Thumbnail: Brand SERPs and Knowledge Panels

This week we speak with the Brand SERP expert, Jason Barnard. Jason tells us about building a knowledge panel for your brand and how to maintain control of it.

A Background on Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) and The Contents of What He Will Talk About Today

[00:00:00] Steve Gerencser: Hello, everybody. Welcome to another episode of the DeepSEO Conference Webinars series. I’m Steve Gerencser, and today our guest is Jason Barnard. Jason is a newly-minted best-selling author with The Fundamentals of Brand SERPs for Business. You can also read pretty much everything he’s ever written all over the internet. He’s published everywhere that’s important. And as a Brand SERP Guy, he knows more about this stuff than just about anybody I’ve met. Jason, welcome to the show. 

[00:00:36] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Thank you very much, Steve. It’s absolutely delightful to be here and thank you for that introduction.

[00:00:40] Steve Gerencser: Outstanding. Thank you very much. So, Jason is going to go ahead and start with a small presentation for us, and then we will carry on to some questions after that.

[00:00:49] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Brilliant. It’s actually quite a long presentation, but I’m going to do it incredibly quickly because you guys are all smart. And if I go through it quickly, you’ll get the idea. And you can also look at the slide deck afterwards or watch this again if I speak too quickly which I may well do.

[00:01:05] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, I’m going to talk about Knowledge Panels, triggering them, and managing them for your brand. I’m The Brand SERP Guy, as Steve just said. I specialise in Brand SERPs. That’s what appears when somebody Googles your brand name and in this case, my personal name. And I can tell my story through my Brand SERP. That’s the trick I’m trying to play. And as a brand, you can imagine telling your brand story or your brand message through your Brand SERP when your audience searches your brand name is incredibly important there, the most important audience for your bottom and post-funnel as we’ll see.

Living In Paris and Being a Voice Actor, Punk Folk Musician, Podcaster, Author, and The Brand SERP Guy 

[00:01:35] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, John Mueller from Google calls me Mr. Knowledge Panel from time to time which is terribly delightful and charming and makes me feel a bit proud of myself. I live in Paris. You can see that from my LinkedIn profile ranking up there on the Brand SERP. I was a voice actor, cartoon blue dog, as you can see from the songs and the video and the IMDb profile, all of which were my Brand SERP to tell that part of my life to you. I was a punk folk musician as you can see from this part of my Brand SERP. The Barking Dogs, it says that I was a rock musician, the 90’s, double bass player and singer. I have a groovy podcast, With Jason Barnard, ranking once again on my Brand SERP so you can interact with me through my podcast. Listen to that. 

[00:02:17] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’m an author. My book came out, and it’s sitting behind me, and it’s on the screen in front of you. And that also is on my Brand SERP through my Twitter feed because that’s quite new. I have managed to leverage it up there onto the Brand SERP proper as it were. I’m the CEO and Founder of Kalicube which is a SaaS Platform and a set of courses to learn all about Brand SERPs and Knowledge Panels of course. 

[00:02:40] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And I’m The Brand SERP Guy. And I’ve managed to educate Google with a new concept that it didn’t know about six or seven months ago. And it now has People Also Ask on my Brand SERP, what is a Brand SERP, and who is the Brand SERP Guy. So, I’ve done a great job of educating Google about a new topic that I invented or at least coined the term and got Google to understand that and understand that I am the person or that term is associated with my name very closely.

A Preview of the Presentation Prepared By Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[00:03:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, the plan, really quickly. We’re going to look at the context, which is Brand SERPs. Look at Brand Knowledge Panels, the international variations, what are Google’s sources, what you can do, practical tips, what’s next, and that’s exciting. It’s the stuff I love the most. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 are stuff I’ve gone through for the last nine years. What’s next is the exciting part for me at least. Fun examples are really fun. It’s all to do with the blue dog and yellow koala that I mentioned earlier on the cartoon and my rock group. And the ultimate aim which is obviously, fun and games aside, we need to be serious and take this seriously today.

The Context Is Your Brand SERP

[00:03:40] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So the context is your Brand SERP. It’s important to explain that it’s the exact match brand search. It isn’t branded terms. It’s your exact match brand name, and these results are more or less convincing, more or less positive, more or less accurate. As you can see, Microsoft over there on the left incredibly rich, incredibly helpful to the user. Then we have somebody else in the middle which is WordLift, great tool from a platform AI SEO from Italy.

[00:04:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And Kalicube, we’ve worked on that for the last year to get the really pretty looking Brand SERP with all those videos and Twitter Boxes. That’s a great content strategy you can see there from Kalicube. And over there on the right, a company that I can’t remember the name of who have 10 bluelinks. When did we last see 10 bluelinks on a SERP? If you have a Brand SERP with 10 bluelinks, you really should be ashamed of yourselves and I do apologise for being rude.

The Importance of Brand SERPs For Your Audience, For Google, and For You 

[00:04:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, it’s important for your audience. There are obviously A-list people who actually matter to your business. They’re your clients, your prospects, your investors, your partners. They know what your name is. And they’re searching your name to navigate to your site or find out more about you. They’re ready to do business with you or already doing business with you. That is your Google business card.

[00:04:48] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): It’s important for Google. It’s Google’s assessment of the world’s opinion of you. If you think about it, Google looks at all this content wherever it is on your site, around the web, it digests it. And then it presents to the audience we just saw or your users what it feels is going to be valuable, helpful, and relevant for them.

[00:05:04] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, it’s giving them it’s opinion of what you have to offer within your Digital Ecosystem, not just SEO, but every single digital outlet that you have. And if it looks good and it looks relevant to your business, it suggests that Google thinks your expertise, authority, and trust are pretty good. So, it’s a good way to give it a thumb gauge, if we can say that, of your E-A-T credentials.

[00:05:31] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And it’s important for you because it’s an insight into the Digital Ecosystem and your content strategy. And it’s a really easy way of seeing where you’re weak, where you’re strong, where you’re doing great stuff, and where you’re not doing such a great job on your digital strategy overall.

Brand Knowledge Panels and Why Does Google Put A Knowledge Panel On The SERP

[00:05:46] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Brand Knowledge Panels, really quickly into that. Why does Google put a Knowledge Panel on the SERP? I think it’s question we don’t often ask ourselves perhaps enough. And it’s basically a summary of what it’s understood as fact about your brand. And the aim for Google is to allow the user, its user, to understand more about you or the basic facts about you without having to click through multiple links and bring it all together in their own little brains.

[00:06:13] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, it’s saying here is our summary from the results that you could click on, theoretically. Therefore, you don’t need to click. You can figure out who this brand is, what they do, and who their audience is from the SERP and then decide how you want to interact with them.

[00:06:27] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the idea that one size fits all is totally false obviously. We’ve got from over there on the left tiny sprout, Perceptive Fittings Ltd. I don’t know who they are, but they’ve got the tiniest Knowledge Panel ever. Kalicube, a little bit bigger. SE Ranking, WordLift, and then Meta obviously with that massive Knowledge Panel. Why Google’s got a lot of facts in its brain and it can express those facts in that summary, incredibly richly, and it’s got a lot to say about Meta. And we can all potentially have a Knowledge Panel like that if Google can understand it. And if it thinks that information is going to be helpful, valuable, and relevant to your audience.

How Google Improved By Having More Brand Knowledge Panels and How It Varies Across The World 

[00:07:04] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, they’re actually very commonplace. 51% of brands have a Knowledge Panel in the USA. That’s up from 43% two years ago. It doesn’t seem like much of a leap. But when you think about how much Google is trying to understand, that is quite a big leap. Google is basically understanding more and more entities. And it’s pushing that understanding, it’s understanding, that it’s willing to place on the right-hand side of a SERP on desktop as fact. It’s building that up pretty quickly. They talked about 500 billion facts a few years ago. That’s probably quadrupled or maybe quintupled by now. Who knows. And across the world, if you’re an international brand, that Knowledge Panel will be replicated 98% of the time across these different five Anglophone countries. So, facts are universal.

[00:07:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But what’s relevant to show for a brand is not universal. So, we’ll just compare the USA to the UK. You can see here, the customer service number is different in the US to the UK. That’s logical. It’s a fact. It’s helpful to the user, but it needs to be geospecific. And apparently in America, we’re looking at the chainsaw ratio size, whatever that is. And in the UK, they’re more interested in who the subsidiaries are. So, Google not only shows relevant information but also the information it feels that geolocation audience is going to be interested in.

[00:08:28] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Social profiles vary across the world. If you’ve got different social profiles in different countries to serve those people. Here, IKEA have got it pretty right. They’ve got one there of UAE on the right-hand side and the US. For Pinterest, obviously, if I’m in the UK, I would rather see that UK Pinterest account.

The People Also Search For Panel and Entity Statements

[00:08:48] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): People Also Search For, we tend to think that’s going to be stable around the world, it isn’t. It varies across regions. It’s a representation of what Google thinks are the most closely related entities to your entity and therefore, potentially your competitors or at least companies in the same area industry as you. And as you can see, 28% of these are the same all around the world, but that leaves another 72% of these that are not the same in other countries. And so that’s something you would want to keep an eye out on because these entities, the related entities, that Google perceives to be the most related to you will vary by georegion.

[00:09:27] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Entity statements, you can think about those as People Also Ask in the right-hand rail. They are more and more prevalent very much in the US, less so in the rest of the world, but that’s starting to come. Over 25% of Knowledge Panels now have them in the US, and that’s up from 10% a year ago. So, that’s growing very fast just like People Also Ask. And you want to grab control of those because you don’t want other people, other companies, representing facts. They’ll be pseudo facts that Google is presenting questions as fact here. So, the People Also Ask that are on the left that are questions here are facts. You don’t want somebody else presenting those facts to your audience. 

[00:10:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And here’s a fun example, CheapOair. I love the name, absolutely delightful, and pretty much everything is different. So, this company, whoever they may be, really need to pay attention to their international Knowledge Panels. A lot of information in there and very different information at different regions, and it’s a mistake to imagine you cannot heavily influence the information Google has and the information Google shows.

[00:10:33] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And a big mention for WordLift who do a lot of work on Knowledge Panel product. I don’t know what you call them, carousels. This is going to be incredibly important for brands who have products which is most brands. So far, only in the US, but it’s going to spread around the world. This is something you need to grab control of because you want it to show your best products in their best light.

What Are Google Sources and Entity Equivalents?

[00:10:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): What are Google sources? We often think of Wikipedia. We have descriptions, all of which come from Wikipedia. A lot of the facts that googles the attributes that Google is showing come from Wikipedia too, but there are so many other sources. That’s the tip of the iceberg. You can see all of these different sources. LinkedIn is more important than one might imagine, Crunchbase too. You can see my little face there and Kalicube and the WordLift.

[00:11:18] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And these are sites that you would expect to see in this list of sources that Google is citing in a Knowledge Panel, and yet because I am an authority and a trusted authority about the entities that we’ll see later on, I get a place as a representative of those sites that Google trusts to source as information, factual information, in that Knowledge Panel. And we can all potentially do that for entities where we are authoritative and trustworthy.

[00:11:49] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): It is very much niche industry. So, you’d look for different sites to be representing and educating Google about your brand and getting their information into the Knowledge Panels depending on your industry. Geo is incredibly vital. Google will show different information in different countries as we’ve seen, and it will cite different sources and get its information from different sources depending on the georegion.

[00:12:12] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And at Kalicube we figured that out using Entity Equivalents, which you can’t quite read there, but the last word there is equivalents. And that’s the idea that the same entity type, the same georegion, the same category, we can segment Google sources of information and tell you which are the sources you should be looking at to educate Google and to get control or at least heavy influence over that Knowledge Panel.

New Insights on Where Google is Getting Its Information From 

[00:12:39] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): We’ve got these new insights. These are delightful. I love it. We’ve managed to figure out how to see where Google is getting its information from. We can’t tell necessarily the details of it, but we can tell you that 70% come from third-party human curated sources such as IMDb, Wikipedia, Wikidata, MusicBrainz, and other such sources that are third-party.

[00:13:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The red line, 18% is Google sourced human curated which would be Google Podcasts, Google Books, Google My Business, and also the Feedback Button strangely enough. It uses that information, feeds it back into the machine as corrective or supportive information about what the machine has been doing. And what the machine has been doing is crawling around the web and making up its own facts from the stuff it finds on the web from the Web Index. And we’re looking there at 6 or 7% are web facts which is where the machine has made up its own mind about the facts from a seat set of sources that Google trusts, that Google has given the machine.

[00:13:42] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that green one, which is the most exciting moment in my life of the last few years, is the machine going on its own, making up its own mind where it’s not the seat set. You can find the web facts. We’ve got about 2000 different sources that are cited by Google as the source of information for an attribute that are completely, completely not, how can you say, I can’t find a pattern. It’s finding the information where that information exists and where the machine has decided it is trustworthy, it is relevant, and I would bet my bottom dollar it’s all about Entity Equivalents.

The Process of Reconciliation and The Cumulation of Corroboration

[00:14:19] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): What you can do? You can take control. You can heavily influence what appears. John Mueller talks about reconciliation. It’s the idea that the machine has fragmented information around the web, and it tries to bring that together and make facts in its little brain, but it isn’t sure about what it’s found. And what it’s looking for, and this is slightly contradictory in my little mind, is that it’s looking for a place on your website, a one page that we will call the Entity Home, that represents the entity and that explains the entity to it.

[00:14:52] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, it’s looking for you to tell it what it should know, and then it takes that information that it’s reconcile, it’s found around the web, and it will reconcile it and compare it to your version. And if they match, it will then be more confident in the information it’s found. So for reconciliation to help Google with reconciliation, you need to provide the Entity Home which is a page on your site that you control where you describe clearly who you are, what you do.

[00:15:20] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And you signpost all the corroboration around the web on multiple independent authority third-parties sites. I call that the cumulation of corroboration. And preferably if you can, get it pointing both ways. So, you link out to them using same as in your Schema or a link in your page, and get that to link back to you to the Entity Home. So, Google just goes from your Entity Home with the facts to that site with the facts, back to the Entity Home with the facts, out to another one with the facts, back to your site with the facts and so on and so forth. It’s a child. It needs to be educated by pure repetition. Repetition builds confidence. Confidence will help you build a stable Knowledge Panel.

[00:16:02] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, as you can see, once you get it really good, it will just pull the description from your own website. That’s the point at which it trusts you to describe yourself. You are the trusted authority about yourself. And I will let you read the figures over there on the right-hand side. I don’t need to read them for you. I’m sure.

[00:16:20] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And you can feed the Knowledge Graph once you’ve done that. From this perspective, here’s my group, The Barking Dogs. I told you we’d come back to that. I have a page on my website which is the Entity Home. I’m the trusted authority. It uses my own description. I changed the description at 12:58, and within 8 minutes, it’s updated on the Knowledge Panel. That’s as close as you’ll ever get to control.

Filter Pills and How You Need To Take Control of Them 

[00:16:44] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, what’s next, the filter pills. This is really what I’m getting excited about. The filter pills are brilliant. You get the overview which is the Brand SERP as it stands, which is what we’ve been talking about. And then Google says there are actually multiple verticals we can look at. So these filter pills, when you click on them, will add the word to the query and present you with a new Brand SERP that is more focused on that particular aspect of in this case, a person, but it could be a brand, not yet. But I’m betting my bottom dollar once again that within a couple of years, this is going to be true of brands or for brands too. And you need to take control. And it gets really complicated really quickly because if Brand SERPs are difficult to grab hold of and get control of and master, taking control of, here we’ve got 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 different vertical Brand SERPs is going to be really difficult.

[00:17:39] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And here, we’re looking at songs. Now, this is where if we imagine that I was a company and these songs were my product, which they kind of are because you can buy songs, you can download them, stream them, and potentially I could make money from them. I don’t because I don’t own the rights to the songs which is unfortunate, but I did write them.

[00:17:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And here, what I’ve done is educated Google about which songs I’ve written, which songs I’ve recorded, and I can present them here. And when you click on them, you go through to the Brand SERP for the song, and it gives you the option to download it or to listen to it on Spotify. And my aim there would be to push my products that I want to push forward to the top of this list and make sure that the distributors that are cited on the next page when the person looks at the Brand SERPs for the product song, other ones that I want my audience to purchase from.

[00:18:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And if you want to know how I do it, I created a dedicated page on my website that deals with that specific vertical. And I educate Google as to what it can, could be showing to my audience in that vertical in this case, my education, where I went to university. I created a page, and Google trusts me and feels that I’m authoritative about myself and with some corroborative sources around the web to confirm to back me up. It’s showing now where I was educated within one of these filter pill verticals. 

[00:19:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Videos too. Yeah. So, that’s the videos. What’s interesting here is that all of these videos come from my own site. If you search Jason Barnard videos in Google, normal results or even in the videos vertical, the videos are not the same. They do not come from my site. They come from YouTube, and the thumbnails are much prettier. So, what we have here is a completely separate vertical of results that is principally pulled from my site because my site is what is educating Google as to what would be appropriate for the specific filter pill vertical. So as you can see, taking control is possible. And it’s something I think we need to start thinking about today because within two years, this is going to apply to companies as well as people and films and books.

Fun Examples About Ambiguity and How Jason Educated Google On It 

[00:19:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Fun examples, really quickly. I’ll try not to bore you with my silly examples, with the happy families, the yellow koalas, and the blue dogs. I built in Google’s brain the family tree of these characters that I created with my ex-wife. You can see them here behind me, this site. You can see the yellow and blue spludges behind me. And the thing is they were reasonably famous in 2006-7, but nobody cares about them because the characters Boowa and Kwala were famous, the families were not.

[00:20:22] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, what I’ve done is built up the family tree in Google’s brain on my Entity Homes. As you can see, all of these have descriptions from my own site. And I’ve managed to build that understanding of the family tree. And you can do the same with the brand with its subsidiary companies and the products of those subsidiary companies, a family tree of your company and its layout. And it really isn’t actually very difficult.

[00:20:47] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But ambiguity makes it tough. And here’s a really cool example from my band once again. There’s an Italian techno GO with the same name. And as you can see, the Knowledge Panel on June 2020 was 50% about them and 50% about us. And it got the members mixed up, the albums, the record companies. And even it said we were a dance electronic group, and in fact, we were a punk folk group.

[00:21:16] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And this is how I sorted it out. It took me a year and a half. In four months, I got it from 50:50 to 70:30 in our favour. And it took me another year to get it to a hundred percent all about us where Google was really straight in its mind exactly who we were and which albums were recorded and who was in the band. And that’s a good indication of how slowly Google learns. The Knowledge Panel doesn’t or the Knowledge Graph and the Knowledge Panels don’t update from one day to the next except in exceptional circumstances like the example I showed earlier on. It takes months to get this machine to digest this information that we’re feeding it.

Control is the Ultimate Aim

[00:21:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the ultimate aim of course is control. That’s the Entity Home. Once you’ve nailed the Entity Home, you can start nailing the different verticals in your Brand SERP as I showed you with the filter pills and also start educating it about sub-entities or related entities like the Boowa and Kwala families or the music group. And it becomes relatively easy, just slow.

[00:22:19] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And Kalicube which is my company. We now offer services and products. Beginners: The Brand SERP Book, Intermediate: Brand SERP Courses, and Advanced: The Brand SERP SaaS Platform, which I built with my little hands, basically, to try to get all this stuff it’s in my brain into a platform that will help other people who want to optimise Brand SERPs and manage Knowledge Panels, give them the tools and the means to do so. You can optimise your Brand SERP, manage your Knowledge Panel with Kalicube Pro with our partners WordLift, Authoritas, and SE Ranking.

[00:22:51] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Here’s what you would want to retain in your brain. Knowledge Panels presence is consistent international at least in the anglophone world, but the actual content will vary enormously. Create an Entity Home and start gaining control using Schema Markup but also good sense, great explanations, and back and forth linking and corroboration on multiple authoritative third-party sources.

[00:23:14] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The trusted sources you leverage depends on market and geography, Entity Equivalents that I mentioned earlier on. Brand SERPs are the most interesting thing in the digital marketing world without exception in my opinion, of course, but I’m totally biased. And you should really, in my opinion once again, track and measure for stunning insights, and it really is interesting.

[00:23:34] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Once you start tracking, you start measuring, you start analysing Brand SERPs and Knowledge Panels. You get so many insights into your company, into your audience, into your content strategy and into your digital footprint and your Digital Ecosystem. And I don’t think there’s anywhere else you would get that kind of insight that simply and for free from Google. Thank you.

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) on Working and Experimenting Through The Years 

[00:23:56] Steve Gerencser: Wow. 

[00:23:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): That was fast. 

[00:24:00] Steve Gerencser: That was very fast. And I feel like almost everything I thought I knew about Knowledge Panels was a lie. 

[00:24:06] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Oh, no. I’m sorry. 

[00:24:08] Steve Gerencser: No, no. It’s brilliant. Because from my perspective, I try to know a little bit about everything because that’s the role I play for a lot of my clients. And personally, I was unaware that you could have that much of a dramatic impact on Knowledge Panels. 

[00:24:28] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Oh, yeah. Okay. 

[00:24:30] Steve Gerencser: Because from where I come from, we’ve always been taught the Knowledge Panels is what Google thinks it should be and taking the time to train Google, to understand what you think Google should think it should be, it is, I don’t want to say, I guess I do want to say, it’s an eye-opening and a mind expanding thought process that now needs to be explored. And we see that a lot in a lot of the digital groups, Facebook, LinkedIn, whatever, where we, whether we want to or not, we close our mind off to certain things. And my whole brain is, okay, bouncing all over the place. 

[00:25:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. And what is lovely. I get this. I’ve been doing this for nine years, and nobody really listened to me very much for the first seven or eight. I really felt I was talking and talking and talking. No one was listening. And at some points you think maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m not doing this. Maybe this is a dream. But in fact, what I managed to do was heavily influenced once I nailed the Entity Homes, and I really did only nail them three years ago. So, I was trying before so I understand that kind of people going, yeah, maybe yeah, whatever. 

[00:25:53] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But once you start demonstrating with examples like I’m showing here, they’re silly examples because they’re music groups and blue dogs and yellow koalas. But when you think about how you can apply them to business, they do make real sense. And the reason I chose the blue dogs and yellow koalas and the music group is because I don’t damage my clients. When I’m doing experiments, I don’t mess it all up. And because, and it’s really lucky for me, because nobody cares about the blue dog, yellow koala, or the music group because they haven’t existed for 15 to 25 years.

[00:26:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’m the only person who is affected by it. I’m the only person working on it. So, I know that the effect that I’m having or the things, the changes we’re seeing are thanks to me because nobody’s talking about them. So there isn’t any kind of, and it also makes my job obviously easier because they’ll be talking about them nobody’s contradicting me. I might just place the information around the web. So that’s cheaty, but it’s also very demonstrative and it’s lovely and I love it. It’s really good fun.

A Little More Insight About Filter Pills 

[00:26:52] Steve Gerencser: That is awesome. I noticed when you were talking about filter pills in general. For anybody who is unaware of what they were, what they are, how they work, the best example I can think of is Google Image Search. If you go into Google Image Search and you type somebody’s name, that’s where you’re going to see filter pills always. It’s not a secret that there are, especially, an actor or an actress. It may break it down by movies. It may break it down in a hundred different ways. That is the best example of filter pills that I can think of. And the thought of being able to do that with a Knowledge Panel is one of those areas that my brain just went, oh, I never thought of it because you don’t see those very often for Knowledge Panels. 

[00:27:45] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): No, sorry. 

[00:27:47] Steve Gerencser: No, go ahead. 

[00:27:48] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): No, I mean. I look at this all day long. So when I saw them and started thinking about it might just thought, okay, you click on it and you get a different set of results. And it took me a while to realise a) we need to control the verticals and b) we can actually affect which ones appear, and we can also see it as a way for us to help Google, to help our audience.

[00:28:13] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But the downside, and I’m not saying Google is wonderful, we have to deal with it. It’s not something that’s going to go away. It’s something that’s going to kept stay there. And the downside for us is that that overview is your home page and those filter pills and navigating through your site. But that layout of the Knowledge Panel becomes a mini website for you and the mini website which you don’t control directly.

[00:28:39] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, it becomes scary. But it’s a great challenge because what happens is that when you start thinking about that, you are forced to think about who you are, what you’re doing, who your audience is, what content is going to appeal to your audience, what content is relevant to you, and make sure that it’s optimised wherever it appears on the web not just on your own site. And if you’re looking at products, if you’re looking at the CEO of the company, that C-level employees, it forces you to figure out how all of these different related entities and aspects of your business need to be presented. 

[00:29:13] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And from the Kalicube example that we skipped over very quickly earlier on, to build a really beautiful Brand SERP with the Twitter boxes and the video boxes and the videos and the YouTube stream, took us a year. And we’ve created vast amounts of relevant, helpful content that works for our audience. And what I love about it is I stopped doing SEO for a year. I’ve just been doing content and I’m pulling in clients through the content. And now, Google is my bonus. I just package this stuff up and push it out to Google, and I’m getting SEO traffic now as a bonus. So, looking at it that way around for me as an SEO has totally flipped me over in just the last year.

Building Content To Build Topical Authority 

[00:29:52] Steve Gerencser: This brings us back to the SEO without links. Because you’re not technically building links, you’re building content and then Google is going, this is what the way it should be and then just pumping traffic to you which is awesome. 

[00:30:09] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): We’re not building links is one of those things. If you’re building incredibly relevant content where you have topical authority. And by building content, you’re going to start building that topical authority. If the content is incredibly topically relevant to your business, you don’t need links anymore. Koray Gübür is a Turkish SEO proves this day in, day out. We’ve done it as well with Kalicube. We don’t build links. We build topical authority. And that builds up that presence in Google which is incredibly interesting and I think very, very powerful. 

[00:30:41] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Links we’re always useful and they’re helpful and they’re supportive. But Google’s understanding and it’s confidence in its understanding of who you are, what topics you are truly an expert in, is always going to be the prime driver in what it ranks because it wants to rank the most authoritative, credible, trustworthy solutions for its users when they’re searching.

Building Great Content That Your Audience Engages With Builds Links On Its Own

[00:31:04] Steve Gerencser: Right. The question that was just funneled into me was, are you seeing more natural links developed because of this content or is that something you don’t even try? 

[00:31:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): No, no, no. Great question. I assume that’s Doc asking the question. What’s delightful is it all started with the podcast, the webinars. In fact, Doc was on the one of the first webinars with SEMRush when I was doing things with SEMRush and I wasn’t doing it on my own. And it’s built a lot of links really quickly. To give you an idea, I actually split my site into different sites as an experiment once again. So, I have a site for Kalicube Tuesdays which is my weekly event, a site for the podcast, a site for my company, a site for the SaaS Platform.

[00:31:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And I launched them all in May 2021 so that’s what? 9 months. And they all have built links incredibly, steadily, and strongly throughout the year, and I haven’t made any effort at all. And the tools now show these amazing backlinks from Moles and from SEMRush and from WordLift and from all sorts, and so lots of noise on social media. So, yeah. Building great content that your audience engages with builds links on its own. And link building isn’t something I do, and I’m really happy because I don’t like doing it. 

[00:32:26] Steve Gerencser: I would agree with you a hundred percent on that one. The last links I built were 15 years ago when we were doing linked directories and I owned a few directories. So, yeah. That was a whole different world back then. So, another area that you talked about briefly is reconciliation where we find a lot of, I guess we would call it, noise in your Knowledge Panel.

[00:32:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right.

Introducing The Kalicube Pro SaaS Platform and How It Works

[00:32:55] Steve Gerencser: Information that doesn’t relate directly to you or is confused between two different people with similar or the same names. And I’m just curious if you could go into a little more of what kind of a process you would look at to, one, try to sort that out as for the best way to attack it? And then is it just a simply a matter of providing enough of the relevant information to Google in a way that it decides that the other guy is probably wrong?

[00:33:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right, yeah. It’s a great question. In fact, you’ve just described what the Kalicube Pro SaaS Platform does, a bit of promotion there. But I’m really pleased with it because Joost de Valk of Yoast Fame asked me to help him and his team about a year ago. And I came up with a list of all the different places where he had profile pages and people were talking about him, and I had a list of about a hundred that I thought were important. And he wrote back me an email back and said, what about that? What about that? What about that? And I’d missed about 30 pretty important sites by doing it by hand. 

[00:34:02] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, I built a machine that crawls Google, pulls it all in, and built an algorithm that prioritises it. And I pump that back to him, and I found another 30 that he hadn’t seen. So, we ended up with a system where I built the platform that basically asks Google what’s important for your knowledge and understanding about this entity. We pull that in. We have an algorithm that sorts it all through and then gives you a prioritised list of all the profiles, the articles about you, that data sources and tells you basically what all that we think we, obviously not sure, but we’ve got a good idea. And the list tend to make sense that you can then a) go around and correct the information on all of those different sources so that everything, it’s like maps in a local SEO, make sure everything says the same thing and that the child will end up understanding.

[00:34:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The child being a great analogy because if I’m the parent and I explained to the child, the child goes, okay, great, yep, fine. If grandma says it exactly the same way, if the sister says it the same way, the teacher says it the same way, the child will become confident in that understanding. And it will probably understand it better as well. And if they’re all contradicting each other, of course, the child won’t understand. And of course the child, if it does understand, will not be confident in the understanding.

Using The Idea of Schema Markup and Entity Home in Working With The Platform

[00:35:23] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, that’s the kind of theory behind it. And then, what we do is create the Schema Markup that points to the sameAs, into the subject of. And then, we invite you through another list to go through all of these, make sure the corroboration is correct, point back to the Entity Home, Entity Home points out to them, and Bob’s your uncle. It’s really very, very, very simple. It’s just time consuming and phenomenally the work. 

[00:35:47] Steve Gerencser: Right. So, Schemas wears its ugly head again. 

[00:35:51] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yes, sorry. But as I said, in fact, a lot of people or some people say to me, oh, you own, you have to do Schema and then you do sameAs, and it’s all finished. And you say, well, there is Schema in there but if you just let it links to your page, it has been and I have had the experience where it does work. It doesn’t need Schema. Schema helps because it’s the bullet list for Google. It’s Google’s native language. It can digest it natively. It’s confident that the Schema, because it’s named value pairs, it’s confident that it’s understood exactly what’s being said. It isn’t necessary. It is very helpful.

Making Sure That Google Understands That What The Other Person Is Saying Isn’t Necessarily The Right Fact

[00:36:25] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And one thing you did mention is making sure that Google understands that what the other person is saying isn’t necessarily the right fact. And a great example of that is yearly revenues for a company, let us say. And I’ve had clients who say, oh, it’s got the wrong number. It says 40 million and it was 60 million. And then you say why do you say on your site that it was 60 million? And I said what we done. I said, if you don’t give it the information yourself, it’s going to go and find it elsewhere. And you say, we don’t really want to talk about it. And you say, you don’t have that choice.

[00:36:57] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And as much as Google will show it, whether you talk about it or not, your best bet is to grab control, and being coy about it seems to me to be a foolish mistake but each to their own. So, you have to own the information about yourself and take control. I agree I don’t necessarily want to talk about all these things, but if Google’s going to show it anyway, I don’t have much choice. 

[00:37:25] Steve Gerencser: It would be similar to like where we’re at with conferences where people talking about how many people showed up to the conference or even a sporting event. There were 80,000 people at a football game and you look around and go, ah, I don’t think so. But the event is who published the information. They said there were 80,000. And so, Google may lean more towards that as being the actual proper source versus what somebody else may have said on Twitter or whatever. 

[00:37:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I love the idea that you had 80,000 people at your conference though. That’s great.

A Small Farm Talk

[00:38:02] Steve Gerencser: I would love that too. That would mean I wouldn’t have to work on the farm anymore. 

[00:38:09] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Do you like working on the farm? 

[00:38:11] Steve Gerencser: I do to a certain extent. My wife’s really good at breaking tractors. So, there’s a little bit of that going on. 

[00:38:20] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Okay. Well, I grew up on a farm when I was a kid. I was a punk in the countryside on the Yorkshire Moors. And you have a bunch of cows. We had a bunch of cows at the time in my father’s field in the front. 

[00:38:37] Steve Gerencser: Nice. That’s very cool. My wife is a retired engineer from the Air Force. And she went from super math space stuff savvy to I want to have cows.

[00:38:51] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): No, absolutely lovely. I think sometimes, oh, do you want to hear a very strange story about farms? My first kiss was from a cow. I was coming home from school, and I leant on the fence like that. And the cow looked at me. And I thought if I don’t move at all, how long will it take the cow to get curious and come over and see me? And it took maybe 30 minutes. And the cow edged its way towards me. And it was stunning how a cow’s breath really stinks quite horribly, horribly, horribly. And I tried not to move and then it licked my face with this tongue. It was about this size. And it really hurt because it’s got those big taste buds on it and it’s massive and it hurt. And that was my first ever kiss. 

[00:39:44] Steve Gerencser: And now, I think I have a project to see if I can inject something into your Knowledge Panel. 

[00:39:49] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Oh, no, deary me. I’ve just dug my grave, hasn’t I? 

[00:39:56] Steve Gerencser: That would make an awesome filter bubble, first kiss.

How Do You Make Sure That What Google Is Publishing Is The Correct Data and How Having A Wikipedia Page Affects It

[00:40:02] Steve Gerencser: That is awesome. So, we’ll ask you one more question about corroboration because that also ties in with the reconciliation. When you start looking at corroborating data because obviously you’re going to have different sources with different information. A lot of these sites are not very welcoming to having data corrected on their websites. We’ll take Wikipedia as a prime example. They will publish what they publish and no matter how much you present them, they rarely want to make those changes. Do you have a process or do you just ignore some of that and try to combat it with more correct data than what they have in the hopes that they eventually change it? Or do you know at the table that you talk to? 

[00:40:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Well, as you already said, the problem that Wikipedia is a lot of people who created a Wikipedia page get myself a Knowledge Panel. And pretty much, if you create yourself a Wikipedia page, you will get an Knowledge Panel. But Rand Fishkin was on my Kalicube Tuesdays show, and he said he got his Wikipedia page deleted because they got it wrong. And it turns out once you don’t have a Wikipedia page, you regain control. If you allow somebody to create or you let that page grow or happen or you encourage it even, you lose control because Google believes Wikipedia much more easily than it believes other sources at the moment at least. 

[00:41:36] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Few years ago, it was pretty much a hundred percent Wikipedia, MusicBrainz, IMDb, and these other trusted databases so you were really at their mercy. Now, you’re not. So if you’re thinking about building a Wikipedia page for your company, I would suggest don’t. It’s a lot of work. It probably won’t stick. And if it does stick, you’ve lost control. You do better building up that kind of corroboration for the reconciliation on your own site and on different sources that are relevant to your industry. And you will be surprised at how powerful a great geo industry entity relevant site is for your Knowledge Panel and your Knowledge Graph presence.

[00:42:17] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, from that perspective with Wikipedia, if you have that problem, you need to get it corrected because Google would tend to weight that much more heavily. And there are companies who do it. I’ve met a couple. I don’t do it myself. I don’t really like getting involved in Wikipedia for a lot of reasons. But, yeah. Getting it corrected, there are companies that do that. If you don’t have one, you can save yourself the trouble and just create a Knowledge Panel without Wikipedia, even without Wikidata.

[00:42:47] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Wikidata is really helpful, and the notability guidelines are much lower. Whatever you do with Wikidata, don’t start creating the Wikidata entry until you have enough corroborative sources from third-party sites that you can point to from Wikidata. When you add the information, you point to corroboration to prove what you’re saying, then they don’t delete it. If you just create something and you can’t point to any third-party reliable authoritative source, that they can easily understand.

Having Relevant and Authoritative Third-Party Reliable Sources

[00:43:14] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that’s another trick. They need to be able to see. It needs to be obvious that it’s relevant and authoritative. And it needs to be immediately obvious to them without them having to dig into the tiny content in the page because obviously they don’t want to spend lots of time, and their knee jerk reaction is to click set for deletion or vote for deletion which is bearable.

[00:43:35] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, yeah. And there are things like that people don’t really think about. IMDbs pretty good. They’re less difficult about that stuff. And I think it’s the INSI, it might be that ISNI, I can’t remember. It’s a database of information based in the UK. And it brings together different sources and builds that relationship, and that’s pretty cool in the sense that if you submit something and they can see that it’s true, they will publish it. There’s also DBpedia. 

[00:44:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But, yeah. So, the reconciliation idea is up until three years ago. You were at Wikipedia’s mercy, and now, you’re not. Build your own corroboration on third-party authority to sources. Make sure your own sources all corroborate. They’re all consistent. Build your Entity Home. Make sure it will point back to your Entity Home. Grab that authority and trustworthiness about yourself in Google’s little brain, and you can feed it pretty much whatever you want which is maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but you know what I mean. 

[00:44:39] Steve Gerencser: Right. Right. Yes. And the third-party source is always the big challenge for a lot of people, especially when they’re the primary source and they feel like they should just be believed. 

[00:44:51] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah, no, I think. Yeah. We do have that, that then as him and I. I had a client years ago and I was saying, why would Google rank you number one? They said we we’re the best. And I was saying, where does it say that anywhere? They say, we say it on our site. Yeah. You wouldn’t believe your kid if they said that or the baker next door. You need some supporting evidence from third-parties and so does Google. And I think people fail to realise that what they see in front of them every day isn’t obvious to everybody else either because they can’t see it or because they don’t see it every day. And so, you need to remember that there’s a lot of repetition that needs to be done especially for Google.

Some Feedback To The Book By The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard)

[00:45:34] Steve Gerencser: Fantastic. Jason, I want to thank you so much for your time here on our show today. You’ve been amazing. Also, I want to go ahead and provide you with a minute or two if you want to go ahead and promote something, promote Kalicube, tell us more about it.

[00:45:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. Yeah. No. Thank you for having me. That was delightful. I love it when people ask me about this stuff. My promotion is for the book here just out in January. We’ve had lots of pro. I’ve had lots of great feedback about it. Marie Haynes read it and was really kind. And I was saying, oh, it’s for beginners because for me, I wrote it so that brand managers and marketers could get their head around it without knowing anything about SEO. And I was saying to Marie, why would you read it? You know so much about this stuff. 

[00:46:17] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And she said, it’s a really interesting new perspective, and I wish I’d seen this perspective four or five years ago which is incredibly touching. And I think that’s the important thing is the book is for any marketer, but I hope that the perspective it’s bringing which is the perspective I’ve been explaining today is fresh, helpful to people. And it gives us that approach to Google which is it’s not the big, scary machine.

Build your digital marketing strategy from the Brand SERP out.

jason barnard (the brand Serp guy)

[00:46:43] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): It’s a child that we’re educating. We’re educating you about our little corner of the universe. We educate it little by little. And if we can do that, then we can bring Google over to our site to present us to our audience in the way we want which is what it wants to do. It wants to present us in an authentic manner to our audience. And if we can do that, then we’re already on a good step to start building an SEO strategy and a digital marketing strategy. As I say, build your digital marketing strategy from the Brand SERP out, and that is what the book says. 

[00:47:17] Steve Gerencser: Fantastic. We’ll go ahead and put a link to that in the description here, the video. I want to take a moment to thank everybody for viewing, showing up, and watching the show again. As always, we appreciate it if you like the video or if don’t like the video. Engagement is always good. The algorithm doesn’t care if you like it or not. They care if you engage, and we all know that as marketers. And we would definitely love it if you would subscribe to the show. And with that, Jason, thank you very much. It’s been great having you on the show. 

[00:47:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Thank you very much, Steve. It’s been an absolute delight. You’re charming and delightful. And I love talking about the farm as well. 

[00:48:00] Steve Gerencser: Awesome. Thank you.

[00:48:02] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Bye bye.

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