that that person might be interested in, because they’re already interested in Search Engine Journal.

Carousels: Their Effect on Digital Marketing Podcasts and the New Audience You Might Get Because of Them 

[00:28:14] Angela Kelly Smith: Nice. That’s awesome. Very good to know. Cool. 

[00:28:19] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, these are huge opportunities. I’ve also seen, if you search on Google for digital marketing podcasts, it puts a carousel at the top. And the carousel is lots of those thumbnail images, our cover images with the name of the podcast that it feels fits into that category. So if you can convince Google that your podcast is the most relevant, potentially the most popular, but you don’t need to be the most popular to be the most relevant, then you get that presence in the carousel, once again, a new audience that wouldn’t find you elsewhere.

Google’s Dominance of the Search Market and Their Aim to Solve Their Users’ Problems as Efficiently as Possible 

[00:28:51] Angela Kelly Smith: And as you and I were talking about before we started recording, I cannot remember the exact percentage, but well more than half of all listeners are searching for podcasts on Google, as opposed to going right into Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts and searching there. So, they’re looking up topics on Google and navigating to the episodes through Google. So, I will have to look up that statistic later and talk about it in another episode. 

[00:29:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Brilliant. The thing about Google is it’s 90% of the search market. It’s 4 billion users a day or something ridiculous. I don’t know the exact figures, but it is massive. And it is something that we live with every day, using Google Maps, using Google search, using YouTube, using Google verticals, such as the podcast and the videos. And Google is bringing it all together. And if you think about what Google is trying to do, they’re trying to get their user to the solution to the problem that they have as efficiently as possible.

[00:30:04] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So if my problem is I want a podcast, going to Google seems like a good way to do that, if Google can find the right podcast for me. And that is Google’s aim, because that’s what’s Google has done with the whole web. Why do 90% of the world use Google? Because Google has taken a massively messy web and organised it for us. It’s turned the complete mess that the web is. It really is badly organised because human beings are not well organised, between us. And it’s taken all of that, and it’s organised it to such an extent. But generally speaking, it gets it right. So, what it can do with the world, it can certainly do with podcasts.

The Fundamentals of Brand SERPs for Business: A Book by Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[00:30:45] Angela Kelly Smith: Absolutely. Yeah. So, tell us a little bit about your book, please. 

[00:30:51] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. I wrote a book called The Fundamentals of Brand SERPs for Business. It’s right behind me here. And the idea of that book was to take what I have learned over the years about Google as your business card, but also as I mentioned, Google as an unbiased critique of your digital marketing strategy and how to leverage both improving your Google Business Card to improve your digital marketing, to improve audience retention, audience conversion, and create a brand message on Google that makes sense to your audience, that you control. 

[00:31:31] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And it was a delightful experience writing it. I thought that my colleagues in the SEO industry would not ridicule the book, but certainly not take it very seriously and say, oh, this isn’t geeky enough for us. And in fact, it was absolutely the opposite. Some very, very, very, very smart people in the industry, Marie Haynes, who you won’t know, but she’s one of the smartest people in the world for figuring out how Google works, said she wished she’d read this book five years ago. 

[00:32:03] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And what’s delightful is then I’ve given it to my clients, who know nothing about SEO, and it makes total sense to them as well. So, I’m incredibly happy because I’ve hit that line of making something inaccessible, which is how to educate Google, how to control Google, how to influence Google, and managed to write a book that isn’t technical at all, that any marketer can follow, but still makes sense to the geeky people in the SEO world.

With the Help of a Publishing Company and an Editor, Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Made His Book Understandable to Anyone

[00:32:35] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And just to finish this off, I sound terribly self-satisfied. I had help from a delightful company called BrightRay, who helped me write the book, and a lady called Emily. And it was a lovely process. And if I may, I’ll explain it to you, is that I had the courses. So, I’ve got these Brand SERP courses, and I thought they were understandable to anybody. So, I gave her the scripts to the courses and said, I’ll just turn that into a book, it’ll be easy. And she rewrote the whole thing, because she’s really keen and she’s delightful and she’s smart. 

[00:33:10] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And as I read what she was writing, I was thinking, but this is all wrong, she’s misunderstood. And I realised that the courses weren’t as simple as I thought they were. So, she sent it to me back. I then rewrote it so that it was correct, sent it back to her, and then she finalised it all so that it was as pretty as possible. The fact that it’s readable by anybody, understandable by anybody, and yet contains rich valuable information for people who know their stuff about SEO and digital marketing is thanks to Emily in particular and BrightRay, who were brilliant for that. So, a quick shout out to them because I absolutely love them.

The Reason Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Wrote a Book, Which You Can Get on Amazon and Google Books 

[00:33:51] Angela Kelly Smith: That’s wonderful. And where can listeners find your book?

[00:33:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): It’s on Amazon. It’s on Google Books as well. Part of the reason I wrote it was an experiment. My life is a continuous series of experiments to see what happens in Google’s brain when I change something or add something, and I wanted to add a book and see what happened.

[00:34:18] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And part of that was to get Google, who perceived me as a musician because I was a musician in the past and I released multiple albums, and so it saw me as a musician. Then it saw me as an SEO consultant, and I wanted to see if I could get it to see me as an author. Now it sees me as an author.

All it needs is for me to be incredibly clear and incredibly consistent all across the web. It really isn’t rocket science. This child is smart. All we need to do is help it to learn.

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[00:34:38] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, it’s basically me explaining to Google like I would to a child, I’m no longer a musician, I’m an SEO consultant. And then re-explaining, I’m no longer an SEO consultant, I’m an author. Then the child is happy because it understands. All it needs is for me to be incredibly clear and incredibly consistent all across the web. It really isn’t rocket science. This child is smart. All we need to do is help it to learn.

What Does Kalicube Do and What Are the Services It Offers? 

[00:35:10] Angela Kelly Smith: That makes sense. Awesome. I will put links to the book in the show notes. And tell us a little about what you do at Kalicube and what services you offer, please. 

[00:35:21] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. Kalicube is a lovely agency that I created seven years ago. And I built a magic machine that goes out and it figures out where Google’s getting its information from for each individual person or company. So, you give me the name of the company or the person. I set the machine going. And in five minutes, it can give you a list of the top 50 places Google is finding information and facts about you.

[00:35:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that’s what I was talking about consistency, is you then go around and you correct all the information, so that it all corroborates what it is you’re saying on your own website. That’s when you’re going to get the child to understand, because all of us have this contradictory information around the web. So, the machine was built purely to do that. And I spent seven years trying to get other people to understand that that’s a really good way of going about this. And literally, the last year, it’s taking off. 

[00:36:21] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And so, we have the agency platform, which is basically digital marketing agencies come on and they use the platform to serve their clients. And then we have a done-for-you service, where we use the platform as an agency ourselves. And a lady called Allyssa, who’s absolutely brilliant, leads the team there to help people and companies and even podcasts with managing and optimising what appears when somebody googles their brand name, making sure that their audience sees the brand message that that brand, podcast, or person wants them to see.

How Can You Learn More About Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) and His Company, Kalicube? 

[00:37:00] Angela Kelly Smith: Oh, that’s fantastic. And how can listeners learn more about that? 

[00:37:06] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): They can search my name, Jason Barnard, on Google, and you can choose how you interact with me. You can interact with me on Twitter, which is the second result, or on my own site, which is the first, or do business with me. will be the third result. And that’s part of the art of Brand SERP management. It’s to make sure that Google is showing my audience all of the different aspects of me and how you can interact with me, and that you get to choose how you interact with me. 

[00:37:33] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): You can also, if you want to do business with me straight away, search for Kalicube. And that will show you all of the Kalicube offers, including the book, the courses, the Kalicube Pro SaaS Platform, and the done-for-you service. So, from my perspective, I spent years and years and years perfecting the Google Business Card for myself and for my company. So, it should be, I hope, as we say, a piece of cake to find by searching my brand name how you would want to interact with me or my company.

Looking at Somebody’s Brand SERP Is Much Better Than Spelling Out a URL or Sending Them to Facebook 

[00:38:08] Angela Kelly Smith: Very true. That’s fantastic. Yeah, that is much easier than spelling out a URL for someone.

[00:38:16] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Or sending everybody to Facebook, which is what people used to do on the posters in the streets. I never understood that. But yeah, you are right. Trying to spell out a link here is boring for everybody and difficult. And I make spelling mistakes because my brain isn’t sufficiently in gear at five o’clock in the afternoon. But saying, search my name, Jason Barnard, I’m never going to forget how to spell my own name or my company name, Kalicube. 

[00:38:47] Angela Kelly Smith: I’m still going to put links in the show notes and this episode’s page on my website, so you all don’t worry. 

[00:38:55] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’ve never thought about the idea of actually spelling a domain with a URL and the fact that we are never going to forget how to spell our own name, but I did almost forget how to spell Kalicube.

What Does Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Do on His Own Podcast? 

[00:39:08] Angela Kelly Smith: Yeah. And so, finally, your podcast, With Jason Barnard…. So, what do you do on your podcast? I already know, but tell the listeners. 

[00:39:19] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I interview the most intelligent people in the world on the topic they like the most. And the challenge I throw to them to come on the podcast is you pick the topic that you get overexcited about, because. I get overexcited about absolutely everything I don’t yet know. So if you can teach me something and you are enthusiastic about it, we’re going to have a great conversation. And I like to say the conversations are always interesting, always intelligent, and always from part of life for me is to enjoy the conversations, like I’ve enjoyed the conversation today. 

[00:39:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): We don’t have to laugh uproariously all the time, but the pleasure I have from a conversation like this with somebody, who shares ideas with me and teaches me things, is delightful. And one of the best things I’ve got from my podcast is that I’ve learned so much from so many smart people over the last 250 episodes.

What Is a Practical Benefit That Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Has Gotten Out of Podcasting?

[00:40:17] Angela Kelly Smith: I hear you. Yeah. I have learned so much from having guests on my show as well. It’s always such a joy and a pleasure. And so, two questions about your podcast. What is a practical benefit that you’ve gotten out of podcasting? 

[00:40:40] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’ve had two, I think. One of which is visibility on Google. It’s brought me quite a lot of visibility, not necessarily the visibility I expected. But certainly when people search around the topics that I discuss with my guests, I keep popping up and with the red shirt, which I always wear, because of that branding, very visual branding. 

[00:41:05] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): People don’t necessarily listen to the episodes when they see them on Google, or even look at the visuals necessarily if it’s in the Google Images. But certainly the drip, drip, drip of seeing this red shirt and our very distinctive design means that when they do come to me, they feel like they know me. And when somebody feels like they know you, especially if they listen to the podcast, it’s much, much, much easier to do business with them. 

[00:41:32] Angela Kelly Smith: True. That’s great.

[00:41:34] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, it’s all about getting to know you. I was about to sing the song from the Sound of Music when I talked about it. 

[00:41:41] Angela Kelly Smith: No singing, no copyright infringement.

[00:41:43] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): No. Brilliant. Yep. Okay.

What Has Been the Most Rewarding Thing Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Has Experienced in Podcasting? 

[00:41:45] Angela Kelly Smith: At least here in the States, big thing. Okay. And what’s been most rewarding, and you already did say learning from other people, but is there anything else? 

[00:41:59] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. I would say a sense of achievement, when you can say 250 episodes. I remember recording that very, very, very first episode. And it seems both a long time ago and not very long ago at the same time. But the sense of achievement to have created 4 seasons, 250 episodes, probably 230 or 240 guests, we had a couple of repeat guests because they had so much to share. 

[00:42:30] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, that sense of achievement is, for me, incredibly valuable. And to have built something that has had an effect on the industry and has had, as I said, an effect on media learning is incredibly rewarding. So, sense of achievement to have created a body of work that is meaningful, valuable, and helpful to my audience, and I hope, to the world in general, contributing something positive.

Thanking the Guest, Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy), Who Ended the Show With a Song 

[00:43:02] Angela Kelly Smith: Totally. Yeah. I hear you on that. Thank you so much for being here today, Jason. This was fabulous. You just shared some really helpful information that we don’t know enough about and don’t do enough about. So, I really appreciate you for being here.

[00:43:20] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Thank you so much, Kelly. That was absolutely delightful. And I can actually sing the outro song from my own podcast because that’s me who wrote it. 

[00:43:28] Angela Kelly Smith: Wow. That’s very cool. 

[00:43:30] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): A quick goodbye to end the show. Thank you, Kelly. 

[00:43:36] Angela Kelly Smith: Thank you, Jason. That was wonderful. 

[00:43:38] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Brilliant. Thank you.

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