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Brand SERPs With Jason Barnard

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) is an author and digital marketing consultant. He specializes in Brand SERP optimization and Knowledge Panel management. Matt Rouse,

Jason has over 2 decades of experience in digital marketing, starting in the year Google was incorporated with a website for kids based on the characters Boowa & Kwala that he built up to become one of the 10,000 most visited sites in the world. Before that he was a professional musician with the Punk-Folk group The Barking Dogs. And before that he studied Economics and Statistical Analysis at Liverpool John Moores University.

[00:00:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Google Maps was understanding the physical world, A to B, this shot, that shot, reviews, and so on and so forth. And it’s trying to expand that now into knowledge and understanding of absolutely everything. 

[00:00:13] Music: Learn modern marketing that you can use to grow your business in today’s competitive landscape. This is Digital Marketing Masters with Matt and Kari Rouse.

Introducing Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) as an Author and a Digital Marketing Consultant

[00:00:25] Matthew Rouse: Welcome to Digital Marketing Masters. I’m your host, Matt Rouse. And today, my guest is Jason Barnard. How are you, Jason? 

[00:00:33] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’m absolutely fine. Thank you very much, Matt. 

[00:00:36] Matthew Rouse: So today, we’re going to be talking about Brand SERPs, and we’ll get to that in a minute because Jason Barnard is an author and a digital marketing consultant and specialises in Brand SERP optimisation and Knowledge Panel management. And we will explain what these are in case you’re not familiar. Jason has two decades of experience in digital marketing. He started when Google incorporated with a website for kids based on the characters of Boowa and Kwala that he built up to become one of the 10,000 most visited sites in the world. Before, he is a professional musician with the punk folk group, The Barking Dogs. And before that, he studied Economics and Statistical Analysis at Liverpool John Moores University.

What Is a Brand SERP and What Is Knowledge Panel Management?

[00:01:15] Matthew Rouse: So, Jason, you’ve got some pretty varied experience there, but the first thing that I want to ask you is, actually, I’m going to ask you two things. I know I told you I was only going to ask you one to start, but two things, what is a SERP and what is Knowledge Panel management? 

[00:01:32] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. Very good place to start. Perfect question. A SERP is a search engine results page. Because Google dominates so much, we tend to think of Google rather than Bing or Qwant or DuckDuckGo, but basically a search engine results page is what you see on Google, Bing, Qwant, DuckDuckGo when you search for something.

[00:01:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): A Brand SERP, which is where I specialise, is the result that you get on a search engine when you search for a brand name or a company name or a person’s name or a film name or a podcast name or a music group name. And that is a very specific part of digital marketing and SEO, search engine optimisation, because all I look at is how does Google represent you to your audience when they search your name.

[00:02:25] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the Knowledge Panel is part of that whole thing. The Knowledge Panel is the information box you see on the right hand side when you search for famous people, famous companies, famous films, and so on and so forth. And it’s Google’s factual understanding of that person, that brand, that film, that podcast, that music group. It’s Google’s factual summary, informational box about you. And what I really love about Knowledge Panels is we associate them when you see them, you will tend to associate them with a Wikipedia. And a lot of them do come from Wikipedia, but interestingly, less than 60% now come from Wikipedia and 40% come from other sources, including people’s own websites, companies’ own websites.

[00:03:14] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And so what I specialise in is how to educate Google about the facts, about ourselves, so that when our audience searches our name or our brand name, it shows our message, our brand message as we intended it, both on the left hand side, which is Google’s suggestions of what it is we might be interested in as the audience, and on the right hand side, in that information box, the Knowledge Panel, the factual summary about us. So, I like to talk about Google as a child. We’re here to educate it about ourselves so that it represents us to our audience as we would wish.

Our Job Is to Educate the Machine (Google) That Is Equivalent to a Child

[00:03:53] Matthew Rouse: Nice. And that makes perfect sense. And it’s in this, I’m sorry. I don’t mean to get off topic immediately, but talking about Google being a child. I don’t know if you saw the article in The Guardian a couple days ago that was about Google’s AI chatbot saying that it thinks it’s roughly a seven or eight year old child in intelligence. And that was miraculous, right? But another thing that’s interesting around that idea though is that most of searches actually run by one or several AIs, right? An NLP AI and a normal AI are making all these decisions. So what you have to do is educate the system, right? 

[00:04:37] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): In fact, it’s exactly what you’re saying. You’re educating a machine that is equivalent to a child. And these machines, it’s machine learning, let’s call it AI, that is trying to understand the world because what Google is trying to do is get its users when they search on Google to the solution to the problem as efficiently as possible. And what they’re trying to do now is understand the world, understand all of these solutions that are on offer so that it can offer the best solution, the most credible solution, the most relevant solution.

[00:05:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, Google and Bing and Apple are all building machines that are trying to understand the world much in the way a child would understand the world, but a child with an infinite memory and an infinite capacity to retain information. And that is so exciting for me personally, because what it means from a Brand SERP, search engine results page, perspective is that our job is to educate this child, and this child is learning on its own. And so we have to be the responsible adults in the room so that the child correctly understands and once again, correctly represents us to our audience.

Google Looks Around the Web for Corroborative Information for It to Understand and Have Confidence in That Understanding

[00:05:58] Matthew Rouse: When you say correctly represents, because in many cases, Google can’t tell the difference between the good information and the bad information. 

[00:06:09] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Exactly. And this is a massive problem, because we think as human beings that the world wide web is reasonably well organised and that we can differentiate because we have intuition, we can differentiate between different types of information. The child just sees the information or the Google child just sees the information. And it tries to evaluate what is truth, what is not truth, what is interesting, what isn’t interesting for your audience.

[00:06:39] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And from that perspective, it doesn’t know. And it’s actually looking to us. It’s looking at your website to see what do you want me to understand, what do you want me to show. And it won’t just believe you. It needs to be sure. And so it will look around the web for corroborative information that says, this is actually what the audience is interested in for this particular person, this particular brand, this film, this music group, or whatever.

[00:07:05] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, you have a system whereby you explain to the child as the responsible adult. And then you say to the child, go and ask grandma, go and ask your brother, go and ask the policewoman, go and ask the history teacher, go and ask the head teacher. And they all say more or less the same thing that you have explained to it. And then it not only understands, but becomes confident in that understanding. And at that point, it will represent you as you wished or as you intend.

People’s Expectations of Google Are Moving Forwards Because It Gives the Impression That the Web Is Organised 

[00:07:32] Matthew Rouse: Wow. Saying that the internet is fairly well organised, because it’s essentially completely unorganised. And that’s why we need the system like this in the first place, right? If everything was well organised, we’d still be using Yahoo where you would just pick a category. 

[00:07:48] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah, no, sorry. I love the way you put out. Exactly. Because we are looking at it through the interface of Google and Google organises the web reasonably well, we get the impression that the web is well organised. And in fact, it absolutely isn’t. So, we have this distorted view of a well organised web.

[00:08:08] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And another interesting point is that the more Google gets it right, the more we expect to get it right. So, our expectations of Google are actually moving forwards incredibly quickly. And so, we are disappointed often with Google today with a result that’s much better than it was five years ago. And if you take Google Maps, as an example, is that we look at Google Maps and we think, oh, this isn’t a very good result. But if you remember Google Maps from four or five years ago, it’s much, much better now than it was then, but our expectations have moved forwards because it manages to satisfy us most of the time. So we get frustrated and it’s the same with search.

[00:08:47] Matthew Rouse: Right. There’s that episode of the American version of The Office where they’re following the GPS and it turns them into the lake. You don’t see that much with Google Maps these days.

[00:09:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): No. But people will always bring those examples up and bring them up as proof that Google isn’t any good, as opposed to the 99 times out of 100 when it actually got it pretty much right.

[00:09:11] Matthew Rouse: Yeah. The 999,999 ones that were correct. 

[00:09:16] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. Okay. So, you are even more enthusiastic about Google Maps than I am.

Google Maps Is a Prototype for What Google Is Trying to Do, Which Is to Understand Absolutely Everything

[00:09:21] Matthew Rouse: Well, it’s funny as I had two incorrect Google Maps directions recently. But living in Nova Scotia, you expect this kind of stuff because most tech companies like to go, okay, what’s the density of the population in the area? Let’s focus our resources on this place. And Nova Scotia is definitely not that. 

[00:09:45] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. A hundred percent. Yeah. And Google Maps is a really interesting case. Because when we talk about an understanding of the world, we’re talking about an understanding of people, companies, music, films, history, overtime, baseball scores, football scores, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And Google Maps is already an understanding of the physical world, i.e. where are the shops, where the roads, how do you get from A to B.

[00:10:12] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And so, Google Maps is actually a prototype for what Google’s currently trying to do, which is understand everything. Google Maps was understanding the physical world, A to B, this shot, that shot, reviews, and so on and so forth. And it’s trying to expand that now into knowledge and understanding of absolutely everything.

[00:10:31] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And I was giving a talk the other day. Wikipedia has 55 million articles. And that’s a lot of information. Google has, or in fact in 2020, had 500 billion facts on 5 billion entities. And an entity is a thing like a person or a company or a street or a podcast. And since then, it’s growing exponentially as machine learning gets better and better and better. So we can imagine that it’s got 1,500 billion facts about 15 billion entities. That is massive when you compare it to Wikipedia’s 55 million. And it’s not even a drop in the ocean of what Google needs to understand, if it’s to understand the entire world.

Google My Business, Which Is a Part of Google Maps, Shows the Busiest Hours of a Business by Tracking Android Phones 

[00:11:15] Matthew Rouse: Yeah. There’s so much going on in the search results set that’s coming out, especially on Maps. There’s a lot of cool stuff going on there. I think one of the ones that I found super interesting was with the new GPS systems on phones that are way more accurate. They can tell if somebody is inside a store versus just went in the general area of a store. So they’re going to start updating the hours of the stores if it detects that they’re incorrect based on the people going into them.

[00:11:48] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. Yeah. Well, in fact, they’re already doing that. It goes even further than that. It’s really it’s exciting and freaky and scary at the same time. Because if you look at Google My Business, which is the Knowledge Panel, information panel on the right for a business, which is part of Google Maps, it will show you busiest hours that’s based on Android phones in the place, as opposed to human feedback. So it’s tracking the Android phones. It’s saying, here, there’s lots of Androids phones compared to other times so it’s a busy time of the day.

[00:12:19] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And it takes it even a step further is let’s say you don’t leave a review for the cafe opposite your house. If Google knows that you spend a lot of time in that area because it’s tracking your Android phone, you go into the coffee shop, you come out, and you never go back. That’s an implicit bad review.

[00:12:37] Matthew Rouse: Right. It’s detecting behaviour and then making assumptions based on the behaviour, which I’m not honestly a huge fan of some of that. There’s a lot of false positive that happens in behavioural tracking.

When Google Obtained Misinformation From the Web, It’s up to Us to Correct That Information

[00:12:52] Matthew Rouse: And something that’s really interesting is Google just notified us probably a week ago that they’re going to change companies hours, like the ones that they’ve posted, and there’s no opt out. So if my customer says, well, no, these are my actual hours, but sometimes we have an after hours sale or something like that. And Google says, you’re open till nine, but you’re only open till six. And that’s a problem, right? And there’s a lot of things happening like that, where it’s almost an overstepping, where it’s saying, look, our system says this so it has to be true. And you’re like, no, that’s not true. And it’s like, but our system says it’s true. And you’re like, but it’s not true. 

[00:13:45] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): No. A hundred percent. And that’s a really, really good point. My speciality is Brand SERP, search engine results page for a brand name or a person’s name or a podcast name or whatever, and the Knowledge Panel, the information panel on the right. And one of the challenges we’re all going to have is making sure the information in that Knowledge Panel is correct. And although you would imagine Google will probably get it right, as you correctly said, it doesn’t always get it right. When it doesn’t get it right, it’s because it’s got misinformation from the web. And it’s up to us to correct that information to make sure it’s correct.

[00:14:21] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And from a business point of view, the Google My Business panel on the right hand side, it will show opening hours. It will override what you’ve suggested as a business. And we’re losing control because the machine is making these decisions increasingly. And whether you like it or not, I’m not saying it’s good or a bad thing, but you certainly need to start to think about dealing with it.

A Problem Where Two Authors Have the Same Name and Their Books Got Mixed Up in Google’s Mind

[00:14:48] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): We had a client, and it was a really interesting case. She has a homonym, another author with the same name. And Google got the books mixed up in her Knowledge Panel. So the information said that she had written books that she had not written and the author name was the same, but it was two different people.

[00:15:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that’s a phenomenally big problem for the child that is Google to understand which author is which and which books have they written. And she asked somebody at Google to change it, because you’ve got a feedback button. So you can click on the feedback button and you can say, this is incorrect. The human being at Google changed the books and the machine switched it back a week later.

[00:15:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And what we ended up having to do, in fact, what I told her to do, she came to me at that point. We then did our Sherlock Holmes investigation to figure out why the machine was getting it wrong, where the information that was misleading the machine was, and then we corrected that. And it was on her publisher’s website, who had a search result within the site that had both authors listed together because they both had the same publisher. And what we just needed to do is ask the publisher, can we separate that into two different pages, and it sorted out the problem.

[00:16:01] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So when you have this kind of factual problem, you need to look at what the source of that misunderstanding is. And then you need to correct the child by correcting the source of its misunderstanding. 

It Takes Time for Google to Digest Information So You Have to Get Ahead of the Game and Sort Out Your Digital Ecosystem

[00:16:14] Matthew Rouse: I have that problem actually with the books, because I’ve written five books now. And there’s another prolific writer in the medical field. And so I keep having these books come up about brain surgery and stuff with my name on them. And yeah, that’s not the right one. I’m sure he’s out there wondering why he’s got business books written after his name. I got it sorted out on Amazon. It hasn’t quite trickled into Google yet, but we maybe need to do a couple more.

[00:16:44] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): That’s a really good point, because you sort it out in one place. And there are two potential problems. One of which is it might still be contradictory somewhere else, but the other problem is that it takes a little bit of time for Google to digest. And it can take up to two months. So, one of the things is not to be in an incredible hurry and not to think that Google will digest this new information very quickly.

[00:17:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I use the analogy of teaching a child. Changing the understanding of a child takes time. It takes corroboration. And this child is trying to understand the whole world. And it needs to trust the information it’s being given. And especially when you’re changing its understanding of a specific book or author or combination of books and authors, it needs to be very, very sure. So changing information in this child’s brain, let’s say, is one of the trickier things to do. So, obviously, it’s better to get ahead of the game, sort out your digital ecosystem, so it all corresponds and it all corroborates before the machine gets it wrong.

How Can a Brand Demonstrate Its Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness?

[00:17:49] Matthew Rouse: So, when the child of Google is trying to understand these things, usually it’s that like the EAT analogy, right? The expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness. I think they actually call it trustiness, but I’m not entirely sure that’s a word. And so how does someone or a brand say, look, I can demonstrate my expertise and I am an authority on this subject and I am trustworthy? How can those things be explained to Google?

[00:18:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. That’s a great question, because it’s looking at entities, things that we can name like people and companies and podcasts, films, and so on and so forth, and the relationships between them. So, for example, you mentioned that I was a punk folk musician and the group was called The Barking Dogs. So it needs to understand The Barking Dogs is a punk folk group, and it needs to understand Jason Barnard is a person. And then it needs to understand the relationship between them, which is Jason Barnard played double bass in The Barking Dogs. So, that’s how you get the child that is Google to understand.

[00:18:59] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, traditionally in SEO, we talk a lot about links between pages and page rank, if you’ve ever heard of that. And that the more links you get from important domains, the more Google will consider you to be authoritative, expert, and trustworthy. But the problem with links is it’s a measure of popularity and not of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.

[00:19:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, Google’s moving away from that idea of pure links and towards how well do you explain your topic, how well do you cover the important parts of your topic, that’s your expertise, how much do your peers appreciate what you are saying, that’s your authoritativeness, how much does it see that they’re all saying yes, for example, Jason Barnard is expert in Brand SERPs, is an expert in Knowledge Panel, and then the trustworthiness is how much does your audience engage with what you are doing.

[00:19:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, you have those three measurements. Number one, how well do you cover your topic? Number two, how much you’re appreciated by your peers? Number three, how much does your audience engage with you? Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. 

[00:20:14] Matthew Rouse: Right. That’s a very good explanation of it. I get ask that constantly.

[00:20:17] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Oh, I thought it as well. I just made it up. Brilliant.

How Does a Brand Ensure That the Information on Their Google My Business or Knowledge Panel Is Correct?

[00:20:20] Matthew Rouse: That’s good. Yeah. I think. There’s definitely a lack of understanding of not just how search works, which is incredibly complicated, but how is that knowledge represented on the page or why is that important. So when you get into, if you are, let’s say, a musician or something, someone famous, let’s say, and I don’t know what the bar of fame is for them to make a decision, and maybe you would know better than I do, but let’s say you are locally famous. It’s important that the information there comes up shows you and not someone else who’s famous and has a similar name or like the book author example. That’s pretty easy for people to understand.

[00:21:12] Matthew Rouse: But if I am, for example, a law firm or something, is the Knowledge Panel something that’s going to come up for their business? And how do they ensure that the information in there is correct? Is it strictly from Google My Business or is there more to that? 

[00:21:30] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. That’s a massive question. The first thing is when does Google show a panel on the right hand side? And the answer to that is when it thinks it’s relevant. So if you are a local law firm, it will show your Google My Business or your Knowledge Panel when somebody is near you, because logically it thinks, okay, we’ll show the Google My Business because the person probably wants to go to the offices. If I search for that same law firm and I’m in a different state or a different country and there is a Knowledge Panel and a Google My Business, it will probably show the Knowledge Panel because it doesn’t think I need to go there.

[00:22:11] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So the Google My Business is part of Google Maps. So it’s the idea of going from A to B, whereas the Knowledge Panel is the facts. So that’s two different things already. So, the idea of geolocation is incredibly important. So, I am relevant geographically in France, in the UK, in Australia, and in America because those are places that I go to and I speak at. In South Africa, much less because I’ve never been there to give a talk. I’m not geographically relevant to the South African audience. So it’s less likely that my Knowledge Panel will appear in South Africa than it is to appear in France or in the UK or in Australia. So there’s a question of geolocation. And there’s also a big question of confidence.

[00:22:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, I mentioned South Africa. And my Knowledge Panel should not appear in South Africa because I’m not relevant, but it does, simply because Google is so confident in that information. There is a footballer in South Africa who’s quite famous. His Knowledge Panel doesn’t appear, not because he isn’t more famous than me in South Africa, which he is, but because Google is so confident in the information it has about me that it shows me, much like a child showing off information that it has fully understood.

Every Person’s Search Varies Depending on Georegion and Changes as They Move Through Their Search Journey

[00:23:30] Matthew Rouse: Yeah. I think one of the things that people have a hard time wrapping their brain around with search engines is the fact that every single person’s search, every time they search is different. And though it may seem the result set is similar often, there’s pretty much always some kind of variation in it, right? 

[00:23:52] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. There’s massive variations in georegions, but two people in the same georegion starting a search journey or a search session will tend to see either the same results or the same results in a different order. 

[00:24:08] Matthew Rouse: Right. They’ll get a similar set, right? 

[00:24:12] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And what Google tends to do is they will show very, very similar results. And as you move through your search journey, that’s when it will start to change. So what you will get is the further you get into that particular search session, your results will change relative to mine, starting from the same point, as you say, that are similar but not quite the same. They will then vary enormously as we continue our journey, as Google understands what it is we’re searching.

Playing a Game Called Knowledge Panel Hopping and Seeing Jason Barnard Alongside John Lennon as Alumni of the Same University

[00:24:41] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): There’s a really nice game to play. And I do recommend it. It’s a lot of fun, which I call Knowledge Panel hopping. So if you search for somebody famous, in the Knowledge Panel on the right hand side, you’ll see partner, you’ll see films they’ve been in, you’ll see songs they’ve written, you’ll see the companies they’ve founded. And then you click on those different results, and you see where you end up. And you go down these massive rabbit holes. And it’s this kind of word association game that you’re playing with Google. What are the associations it’s making? And it’s a great deal of fun.

[00:25:14] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And if you search for, one of my favourites is if you search for Liverpool John Moores University, which is where I went to university, as you said earlier, you then click on alumni. And it then shows you a carousel at the top. And if you scroll through that, you’ll see John Lennon and Jason Barnard right next to each other. That is really good fun. 

[00:25:35] Matthew Rouse: You guys, obviously, you’re good friends since you went there together. 

[00:25:40] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I wasn’t there at the same time as him, but that’s one of the ways we can educate Google. Because I saw that connection is that he went there 15 years, 20 years before I did, but we still went to the same university. So there is a relationship between myself and John Lennon. And all I did was point out to Google that that relationship was through John Moores University. So I then get in the carousel next to John Lennon, because there is that association, there is that relationship. And I simply educated Google about that relationship. 

[00:26:10] Matthew Rouse: Nice. So John Lennon wasn’t listening to The Barking Dogs then. 

[00:26:13] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): No. I absolutely think he wasn’t listening to The Barking Dogs. You were talking about the levels of being famous. In France in the 1990s, which is where we were playing most of our gigs, we would get 500 people to a gig on a good day and 5 people on a bad day. So we would, by no stretch of the imagination, be called famous, and yet we were part of a music scene where we were relatively well-known. So the idea of fame is very much relative to the context.

Google Is Trying to Find the Best Answer to Your Query Based on What Your Intent Is 

[00:26:47] Matthew Rouse: Right. And I think that’s interesting. And if we back up to what we were talking about before we talked about the going down the rabbit hole there, I think the other thing that people need to recognise is that Google isn’t just trying to find the best answer to your query. It’s trying to find the best answer to your query based on guessing what your intent is. And intent is something that is hard to grasp, but I like to explain it around pizza because pizza’s something that most people in North America understand pretty well.

[00:27:27] Matthew Rouse: If you’re at home and you search for pizza, you are going to get recipes on how to make pizza and places who deliver pizza to your house. But if you’re driving in your car and you type in pizza, it’s going to find restaurants where you can sit down and get pizza or where you can pick up pizza to go. So depending upon the activity that you’re doing at the time and the device you’re using and where you are and if you’re moving and how quickly, if you’re walking, it’s going to give you a different result set than if you’re driving. So yeah, well, those are based on intent. 

[00:28:03] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. That’s an incredibly good point. From the perspective of, as you said, new results are very different depending on context within even the same geo space. So what I said earlier is we’ll all get more or less the same results within a georegion. No, you’re right. It depends on what device you’re using, how fast you’re moving, what Google thinks you’re doing.

Intent is the most important thing in terms of Google understanding what you’re actually looking for, what is that solution that is going to be the ideal solution.

jason barnard (The Brand serp guy)

[00:28:22] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): That intent is incredibly important. And it will affect vastly the results that you’re getting, because Google’s aim is to get you to the solution to your problem, the problem you are expressing by searching on Google as efficient as it possibly can. And intent is the most important thing in terms of it understanding what you’re actually looking for, what is that solution that is going to be the ideal solution.

[00:28:47] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And then the other side of that is what are the solutions available and which is the best. And that’s where search engine optimisation comes in is convincing Google that your solution to this specific problem for this specific user in this specific context is the best possible solution.

The Importance of What People See on Google When They Search Your Brand Name; Google Is Your Business Card  

[00:29:06] Matthew Rouse: Now there’s one other thing about Knowledge Panel that people need to be aware of. And I think this might be the most important part next to ensuring that the information is correct is that in a 2022 world, almost 70% of Google searches don’t end up in a click off of Google, right? So, Google is trying to answer the question without people having to leave Google. So if you are counting on people to search for something about your business and then go to your website to discover all that other information, that’s going to be really difficult when Google’s trying to not have people leave Google, right? So your Knowledge Panel is a way that you can present the information without people leaving Google, right? 

[00:30:01] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. And as you said, it’s phenomenally important that it’s accurate but also as complete as possible. And the idea that Google is your business card. When somebody searches your name or your brand name or your podcast name, they’re effectively either looking to come to your website or researching you. And that makes Google your business card. What they see is your business card. And whether they’re a prospect or a client, it has an impact on their impression, their evaluation of your qualities, but it’s also your homepage. As you say, people don’t necessarily then click through because they might well find the information they were looking for on Google.

[00:30:39] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And when we talk about Google wanting to be efficient, it wants to get people to the solution to their problems efficiently. And if that is on Google SERP, that’s what Google will do, which is what any business would do. So, you need to plan for the idea that some people will come to your website because they need to come to your website for whatever reason, to get the information, to buy the product, but some people will simply look at Google. And you need to control what Google is showing them to the best of your ability to make sure that it’s positive, accurate, and convincing to your audience.

[00:31:14] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that is the foundation of the book, The Fundamentals of Brand SERPs for Business, which is all about how can you, as a business or even as a person, control to the best of your ability what Google shows your audience when they search your brand name and ensure that it’s positive, accurate, and convincing, and keeps those clients on board, or helps to convert those prospects when they’re searching your name to find more information about you.

The Story of How Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Got Into the World of Brand SERPs

[00:31:46] Matthew Rouse: If somebody searches for Jason Barnard because they want to know if you are The Brand SERP Guy and it comes up and it says you’re The Brand SERP Guy, which it does, in a lot of cases, that’s all somebody needs to know, right? They’re like, okay, is this guy for real? Before I cut this check, I want to make sure this is the right guy or this is the right company or whatever, right? So a lot of times, if it’s somebody who’s famous for music, television, movies, whatever, something in the arts, they’re going to say, well, what else has this person done? And that’s the other use there. 

[00:32:22] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah, no, a hundred percent. And it’s is this person credible? Can I believe this person? And Google, whatever we may think, 90% of searches are on Google in the world because we trust Google. And so even though we complain about it, what Google is showing us when we search a brand name or a person’s name, we trust Google’s, let’s say, opinion.

[00:32:46] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And in fact, that leads nicely into what you were saying, it leads nicely into the story about the blue dog and yellow koala is that I was a blue dog in a cartoon for many years. And Google had a great understanding of that, but then I moved into digital marketing. And when my potential clients searched my name, right at the top, it said Jason Barnard is a blue dog. And everything was about this cartoon blue dog. And what they would then say is, well, I’m not going to give my digital marketing strategy to a blue dog, which I agree with them. They’re probably right about that.

[00:33:21] Matthew Rouse: That’s fair.

[00:33:22] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And so, the reason I got into Brand SERP is because I needed to teach Google that the blue dog was part of my story, but it wasn’t what people were interested in then, i.e. when I was looking for work as a digital marketer back in 2013. And it took me a few months to educate Google so that it showed Jason Barnard is a digital marketer, he’s written for Search Engine Journal, he’s written for Search Engine Land, he’s got all these videos, oh, and by the way, he used to be a blue dog. That was when I started converting more clients.

Your About Page Should Contain the Most Important, Most Relevant, and Most Up-To-Date Information

[00:33:57] Matthew Rouse: That’s the way it’s done is make sure that everything’s up to date, make sure it’s accurate, make sure people can find it. And it’s extremely valuable, especially if you’re a growing brand or you’re an author or a coach or something like that, where credibility is vital, which it is in most things.

[00:34:19] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. As you rightly say, accuracy and credibility, that’s a really neat way of bringing all of this together is making sure that Google is accurate and what it’s saying is convincing. And one thing that strikes me about a lot of people’s bios and a lot of company, our story, about us is they start with the beginning. The company was founded in 1991, blahdy, blahdy, blahdy, blahdy blah. And that’s completely the wrong way around because people are actually interested in what you do today. And if they’re really interested, they’ll read to the bottom and find out when you were founded.

[00:34:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And Google sees it the same way. Google looks at the first thing you say on your about page as the most important, the most relevant, the most up to date, and what people are actually looking for today. So if you have one of those bios or one of those company stories and it is the wrong way around, i.e. it starts at the beginning, goes to the end, turn it upside down, start at the end, and go down to the beginning.

To Get More Information About The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard) Just Search His Name and Choose How You Want to Interact With Him

[00:35:19] Matthew Rouse: Clever. So, Jason, if somebody wants to get more information about The Brand SERP Guy, what do they do? 

[00:35:27] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): They search Jason Barnard on Google. And the delightful thing about the Google Business Card, you search Jason Barnard, and what you will get is options of the ways that you can choose to interact with me.

[00:35:40] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So you will start with my site, if you want to know more about me personally. Then you get Twitter. If you want to engage me on Twitter, that’s fine. Then LinkedIn, then my company website, So if you want to do business with me, you would click on that fourth link or the videos just underneath that or Search Engine Journal, if you’re interested in reading articles that I’ve written. If you search for my company, it will show you the software as a service platform, the company with consulting, the Brand SERP courses that we teach, our LinkedIn, our Twitter account, the videos, so you can learn more about Brand SERPs and Knowledge Panels.

[00:36:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And what it’s doing is saying to my audience, searching my name, Jason Barnard, or the audience with my company, Kalicube, searching Kalicube is here is how you can engage with this company or this person, you choose. 

[00:36:29] Matthew Rouse: Nice. Jason, it was a great conversation.

[00:36:33] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Thank you. Yeah.

[00:36:33] Matthew Rouse: Packed, packed, packed with important information about what comes up when people search and what you want to come up when people search for you or your brand. Thank you so much for being on the show today. It was great.

[00:36:46] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Thank you, Matt. That was absolutely brilliant. There were delightful questions and it got me thinking. I stumbled a couple of times when you asked me questions that I haven’t been asked before. Thank you. I love that.

[00:36:56] Music: This has been Digital Marketing Masters with Matt and Kari Rouse. For notes and a transcript of this episode, go to Join us next week as we dive into more tips and ideas to grow your business. Digital Marketing Masters is brought to you by Hook SEO Digital Marketing. Our show is produced by Matthew Rouse and Scott Burson, mixed and edited by Silent Outburst Productions. I’m your announcer, Daniel D. Craig. We would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave us an honest review with your podcast provider. Your reviews help us help more business leaders just like you.

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