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Talks and Interviews with The Brand SERP Guy » Brand SERPs » Entity Building & Google’s Knowledge Graph

Entity Building & Google’s Knowledge Graph

Have you claimed your Google Knowledge Panel?

Have you built out the entity of your company in a way that Google can understand who you are and differentiate between you and your competitors?

Jason Barnard, founder & CEO of Kalicube, joins Loren Baker, founder of Search Engine Journal, on the Search Engine Journal Show to discuss the importance of entity building with Google’s Knowledge Graph.

In SEO, the goal is to package our content in a way that educates Google so that it can answer user queries in the most credible way.

As you build your brand, Google considers your entity (preferably your home page) as the first explanation of who you are, what you do, and who your audience is. Once it realizes that, you can present corroborating sources/links to support your brand.

“This is a niche within the SEO industry where the technique might be the same, but the order of priority is quite different. There are certain mistakes that may occur that you have never seen before since it’s such a specific area of work.” – Jason Barnard

“Google is a child that really wants to understand and our job is to educate it.” – Jason Barnard

“​​In the world of SEO, there’s no way that you can learn everything and stay on top of everything. It’s just impossible, but if I can learn a little bit about what everyone else is an expert at, yeah, and also share that with thousands of people at one time, I’ve not only done a little bit better for myself but I’ve helped to educate quite a lot out there and bring your story to everyone else.” – Loren Baker

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Connect with Jason Barnard: Jason Barnard (the Brand SERP Guy) is a digital marketer who specializes in Brand SERP optimization and knowledge panel management. Jason has also variously been a musician, a screenwriter, a songwriter, and a cartoon blue dog.

Connect with him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jasonmbarnard

Visit his website and podcast: https://jasonbarnard.com/ and https://kalicube.com/

Connect with Loren Baker:

Follow him on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/lorenbaker

Connect with him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lorenbaker

[00:00:00] Loren Baker: Hi, everybody. This is Loren Baker, founder of Search Engine Journal. And with me on the Search Engine Journal Show today, I have Jason Barnard of Kalicube. Hey, Jason, how’s it going? 

[00:00:11] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Hi, Loren. It’s going very well. Thank you very much, and thank you for having me.

What Does Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Do and Why Should You Think About Your Brand SERPs? 

[00:00:15] Loren Baker: So, you’re The Brand SERP Guy, right? According on the side of your name there. It’s interesting. Because I think in the world of SEO, we think a little bit too much about unbranded and then sometimes overlook branded. So, what does The Brand SERP Guy mean? Why should I think about my Brand SERPs at the end of the day?

[00:00:37] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. I started looking at this in 2013 and then started making a serious look at it in 2015. So, I’ve been looking at this for years and talking about it. I think people underestimate greatly the importance of what appears when your audience googles your brand name. It’s something I think in the SEO circles, you say, well, I rank number one, job done, that’s it. 

[00:01:01] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Because SEO traditionally is I want to rank number one to get the traffic, but having your site at number one is the absolute minimum in terms of when somebody searches your brand name. And if you’re not doing that, you really haven’t done your job. But then you have to think about the rest of that page. What message does it convey to your audience? Is it positive? Is it accurate? Is it convincing? And the answer 95% of the time is it isn’t and 99.9% is it could be better.

Your Brand SERP Is Your Google Business Card and a Reflection of Google’s Opinion of the World’s Opinion of You 

[00:01:31] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, I’m encouraging brands to take that very seriously and look at it because it’s your Google business card, let’s say. All the people searching your brand name are your bottom-of-funnel, post-funnel, client people, prospects, and clients, incredibly important to your business. What they see is phenomenally important.

[00:01:48] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But it’s also a reflection of Google’s opinion of the world’s opinion of you. And that’s a really useful thing to see to understand how Google perceives the world’s perception of you, as it were, incredibly good insights into what your digital ecosystem looks like.

Besides Ranking Number One, What Other Opportunities and Benefits Are There for Brands in Optimising Brand SERPs?

[00:02:08] Loren Baker: You bring up some good points too, because branded search is going to be influenced by everything a brand does, right? Brand is a television campaign. Of course, at the end of the campaign, they’re going to say, go to yadayada.com/yadayada, but no one remembers that. They just remember the name, the brand name, if they do, or they just type the .com. 

[00:02:31] Loren Baker: But now with Apple and Siri and everything else, when you even go to type in a URL, it’s going to bypass Google or maybe take you to a brand outside of Google. So, outdoor advertising, television advertising, radio, any kind of news cycle is just going to lead to a branded search at the end of the day.

[00:02:53] Loren Baker: And besides the number one listing, which most brands should have, not all do, what other opportunities are there from a real estate perspective on the front page for a brand and how can we make that beneficial?

The Idea of Having Rich Sitelinks on Your Brand SERP for a Better User Experience for Your Audience

[00:03:11] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. The number one thing that most brands or a lot of brands miss is the Rich Sitelinks right underneath the homepage, getting those Rich Sitelinks with the blue link and the description, the little snippets. 55% of brands have them, 45% don’t. That’s nuts. And as soon as you see that your brand doesn’t have them, not only does it show you that your audience is not getting a great user experience. 

[00:03:36] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Because the idea of those Rich Sitelinks is that your audience, who are a subset of Google’s users, who are searching for your brand name, can then click through to the login page, to the blog page, to the About Us page, to the employment page, whatever it might be. And Google is trying to give them that direct access, so they don’t have to go through the homepage. 

[00:03:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, if you don’t have them, it’s a sign that Google doesn’t understand your site properly. And that’s a fundamental SEO issue. If it hasn’t understood your site well enough to give you those sitelinks that it really wants to give you if it can, you have a site structure issue. So, what I’ve been doing as well is looking at Brand SERPs to analyse major SEO issues like that. That’s just one example.

The Importance of Having a Good Twitter Strategy and Video Strategy to Trigger Twitter Boxes and Video Boxes on Your Brand SERP

[00:04:20] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Another one that I love is just below that, you would tend to get Twitter boxes. If you’re tweeting like mad and you don’t have Twitter boxes on your Brand SERP, it means that Google doesn’t see that your audience is engaging. It doesn’t see them as valuable, because what it presents on your Brand SERP is what it thinks is going to be valuable, helpful to your audience. So if you are tweeting and you don’t have the Twitter boxes, it means that Google doesn’t see that as being valuable and helpful to your audience, which implies that your Twitter strategy is misfiring.

[00:04:49] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Then you can look at video boxes. Once again, if you’re investing in video but Google isn’t showing that video on your Brand SERP, it implies that Google doesn’t see them as being important, helpful, and valuable to your audience, which means either the videos are not very good or Google is simply not seeing that engagement. It doesn’t understand that your audience are actually using and enjoying these videos. 

[00:05:10] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, either way, either you need to boost up your video strategy or think about how your users are engaging, on what platforms, is it truly relevant. So, all of these are great insights into what you are doing right and wrong in your content strategy in the wider sense.

More About Building Strategies and Analysing Content to Improve Your Brand SERP

[00:05:26] Loren Baker: That’s really interesting because that goes beyond. Getting your website in order and your navigation in order so the sitelinks can be picked up properly, that’s an SEO usability thing. But in terms of Twitter engagement and video engagement, that goes beyond traditional SEO, right?

[00:05:45] Loren Baker: Because it sounds like to me, from an SEO perspective, I’m thinking, well, let’s make sure our Schema is set up, the sameAs, so Google knows that this Twitter account is verified to be part of this site. Let’s make sure our YouTube is there. If we’re on Wiki, let’s make sure our Wiki is there. Let’s sync all of that ownership data, everything else.

[00:06:08] Loren Baker: But you’re saying that Google is actually looking at the audience engagement that’s happening around your social profiles or the videos that you’re putting out there. And if you’re not getting organic engagement at the end of the day, that could impede upon the ability for your Twitter boxes or your video boxes to show up for branded search. That’s an opportunity, if it’s not there then.

According to Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy), Start Building Your Digital Strategy From the Brand SERP Outwards 

[00:06:31] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. I’m increasingly saying, and I like your analysis of it or your way of stating it, but what I’m saying to people is start building your digital strategy from the Brand SERP outwards. Look at your Brand SERP and say, what do I see? What did I expect to see? Usually, it’s not the same thing. What do I want to see? 

[00:06:49] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And when you think that through, a) first of all, you start to understand your audience. Because you say, what do I want to see? But actually, what do my audience need to see? What would be helpful to my audience? And that immediately gets you looking, not in such a self-centred manner. I was saying it in French. I do apologise. 

[00:07:09] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Which is looking at your own belly button. Yeah. If you’re obsessed by yourself, you’re looking at your own belly button. And so, it forces you to take that alternative perspective, the perspective of your audience, which is the one you should be having anyway.

By Analysing Your Content Strategy, Your Brand SERP Will Give You an Overview About How Well Google Understands Your Brand 

[00:07:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And then it also allows you to analyse very quickly what’s right and what’s wrong with your content strategy, but also with your ecosystem more generally. For example, if a relatively negative review site is ranking quite high, ask yourself why that one’s ranking, when the one that you’re really working on pushing those great reviews to isn’t ranking. You’re maybe focusing on the wrong review platforms.

[00:07:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, your Brand SERP gives you this incredible overview of how well Google understands who you are, what you do, and who your audience is, gives you an overview of what Google thinks your audience wants to see, gives you an overview of how good or bad your content strategy is, vertical by vertical, and it gives you an overview of your ecosystem and your online reputation, which then feeds through into E-A-T and then you open a big bag kettle of fish.

If people aren’t looking at their Brand SERPs, they are missing a very, very big chunk of their digital strategy and an opportunity to improve it.

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[00:08:18] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): From my perspective, I started looking at Brand SERPs in 2015. I thought this will take me a couple of months, like most people do, I think. I can sort this out, no problem at all. Six and a half years later, I’m still digging down. And every day, I find something new. Every day, I find something I didn’t see previously. And every day, I find something that helps me as a marketer. So, I honestly think if people aren’t looking at their Brand SERPs, they are missing a very, very big chunk of their digital strategy and an opportunity to improve it.

Aside From Your Brand Name, Your Brand SERP Highlights the Importance of Reviews for Your Brand

[00:08:53] Loren Baker: You bring up a couple of really good points. One is that as the company owner or marketer, you may expect something different than your audience does, looking at your Brand SERP. I’ve gotten so many requests over the years. This shouldn’t be here. How come when I search Google for a company name or how come when I search Google for this, this shows up instead?

[00:09:17] Loren Baker: And then also, you bring up things like reviews. So, branded search goes outside of just searching for your brand name. It goes into searching for brand name plus reviews. Can I trust brand name? Is brand name reputable? Does brand name rip people off? Also, not just the name of your brand, but the name of your products, right? So, that all goes into brand at the end of the day, too.

Considering Branded Products for the Automobile Industry, Jason Barnard and Loren Baker Talks About the Vehicles of Ford 

[00:09:45] Loren Baker: I don’t want to go too far down this rabbit hole. But first of all, do you consider branded products, names? Okay. Automobile industry, for example. You have Ford and then you have the Ford Bronco, the Mustang, and then various other cars named after horses, like the Pinto and everything else. 

[00:10:08] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Not the Fiesta though? 

[00:10:11] Loren Baker: No. Not the Fiesta.

[00:10:13] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Or the Transit van, which is the one I used to drive around in the 90s. 

[00:10:17] Loren Baker: Was it a white van? 

[00:10:19] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Definitely. When you were a musician in the 90s, you drive around in a white Transit van because it’s the cheapest one you can get.

When Tracking Your Brand Plus Its Reviews, Don’t Just Focus on the First Page Because a Deeper Analysis Will Be Revealed on the Next Pages

[00:10:25] Loren Baker: There you go. Do you also really look into that? How important is looking at specific branded product names in addition to your company name? 

[00:10:40] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. The brand plus reviews is something I do track and I do look at. But in fact, those review platforms will be in your Brand SERP. They’ll just be down on page 5 or 6 a lot of the times. So in fact, you can just look, and I do advise companies. Don’t just focus on that first page. 

[00:10:55] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Because if you look on page 2, page 3, page 4, page 5, page 6, you see a really deep analysis of your content strategy, your digital ecosystem, and your reputation in Google’s eyes. So, I would advise you to look at brand plus reviews, but in fact, it’s not necessary as such.

The Concept of Personal Brand SERPs, Brand SERPs for Products, and Entity SERPs 

[00:11:12] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And then when you talk about products, in fact, Brand SERP, I started off with that idea because that’s what people understand, but my name is a personal brand. So, my Brand SERP is my personal name, but then also a product would be, for me, technically a Brand SERP.

[00:11:28] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Basically, if you want to get geeky about it, they are Entity SERPs. We’re looking at Entity SERPs, what appears when you search for an entity. And that comes down to has Google understood it? How confident is it in that understanding? What is it showing? Why is it showing it? What does it see as being useful for that entity, for the audience of that entity? Phenomenally important, phenomenally insightful.

For Unbranded Search, Users Don’t Usually Go to Further Pages; But for Mobile Results, Users Are Continuously Scrolling  

[00:11:54] Loren Baker: Very interesting. And you bring up another good point. If someone is looking for unbranded search, if I’m looking for where to buy yada yada near me, I’m probably not going to go to page 3 or page 4. But if I’m looking for information around a brand or a company, chances are I am as a user.

[00:12:13] Loren Baker: Then also, Google has been testing continuous scroll on mobile results, where there is no page 1, page 2, page 3 anymore. It’s just all one page. So, chances are once someone starts moving their thumb, they’re not going to stop. So, it is very important to look into all of that.

A Shout Out to the Sponsors of the Search Engine Journal Show, Ahrefs and Adzooma 

[00:12:32] Loren Baker: I want to talk a little bit about the Knowledge Graph and I have some questions there, but first I need to give a shout out to our sponsors that make this show worth doing. So, Search Engine Journal Show was sponsored today by Ahrefs and by Adzooma. Ahrefs, you all may know as being more of an SEO oriented tool with their crawler, their Ahrefs site audit, webmaster tools, and site explorer. Just as a reminder, and I’ll talk about this a little bit later, you can go to ahrefs.com/awt, again that’s ahrefs.com/awt, to try out their Ahrefs Webmaster Tools for free. 

[00:13:14] Loren Baker: And then also, Adzooma is a paid PPC platform that helps with managing, optimising, and automating your Google, Facebook, and Microsoft campaigns all for one place. That’s adzooma.com. And you can get 20% off an account with promo code SEJ2021. So, I’ll talk about a little bit more about those later. Back to our conversation a little bit.

Looking at Brand SERPs as an SEO: Organic Results Versus Paid Results 

[00:13:46] Loren Baker: But speaking of which, we were talking a lot about organic SEO and your footprint there. A lot of the times also, when someone’s looking at their company footprint, there’s also a lot of paid around that as well. So, do you see companies sometimes compensating for their lack of entity building with a paid campaign, where they’re paying for clicks? When someone is already searching for their company name, click, click, click, when they could just really invest in cleaning up their entity a little bit or more better defining their entity on the Google side.

The Struggle With Competitors Under Your Brand Name for Paid Results or Ads in Google

[00:14:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. The thing about ads is if your competitors are competing for your brand name, then obviously you need to fend them off. And in fact, Brand SERP ad campaigns in Google are a very specialised topic. I’ve actually done a course where one of the lessons is about specifically how to optimise for that. 

[00:14:44] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Because what’s interesting with Google ads is that you will get 10 out of 10 pretty much out of the box in terms of quality score, but that doesn’t mean to say you’ve hit the ceiling. I’ve had clients where we’ve saved 30% per click, once we’d already hit 10 out of 10. 

[00:15:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, the strategies you need to put in place there is basically you need to make your campaign so incredibly well optimised that the cost per click for your competitors become so expensive that they have to jump off your SERP. They have to give up because it’s simply not worth their while. And that’s the competing side.

Thinking About the Content of Your SERP Involves Doing SEO for Others, Just Like How You Do SEO for Yourself 

[00:15:17] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the other idea you were talking about is when people think or a brand thinks, my Brand SERP isn’t good enough. They then buy the ad at the top. That gives them pretty much all of the above the fold on the desktop, that they then control through the Google ads with the Rich Sitelinks and then their website with the Rich Sitelinks. That’s pretty much all of the above the fold.

[00:15:37] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And as you say, that’s a nice sticky plaster you can put on. But at the end of the day, you should really be looking at that SERP and thinking, what content do I want to show on that SERP and how can I get it there? And some of that, which is ironic, is doing SEO for others. So, you actually end up doing SEO for others to promote pages on page 2 or content on page 2 and push it up onto page 1 to replace the content. I call that leapfrogging. 

[00:16:03] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And it’s lovely because as an SEO expert, all of this is really simple SEO. And you can do SEO for others, just like you can do SEO for yourself, which is something I think a lot of people don’t really think about but is actually very valuable.

The Idea of Link Acquisition and Sites Who Are Helping Each Other With Valuable Content for Their Audience

[00:16:20] Loren Baker: That is interesting. I do a lot of that from a link acquisition perspective, too. If I can get a really good link from a really good site or a good site or a site that’s mediocre and can be better, I will take the time to help that site owner make their site better. Therefore, my link is worth more at the end of the day for my client.

[00:16:37] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Absolutely the same. And I’m helping the other site owner to help myself, but it helps them too. It gets onto my Brand SERP. It makes me look better. Search Engine Journal ranks on my Brand SERP, and I’m terribly delighted about that. It’s incredibly powerful as a website. My profile page will tend to rank very well. I don’t need to help you.

[00:17:02] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But then if I see somebody who’s written an article about me who doesn’t know so much about SEO, I can go in and help them and try to get that article, if I think that article is going to be valuable and helpful to my audience, or more so than something that’s already on that page.

All About Knowledge Panels, Which Is an Interesting Part of Brand SERPs, and Educating Google 

[00:17:14] Loren Baker: So, maybe you don’t need to help us, but there are always ways that we could make our entity better. And then you had used me as an example, about a month and a half ago. When you do a query for my name and Google, it was actually two different Knowledge Panels showing up.

[00:17:36] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah.

[00:17:36] Loren Baker: Okay. So, could you go into that a little bit? Not necessarily as much about me per se, but about your experience and what you see with that happening. And then also, does that connect to SEJ at the end of the day? Because Google should know that I am the founder of SEJ, that I’m part of SEJ, et cetera, with me being an important part of this mix. Does my Knowledge Graph and my entity presence being screwed up hurt SEJ at the end of the day?

Jason Barnard’s Daily Brand SERP Series: Analysing One Brand SERP Everyday Within a Minute and a Half 

[00:18:06] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. I’m doing a series called Daily Brand SERP. And every day, I analyse one Brand SERP, and it’s about a minute to a minute and a half. I just go through things that occur to me, things I think are interesting, things that might be helpful. So if you’re out there on YouTube, follow that or I’ll tweet it out as well. The idea is to give an overview of what Brand SERPs are about in really tiny bite size chunks. And what I’ve now learned is that’s the best way for me to inform people, help people understand how Brand SERPs work and how they can potentially improve them.

[00:18:36] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the Knowledge Panel is a phenomenally interesting part of the Brand SERP. It’s a subsection of what I do, but it’s an incredibly interesting and important subsection. Because as you said, it’s about the fundamental understanding that Google has of the entity.

For the Fact Presented in the Knowledge Panel, Google Collects Information From Multiple Trusted Sources About the Brand or Entity

[00:18:52] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, if we take a couple of steps back, what purpose does the Knowledge Panel serve is the fundamental question I am now looking at. And basically, it’s Google collecting information from multiple sources, putting it in this box as fact, so that the user doesn’t need to click on multiple results to accumulate those facts in one go.

[00:19:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, basically, what it’s doing is saying, we will present these facts about the brand or the person or the podcast or Search Engine Journal or the website in this box as a summary of that brand, of that entity, so that the user doesn’t need to go and click on 3 or 4 links to actually go and find it and build it all together in their brain.

[00:19:35] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Once you’ve understood that, you’ve understood where it’s coming from, and you know that that Knowledge Panel is made up of multiple sources. Once you’ve known that, you know that the entire thing is about gaining as much control over the sources that Google uses for the Knowledge Panel, so that you can control what’s in the Knowledge Panel or at least, heavily influence it.

Google is a child that really wants to understand, and our job is to educate it.

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[00:19:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that brings me onto my favourite topic at the moment, and I love this because it turns the whole thing on its head. Google is a child. Google is a child that really wants to understand, and our job is to educate it. And basically, if Google is misunderstood, it isn’t that Google is stupid.

As SEOs, the Foundation of Everything They Do Is Simply Packaging Content in a Manner That They Can Educate Google 

[00:20:17] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Just like when a child doesn’t understand, it doesn’t mean the child is stupid. It means it hasn’t got the information in a format it can correctly understand. And if it has understood it, it isn’t confident in the understanding. So, our job is to take our tiny little corner of the internet and set it out in a way that Google can understand, digest, and be confident in that understanding. And once we start looking at that, in fact, what I’m now realising is for a Knowledge Panel, that’s all you need to do. Educate the child that is Google. 

[00:20:49] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But in fact, at the foundation of everything we’re doing, are we not as SEOs simply packaging our content in a manner that we can educate Google? So that it understands that our content answers its users query, is the most credible solution for that user, and is the most appropriate content for that user in terms of what they’re asking for. So, once again, if we start looking at Google as a child we’re educating, I think the whole process becomes simpler and clearer. We’re the responsible adults in the room.

The Concept of Corroboration, Jason Barnard’s Concept of Entity Homes, and John Mueller’s Concept of Reconciliation 

[00:21:22] Loren Baker: But we’re the responsible adults that respond extremely positively when we get a treat. So, for example, Google wants to learn. So, the Google AI wants to learn. How do you feed the AI? Do you feed it by multiple different random forms of writing an article or do you feed it by specifically writing for featured snippets? 

[00:21:49] Loren Baker: So, Google had a hard time figuring out what content should be shown on top of the results. But Google knows or its parents know, I guess, that if you write very simply in a scannable manner, hey, here’s the question, here’s the point, here are the bullet points to back it up, here’s another question, here’s the point, here are the bullet points to back it up. If you write that way, suddenly now you’re ranking in position zero, a brand new thing. So, suddenly, everyone starts writing that way because they want to rank in position zero. 

[00:22:24] Loren Baker: Same thing with linking. So, when Google launched, it was the first major search engine to utilise links as a quality metric. So, what happens? Everyone starts linking. Everyone starts writing. It turned into a marketplace for a while. But at the end of the day, if you’re linking and you’re saying, hey, this site that I’m linking to, I trust. And Google is like, oh, that’s a good site, I trust it too. So, it’s rewarding you at the end of the day for feeding the machine.

The Most Authoritative Source of Information About You That Google Can Find Is You, Which Talks About the Concept of Entity Homes  

[00:22:53] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. What you are saying is we’re responsible adults educating a child, but it’s the child that gives us the sweets. 

[00:23:00] Loren Baker: Exactly. That’s exactly what I’m saying. 

[00:23:04] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): How delightful. Yeah, no, a hundred percent. And the thing about Knowledge Panels, if we come back to that, which is what’s really important is that this child, Google, is looking for the most authoritative source. The most authoritative source about you is you. So, it’s actually looking for you to provide this information. John Mueller talks about reconciliation, and I’ll explain that. It’s a really simple concept. 

[00:23:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I talk about Entity Homes. And John Mueller is saying, basically, that I’m on the right track and this is a good way of approaching it. Your Entity Home is basically where Google recognises that your entity, your brand, your person, your podcast, whatever it might be, lives on the internet. And it uses that as the initial explanation of who you are, what you do, who your audience is, because that’s what it needs to understand in order to serve you properly in this context.

Corroboration: Google Is a Child That Points Out to Different Trusted Sources to Confirm the Information It Has 

[00:23:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, once it’s got that, and you point out to corroborative sources that reiterate that. Now, if we come back to the child, what we have is the parent has explained to the child the fact, whatever it might be. And the child goes, okay, understood, but I’m not sure I believe you, I’m not confident. 

[00:24:18] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, it will go and ask the policewoman, the baker, the grandma, the head teacher, the teacher in their class. And the more they get corroboration from those different sources that they trust, the more confident they are that the initial information they were given is true. Now, the problem comes. If all those different people explain things differently or give contradictory information, and then the child just gets confused and that would be Google when it sees contradictory information about you around the web.

The Process of Stating Facts on the Entity Home and Then Corroborating That Information Around the Web, Which Kalicube Applies for Its Clients 

[00:24:47] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, from that perspective, educating the child is giving it the facts on your Entity Home, one page on your website, preferably not the homepage. It’s the About Us page or the About Me page on a personal site. And then pointing to all the corroborative sources, and then going around the web and correcting all of those corroborative sources, so that they confirm what’s written on your page. 

[00:25:11] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): That’s the process, and it’s really simple. It’s boring to do, but it’s really simple. And it’s incredibly effective. I’ve built a platform that helps people do that called Kalicube Pro. And every single client who actually does the work that we set out, basically that, gets some kind of positive result within a few weeks and seriously good solid Knowledge Panels within 3 or 4 months.

[00:25:36] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And it really is that simple, but it takes an awful lot of effort from us as humans to understand what it is we’re explaining, how to explain it clearly to this child, and then to go out and make sure that everybody else is explaining it in exactly the same way.

The Concept of Reconciliation: Google Builds the Defragmented Version of the Information Around the Web to Give the Whole Picture 

[00:25:49] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Because John Mueller, what he’s talking about is reconciliation. And the concept of reconciliation is that all that information about you is out there. And Google has probably more or less understood it, but it’s fragmented, potentially contradictory. It’s difficult for the machine to actually go, well, this is what the whole should look like, because it doesn’t have a whole to refer to.

[00:26:10] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): If you give it that whole picture to refer to, the defragmented version of all that information that it finds around the web, it can basically compare the pieces and rebuild what you’ve shown it on your own Entity Home on your website, and then understand, and importantly, be confident that it’s understood. That’s the key. It needs to be confident that it’s understood. 

[00:26:32] Loren Baker: It’s really interesting. It’s really interesting.

[00:26:35] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I love it. I do this all day long, and I’m still loving it.

Wikipedia and Other Google Core Sources for Triggering Your Presence in the Knowledge Graph to Have a Knowledge Panel 

[00:26:40] Loren Baker: And it was 12 years ago, Google made the Freebase acquisition. That started going down this path. Then for a while, it seemed like as soon as you got a Wikipedia entry about your company, that would fire a Knowledge Panel almost instantly. Now, getting a Wikipedia entry is easier said than done. And just like any, how do I state this in an ethical, polite manner? Just like anything that’s run by volunteers, there’s going to be volunteers that will do stuff for money and volunteers that will take down stuff for money, right?

[00:27:23] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. 

[00:27:24] Loren Baker: So, Wikipedia can be tricky because it’s like the most used to be back in the day. You’re in the directory. Your competitors pay someone to take you down. Your competitors pay someone to complain about you. Next thing you know, you have a big thing on your page. This Wikipedia actually must be paid for.

[00:27:39] Loren Baker: So, besides Wikipedia, what are other ways? I know there’s probably a lot, and I’ve seen some of your lists. They’re pretty in depth, and it goes by industry and things like that. But what are some other ways that someone could simply look into their entity out there to corroborate their story on their About page with Google at the end of the day? What are some destinations outside of Wikipedia?

Wikipedia Can Easily Trigger Your Presence in the Knowledge Graph and Knowledge Panel, But There Are Still Other Trusted Sources 

[00:28:06] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. Wikipedia, as you say, will trigger your presence in the Knowledge Graph and Knowledge Panel pretty much immediately, and it’s pretty surefire. But as you say, it’s very difficult to get it done. It takes an awful lot of time. And the other point, it’s a point Rand Fishkin made. Why would you give the control of your brand message to people that you don’t know, who are volunteers on Wikipedia, who don’t know the first thing about you? That seems to me, and I agree with him, quite a foolish thing to do. 

[00:28:32] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, in fact, I would argue that you don’t want a Wikipedia page because there are so many other ways to trigger these Knowledge Panels. Wikipedia still dominates, but it’s 50% now of Knowledge Panels have a Wikipedia reference. It’s only 50%. So, 50% don’t need Wikipedia, so we’re actually all fine without it. Wikidata is obviously very good, but you have that notability question. You have to be careful about that. You don’t want to spam it. But then there’s also things like Crunchbase. LinkedIn surprisingly is a very trusted source. Facebook, who would’ve believed it.

Kalicube Has a Public List of Google’s Trusted Sources, Which Vary Enormously by Industry, Entity Type, and Geo Region

[00:29:08] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And as you say, the list on Kalicube, I’ve got a list that’s public, so you can go along and look at it. You just search for trusted sources on Google, and it will pull up Kalicube. And we’ve been tracking it for a couple of years now, and I’ve probably got about 10,000 trusted sources. We just show the last 30 days, so you’ll get a limited list. 

[00:29:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But what we see is that the list of trusted sources will vary enormously by industry, by Entity Type, i.e. person, brand, podcast, TV series, whatever it might be. And it also varies enormously by geo. So, what the trusted source is going to be, it’s going to be the most relevant, trusted, authoritative source within your industry, for your Entity Type, within your geo region. So, it really is that you need to focus in on that.

[00:30:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And what we now have on Kalicube, and I’m really excited about it, is that we’ve built a system, whereby if a client gives us a list of 200 Equivalent Entities, i.e. same category, same Entity Type, same geo region, we can pull up the trusted sources for that industry. So, they know exactly where they need to place that information and exactly which sources Google is paying attention to within that industry, for that Entity Type, in that geo region. And it’s phenomenally powerful.

LinkedIn as a Credible Knowledge Graph and Knowledge Panel Source from the Perspective of Authors

[00:30:31] Loren Baker: It’s interesting that you bring up LinkedIn, because I believe that LinkedIn is as credible from a Knowledge Graph perspective as it is from an author credibility perspective. Once Google got rid of Google Plus and the publisher tag and everything else, in terms of reciprocating between where you’re publishing and with your Google Plus profile, a lot of the talk on the street for a long time was, hey, use your LinkedIn profile instead of Google because Google Plus will no longer. 

[00:31:04] Loren Baker: So, make sure your author boxes are associated. Wherever you’re writing, your author profile is associated with your LinkedIn profile, and your LinkedIn profile corroborates that story by linking back to where you’re writing, which LinkedIn is a Microsoft property, obviously. And then you’ve brought this up that LinkedIn is probably one of the most important places to make sure that your entity is built up, as Google will utilise that for the Knowledge Panel as well.

Google Versus Bing: How These Search Engines Work in the Same Way and How They Help Each Other

[00:31:36] Loren Baker: I’m going through John Mueller’s tweets. And I know a couple days ago, he may have done this as a reply, but he had mentioned that Google actually cross references Bing results.

[00:31:46] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. He said when he’s checking, what’s the word, debugging Google, he uses Bing. 

[00:31:53] Loren Baker: Yes. Yeah.

[00:31:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I think it’s important. It’s a really good point. We think, oh, Bing and Google are fighting each other, they never talk to each other. But in fact, Bingbot and Googlebot collaborated for Chromium, and Bing started using Chromium. And they actually worked together. Fabrice Canel from Bing was talking to me about that.

The Idea That Google and Bing Are Complete Enemies Is False Because They Function in the Same Way and They Have the Same Aim 

[00:32:14] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The idea that they’re complete enemies is I think false. What’s interesting is they function in very much the same way. And Gary Illyes was saying on their podcast, basically all these search engines work more or less the same way, which is what I’ve been saying for a few years.

[00:32:33] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): It’s the same data set, the same audience, the same users, the same aim, which is to bring users to satisfaction as efficiently as possible, the same technology or very similar technologies. They’re not going to reinvent the wheel. So, there is chatter behind the lines and there is also a similarity in the way they work, because they’re trying to do the same job with the same data for the same people.

Bing Webmaster Tools Being Utilised by Other Search Engines and Bing Data Being Used as Backup by Multiple Voice Assistants

[00:32:58] Loren Baker: Yeah. And there’s another tweet I want to reference, but I don’t have it exactly in front of me, but you talked to him last week, I believe. Eli Schwartz put out a poll, asking people if they use Bing Webmaster Tools or not. And it was a very, very small number of folks that do. 

[00:33:19] Loren Baker: And this is something that always drives me crazy, because there’s other search engines that utilise Bing Webmaster Tools for index discoverability. DuckDuckGo is the major one. Getting your site registered with Bing Webmaster Tools instantly tells DuckDuckGo more information about your site, the same with other search engines. 

[00:33:45] Loren Baker: And Bing data, historically, has been used as backup. Cortana was used as backup for Amazon Alexa. Multiple other voice assistants used Cortana information or used Cortana information as backup as well. So, just thinking that, hey, this search engine only has 15%, 20%, 10% market share, depending upon the industry, does not mean it’s not important at the end of the day. 

[00:34:12] Loren Baker: Plus, Webmaster Tools of Bing also can do a very good job of helping you out with your site in ways that some SEO tools do as well. Yeah. So, not to get too off track there, but it is interesting to see how Google is working with Microsoft entities, which as Bing and LinkedIn, to back up what they’re serving from a Google side as well.

The Interview Series With Bing Team Leads by Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy), Which Was Published in Search Engine Journal

[00:34:38] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Sure. Yeah. I agree a hundred percent. I did the series of interviews with the Bing team leads that I published on Search Engine Journal, Fabrice Canel, Frederic Dubut, Nathan Chalmers, Ali Alvi, and Meenaz Merchant. I’m terribly pleased I can remember their names two and a half years later.

[00:34:56] Loren Baker: Good pronounciation as well, by the way.

Understanding how Bing works also helps us understand how Google works.

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[00:34:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Oh, that is French. But in fact, they shared so much information about me a couple of years ago. And it turns out it’s all terribly applicable to what we’re trying to do with Google as well. So, understanding how Bing works also helps us understand how Google works. Understanding what Bing Webmaster Tools is showing us helps us to debug our sites, helps us to get discovered more. Why wouldn’t you? And the answer is you should, but you probably aren’t.

Promotional Break for the Sponsor of This Search Engine Journal Show Episode, Ahrefs and Adzooma

[00:35:25] Loren Baker: Excellent. Let’s get more into entity building, but I’m going to do our ad reads to introduce everyone to the sponsors that have made today’s episode possible. Today’s episode is brought to you by Adzooma. Adzooma takes a headache out of managing your paid campaigns. With Adzooma’s platform, you can easily manage, optimise, and automate your Google, Facebook, and Microsoft campaigns from one place. You can save hours every week with rule based automations and use optimisations to consistently improve campaign performance. If you’re interested in smarter, more effective advertising, sign up today at adzooma.com and get 20% off a plus account with promo code SEJ2021. 

[00:36:12] Loren Baker: And then our next sponsor is also Ahrefs. So, we were talking a little bit about Bing Webmaster Tools. We’re talking about Google Search Console, which used to be called Google Webmaster Tools. There is also Ahrefs Webmaster Tools. So if you’re an SEO, you might know about Ahrefs site audit, which helps you scan your website for SEO issues, and site explorer, which gives you data and backlinks and keyword rankings.

[00:36:33] Loren Baker: But you may not know that both tools are available at no cost for your own website and a newly released Ahrefs Webmaster Tools. It’s a completely free SEO tool that allows you to analyse your site’s SEO performance and helps you identify issues that could be holding your website back from getting more search traffic. You don’t even need a credit card to sign up. Just go to ahrefs.com/awt to make sure your website performs to its best ability. And again, it’s free. So, Ahrefs Webmaster Tools and Adzooma, thank you so much for your sponsorship today.

The Next Step in Entity Building and Integrating It Into Your Overall Company Culture 

[00:37:13] Loren Baker: Jason, we’ve talked about the basics of entity building. Think of the Google AI as a child, a little toddler. And then if you’re feeding it information, it trusts its parents, but it’s looking for other trusted authorities to back up that information. So if your company’s About Us page, you can put all of your information and data about your company there to make sure all the other trusted assets out there on the web, who talk about your company, have corroborating information that all lines up, et cetera, et cetera. 

[00:37:47] Loren Baker: Then we got in the Knowledge Panel a little bit and branded results. Besides those, is there a next step in entity building that can be looked after? And is there a way to build entity building into your overall company culture?

Multiple Vertical Knowledge Graphs to Trigger a Knowledge Panel, Existence in the Main Knowledge Graph, and the Web Index 

[00:38:02] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. Entity building, if we can just come back a tiny step, the Wikipedia Knowledge Panel thing. I think one thing that a lot of people don’t realise is that a lot of Knowledge Panels appear with no entry in the Main Knowledge Graph. If you ping Google’s Knowledge Graph API, and we have a tool for that on Kalicube Pro, you’ll find there’s a Knowledge Panel but no entry in the Knowledge Graph. And that’s because there are multiple Vertical Knowledge Graphs that trigger these Knowledge Panels. So, the fact that you’re not in the Main Knowledge Graph doesn’t mean to say you’re not in a Knowledge Graph that will trigger a Knowledge Panel.

[00:38:36] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the other thing that people don’t understand, for examples of these verticals, you’ve got Google Books, Google Scholars, Google Podcasts. The Web Index actually also has one and Google My Business. These are Vertical Knowledge Graphs that trigger Knowledge Panels without actually being in the Main Knowledge Graph. And my reading of this is that Google is slowly moving these entities into the Main Knowledge Graph from these verticals to centralise everything. 

[00:39:02] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that’s something we do at Kalicube, and we’ve been doing very successfully, to move an entity from something like Google My Business or Google Scholars or Google Books into the Main Knowledge Graph, where it’s more solid and can be referenced by all of the different algorithms, because the different algorithms can’t actually, as far as I understand, access all six different verticals efficiently.

The Important Concept of Probability and Intent in the Knowledge Graph to Trigger a Knowledge Panel, For Example, People’s Names

[00:39:23] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the second is that if you’re in the Knowledge Graph, the Knowledge Panel doesn’t necessarily appear. And that’s because of probability. Dawn Anderson talks about this a great deal. Google shows a Knowledge Panel when it thinks that you are actually looking for information on that entity. So, the probabilistic nature of your intent is incredibly important.

[00:39:45] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And people’s names are a very good example of that. You will have somebody’s name, Jason Barnard, for example, in San Francisco is a university professor. The probability that somebody in San Francisco is looking for him and not for me is quite high. There’s a footballer in South Africa. In South Africa, they would theoretically show the South African footballer. So, you have that idea of the probability, how valuable is this information going to be, how probable is it going to be, that if we provide this information to our user, this is Google thinking that it will be helpful to them.

Knowledge Panels as a Multi-Trick Pony That Could Get Very Complicated Very Quickly

[00:40:20] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, sometimes the Knowledge Panel exists in some vertical atmosphere. Yours was a good case of that. It exists, but it doesn’t trigger when we search your name. And I would believe that’s more to do with confidence. So, you actually have Google needs to understand, it needs to be confident in that understanding, and it needs to think that that Knowledge Panel is relevant to the intent of your query, which is very much geo based. 

[00:40:47] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, just a quicker side on that to say, Knowledge Panels are not a one-trick pony Wikipedia and the Knowledge Graph. It’s actually a multi-trick pony that gets very complicated very quickly.

Entity Building: The Best Way to Educate Google About an Entity Is Through an Entity Home on a Website You Own

[00:40:57] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, entity building, any entity functions in the same way. If you want to get your entities understood by Google, you need to educate Google, and you need to educate it about the entity. And the best way to educate it is that entity has an Entity Home on a website you own, which is a page where you explain the defragmented version as we discussed earlier, so that Google can then gather together the fragmented information and compare it. 

[00:41:25] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): It’s like you’ve broken a china dish, and it’s building the china dish and just comparing it to the original. And you are giving it the original to compare it to. So, you can build any entity like that.

An Experiment With Entity Building by Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Together With WordLift 

[00:41:36] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And I did a really interesting experiment with WordLift, who do the Schema Markup, but actually it goes much further than just Schema Markup. And I think that’s important. They’re actually pushing out into the Open Graph, and they’re pushing information out into multiple sources. And their idea is to say, you build an internal Knowledge Graph and then you communicate it in Schema Markup to Google, but you can also communicate it to many other different sources.

[00:42:01] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, it’s a stronger, in my opinion, approach than just simply putting the Schema Markup, because it has the logic of saying I’m building an internal Knowledge Graph. That then gives me the power to decide how I share it with all these different machines. And we did an experiment on Boowa and Kwala. And you might ask me who Boowa and Kwala are.

Using His Cartoon Characters, Boowa and Kwala, Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Set Up Their Songs and Albums in a Hierarchical Structure

[00:42:22] Loren Baker: Who’s Boowa and Kwala?

[00:42:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Thank you very much. Boowa is a blue dog. Kwala is a yellow koala. And my wife and I created a cartoon in the noughties, and we made a TV series and multiple music albums. And I, with WordLift, set up an experiment. And one of the albums has 53 songs on it, which is a bit too many. But what Google had, it understood the album, it understood who had recorded the album, but it didn’t understand the track listing. 

[00:42:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And we then created one page per track, linked it all up using Schema Markup within a hierarchical structure on my site to the album, to the artist. So, it’s this hierarchy that all filters down and built the understanding of each individual song as part of its parent, which is the album, which is part of the parent, which is the characters.

The Result of the Experiment: In Google’s Mind, Each Web Page That Represents a Song Became the Authoritative Reference For the Song

[00:43:19] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And what was stunningly interesting is within maybe a month, Google can actually list 51 of the 53 songs in the correct order. And the reason it didn’t get the other two is because I messed up. But what that shows is we can educate Google incredibly precisely. So, each one of these web pages that represents a song is now in Google’s mind the authoritative reference about that song.

[00:43:44] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And we can now feed Google information about the song, which in this example is not maybe particularly interesting. But if you think of that as products, you’re winning the game. You get a Knowledge Panel for your product search, and it can link that product to the parent category to you. And that becomes very, very, very powerful.

Building Up the Understanding of Each Entity and Linking Them to the Parent Entity Has Resulted in Google’s Confidence in That Understanding

[00:44:03] Loren Baker: Interesting. 

[00:44:04] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the other thing, interestingly enough, is when we did that, Google has a confidence score in the Knowledge Graph, which indicates how confident it is that the entity it’s showing you is represented by the string that you have entered. And when we did that, basically building these tiny building blocks and then linking them up to the parent entity increased the confidence score threefold, like that.

[00:44:33] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, building up understanding of each individual child, in this sense, child of this entity has built up Google’s understanding and confidence in that understanding phenomenally quickly and phenomenally strongly. And I love it.

We’re not only boosting and communicating what we are on the front end, but we’re building a mirrored image of our company and ourselves in this other parallel dimension that is Google.

Loren Baker

[00:44:47] Loren Baker: I love this too, because it sounds like to me, we’re not only boosting and communicating what we are on the front end, but we’re building a mirrored image of our company and ourselves in this other parallel dimension that is Google. So, the more we can do that, a lot of that stuff, the breadcrumbing, the Schema, all of the markup stuff that’s on the front end that we’re communicating is one thing, the content, the findable stuff, image search, et cetera, et cetera.

Examples of Companies Who Underwent Rebranding and Their Struggles With Ranking for the Right Queries

[00:45:27] Loren Baker: But if you can build up this parallel dimension of all of that information that Google can also instantly feed, and not just feed and read, but it has in its archive about how your company has grown or your company has grown and changed over the years. Maybe there’s a point in time where the company pivots or maybe the domain entity pivots. 

[00:45:51] Loren Baker: So, it used to be maybe about X, about office furniture. And then somewhere down the line, let’s take Away.com for example. So, Away used to be more so about luggage, and then they made a pivot into something else I can’t remember. So, there’s probably a certain point in time where that specific example should stop ranking for what it used to be and start ranking for what it is. And by communicating that over time within Google, we can figure out, hey, this is where it pivoted. This is the access. Everything from that access moving forward is what this is now. Let’s get Away with what it used to be. 

[00:46:31] Loren Baker: So, Desk.com, I believe the story was when Salesforce bought Desk.com. They wondered why their CRM integration was ranking for a bunch of office furniture oriented queries. But it took time for Google to figure out that what used to be an office furniture oriented site for years now became a help desk, and it just takes time to figure that out. But by reassuring that and reeducating Google in the back end and say, hey, this is trusted data, here’s everything else that’s orbiting this data that backs it up, this is what we are, Google can also figure that out for themselves.

Some Realisations of Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Because of His Experiments With Brand SERPs

[00:47:10] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. And you bring up a really important point there. We’ve been talking about the Knowledge Graph and even the Brand SERP in this two dimensional space, which is now. But in fact, it’s all very three dimensional. And over time, things change. And if you are trying to educate Google about your entity, and as you say, you pivot or something changes, if the Entity Home that Google recognises on your site, it’s really simple to change Google’s opinion or change Google’s understanding by changing on your Entity Home and getting that corroboration to back it up.

[00:47:39] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And what I found with my own experiments, because basically I experiment on myself and my company all the time. So, a piece of advice to everybody, go to my site, but don’t copy what I’m doing in Schema Markup or linking or anything else or even text, because it’s all an ongoing experiment and it might not necessarily be a good experiment, the one that you’ve actually copied. So, be careful about that.

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Successfully Created a Synonym for Him in Google’s Mind by Renaming Himself 

[00:48:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But what I’ve found is that I can pretty much push any piece of information I want into Google’s mind, because it trusts me as an authority on myself. And we did a couple of experiments. One of them was quite cool. And Anders Hjorth, who’s a guy who lives here in France, suggested that I renamed myself, Jason Brand Nerd.

[00:48:23] Loren Baker: I like that.

[00:48:25] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): It is. It’s very silly. So, I created a page on my website that said who is Jason Brand Nerd, and then explained. And within a day, Google was showing my photos with Jason Brand Nerd, me at the top, me second, me third. And basically, I had created in Google’s mind a synonym for myself within a few days. I was fairly stunned that it was that quick, but what it comes down to is Google trusts me. 

[00:48:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, if I now say this is one of my new names, why not? And it could bring up my photos and my content using the synonym Jason Brand Nerd. So, I think that power is going to be incredibly important in the future. In fact, it’s very important now. What am I saying?

Another Company Who Underwent Rebranding With the Help of Jason Barnard’s Company, Kalicube 

[00:49:11] Loren Baker: Yeah. Especially if they’re launching a new product line, launching a new product, rebranding. Everyone seems to be rebranding right now, by the way. I don’t know what’s going on, but it’s a great time to own a development and branding company. Everyone seems to be rebranding.

[00:49:25] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’ve hit the jackpot then. Brilliant. Because Dave Davies from Beanstalk actually used Kalicube to rebrand his company a few months ago, and he said it went incredibly smoothly. And he managed to reshape the entire Brand SERP for the new brand name in the space of a few weeks. And I think that’s incredibly important. And it’s no longer necessary for you to spend a lot of time doing it, if Google has already understood the original entity, because all you’re then doing is changing the label that that entity uses.

Even an Incredibly Smart SEO Like Dave Davies Took the Courses Offered by Kalicube to Successfully Rebrand His Company

[00:49:58] Loren Baker: Yeah. I love that. Especially if it’s definitely a brand name change, a URL change, everything. I remember reading that. What’s the name of their new brand?

[00:50:10] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): In fact, he then switched it back 6 months later because all his clients said they preferred Beanstalk. So, it’s now Beanstalk again, but it’s a lovely story. And I like the fact that he took my courses, which I love. Because Dave Davies is such an incredibly smart SEO, but he actually took my courses to figure out how to do this. And he said, it was really valuable and it was really helpful, which makes me terribly proud and pleased with myself.

Brand SERP Optimisation Is a Niche Where You Use SEO Techniques and Tactics, But the Strategy Is Built Differently 

[00:50:34] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But what was nice is that a seasoned SEO, Dave Davies, you don’t get much smarter than that, actually realises that this is a niche within the SEO industry, but a niche where the techniques that you use might be the same as the ones you would use for SEO, but the order of priority is very different. And the mistakes that you can potentially make are things that you will never have seen before, because it’s a very specific area of work. 

[00:51:03] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, from my perspective, what I’m trying to push out to people is yes, it is SEO, but it isn’t the SEO you’ve known up to the now. It’s the same techniques and tactics maybe, but the strategy needs to be built very differently.

Knowledge Graphs and Knowledge Panels in Bing Versus Google and More About the Importance of Entity Homes

[00:51:20] Loren Baker: So will the results, right? It’s not necessarily, hey, change this. You might rank better for this bucket of terms, et cetera, et cetera. We have some questions that came in. One interesting question from Avinash. Avinash writes, client’s Knowledge Panel/ Knowledge Graph maybe is doing quite well in Bing, but not in Google. Is there any reason why maybe Google hasn’t picked it up? 

[00:51:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Bing is smarter, sorry, but actually Bing is very, very, very good. And I think what Bing is doing is it brings information together and seems to be able to make decisions about facts much more easily than Google. It doesn’t have that requirement of the Entity Home quite so much as Google does. So, what I would suggest is look at the sources that Bing are citing, look at the results.

Once Again Emphasising the Importance of Having an Entity Home and the Similarities and Differences Between Google and Bing 

[00:52:16] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Here we go. If you are not John Mueller, obviously, but you can debug Google Knowledge Graphs, Knowledge Panels by looking at the results in Bing, because Bing is obviously got a grip on it quicker. So if you look at where Bing is looking, Google is probably looking in the same places, but Google is just a bit confused.

[00:52:32] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, basically, the Entity Home is the fundamental single thing that you have to get right. Once you’ve got that, you can build out from there, and you can build that understanding, you can build a confidence in that understanding. And if you look at Bing, you’ll probably be seeing some great sources and resources that Google is using, but hasn’t made sense of yet. So, that’s a great question. I love it. It’s given me some brilliant ideas for Kalicube, which I will now geek over the weekend for. 

[00:53:00] Loren Baker: That’s fantastic. That’s fantastic. Yeah. I like looking at the big picture as well, quite important.

Reminders for Your Entity Home: It Should Be on a Site You Own and Make Sure It’s Where You Want to Set It Up Because It’s Difficult to Change 

[00:53:09] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Really quickly about the Entity Home. I’m sorry to interrupt you, Loren. I do apologise. For the Entity Home, John Mueller actually said, for the reconciliation idea, the Entity Home, you can potentially choose a social profile. I would advise against that. I’m not saying John is wrong. I’m saying that it’s once again, like Wikipedia, something you don’t control. They could close your account. What do you do if Twitter closes your account? You lose your Entity Home, and your influence over Google is lost. So, you really want to make sure that Entity Home is on a site that you own, that you have total control over. 

[00:53:44] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And as an individual, your Entity Home might be on your employer’s website or even your company’s, if you own the company. But what happens when you leave the company? What happens if you sell your company? You really need to have an Entity Home, which is a domain that belongs to you as an individual, to build your own personal brand and make sure that Google understands you as a person and not as a subset of your company.

[00:54:06] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Even though, as you said earlier on, Loren, you as a person can support your company in terms of Google’s understanding and confidence in that understanding, and your company can support you, but having two different sites for the Entity Home doesn’t reduce or handicap that in any way. So, really think about where you’re setting up your Entity Home before you set it up. Because once it’s set, it really is set in stone and it’s very, very difficult to change.

Where Can Listeners and Viewers Find Out More About Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) and His Topic of Expertise? 

[00:54:33] Loren Baker: Excellent. Where can our listeners and viewers go to find more information on building out your company or individual Knowledge Graph or Entity Home settings?

[00:54:46] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Theoretically, if you search my name, Jason Barnard, the results are what I have molded into my business card. So, search Jason Barnard on Google, and you will see basically all the places I hang out, including Search Engine Journal, Semrush, SE Ranking, WordLift, Twitter, LinkedIn, my own site, Kalicube, all of these places. Basically, hang out with me wherever you want and find information about Brand SERPs and Knowledge Panels, because that’s all I ever talk about. 

[00:55:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And I actually did a word count the other day on my Brand SERP. The term Brand SERP appears, I think it was 27 times on my Brand SERP, and Knowledge Panel appears 17 times. So, basically, that’s all I ever talk about. If you don’t want to talk about that, it’s probably better not to connect with me. 

[00:55:34] Loren Baker: One second.

[00:55:41] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But I like Twitter. Connect with me on Twitter because it’s full of great experiments. I share my experiments on Twitter. Not so much because I want to share experiments, but because, for me, it’s a repository of the silly things that I do with the blue dog and yellow koala. And it’s fun.

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) as a Musician Before Pivoting Into the World of Digital Marketing

[00:55:56] Loren Baker: So, speaking of this blue dog and the yellow koala, and I see the blue dog above your right hand shoulder up there on the bookshelf, which is pretty cool. 

[00:56:03] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Oh, that’s true. Yeah. 

[00:56:05] Loren Baker: I just searched for you, and I’m seeing some pretty robust information here. First of all, and I’m just going to go over this from an audio perspective, because the bulk of our audience will be listening to this podcast. So, let’s get back to the world of radio and the theatre of the mind. 

[00:56:35] Loren Baker: So, looking at your branded result in Google, when I search for your name, I just dropped this in the comments as well. I see, on the far left hand sidebar, your avatar, which you typically do not see when you’re searching for someone, British musician, and then a table of content on the left hand side, overview, listen, video, songs. So, Google knows that you’re a musician. They’ve synced. First of all, I didn’t even think about, are you a musician?

Jason Barnard’s Struggle on Changing Google’s Mind About Him From Being a Musician to Being a Digital Marketer 

[00:57:03] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yep. And that’s the thing is that I was a musician in the 90s in a group, and we were quite successful in France and Europe. Then Boowa and Kwala actually recorded multiple music albums. So, technically, I’ve written 200 songs and I’ve recorded about 300. So, technically, I’m probably more of a musician than I’m a digital marketer. Google is not actually getting it wrong, but I am trying to get it to change its mind because, obviously, music…

[00:57:30] Loren Baker: Yeah. There’s that past and then pivoting into the present component. That’s a pretty good example of that, actually. Go ahead.

Because of Its Trusted Sources, Google Is Confident in Saying That Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Is a British Musician 

[00:57:40] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): One of the problems there is that the sources that Google has been using traditionally to build the Knowledge Graph, the human curated sources to build that foundation, are things like Wikipedia, Wikidata, IMDb, MusicBrainz, Discogs, and it uses Deezer a lot as well. And all of these sources are incredibly trusted by Google. 

[00:57:59] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, the amount of information about me in the music space and the movie space is equivalent, let’s say, to the digital marketing space, but it’s on sources that Google fundamentally trusts. So, basically, it’s saying British musician because it’s so confident that that’s true.

[00:58:18] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, it’s really is this kid who’s going, I know he is a British musician, so I’m just going to shout that because I’m absolutely sure. It’s like a kid going into the playground, and they will shout the thing they’re most sure of because they know they’re right. And if they’re not sure, they probably won’t shout it because they don’t want the other kids to tease them about it. So, Google, once again, is a child.

Using the Name George Harrison as an Example of a Name That Focuses on the Person’s Career as a Musician

[00:58:39] Loren Baker: Also, if I go to Google and I search for George Harrison, I’m going to see George Harrison, musician member of the Beatles. I’m not going to see George Harrison, film producer, George Harrison, producer of Time Bandits, Monty Python, multiple other films. I’m not going to see the things about other George Harrison’s businesses that he did for pretty much the last 20 years of his life.

[00:59:03] Loren Baker: What I’m going to see is references to George Harrison’s life up until 1968, 1972, something like that. I’m totally off here, but until the Beatles broke up. I’m going to see that. I’m going to see a little bit about his first album, first solo album, a little bit about the concert for Bangladesh, but I’m not necessarily going to see all of the stuff that he did afterwards.

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) on Successfully Educating Google About His Current Job as a Digital Marketer

[00:59:30] Loren Baker: Same thing. You have that history as being a musician. You’re building everything up. Because on the right side, I see here, Jason Barnard, The Brand SERP Guy, is a digital marketer who specialises in Brand SERP optimsiation and Knowledge Panel management, yada, yada, yada, the day that you’re born.

[00:59:49] Loren Baker: It’s referencing your own site, jasonbarnard.com, for your information. So, congratulations there. And again, it has songs, which is interesting. And then people also search for Kevin Indig, Rand, Joost, Cindy Krum. So, it’s really trying to figure it out here based upon where you are and that footprint that you have.

The Ultimate Aim of Brands and the E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, and Trust) Signals

[01:00:10] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. A hundred percent. I keep half interrupting, but the fact that it’s citing my own site for the description about myself is very, very, very powerful. That’s the ultimate aim of any brand is that you get to describe yourself in Google’s Knowledge Panel, which is, in inverted commas, fact.

[01:00:27] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that’s where the power comes from, because you’re not letting anybody else describe who you are. Google thinks that you are so trustworthy about yourself, so authoritative and trustworthy, and you’re not going to lie that it just shows that information, which is the ultimate aim. And I just want to point out, that’s taken me 2 years to get there. So, it’s not something that happens over overnight. It really is building up.

For the E-A-T Signals to Be Applicable to Your Entity, Your Entity Needs to Be Understood Together With Its Multiple Layers

[01:00:49] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And if we’re talking about authority, we’re talking about expertise, authority, and trust, and all of this feeds directly into that. John Mueller is now saying, more or less explicitly, if we can understand who you are, we can apply E-A-T signals. If we don’t understand, there’s no way we can do it, which seems incredibly obvious when you actually think about it. That you need to have your entity understood for all of these E-A-T signals to be applicable to your entity. 

[01:01:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the rest of it, if you actually type in who is Jason Barnard, you will see that the attributes, it says initially who my mother is, who my wife is, and when I was born. And if you type in who is, you are showing an intent to find much more about me. And it also adds my university and the music groups I was in. So, there’s lots of information that’s there but isn’t shown. So, that’s also incredibly important is that there are multiple layers to this. It’s like an onion, as Donkey says in Shrek.

The Content of Jason Barnard’s Personal Brand SERP, Which Contains His Life Journey 

[01:01:49] Loren Baker: It also reminds me of what I’m looking at, typically, a celebrity or politician’s Wikipedia page. I tend to scroll through and look at their early life, who their parents were, yada, yada, yada. So, you have to find all of that for Google and they’re figuring it out. I love how it has education here, albums, more information about your partner and your parents. 

[01:02:07] Loren Baker: Also, one thing I did notice when I just searched for your name, Jason Barnard, that 9 out of the 10 blue link results are digital marketing oriented, and then there’s IMDb there. So, it just feels like from a search intent perspective, it’s hitting folks that are looking for you from your digital marketing life. And then the graph is catching up, where they have your past information, this and that. I did notice you have a bass clef near your name for your Twitter profile. Is there a reason for that?

From Being a Double Bassist in a Punk Folk Band to Doing Cartoons and Finally Being a Digital Marketer 

[01:02:43] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. You mentioned…

[01:02:44] Loren Baker: I’m trying to get you to sing. I’m trying to get you to sing. 

[01:02:46] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Oh, right, no. If you mentioned the blue dog and yellow koala up here, you can see the double bass. I was a double bassist in a punk folk band for 10 years. So, it was punk folk. This was a blues band called Stanley The Counting Horse. This is the punk folk. This is the blue dog and the yellow koala, and this is Kalicube. But I can sing for you, Loren. I can make up a song for Loren Baker because when you come on the show, he will make you share all your secrets with his audience. That was a good song.

Thanking Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) as the Guest for This Search Engine Journal Show Episode

[01:03:20] Loren Baker: I’m not even going to attempt singing. Thank you, Jason Barnard, The Brand SERP Nerd. 

[01:03:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Oh, brilliant. 

[01:03:29] Loren Baker: On the SEJ Show, sponsored by Ahrefs and Adzooma. So, thank you, Jason. It’s been a real pleasure. 

[01:03:41] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): It’s been an absolute pleasure. And I have to say I’m sorry I interrupted your song halfway through, but that was a brilliant song.

[01:03:50] Loren Baker: Thank you. That’s the first time I think I’ve ever sung on the air, in a public setting, at all, outside of the shower. 

[01:03:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’m going to get that out as a clip and embarrass you greatly with it. Because honestly, you managed to get Jason Barnard to rhyme with Brand Nerd, which shows a) you can do a rhyme and b) you were listening to my stories during the program, which is amazing.

The Lessons Learned From Podcasting According to Loren Baker and Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[01:04:12] Loren Baker: Oh, gosh. How can I not? One of my favourite things about doing this podcast is listening to stories and learning, because we all don’t know everything. We try to. But in the world of SEO, there’s no way that you can learn everything and stay on top of everything. It’s just impossible.

[01:04:31] Loren Baker: But if I can learn a little bit about what everyone else is an expert at and also share that with thousands of people at one time, I’ve not only done a little bit better for myself, but I’ve helped to educate quite a lot out there and bring your story to everyone else. So, thank you for taking the time today. And Jason, you’re in Paris, right? So, what time is it right now, around 10 in the evening?

[01:04:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. Quarter past 10 in the evening.

Through His Podcast, Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Learned a Lot in 2 Years More Than His Life in the Past 10 Years

[01:04:59] Loren Baker: Quarter past 10 in the evening, so on a Friday. So, I want to thank you for staying up late, past your bedtime on a Friday evening in the city of lights. Yeah. It’s really been a pleasure. Anything you’d like to drop before we sign off? 

[01:05:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): No. It’s been an absolute pleasure talking to you, as you said. I’ve got my own podcast. Please do listen to that, anybody who’s listening to this. It’s a similar idea. I talked to amazing experts, including Loren, who’s on the show a couple of years ago. And they shared loads of stuff with me.

[01:05:30] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And it’s made me, and I’m sure you’ll relate to this. In the 2 years I’ve been doing the podcast, 2 and a half years, I’ve learned 10,000 more than I learned in the 10 years before, just by talking to people, listening to them, and taking in their super duper knowledge. And I loved interviewing you a couple of years ago. And we do that every Tuesday, so join us on Kalicube Tuesdays for learning and fun conversations, just as fun as this one and hopefully just as learning.

You Can Listen to Jason Barnard’s Podcast on His Website, Which Is Another Experiment About Entity Homes and Brand SERPs

[01:06:03] Loren Baker: Is that at withjasonbarnard.com?

[01:06:08] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yep.

[01:06:08] Loren Baker: Okay. So, I’m going to drop that in the comments too.

[01:06:12] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Brilliant. That domain name, by the way, is yet another mad experiment that I’m doing about Entity Homes and building them up. And long story short, the idea is can I dominate my own Brand SERP with multiple domains that I own? And the answer is yes, I can. 

[01:06:30] Loren Baker: I love this. This is a living, breathing case study in the works. So, I’m going to search your name more and see what happens in the next couple weeks. 

[01:06:40] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Brilliant.

Loren Baker and Jason Barnard’s Plans to Meet Each Other in Person in France 

[01:06:41] Loren Baker: Jason, it’s been a pleasure. It’s been a pleasure. Thank you again joining us today on the show. Thank you to our sponsors, Ahrefs and Ahrefs Webmaster Tools, along with Adzooma and Adzooma Plus, for making today’s show possible and to the team at SEJ for hooking me up with all of this great production quality. Jason, again, it’s been a pleasure.

[01:07:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Thanks a lot, man.

[01:07:08] Loren Baker: I’ll see you around. Maybe once we start meeting people in person again, we’ll be able to. So, for everyone that’s tuned in today and all listeners, anything you’d like to say before we sign off? 

[01:07:22] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. I really hope we can meet up again, Loren. I was just calling you Laurent, which is the French version of Loren. I really hope we can meet up again soon, because it’s such a pleasure just hanging out face to face instead of on camera.

Planning to See Each Other in Nice, France for the Promenade Des Anglais 

[01:07:36] Loren Baker: We’ll do it. It’s in my plans to hit Nice next summer, hopefully towards the early summer. So if that’s the case, I’ll let you know. Maybe you can take a train ride down, and we’ll enjoy ourselves on the English Promenade. Is that what you call it? 

[01:07:55] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah, the Promenade des Anglais. I’ll definitely come down because it is apparently nice in Nice. I couldn’t resist.

[01:08:11] Loren Baker: All right. Thank you, everybody. I’ll see you around. Thank you, Jason. Have a good one. Thank you for joining us this week on the Search Engine Journal Show. If you liked this episode, subscribe to our channel for so much more and click the notification bell, so you don’t miss a thing.

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