In this GYDA Talks, Robert talks to Jason Barnard. Jason is an author, speaker and consultant on all things digital marketing. His specialist subject is Brand SERPs (what appears when someone googles your name). He teaches Brand SERP optimisation to students at Kalicube.pro. He also hosts a marketing podcast, where the smartest people in marketing talk to Jason about subjects they know inside out. The conversations are always interesting, always intelligent and always fun!
Over 2 decades of experience in digital marketing: he started promoting his first website in the year Google was incorporated and built it up to become one of the top 10,000 most visited sites in the world (60 million visits in 2007).
The Brand SERP Guy
Why “The Brand SERP Guy”? Because Jason has been studying, tracking and analysing Brand SERPs (what appears when someone Googles your name) since 2013…
Conclusion: Brand SERPs are your new business card, a reflection of your brand’s digital ecosystem and an honest critique of your online marketing strategy. That could well be enough to pique the interest of any marketer and any brand… in any industry 🙂
Jason challenges some basic assumptions about the best use of our time and why we should focus on Brand SERPs – ignore them at your peril. Here’s why…
What are you known for?
What are you doing right now?
Aren’t Brand SERPs a bit niche?
Why do you think agencies often overlook the Knowledge Graph?
What are agencies missing by not tracking Brand SERPs?
Isn’t managing your Brand SERP just really simple SEO?
What’s next for you?
Your recommendations/pearls of wisdom, golden nuggets.
[00:00:00] Robert Craven: In this GYDA Talks, Robert talks to Jason Barnard. Jason is an author, speaker, and consultant on all things digital marketing. His specialist subject is Brand SERP, what appears when someone googles your name. Jason challenges some basic assumptions about the best use of our time on why we should focus on Brand SERP, ignore them at your peril. Robert and Jason discuss aren’t Brand SERPs a bit niche, why do you think agencies often overlook the Knowledge Graph, what are agencies missing by not tracking Brand SERPs, plus much more.
Jason Barnard Being Known As The Brand SERP Guy
[00:00:48] Robert Craven: Hello, and welcome to GYDA Talks, Grow Your Digital Agency Initiative Talks. And today, I’m absolutely delighted to have with me Jason Barnard. And without further ado, hello, Jason.
[00:01:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Hello. How are you doing, Rob?
[00:01:01] Robert Craven: Absolutely fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. So, you are known as The Brand SERP Guy. So, without further ado, my first question is always going to be, what are you known for? So tell me, what are you known for?
[00:01:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Well, I’m known for the Brand SERPs. In fact, it’s the name I gave myself because I really want to nail that position. I’m nailing my flag to the masses. It were saying exact match brand searches. And the results that come up are something that we aren’t looking into enough, and I’m looking into it.
[00:01:33] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’ve got a collection of 75,000 entities, 45,000 brands across 10 different countries. And I’m tracking what appears when people search exact match brand names such as Microsoft or Apple or Jason Barnard or Kalicube, my company. And what comes up is phenomenally interesting. And people in the industry are starting to get on board. But it’s a struggle because everyone says it’s easy and it’s obvious which it isn’t. And it isn’t.
Looking At Your Brand SERP Through Brand Awareness
[00:02:08] Robert Craven: Well, we’ve talked before we came on board. We talked about evidence based approaches and research based approaches to think. You’ve given us some numbers. What is the connection between listening to what you say and running a better business?
[00:02:38] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. I like the question. The thing about it is if you’re looking at Google Search Console, first thing to do, look in Google Search Console and filter your brand searches, the exact match ones. They’re the ones that are your brand, Kalicube, in my case. And it can vary from 5% in 95%. Now, if you’re in the 95%, that’s a lot of brand awareness relative to your SEO performance in general, but people are searching your brand name and seeing that Brand SERP phenomenal amount of time, phenomenal number of times.
[00:03:11] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): A lot of those people are likely to be your existing clients, and you have that thing as well as if your competitors are on there or bad review or bad press. Obviously, your existing clients are going to be attracted by your competitor and put off by the bad review. If it’s a new client, they might be stolen by the competitor or put off by the bad review.
[00:03:34] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And a lot of the time people say, well, I don’t have a bad review, and I don’t have a competitor so I’m okay. And you’re saying, well, why don’t you think about how good it could get. This is your business card. This is what people are looking at. It’s like it could have been any business card. I used to go into my clients, and this is my story. And it’s not big database, but we can come to that later on.
Your Brand SERP Is Your New Business Card
[00:03:51] Robert Craven: So, can we just go back? So, I saw on your thing Brand SERPs are your new business card, put on quote. Brand SERPs are your new business card which I love because that’s a really interesting way of looking at it. A reflection of your brand’s digital ecosystem and an honest critique of your online marketing strategy.
[00:04:13] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): That’s genius, Rob. Where do you got that from?
[00:04:15] Robert Craven: I did a quick search to find that stuff. Could you just unpick that Brand SERPs are your new business card?
[00:04:23] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. Well, that’s what I use for marketers. I say to a marketer, your Brand SERP is your new business card. And marketers has gone, I get that. Because they’re the kind of people, marketers and sales people, they’re people that go in front of people and convince them to consider purchasing or doing business. And they realise that when somebody searches the brand name, they’re looking at the equivalent of the modern business card.
[00:04:48] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the example I was going to give you is I used to go and see my clients. I would pitch and pitch, and I would go, yeah, I’m great. This is going to be wonderful. And I would walk out and I think that’s sold, but I would still only convert about 60%. Then, I improve my Brand SERP and what came up, what comes up now if you search Jason Barnard is a lovely Knowledge Panel on the right-hand side, my site at the top, Search Engine Journal, some videos, Twitter boxes, maybe some images, SEMrush, WordLift, all of these things that credibilise me, if that’s a proper word, in digital marketing. So, now, my clients converted about 80%, and nobody haggles about the price. Now, that isn’t big data. It’s one example.
Controlling The Message You Want To Convey In Your Brand SERP
[00:05:31] Robert Craven: And so your argument, I’m just trying to understand it, so your argument is that if you’ve got your house in order, then when people are looking for you, you come across as more professional, you come across as an authority, you come across 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 on the page, so to speak. And therefore, you’re ahead of the competition. As opposed to a situation where they might search for you and they might see the ads of 5 or 6 of the people who are trying to elbow you out of the way.
[00:06:05] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Well, yeah. That’s another additional problem that we can put them aside. But if you come back a step and you say, what I do with my Brand SERP is control it. I control my message. I control the message, as you say, authoritative. I control it to the point in which I’m more or less deciding what will rank and what text is showing in both the blue links and their descriptions. And that means control of my brand message means I can push out a really positive, accurate, and authoritative convincing message to anybody who’s actually looking for me.
[00:06:39] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): You look thoughtful.
The Unique Perspective of Presenting Brand SERPs as Business Cards To Marketers
[00:06:41] Robert Craven: I am. I’m wondering how is this, is what you’re saying a unique perspective?
[00:06:53] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I don’t know anybody else who looks at it this way. If you talk to the local search guys, they’ll all say, it’s not your business card. It’s your homepage, which is taking it another step further.
[00:07:02] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): In terms of marketers, this is how I present it to the marketers. It’s not how I would present it to an SEO professional, for example, or a digital marketer or somebody who’s fairly advanced. Basically, it’s your business card is just an easy way to explain to somebody so they can visualise what it is I’m talking about and who their audience or who the audience of this Brand SERP is.
Knowledge In Studying Brand SERPs Is A Niche
[00:07:23] Robert Craven: But what you’ve done is you’ve taken, you’re smoking your own dope, so to speak. You’ve taken your own, you’re eating your own dog food, whatever phrase you want to use.
[00:07:36] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I have got no idea what you mean, but keep going.
[00:07:39] Robert Craven: That’s kind of an American phrase, but it’s about, it’s a niche, but you’re actually dominating in your presentation because of your knowledge within the niche.
[00:07:52] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Well, I think the point is it’s a niche in the sense that nobody else is talking about it. It’s not a niche in the sense that everybody needs it. In an entity based search, whether it’s people, brands, products, events, music groups, it doesn’t matter. Any entity is going to have an entity SERP so you can actually push it further than just brands. But if I started talking about entity SERPs, I would only ever get 5 or 6 clients and the people who actually talk about entity based search. And the idea for me is to get marketers involved.
[00:08:28] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Then, we can move on to the next step which is it’s a really easy entry into SEO and digital marketing because it’s an easy way to visualise your digital ecosystem, which is the second point in that list. And any idiot can look at it and say, okay, this is good, this is bad, this is accurate, this is positive, and this is convincing. Yes or no. Anybody can do that. And you look at it and you can say, okay, now what can I do to improve it?
Making Any Person Understand SEO In A Controlled Environment
[00:08:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, if you’re an SEO expert, you’ll go, all the old tricks will work, and it’s really easy. And it’s a controlled environment which means that you can take any person who doesn’t know very much or anything about SEO, and they can practice on something that’s controlled and easy to deal with and generally easy to affect the rankings and what’s being shown and so on and so forth.
[00:09:11] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, there are two things though. One of which is any market can look at it and read it and understand what’s right and wrong with our digital ecosystem. Is the social media good? Is there people saying nice things about them, bad things about them? Because it’s a reflection of what Google thinks the world thinks about you, what’s valuable to your audience, what’s helpful and relevant to your audience.
[00:09:32] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that means, and from my point of view, I wouldn’t bother going to a marketing agency that was selling me an incredible insight into all these different channels that they’re pulling in all over the place. You just say, just look at your Brand SERP, takes you 20 minutes, and you’ll already have very big pointers to where you’re going wrong and where you’re going right.
[00:09:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that idea of saying, I like this as well, and I’ve found, I’ve got these Brand SERP courses. And I’ve got a few agencies on board, and they’re buying the Brand SERP courses in order to give it to new people in their company so that they can get their teeth into SEO with very little risk and lots of success and lots of things that change, things that you managed to affect directly. So, you immediately feel really good about yourself because you change your meta title on your home page, and it shows up, bingo, right off the bat.
Managing Your Brand SERP Is Just Really Simple SEO
[00:10:19] Robert Craven: So, isn’t managing your Brand SERP just really simple SEO?
[00:10:25] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah, it is. But it teaches you every trick in the book in SEO because you’ve got videos, you’ve got Twitter boxes, you’ve got your homepage, you’ve got all those Rich Sitelinks that you want to trigger. 50% of brands do not have Rich Sitelinks. That’s rubbish. That’s great site structure. It’s using Schema Markup. It’s writing proper meta titles, meta descriptions. It’s removing no index from the pages such as Contact Us that could potentially appear that or About Us. It’s managing your Knowledge Panel which is surprisingly easy to do and surprisingly effective. I managed to get it down to, I can trigger a Knowledge Panel in 2 minutes for certain types of things. And I can change the description in a Knowledge Panel I control in 8 minutes flat.