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Bringing Your Brand SERP into Focus with Jason Barnard

Jason Barnard, The Brand SERP Guy, joins the EDGE to share the concept of the Brand SERP and how it affects our digital visibility. Learn about Jason’s backstory, how he came to be the leading authority with 500 knowledge panel experiments going at this moment. Also find out how he has been in Erin’s head for the last 17 years, without even knowing it. The digital business card is here and you need to learn how to bring it into “focus”.

Be sure to listen to the second segment of the show as well where we cover the real estate of the Brand SERP and optimization techniques.

[00:00:00] Erin Sparks: Do you know your Brand SERP? We’re bringing the Knowledge Panel into focus with Jason Barnard, The Brand SERP Guy of Kalicube, today on the EDGE. Your weekly digital marketing trends with industry trend setting guests powered by your digital marketing pioneer, Site Strategics. This week’s feature guest is Jason Barnard, CEO of Kalicube, The Brand SERP Guy. Now here’s your host, Erin Sparks. 

[00:00:32] Erin Sparks: This is EDGE of the Web. I’m your host, Erin Sparks. Every week, we bring you amazing guests to chat with in the digital marketing space. We unpack a key marketing topic for our digital marketing audience. Whether or not you are a corporate marketer, a part of an agency, a freelancer, a part of a firm, this show is for you. So, check out all the content over at edgeofthewebradio.com. That’s where we’ve got our videos, audio, blog content, much more over there. Have a look at the site itself. Also, have a look at our title sponsor, Site Strategics. They’re the pioneers in the agile digital marketing space. Our core capabilities are technical SEO, content SEO, SEM, all the search marketing parameters, as well as social media, incurrent conversion rate optimisation for your website. So, it’s really about agile marketing, results based digital marketing that literally gets results. So, we steer and adjust based on the data. Isn’t that kind of what you want from your digital marketing agency? I would think so. So if you want to give us a call over at 877-SEO-4-WEB or 877-736-4-932, be happy to talk to you about your digital marketing success. All right. That’s our commercial.

[00:01:47] Erin Sparks: I just wanted let you know who will be coming up on the show. We’re going to be talking to Dan Sharp from Screaming Frog very soon and make sure that you check out some of the recent shows with Sam Tomlinson, Dixon Jones, and Fernando Angulo from Semrush. That was a really good conversation we had with him a couple weeks back. If you’re interested in being part of the show, simply drop us a line over at [email protected] That’s edgeofthewebradio.com. Set your reminders on YouTube to get notified when we drop our videos and make sure that you check out the news podcast that we’re rolling out each and every week with Morty Oversteen covering the most recent digital marketing news, as well as Google updates. And we’re dropping it every Tuesday to help you navigate your week in digital marketing. And you never know what Morty’s going to say. So, you might want to check that out because it gets scary at times.

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) as the Founder and CEO of Kalicube

[00:02:35] Erin Sparks: So, that all aside, let’s meet this week’s industry expert. Jason, so happy to meet you. How are you doing today, sir?

[00:02:43] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’m absolutely fine. Thank you very much, Erin. I’m in Paris and sitting in my daughter’s flat, waiting to talk with you, have a conversation, and share all the things I know about Brand SERPs, Knowledge Panels, and anything else you want to ask me about. 

[00:02:58] Erin Sparks: Absolutely. Absolutely. Let’s introduce Jason Barnard to our audience. Jason’s a co-founder and CEO of Kalicube. They’re a groundbreaking digital marketing agency that pioneer the concept of exact match Brand SERPs. That’s basically what you’re seeing on about your brand when you’re googling your brand name or your personal name. And he’s got over two decades of experience in digital marketing. That is fantastic. And in dog years, because we measure digital marketing in dog years, that’s a long time, Jason. 

[00:03:30] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): It is. And ironically or interestingly, I started digital marketing as a blue dog, literally.

Starting as a Cartoon Blue Dog and Being Part of Children’s Development

[00:03:36] Erin Sparks: Yeah. I know that, and I know that to a particular degree. I’m going to jump the shark here because, hold on a second. I want our listeners to know more about you before the blue dog here. You’re a speaker at BrightonSEO, Pubcon, SMX series, ITB Berlin, as well as YoastCon. You’re also a podcast host, and you’ve been talking to a number of the great digital marketers, like Rand Fishkin, Bill Slawski, John Mueller, all those players, right? But here’s the most important thing I’m going to get here. I want you to know something, Jason. You and I actually have a very long standing relationship, and you don’t even know it. I’ve known you for 20 years. Jason, you actually have been part of my family for almost 20 years. So, I’ve got a kid.

[00:04:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I just got goosebumps. 

[00:04:27] Erin Sparks: I have four kids, and my eldest is 21. And actually, we’re going to celebrate his 21st birthday this weekend. The most important show of his childhood was Boowa and Kwala, a very unique toddler game site that inspired the TV series. Let me give you a taste of this.

[00:04:57] Erin Sparks: Okay. Now, listen to me. That was running in my house nonstop, Jason. It actually was in my home office, maybe 18 years ago, because all the computers were in my home office. It ran in my head again and again and again. You pretty much tattooed your songs and rhythms in my head for almost two decades. So, that was bouncing around my skull. So, I just wanted to let you know that I have flashbacks now as I’m talking to you, because Boowa was right there at the onset of my child’s development. How about that?

Boowa and Kwala Changed Jason’s Personality to Be More Kind and Empathetic 

[00:05:38] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): That is, as I said, I literally got goosebumps all over, and it does that to me. My wife and I, or my ex-wife and I created these characters, Boowa and Kwala, and part of it was sharing goodness and explaining the world to kids under six years old with kindness. And the idea was the blue dog, I played the blue dog, and the blue dog was this really kindly older brother who held the hand of the rather annoying Kwala, who was a small yellow koala. And the idea was that Kwala didn’t really understand the world, and that Boowa was taking her through the world and explaining it to her little by little. And interesting enough, it actually changed my personality. I think I was quite kindly and empathetic before, but it actually created this addition. 

[00:06:39] Erin Sparks: It slowed you down and gave you the ability to appreciate how to describe life, right?

Writing Songs and Meeting Deadlines Every Month for Nine Years

[00:06:45] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. And the song is, writing the song was mad because that particular song, my wife hates me for it. She really hates that song. And I actually still really like it. I think because I wrote it, and I think it’s great. But I’ve written, I wrote 96 songs for Boowa and Kwala.

[00:07:06] Erin Sparks: Absolutely.

[00:07:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And some of them are good. Some of them aren’t so good, obviously. And that one is just annoyingly simple when it gets stuck in your head, and I do agree. But one of the things is that we, what we did, and I think this is really important, it’s really important for digital marketing in general, it’s important for marketing, it’s important for life is we said every first day of the month, we will release one animation, one song, two games, and a manual activity for kids that your parents can do with the kids. And that lasted for nine years. Imagine that, every single first day of the month, whatever happened. And sometimes, literally two days before, I didn’t have the song. And I would be thinking, I have to find a song, I have to find a song. And actually, some of the, you would imagine that the bad songs or the last good songs would be those that I wrote in the last couple of days. But in fact, you never could tell. The good songs could come at the very last minute.

Coding by Himself Using Macromedia Flash and Doing His Best Not to Disappoint Kids

[00:08:05] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the other thing, of course, is I was right at the end of the production line because I did the flash development. It was made with Macromedia Adobe Flash.

[00:08:12] Erin Sparks: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Absolutely.

[00:08:14] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, I wrote the scripts with my wife, wrote the songs, and then I did the Flash development, which so I did all the coding for the games, but there were animators who did the actual animations, which really made it work for the kids. But of course, I was at the end of the production line. So, I would get the final delivery of the final elements on the evening of the 31st or the last day of the previous month. And every month, I did what we call in French, nuit blanche, a white night of just staying all night long, so I could deliver it at 6:00 AM in the morning, and we didn’t miss one. 

[00:08:47] Erin Sparks: Holy Hannah. Yeah, absolutely. I got to give kudos to you. That was then 1998. That was before my son was born. So, it was about 2003 that he started to interact. And that was one of the best children’s and toddlers’ interactive elements before PBS jumped in there and started to do everything. It was one of those foundational sites. It was Flash, it was robust, it was interactive. It was a very cool thing to experience. It really was.

[00:09:19] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Thank you very much. I am touched.

[00:09:20] Erin Sparks: You’re more than welcome.

[00:09:21] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): A couple of things there which are quite interesting, one was the regularity. And the regularity meant that people could rely on us, and they would come back, and they would know that it was, there was going to be something new. And you can’t disappoint kids, and that’s a really good lesson in life, in whatever you’re doing is you’re saying I can’t disappoint kids. It has to work. You were saying robust. A kid is going to break anything you give him or her. And the Flash games, I actually spent that last night, basically testing and testing and testing, playing over and over and over until the games didn’t break anymore. And I’m not a professional coder, so it was all like Sunday afternoon coding style.

[00:09:57] Erin Sparks: Wow.

Competing With Big Production Companies and Segueing Into SEO After the Business Fell Apart

[00:09:57] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the other thing is PBS. In fact, we were competing with PBS and the BBC. They were our two big competitors, another one called Penguin something that got bought by Disney. And we ended up with 5 million visits a month, a hundred million page views, 20 page views per visit. And that if you look at it in 2007, which was the last year, it was really big. A billion page views in a year.

[00:10:20] Erin Sparks: Unbelievable. Unbelievable.

[00:10:22] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): It’s stunning. Isn’t it? A lot of that came from Google, which is why I then segued into the SEO industry because the whole thing fell apart for various reason, business reasons, nasty business part.

[00:10:35] Erin Sparks: We’re sorry to see that go, but I just wanted to make sure we launched into this interview with that topic first. Because as soon as I realised, I actually realised this last week, and it just dawned on me, and I shared it with the family. And the family was all singing Boowa and Kwala songs.

[00:10:52] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’m very annoying. Yeah.

[00:10:54] Erin Sparks: Exactly. So, thank you so much for being a constant ear worm for my child’s foundational years. I really do appreciate.

[00:11:02] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): It’s a pleasure. It’s an absolute pleasure.

The History of How Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Came to Be In the SEO and Brand SERP Industry 

[00:11:05] Erin Sparks: All right. So, I gave our listeners the bio. You certainly have run a long time in digital marketing. And you’re a strong thought leader in the space of Brand SERPs. But before anything else, give us your history in your own words, how you came to be in SEO and on the front edge of SERP real estate. 

[00:11:23] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): That’s quite an interesting question. Basically, I’ve got an economics degree, so I don’t come out completely out of the left field as it were. And I did a specialisation in statistical analysis, which I can barely say because it’s so boring. And then, I went to Paris and joined this band and played double bass in a band professionally for seven years playing punk folk. That collapsed. And then I stopped, the people left the band, and I did the kids’ music and cartoons with Boowa and Kwala. And that was such a phenomenal success. Then that unhappily ended, and I had to find a new job, and SEO was the easy job to get simply because I could say to people, I got a million people from Google per month for this kid’s site, so I can do that for you. And that was the easiest sell I had.

[00:12:09] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And in fact, the Brand SERP thing came up because when I came back to France, because we went to Mauritius, we actually developed that entire thing living on the desert island in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

[00:12:20] Erin Sparks: Oh, wow.

A Story of How They Receive Letters in Mauritius

[00:12:20] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And here is a good story. If you wanted to write to Boowa and Kwala, you wrote to between the sea and the post office, Mauritius. That was it. And the mail got to us. It was a bit like Santa Claus. Parents would be saying, no, it’s not going to get there. And in fact, that the address comes from the fact that when we moved into the first house we were in there, the postman came by, and I said, what’s the address of the house? And he said, oh, I don’t know, there isn’t really one. And I said, oh, can we say between the sea and the post office? And he said, yeah, all right. And then that was the address. The Mauritian post office from the main town to our tiny little town on the beach, our tiny little house, which was actually on the beach, it found us. You said Boowa and Kwala, between the sea and the post office, Mauritius. Bingo. What about that?

[00:13:07] Erin Sparks: What a mystique. That’s pretty cool. 

[00:13:09] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Anyway. Sorry. That’s not the story.

[00:13:10] Erin Sparks: No, you’re fine. You’re fine. Keep on going.

Going to France and Working On His Own Brand SERP to Be a Digital Marketer 

[00:13:13] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Then I got back to France, and I was trying to sell myself as a digital marketer. And my clients would, I’m going and I would go, boo, yeah, wow, we’re going to do this. And I’m quite convincing and terribly dynamic. And they would go, great. And I would walk out and I actually didn’t make as many sales as I thought I would. I didn’t get as many clients on board. And it turns out they were googling my name right after the meeting.

[00:13:38] Erin Sparks: Right.

[00:13:38] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And what came up is this blue dog being really stupid and silly and singing songs. And they said, he’s not serious. We’re not having him. So, I actually had to then work on my own personal Brand SERP because I wasn’t converting for that reason. It was my business card that I didn’t really think about. And once I’d done that, actually, I started converting. Yeah, let’s say it was 50%. It went up to 80%, and there’ll be no argue about my prices anymore. So, basically, that Brand SERP went from being a hindrance to a really positive aspect of my sales process, if we could call it that, because it was pretty, how can you say it, slapdash, let’s say.

Diving Deeper Into the Meaning of Brand SERPs

[00:14:17] Erin Sparks: So, you were suffering from your inadvertent branding, and you had to actually steer. What better way to learn than to actually try to repair yourself, so to speak, in the eyes of people that are reviewing you. So, that gets us into Brand SERPs, right? So, the Brand SERPs, it’s what appears on Google, obviously, when somebody searches your brand. Users invariably are searching brand names and person, individuals, just like you explain whenever, even preconnection to a company or post. It’s very important to understand how to optimise your brand. But for all of our listeners that may not even understand the term SERPs, let’s just unpack that real quick. That is search engine result pages. What’s the real estate that we currently have on a Google first screen search engine result page? 

[00:15:06] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. The thing about that Brand SERP is, first thing I would say is I thought this will take me a couple of months, because I’m quite good at SEO, and then I can move on to something else. And in fact, seven years later, I’m still learning something new every day. And I think it’s deceptively, incredibly interesting and complicated and deep, and it doesn’t seem that way. You just think, oh, Google just shows my company, I rank number one, that’s it, job done, off we go. And in fact, it’s much, much more complicated, much more complex. And it dives right into the heart of your digital marketing, your digital ecosystem, and your content strategy, which you are going to love really, really to the heart of that. You can’t get away from it.

[00:15:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the idea of ranking number one for your own brand name, what’s lovely about that is it doesn’t take SEO. Because as long as Google has understood who you are, it will rank you number one for your own brand name, as long as it’s not ambiguous, which is a whole another kettle of fish to look into.

[00:16:04] Erin Sparks: For sure.

It’s Not Complicated SEO But It’s Much More Involved, Complicated, and Important

[00:16:04] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And a lot of digital marketers, a lot of people in our industry, when I say to them, brands are brilliant, isn’t it wonderful? They go, yeah, easy, this is easy SEO. And it is. It isn’t the complicated SEO, but it’s much, much, much more involved, complicated, and important than I think a lot of people imagine. And just ranking number one for your own brand name is the starting point. Underneath that, you need those Rich Sitelinks. On the right-hand side, you need a Knowledge Panel. Underneath the Rich Sitelinks, you need social accounts. You need perhaps reviews, but it depends on the industry. It depends on the type of company you are.

[00:16:41] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And it becomes very rich very quickly, because then you can also look for the video boxes, you can look for the image boxes. And you have to understand what can I reasonably expect to trigger, what do I want to put there, how do I want Google to represent me. And if you think of it from Google’s point of view, which I like to say, let’s be empathetic to Google, not because we think it’s a lovely company and that we should be kind to it. But because if you understand its problems and its approach, makes our own job much easier.

The Importance of Showing People Who You Are, What You Do, and Your Credibility

[00:17:11] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And so, that is, it’s trying to show its users, and don’t ever forget that these people are Google users. They’re not yours. They might be your audience, and that’s a subtle difference. Google’s users, who are your audience who are not yet your users, are people you haven’t yet been in contact with or have not been in direct contact with. So, you have to look at it from Google’s point of view and say, it’s trying to show these people. It’s trying to show both people who know who you are and are just trying to navigate to your site where they can go and how they can get to your site most easily and most quickly and get to the part of your site that they’re looking for the most efficiently as possible.

[00:17:50] Erin Sparks: Yep.

[00:17:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And people, who don’t know you, give a genuinely honest evaluation of your brand, who you are, what you do, and are you credible. And that’s the last one is really, really important, are you credible.

[00:18:04] Erin Sparks: Absolutely. Absolutely.

[00:18:05] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And if it’s showing stuff that makes you look not credible, I was going to say incredible, but that’s the wrong way around, isn’t it? If it’s showing things that make you look not credible, you have to look at yourself in the mirror and say, why. It isn’t making this stuff up. That seems to Google to be valuable and relevant for your audience that are its users, and therefore a bit soul searching needs to go in there.

Brand SERP Is a Great Indication of Has It Understood Who You Are, What You Do, and Who Your Audience Is

[00:18:27] Erin Sparks: Absolutely. Absolutely. And that tease us up to a realisation of the Google’s user audience is that they’re trained on what to see on that Google first page, they’re consumers of the real estate, and they are savvy to what Google is actually putting in front of them. We saw this through COVID. They bought a whole another set of Knowledge Panel navigation points that were utilitarian for the user. So, the Google user knows that these real estate quadrants are very important.

[00:18:59] Erin Sparks: So whenever they’re googling any particular brand, they’re getting trained and affirmed regularly that they should expect not only a link of first ranking, right? But also the Sitelinks. They should expect a Knowledge Panel, because we’ve been there enough times, and Google’s established this as not a fleeting thing. These are core elements of how to understand what Google’s presenting to you, the People Also Ask, all the rich snippets. Our users are immersed in that real estate.

[00:19:32] Erin Sparks: And if they come across your brand and even if they just see that first link that is your website and you’re anemic, on all the other pieces that the user’s trained to look at, it’s not enough to say, well, we’re just ranking there and that we don’t need to do anything else. You are literally impressing the absence of information as a factor that’s a drawback of understanding who you are as a business. Would you say?

[00:19:59] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah, I understand. I love to say Google needs to understand who you are, what you do, and who your audience is. If it doesn’t understand that, it cannot possibly even start to think about offering you as a solution to its users for other problems. And that Brand SERP is a great indication of has it understood who you are, what you do, and who your audience is.

Analysing Jason’s Own Brand SERP and Using It as an Example

[00:20:17] Erin Sparks: I think it’s one more connection that it’s safe to say that if it doesn’t have all of these quadrants filled of who you are, the inference is that you’re not participating in the digital community to be able to feed the beast, so to speak. And it’s a mirror reflection on how active or conversely inactive you are. So, there’s a lot of inference there, subconscious or conscious of people if they experience a rich tapestry of elements. Obviously, if you google Jason Barnard, you’re going to be able to see all the images of him on the right-hand side. There’s a Knowledge Panel. 

[00:20:59] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Calico is the evil man in the Bolt movie.

[00:21:03] Erin Sparks: Yeah. Exactly. I want to correct myself.

[00:21:05] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, you don’t see Calico. 

[00:21:07] Erin Sparks: But you own the SERP, right? There you go, right there. So, we’ve got Jason on the right-hand side Knowledge Panel. There’s a Twitter cards. They’re feeding and scroll on down there, Jason. And for listeners at home, we’ve got the video that you can actually have a look. There’s Search Engine Journal, Jason’s contribution as an author. So, there’s a key area there. There’s Kalicube right there, the company he owns. And just walking through, the entire SERP is filled sterm to stern with Jason’s contributions in the space. So, can persons do that? Absolutely. It shows an entire trail of the contributions that Jason has been doing.

[00:21:46] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): There are a couple of interesting things there, a couple of important points. I use my own Brand SERP as an example. And somebody said to me, oh, that’s vanity searching, and I feel a little bit embarrassed. But then again, it’s not. It’s not. I’m talking to my audience, and I’m communicating with my audience, and that’s incredibly important.

[00:22:01] Erin Sparks: Absolutely.

Gaining Credibility From Big SEO Companies and Performing Experiments on Brand SERPs 

[00:22:01] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, we move that to one side. And if you look down, it goes through Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land, Semrush, WordLift, all these great, great companies, these big names in the industry and you go, this guy’s hanging out with the big guns as it were.

[00:22:18] Erin Sparks: Yeah.

[00:22:19] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that gives me enormous credibility. And if you look on the right-hand side, it’s got my Knowledge Panel. It actually tells the blue dog story. And it actually also says who my daughter is. And it says I’m a British French musician, which is slightly unfortunate. I’m still working on that. But the point is I’ve spent seven years just experimenting, and the point is there is that I’m experimenting like any good scientist. I experiment on myself. I don’t make idiotic attempts to change things with clients. I do it on me, my company. So if you look at it, some things are a little bit strange for my company and for myself, but that’s because I’m performing all these experiments. And talking of which, I work with WordLift on an entity based content model.

[00:23:02] Erin Sparks: Yeah.

[00:23:03] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And I have with them 500 Knowledge Panel experiments going all at once that I’m actively working on, and I’m actually tracking 70,000. So, I’ve got a database full of data that I can look at to understand how all this fits together, but I’m also actually running my own specific experiments.

[00:23:21] Erin Sparks: That’s great.

[00:23:21] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): One of which you will love because it’s Boowa and Kwala’s family, the blue dog and yellow koala from earlier on. I decided six months ago with WordLift to build the family tree and build the family tree and feed it to Google. The important thing is that now that Google understands that. It doesn’t matter that Wikidata editors have been a bit silly. Google’s understood it. So, that boat’s gone as far as Google is concerned. And I’m not interested.

Google doesn’t care about notability. Google cares about understanding.

jason barnard (The brand serp guy)

[00:23:49] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The thing with Wikipedia and Wikidata, you’ve got the notability issue. You have to be notable. And Google doesn’t care about notability. Google cares about understanding. And a friend of mine, I was literally talking to a father of the person I was babysitting, that small child I was babysitting earlier on, and he said, can anybody have a Knowledge Panel? Can I have a Knowledge Panel? And I said, yeah, sure.

[00:24:09] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The problem Google has is not so much do you deserve one, because you do. It just wants to understand. There is no notability requirement here. The problem it has. And I was talking to him, and it came to me in a moment of light, whatever you would call it, is that the information about you is fragmented, non-structured, and often contradictory. And that’s its problem.

[00:24:37] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And things like Wikipedia, Wikidata, IMDb, MusicBrainz, these are all great sources. If you’re a musician, it’s MusicBrainz. If you’re in films or podcasters, IMDb is a great source. Wikidata, Wikipedia for multiple people in a more general sense. But the problem and what Google’s done is it said this is structured human verified. I can trust it. And what it doesn’t have for people who don’t have information in these databases that Google currently trusts, that fragmentation, unstructured, and contradictory.

Using Kalicube to Show What Sources Google Is Citing in Knowledge Panels and Prioritising Them Based on Importance

[00:25:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And actually, I actually spent last weekend very boringly building Kalicube is a platform which helps you identify the most important source of information for you. I actually have public source where I show what sources Google is citing in Knowledge Panels, which is a really great way to see what Google is citing in those Knowledge Panels as trusted, in inverted commas. And I’m doing inverted commas here, like rabbit ears, for people who don’t have the video. But the point is that for each individual, those trusted sources are going to be different.

[00:25:44] Erin Sparks: Sure.

[00:25:44] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The important sources that are feeding into Google’s understanding are going to be different. And what I did last weekend was basically look at it, get all of these results, and classify them, prioritise them, and say, this is important, this is less important, this is less important, and so on and so forth. And it was phenomenally interesting, because I’ve been doing this for seven years, and some of the results that came up for myself, and I’ve been working on my own experiments for seven years, still surprise me.

The Trustworthiness Needed to Have a Knowledge Panel  

[00:26:12] Erin Sparks: So, that gives us a, it’s not only a fingerprint, but basically it is. Everyone has their own digital fragmented fingerprint. And the more organised you are, the more channels of discovery that you can actually participate in. You’re going to have a better and better picture come into frame, out of focus, into focus. That’s what we’re talking about here. And as soon you get to a level of in focused participation, then these things start to fall into place and your real estate on the Google SERP starts to really take hold now.

[00:26:45] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Would you happen to be an amateur photographer by any chance?

[00:26:47] Erin Sparks: I would not be. No.

[00:26:49] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. Okay. But it’s a brilliant analogy. Love it. I’m going to steal that.

[00:26:52] Erin Sparks: Fantastic. No. Go for it. I’m known for linking my metaphors, analogies together, like nobody else. Literally, that’s what we’re talking about here is Google now has this system and is continually developing the system of how to know the most influential data sources for a type of industry, a type of individual. They’re constantly growing that. So, you just need to find in your lane what are those influencers that would then lock into place your focus, right?

[00:27:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. And what I’ve done with Kalicube is I built initially a system that identified by industry. You can actually, it’s publicly available. You just go to Kalicube. And it shows you the trusted sources that I’ve identified through Knowledge Panels.

[00:27:35] Erin Sparks: Fantastic.

[00:27:35] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, it’s a specific kind of trustworthiness. The Knowledge Panel description, I would argue, is just like a featured snippet. So, it’s not actually directly a part of the Knowledge Panel or Knowledge Graph, rather. It’s part of the featured snippet type of behavior of pulling the best description it can find from the existing results.

Knowledge Panels Vary Enormously Across the World Because of Its Geo Aspect

[00:27:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And you can dig down by industry, and you can dig down by country, because the country’s change phenomenally. If you are in Australia, a New York Times article is not going to be as influential towards Google’s understanding about who you are, what you do, and your credibility as the Sydney Herald or whatever it might be called.

[00:28:14] Erin Sparks: Absolutely.

[00:28:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, you have the geo aspect. And Knowledge Panels vary enormously across the world. They’re very different for certain entities, not for all entities, but it depends who you are. They’re getting more and more geolocated, geo sensitive, and they’re getting more and more industry sensitive. And identifying those sources, as you rightly said, is the first step.

[00:28:33] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But what I did last weekend, literally last weekend with my Sunday afternoon coding, literally sometimes I’m coding this time, is take people SERPs or Brand SERPs or entity SERPs, we could say, and pulled all the data sources I could and then prioritised them according to how Google is presenting them, which means that I can do it on an individual basis. So, the ones that I thought were most relevant for me, most of them were, I got, let’s say, I got 90%.

[00:29:03] Erin Sparks: Sure.

[00:29:04] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But 10%, after seven years of studying myself in the SERPs, I still got 10% where I was going, oh, that’s quite surprising.

Some Problems With Kalicube’s References and the Improvements Made

[00:29:12] Erin Sparks: Well, they moved the puck on you, because you’ve been optimising it, and they’re constantly evolving authority and trustworthy aspects of how to understand any entity. Right?

[00:29:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. Right. Sorry. You just made me think of something else as well is Kalicube’s problem is different. Kalicube doesn’t have enough references to it to make sense to Google because it’s too new. So, what I learned last weekend is a) there are some areas where the references to Kalicube are not sufficiently structured, not sufficiently clear, or need correcting. And there is a big hole. And it’s specifically articles about profile pages that are structured, articles containing mentions within a specific context. And I can actually now identify a) that there’s a big chunk missing and which chunk is missing and from which sites, which is an astonishing move forward, because it means that I can actually, whereas before I was doing it from educated guesses.

[00:30:15] Erin Sparks: Right.

[00:30:16] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I can now actually dig where the data tells me that’s where you need to go.

[00:30:18] Erin Sparks: And that’s when we start getting a better and better picture of the machine behind the curtain that’s evaluating each industry, each profile, each individual. There’s a lot.

[00:30:31] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): You’re going to quake in their boots.

[00:30:32] Erin Sparks: Absolutely.

[00:30:33] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Sorry. I’m joking.

When You Improve Your Brand SERP, You Improve Google’s Understanding

[00:30:36] Erin Sparks: So, there’s a number of things to go over regarding optimisation of your brand, and we want to actually throw that into the second segment, but I did want to actually park right here for a brief moment and just channel my inner Lily Ray and Marie Haynes is that they’re talking about EAT all the time, expertise, authority, and trust, right? These are factors that you are mapping in a particular manner per industry per topic. And it’s all about relevancy. It’s about, do they know the entity, do they know the topic subject matter, do they know the clusters of topics that influence that subject matter, and what are the trustworthy components of confirmation and affirmation in there. You start orienting yourself with that new level of navigation. Now, you’re making a seaworthy boat because you know where the moors are, where the different areas are. This is the rigging of the new SEO sales, right? There’s a metaphor’s ring for you. How about that? 

[00:31:33] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And one really important thing. We can end on this little, little chunk on is when you improve your Brand SERP, what appears when somebody, when your audience googles your brand name, when you improve that Brand SERP, you necessarily improve both Google’s understanding, its impression of your credibility, your own content strategy, and your digital ecosystem, i.e. everything that’s floating around you that’s expressed by yourself, your clients, your audience, and your ex-clients. 

[00:32:07] Erin Sparks: And that if we had a radar system to be able to see all that, right?

[00:32:11] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah.

[00:32:11] Erin Sparks: Then, boy, what a wonderful world it would be. 

[00:32:14] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’ve got a radar system. 

[00:32:16] Erin Sparks: I know you do. That’s what we’re going to talk about. All right.

[00:32:18] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’m sorry. That was incredibly subtle of you. I was completely taken. 

[00:32:23] Erin Sparks: Make sure that you listen to the second part of the Jason Barnard interview by visiting edgeofthewebradio.com. Follow Jason on Twitter at @jasonmbarnard and follow us on Twitter at @EdgeWebRadio. If you can’t wait, we have the entire video on our YouTube channel. Just search EDGE of the Web. Be sure to like, subscribe, and share this podcast with others. Remember to stay safe, stay well, and do not be a piece of cyber driftwood.

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