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How To Dominate The SERPs For Your Brand Name with Jason Barnard

Search marketing is an exciting field of study because it pushes the boundaries of what we know about digital advertising. The art comes in knowing which techniques work best and making sure to use them at just the right time, so your brand can be seen by potential customers when they are looking online!

The guest on today’s episode has spent years mastering both science (search engine results pages) & craftsmanship; if you’re interested not only in how people find products or services but also in why some succeed where others fail–then this show might have something for ya’ll…

Who is worthy of a knowledge panel on Google? Everyone, according to Jason! Knowledge Panels on a Brand SERP are becoming the new normal. But we have no direct control over what shows up when someone Googles their name – people and brands alike need insight into all that ninja stuff he’s figured out through years in this trenches as an SEO specialist with I’ve got some fresh tips for managing your online reputation so you can stay at the top without feeling like stale content will suffice any longer.

Jason Barnard’s Journey From a Musician to a Cartoon Character to SEO

[00:00:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So guilty now but, I was feeling guilty because I was light and it’s not William’s fault.

[00:00:07] William Jones: And sorry. Nice to meet you. And we’re here with Jason Barnard, The Brand SERP Guy. So, if you have any questions, drop them in the chat and do our best to answer them. So I’m curious how you got started with SEO, what’s your background, and tell me a little bit about yourself and all that jazz. 

[00:00:28] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): All of that jazz. Right. Well, I actually got started in SEO, kind of a torturous route, but I was a musician back in the day. You can see behind me here. It’s a kind of wolf with a double bass. I was in a folk punk bands touring Europe. The band split up, so I created a couple of cartoon characters with my ex-wife called Boowa and Kwala, blue dog and a yellow koala. And we were just making games out of using flash and songs and games and activities. And it was really good fun. And we ended up with 5 million visits a month and a million of them came from Google. And so when that fell apart, I tried to get some work. I just said to people, if I can do that with a blue dog and a yellow koala, just think what I can do for your business. And they fell for it, the fools. 

[00:01:22] William Jones: So what type of punk music did you play, Scott or what? 

[00:01:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I was folk punk. If you know the Pogues, it was a bit like that but more punk. Although that being said, if you do know the Pogues, Shane McGowan, who’s the singer you don’t get much more punk than Shane McGowan himself. But our sound of music was more aggressive. We played a version of the Ace of Spades, the motorhead song, playing it, using mandolin, double bass, violin, and drums, and it really rocked. We were rocking it and it was this idea of really, really hard heavy, punky folk music and it was so much fun. 

[00:02:04] William Jones: Wow. And you jumped from that to SEO? 

[00:02:08] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Well, I jumped from that into children’s songs, which is a bit of a stranger change. Cause it went from punk no future, no future to ooh, little children. Let’s make some nice songs for them because they’re all so delightful and then into SEO. And I’ve been in SEO. Well, I started SEO in 1998 with the blue dog and yellow koala. So, the same year Google were incorporated. So me and Google we’ve had this parallel path, but that path has been a little bit more successful than mine.

Knowledge Panels For Your Brand and The Idea of Data Lakes and Data Rivers

[00:02:36] William Jones: Yeah. So, Knowledge Panels. I’ve had people ask me about my scene that your background besides branding. How would you say, there are people that I’ve seen, quote unquote, sell Knowledge Panels and then push Knowledge Panels, people that once you’ve established a really good brand, like Craig Campbell and Chris Palmer and some other ones, they actually have their own Knowledge Panel. How do you, quote unquote, if you were to tell anybody, how do you go about getting, if you’re a small business or you’re a new person that’s trying to create a brand, how do you go about getting a Knowledge Panel?

[00:03:20] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. Well, you mentioned Craig Campbell. He actually had multiple Knowledge Panels cause he tried multiple ways of doing it. I talked to him at the beginning and I suggested to him how he might want to do it and he went off. And I don’t really know quite what he did, but he would get a Knowledge Panel, then it would disappear. Then he got another one and it would disappear.

[00:03:40] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And this is what I’m seeing typically with a lot of SEOs is they approach it as an SEO task, which it is in many ways, but it’s an SEO task that requires SEO skill, but it actually requires something a little bit different and the priorities are a little different. And the way Google functions in this aspect is a little bit different. So, your SEO skills are going to get you there. You just need to apply them in a slightly different manner to the way you’re used to applying them. And the process is incredibly simple, very boring, and pretty slow.

[00:04:14] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): If we go back, the slow part is interesting. Because if you remember back in the day when Boowa and Kwala were famous back in the Northeast, we had data lakes and Google would push all the data into its big light and then it would sort it all through, and then the index would update the Google dance. So, you would wait three months or a month or two months or whatever it was, I can’t remember, for the updates to happen before you knew if your SEO tweaks were going to have any effect or had any effect. And it was really frustrating and boring.

[00:04:42] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And then after a month, it wouldn’t have had any effect and you go back to the drawing board and then it will be another month. So, if your business was really on the edge, that was problematic. I remember that very, very early days. And now in the main index, Google’s working using data rivers. So, basically, the data flows past the indexing system and it just pulls out the stuff it’s interested in. The rest of it goes into the lake. It’s all stored there. It still does those kinds of updates, I believe.

[00:05:12] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But I like the idea of a gold panner. You’ve got the algorithm it’s sitting at. It’s pulling out the golden nuggets as they float by. My belief there on my experience has been that sites it trusts better or more, it will pull out those golden nuggets on the way past, and when it doesn’t trust you, it lets go into the lake and you’re still in that Google dance situation. And I think that might explain for a lot of people, especially with new sites, why sometimes those updates take longer for them than they do for their competitors.

[00:05:44] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And it is the idea of data lakes and data rivers. And a data river, when it’s gold panning, it means it trusts you. And I think that trust is fundamentally important. It says I can take this and I don’t really need to think about it. Put it out there, its trust and its authority. And that brings us on to the Knowledge Panel, which is all about data lakes, but it’s also all about trust and authority.

[00:06:08] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, Knowledge Panel, let’s go back to this data lake idea. It’s shoving it all into this lake, sorting through it all and then making a decision. So, the delays tend to be quite long. It’s between a month and three months before the machine actually has even digested the new stuff you’ve given it. So, you got to get used to that idea, at least for the next, let’s say as soon as a year, but it’s coming. I think it’s getting faster. I think Google’s going to end up with a system where both algorithms are able to stand one on each side of the river and pull all this stuff out or maybe even get the two machines to work together, the Knowledge Graph and the algorithms. That’s open to debate, but you need to be patient and you need to understand that concept of data lakes in order to think, well, maybe I didn’t get it straight away, but it’s thinking about it at the moment. 

[00:07:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And at Kalicube, we’ve done one thing which is identify when the Knowledge Graph up dates. So, we can actually tell when it’s pulled the stuff out of the data lake and stuffed it back into the Knowledge Graph. So, you can actually see if you’ve been working from home and nothing’s happened. You can see that it hasn’t happened because there hasn’t been an update to the Knowledge Graph. So, hop along to Kalicube.Pro there’s a Knowledge Graph sensor on there. And it tells you there was an update last weekend. The one before that was in July, the one before that was in June, then in May before that. It’s about every two weeks, but every now and then it has these kind of hiatuses.

[00:07:34] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. But the actual question wasn’t that at all, was it? It was how to get one. Basically, it’s a three-step process. You identify the Entity Home. Google is looking for an Entity Home, where the entity lives online, the one authoritative source for that entity. And then it looks to go out and corroborate that information. So, basically, you take the Entity Home, which can be your About page on your personal site, your About page on your company site. And you explain who you are, what you do, who your audience is, incredibly clearly. Then you point to all the corroborative sources which is LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, Wikidata if you’ve got them, Crunchbase, IMDb if you’re in the movie industry or if you’re doing a podcast. And you make sure the information there corroborates what it is you were saying on the Entity Home, on your own website, and that that other source points back to the Entity Home. So, that Google has two things: it’s going round and round in circles for out, back, out, back, out, back, and it’s seeing exactly the same information over and over and over again. And it’s as simple as that it’s hammering the message home so hard that Google ends up accepting what we said ourselves.

Educating Google Like a Child Instead of As a Big Machine

[00:08:52] William Jones: Okay. So, it’s basically connecting all the dots. If you are connecting all the nodes. And then the Knowledge Panel is an acknowledgement of that, is what you would say?

[00:09:01] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. I would look at it from the perspective of educating a child. The child wants to understand, but it can’t get its head around it. So, what the child needs is that you explain it clearly. And then you point it out to all the property sources. So, if I’m the parent, I will explain to the child something that it needs to understand, and then the child will go to school and get the teachers to corroborate it and the police woman down the road and the baker and the grandmother and the sister and so on and so forth. Now, if they’re all saying the same thing, the child will end up believing it. If they’re all saying different things, the child will end up just getting more and more confused. And Google’s just a child.

[00:09:42] William Jones: It’s an interesting way of explaining it.

[00:09:47] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Well, I think all of SEO, we’re educating Google about our little corner of the internet. We’re educating it about who we are, what it is we have to offer its users, why we might be the best solution and how it can or giving it the means to actually display that solution in the SERP. So, at the end of the day, we’re packaging our content for Google and educating it about what it is we’re offering and to whom and why we might be the best solution. So, I like now to look at Google instead of this nasty kind of terrible big machine that we’re scared of, it’s a small child and we’re educating it. So I’m actually going back to being a blue dog educating Google, like children

[00:10:28] William Jones: I never thought of it that way. That’s an interesting way of it. I always, for instance, would say you take the website, you want to be known as the, if you will, the roofer in Orlando. So, you want to solve all the questions and all the problems, but I’ve never sat there and thought about really is you’re trying to educate Google, you’re trying to educate your visitors and say, hey, here is roofing, here is what we use in roofing, and here’s who I am and everything. And you’re explaining that like a child to, not only just Google, but also your website visitors and stuff. 

[00:11:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): If you’re creating content, for example, how to roof your roof, whatever that might be. I have nothing to do with roofing. You’re saying to Google, I know how to do this, so I am a legitimate solution for your users for other problems around this. So, all of that content you’re creating is building you up as an authority. So, basically, it’s the child looking at you and saying, oh, that person knows about A, B, C, D, E, F, they must be really good. The more you can show yourself to be an authority on a topic, any topic, the more the child will trust you when you’re talking around and about that topic and the more the child will trust you to help it out when it has the problem with that topic.

The Importance of Entity Home and How It Affects Your Knowledge Panel 

[00:11:48] William Jones: And so like, for example, you’re creating content, but you don’t want to just create garbage content. You’re going to create content with authoritative sites and then you have to connect those dots, if you will, on your About Us or on your home or where your hub, if you will. 

[00:12:06] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah, no, exactly. And that’s the wider kind of SEO strategy that I think I’ve only recently started thinking this way because with Knowledge Panels and the Knowledge Graph, you really are just educating Google. But then I thought a few weeks ago actually it applies to the whole lot, who you are, what you do, who your audience is, why you might be a great solution. Easy. That’s all we’re doing. It’s really, really delightful.

[00:12:31] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And another idea I had the other day about explaining how you’re educating Google and why the Entity Home is important and how you can get that Knowledge Panel is John Mueller from Google talks about reconciliation. And the idea of reconciliation is the machine has got the information scattered around the web, but it just can’t piece it together and it’s this brain. What I’m now thinking is, actually, what it’s got is it’s got shattered china plate. It’s in 5,000 small pieces and it can’t fit them together. It’s got the superglue out. It’s trying to put them all together.

[00:13:06] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And what the Entity Home does is it presents the robot, the algorithm, with the complete plate all put together. And you basically have to convince the robot that this plate on your website, the Entity Home, is the correct true plate that it should be comparing the fragmented bits to then it goes okay. Once I’ve understood that, I can take the fragmented bits, stick them all together so it looks exactly like the plate we’ve got here, then you get in the Knowledge Graph, then you get a Knowledge Panel.

The Effect of a Knowledge Graph on Google My Business 

[00:13:37] William Jones: Interesting. Yeah. Because I’ve had a lot of people ask about it and stuff and I’m convinced that a) it’s good for branding, and b) it would help even with a lot of what we do with local SEO and in a Google My Business listings and stuff like that. There’s a lot of times you have, if you will, in Google My Business listings that’s specifically what I deal with is someone will come along and let’s say, for example, you have a GMB listing and someone tries to, quote unquote, if you will, and I don’t even know if this is a fact, but they try to take your GMB listing down.

[00:14:14] William Jones: But I was thinking as maybe, just maybe, if you had an actual Knowledge Graph, maybe they wouldn’t be able to take it down as much because of the fact Google would have the Knowledge Graph and they have all that data. So, if anyone ever tries to take it down, it’s kind of like a blocker shield against that happening cause you already have so much authority that it makes it almost impossible to a take it down. And I have been thinking that’s probably a good way to get some businesses to protect them. Cause I’ve had people ask me, is there a way to protect people from doing this to you? Because I have a lot of people that come to me for that. Yeah, just nothing really. I’ve had the typical, honestly, there’s no way anybody can come along and make edits. And Google goes, is this data correct? And then your next thing you know you could have your damn GMB down and all the reviews and all your hard work and everything else. And it’s devastating to a lot of businesses.

[00:15:13] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. That’s a really interesting point. I saw Joy Hawkins on my podcast a couple of weeks ago and she walked me through Google My Business panels because I know less about it than you guys do. And I was stunned by quite how much information in that tunnel is not controlled by the business owner and he’s actually machine driven and that whole kind of thing. Google My Business panels actually have a Knowledge Graph ID. And Google is in the process of filling up Google My Business with information from Knowledge Graph ask information. So, I would suggest as a local business, you need to start thinking about the Entity Home, and that broken plate, and the complete plate, and that Google is a child, so educate it because it’s moving more and more in that direction.

[00:15:57] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And as you rightly said, one of the problems it has is local business owners don’t actually fill in the Google My Business properly. Another problem it has is people give fake feedback and humans that Google delete things or change things because they’ve got no idea what the real truth is. And a machine will, hopefully, from that perspective, be able to go around and make sure that when the truth is in place, it doesn’t get distorted by human error or human nastiness or whatever it would be.

[00:16:31] William Jones: Yeah. I’ve had GMBs taken down and then they ask for your business information, like always, and you send them over your business license and, generally, with a business license, say your utility bill brings it back up. But the thing is they’re just trying to prove with that information that you’re legit. I’ve just always been thinking, well, if you had a Knowledge Panel, cause my understanding of it is basically a Knowledge Panel is just, if you will, biography of this person or this business. It’s all their information. And if you could take somehow and create all that information and get a Knowledge Panel for a business or a local business even, then it pretty much shields you from ever getting taken down. 

[00:17:17] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. Well, I think what’s happening, if you look at something like a university, an educational institution, or a tourist attraction, or a tour, or a theme park, you’ll get hybrid with part of Google My Business and a big chunk of the Knowledge Panel. And I would suspect that you’re correct about that would be more solid and much more difficult for anybody to take down simply because it is part of the Knowledge Graph. It has been integrated into the Knowledge Graph, but with the Google My Business aspects. So, my question is, and I don’t know the answer, but I think this is where we are, is that Google My Business is being moved slowly into the Knowledge Graph. And some things like these institutions especially, and theme parks, tourist attractions have been moved over, but they retain the Google My Business elements to them. Whereas some local businesses are still just in Google My Business and haven’t been moved across yet. And I’m doing some expands now to see if I can move a Google My Business from that vertical into the main Knowledge Graph and do maybe what you’re suggesting, protect

What is Schema Markup and Its Relation to Knowledge Panels 

[00:18:22] William Jones: Yeah, that’s what I’m looking at as in one became more I’ve started with that nest cause I started getting more and more into Schema, and looking at schematic data, and knowledge graphs, and all the CID, LRDs all this data that you can actually use. And I try to tell people, for example, schema for the most part helps most of the clients we’ll work with, but that’s all I’ll say. If your SEO and your citations and your on-page SEO is no good, Schema, basically, places a giant spotlight on that. And if it’s no good, you just screwed yourself over. If it’s good and you did a good job and what you were supposed to do, then you get rewarded. But if you don’t, you’re screwed.

[00:19:10] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I think it’s a really nice point from this perspective. A lot of people think I’ll just put Schema markup on my site and I’ll get a Knowledge Panel. And in fact, what Schema markup does is confirm what you’ve already said in your page. Google’s read your page, it’s understood more or less what’s in the page, not completely, but it’s understood. And it’s, let’s say 40% confident. If you then add Schema markup, it becomes 70% confident because you’ve confirmed in its native language what it’s already probably understood from the page anyway. And as you said, if you contradict what’s in the page, you’re just going to confuse the child again. Now you’ve got up to 70%, then you point with that Schema markup all the corroboration, and you’re going to build that confidence up from 70 to 80 to 90, to 100%.

[00:19:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that is what the aim of Schema markup is to corroborate and confirm what’s in the page. And to point Google out to the corroborative sources, the third-party corroborative sources that confirm what it is your saying and enable it to become confident that the truth it has understood from you, the horse out of the horse’s mouth, is actually the truth and that it can show it to its users.

[00:20:21] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And one thing I do like, and we can take that child analogy a little bit further, is if a child isn’t sure about a piece of information, it will not go into the playground and shout about it because the child is scared of being wrong and looking foolish. If it is sure about a piece of information, it will go into the playground, he or she will go into the playground, and shout it to anybody who listened because they’re so pleased they’ve understood it. And Google does exactly the same thing. If you want to know why your Knowledge Panel triggers, it’s understanding, confidence in that understanding, and then probability that it’s actually going to be useful for the user.

[00:20:57] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And what I found is once Google’s understood, it will trigger Knowledge Panels. Sometimes in specific Joe circumstances for a person when you’re in that town, for example, or for a company. But then if you can get it to be really confident, it will start to spread out. It will start to say it to more people in more places purely because it’s confident that it’s right.

Managing Your Brand SERP Using a Strong Brand Name Versus an Exact Name Match

[00:21:20] William Jones: Jason says you’re strong brand name versus an exact name match, which is more powerful in the SERPs?

[00:21:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Well, the exact main name, I suppose, you mean? 

[00:21:36] William Jones: I think he’s just meaning in the EDM exact domain named match versus match or brand. 

[00:21:42] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I think people who did the EDM thing years ago and now biting their nails and getting pretty annoyed with themselves because the problem with Brand SERPs, which is what appears when somebody googles your brand name, which is my speciality, and for me Knowledge Panels are subsection of that, is that you hit ambiguity. Companies who call themselves yellow door, a fighting against yellow doors, or a company that’s given itself a name like best car sales, you’re actually competing against sites that are giving advice about which are the best car sales to go to. So, you’re creating an ambiguity or there is an ambiguity that makes your Brand SERP very difficult to manage and that Knowledge Panel very difficult to get. So, that’s a really big disadvantage. So, unique brand name right now is going to be much easier to actually explain to Google who you are, what you do, and who your audience is than an EMD. And interesting enough for the child, if you say to them best car sales, they’ll go, right, okay, you’re talking about selling cars and which one is the best one. You say, no, I’m talking about the company and they’re going to go, no, that’s just confusing. So, the child’s confused again.

[00:22:54] William Jones: Interesting.

[00:22:55] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): From a Knowledge Panel perspective. From a Brand SERP perspective, Google is trying to give space to all the ambiguous possible interpretations of what you’ve typed in. So, best car sales, it would show you these comparative sites and the brand would potentially only be ranking with warm halfway down. So, on your own brand term, you’ll be greatly disadvantaged. So, building your brand in that circumstance is a) very difficult and b) isn’t necessarily going to pay dividends. Whereas, if you’ve got a unique brand name, building the brand name, building brand recognition for that name is going to pay dividends right down the line and across the internet.

Significance of Main Branding for Small Local Businesses

[00:23:31] William Jones: So Graham says, how important would you say main branding is for small service area business? Let’s say like a construction company or remodeling company, something like that. A roofer. 

[00:23:45] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Well, I like that question. I would suggest that you need to be the thing about people’s names is that there are Jason Barnards in America, in Canada, in South Africa. There are five or six just in the north of England. There’s a podcaster in London. It’s ambiguous. Whereas with company names, because of local trademark laws and registrations, they tend to be more unique within industries. So, that’s kind of an advantage. So, if you’re a local business, you need to be, I would suggest, a unique name within your own geographical area, the service area, is incredibly important because it will help you to be distinguished, but you need to play that off against all the tactics of actually ranking for the generic term around so that EMD and local business is actually much more difficult to play with than for national, international brand.

Selling a Personal Brand When The Person Whose Name Was Used is No Longer Part of The Company 

[00:24:40] William Jones: Actually, there’s a couple of people I’ve talked to about this. It’s for instance, would you, in my case, I have an agency, but also I have other people. If you look on the back end of our search console, people will either look up William Jones SEO or Rank Fortress or Rank Fortress Digital Agency. They’re not actually going, let me find SEO digital agency. They’re going William Jones SEO or they’re going Rank Fortress because the brand is where they associate it with. But I honestly have never been able to. I’ve had listened to people you listen to, Gary Vee, and you listen to smarter people, they say create a personal brand. But the problem with a personal brand is then if that person is no longer part of the brand, how are you going to sell it? If you said Jason Barnard and you had a company called Jason Barnard SEO or whatever, and then you go to sell it four or five years down the road, how are you going to sell it when it’s called Jason Barnard? 

[00:25:44] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. I was looking at 9th Wonder. I don’t know. He’s a rap star, hip-hop maybe. And his agency is called or his production company is called 9th Wonder as well. And there is a problem there. If I did a daily Brand SERP, I do every day, I look at a Brand SERP and I analyse it and I give a small piece of advice, about a minute and a half video, and next week, there’s gonna be one about 9th Wonder. And the point there is if he wants to sell the company, whoever buys the company from him is always going to have a problem because he dominates personally that Brand SERP, not the company. The company gets one spot. So if I bought the company off him, I’d say, well, actually it’s not worth as much as it would be if it had been called brick wall, for example. That’s a bad name. Bricky Wally. We’re going to make it unique because I’m going to be competing with you and it’s going to be very difficult for me. And once again, as you say, it’s not true of any business. If the whole business depends on one person in terms of their name or even their skillset, it’s always going to be a problem.

Citations Versus Backlinks

[00:26:54] William Jones: Let’s see here. Got a couple more questions coming here. Bug Off Pest Charlotte County. Are citations an important aspect versus backlinks? I guess when we’re dealing with brand and SERPs or Knowledge Panels. 

[00:27:09] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah, citation, incredibly important. I do experiments on myself all the time. I do experiments on the rock group, on the blue dog and yellow koala, or myself. And what’s interesting is because I’ve done these things, I’ve made TV series, I’ve made albums, I’ve written songs, I’ve got loads of entities that I can test on and I’ve been doing this a lot. And one of the tests I did is that because I was a musician and because the musical stuff is so heavily ingrained in Google’s brain because of sites like MusicBrainz, IMDb, Discogs, Deezer, Spotify, all of these platforms that Google relies on a great deal are full of music, are full of TV series, are full of all of this information over the things that I’ve done. All of the stuff I’m doing in digital marketing, although it outweighs that in terms of volume, is being drowned by the confidence that Google has in the other stuff. So, Google now says Jason Barnard, British musician not because it truly thinks that. 

[00:28:07] William Jones: I remember even looking at it before on a Google for a Jason Barnard and first thing it told me from what I remember was British musician. It doesn’t go Jason Barnard SEO expert. It’s Jason Barnard, British musician. And then underneath that says Jason Barnard, The Brand SERP Guy is the digital marketer who specializes, and then once again goes back to musician, screenwriter, songwriter, cartoon blue dog. It takes all the other information in there.

[00:28:42] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah, and then at the bottom, it goes back to Rand Fishkin, Cindy Krum, Kevin Indig, which is SEO again. 

[00:28:50] William Jones: And your songs. Then at the bottom it has the Boowa and Kwala, the cleanup song, all that stuff. So, it’s pretty cool.

[00:28:59] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But then if you look in the left-hand rail, it’s totally digital marketing.

[00:29:04] William Jones: Yep.

[00:29:05] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, what we have is the traditional algorithm, the blue link algorithm understands perfectly well that I’m a digital marketer that all ranks because it’s all terribly fresh, terribly new. The Knowledge Panel is actually showing all the different aspects of my career and my life which is correct. The only problem it has is that it thinks I’m a British musician now, whereas in fact I am a digital marketer.

[00:29:32] William Jones: It bolds out the digital marketer aspect in the right hand side which is interesting even though he is the British musician. 

[00:29:41] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): It is really interesting. That British musician is something I’m working towards changing. And that was the question of about the backlinks versus citations is that on my site, my personal site,, I have sections for all of these. I’m doing experiments with a company called WordLift, who builds internal knowledge graphs and then express them in Schema markup. Basically, they take what Kalicube does, what I’m doing, into a big scale. And I’ve built out a whole section about me as a digital marketer. And one thing I’ve done is point, put links to all of the different resources where I’m cited but there’s no backlink.

[00:30:23] William Jones: Yeah.

[00:30:23] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And what has happened is that if you look for videos, for example, it ranks the videos on my site. If you look for articles, it tends to rank the stuff on my site. And I now having done that, the most interesting thing is in America on mobile, you get articles by carousel. So, it’s understanding that these articles are by me because what I’m doing is saying over there you can see an article. It talks about me, but it doesn’t link to me. I linked to it. And I’m confirming to this child that is Google, yes, that is indeed me. And it gives it confidence once again. So, we come back to confidence. It understands, it needs to be reassured and that’s our job. So, let’s look at Google like a child who needs to be educated and reassured.

Naming Your Company in Google My Business 

[00:31:12] William Jones: Educating. That’s good. George here. I’ve had personal experiences with Google penalising my brand name GMB while rewarding spam named GMBs after the latest core update. Why do you think that would be?

[00:31:30] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): That really isn’t my specialist topic. How you name your company in GMB, you decide. I think what a lot of people do is give it a different name than the real company name in order to get rankings on generic keywords. Am I right about that?

[00:31:46] William Jones: Yeah, because what happens is you’ll have a lot of people that will say, well, you don’t put the keyword, don’t put the city in it. And it’s actually gets Google’s terms of services, which reality is it’s actually, from what my understanding, is not against Google terms of services. What it tells you is that your title, your business title, and your GMB should reflect how you represent yourself in the real world. That being said, what it means is if I have a business license and I call myself best SEO in Orlando, then the name of my GMB should be the same. But I can’t call myself William Jones SEO, it’s from a real license, and then on my GMB say best SEO in Orlando, just the stuff, the key words, and the city in there.

[00:32:42] William Jones: That being said I’ve always seen and I still believe this Google rewards you, if you have the geocentric and the keyword in your GMB title. I’ve seen it time and time and time and time again. But it’s not always the case. In some cases, you’ll look at who’s in the top 10 and they don’t have any of that. And then there are other times and other cities where it’s exactly that ever the top three will be an EDM and then I’ll have the city and the main keyword. They’ll say Orlando Roofer LLC, plain as day. And that’s about it and the website sucks and the SEO sucks and everything, but the only thing that they got going for them is that and possibly the age of the GMB cause age of the GMB does help sometimes with trust. And I’ve seen that too. 

[00:33:37] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I suppose kind of one thing that strikes me there, not that this isn’t totally my specialist subject, but if you call yourself something different on your GMB, you’re immediately giving the machine immense problems with reconciliation. It’s not going to be able to reconcile those two. You’re giving yourself a pseudonym in one place only, and that pseudonym doesn’t actually make sense. It’s not being repeated elsewhere. So, you’re just creating confusion. So, you’ve got to look, I think, at the short-term advantages. You can pull out of that, and also, against the long-term disadvantage of this child being perpetually confused.

[00:34:16] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the thing about children as well, if you’ve had children, is if they learn something and then you say, actually that wasn’t true after all, it’s really difficult to get them to go around again and say, okay, now I accept the new truth, especially if they trusted you in the first place. So, I would suggest it’s playing with fire, but obviously, you have to weigh up short and long-term aims. But the single most important thing for me today is to say to people, make sure you have a website that you own, that you run, you actually own the domain name. It can be a one pager and that you start building Google’s understanding that that is the Entity Home. That is the authoritative place for the entity.

[00:35:01] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And one really interesting thing is you are naturally the most authoritative person about yourself and your business is the most authoritative entity about itself as well. And Google is actively looking to build it with you. You just have to make sure it’s reassured. And if you can do that, you start to get some control. And what I’m doing with my experiments is seeing how much I can control what Google shows about and around me. And the answer is quite a lot. And if you look, you were saying earlier on, it says digital marketing consultant in the panel, that’s pulled from my site. In the Knowledge Panel, it’s citing me about myself. It believes so strongly that I’m truthful, that I’m not talking CRAP, that it’s willing to cite me, describing myself in what is essentially a fact in the right-hand side in that Knowledge Panel. And I think that’s what we all need to aim for.

Managing People’s Names to Control Their SERP, Knowledge Panel, and Blue Links 

[00:36:04] William Jones: Yeah. It’s, right now, if I look up some of the other SEOs, some of them will have them, some of them won’t. Neil Patel, for instance, he lists him as an English angel investor totally in a London United Kingdom, Kissmetrics Neil Patel, digital Crazy Egg, stuff like that. If you look at some other ones, Rand Fishkin, American entrepreneur. It’s totally different information.

[00:36:34] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Without subtitle. And that’s another kind of point about the human beings at Google. That subtitle is something you cannot ask a human being at Google to change. The machine decides, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Your social channels, you can suggest them to human beings. They can change the social channels in your Knowledge Panel or in your GMB. But if the machine thinks they’ve got it wrong, it will switch it back. So there is this thing with the human beings that Google can correct, but the machine ultimately has the last word. And if you remember that and you need to look at the thing and say, in my case, why is it saying British musician?

[00:37:08] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I need to correct that. I need to make sure that on my site, I clearly describe who I am, what I do. And I haven’t got there yet because this is a particularly thorny problem, but I will get there at some point, I’m sure. I just have to keep testing and experimenting. But the description underneath, as you said, some people have them, some people don’t.

[00:37:34] William Jones: And it bolds out something, for instance, I’m looking at another guy, Bill Hart, it says internet marketer underneath the name, and then it bolds out state of search digital marketing conference, which is interesting. Like on yours, it said musician and then underneath of it, it bolded out digital marketer.

[00:37:55] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right.

[00:37:56] William Jones: I just find that interesting. 

[00:37:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Well, the subtitle, British musician for me and for Bill Hart which is internet marketer, is part of the Knowledge Graph. Whereas, the description is actually being pulled from one of the results on the left. So, it’s the blue link algorithm understanding. So, it’s a slightly different understanding. 

[00:38:16] William Jones: Understanding the other. Yeah. So, it’s understanding the blue links, and then it say and it’s bolding out the state of the digital marketer aspect of it versus the British musician, if you will. The most up-to-date information is not musician. It’s actually digital marketer from Kalicube and LinkedIn and every area or place with Jason Barnard, your website, interesting podcasts, all that stuff.

[00:38:47] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. And there is a lot of play between the Knowledge Panel and the Brand SERP itself and both affect each other. And the more you control both of them, the more overall control you have. It sounds obvious, but you can’t just say I’ll control the left-hand side and not worry about the right, or I’ll just think about the right hand side and not care about the left, because the left bleeds into the right and the right affects the left. So, it’s a whole that you need to deal with, but it’s a whole that’s actually broken into two halves with visibly different approaches by the algorithms within them. It’s so interesting and so complicated and we know so little about it at this time. I love it, absolutely love it.

Jason Barnard on Experimenting With His Wikipedia Page 

[00:39:31] William Jones: I’ve looked at them a little bit, but then whenever I saw yours, I started looking at it more. That’s why it’s really, really interesting. He’s a British musician, but I know he’s an SEO, but yet it’s pointing out that he’s a British musician versus the digital marketer aspect of it. And it just floored me. 

[00:39:52] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Well, one interesting thing is a year ago, a year and a bit ago, I had a Wikipedia page. And I was experimenting using the Wikipedia page to see how Wikipedia affected the Knowledge Graph and the Knowledge Panel. And after a while, the people at Wikipedia got annoyed with me and just deleted it, not because I wasn’t notable enough, but because I was messing with it and they didn’t like that.

[00:40:11] William Jones: Messing with it too much and they didn’t like it.

[00:40:14] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But some things I did learn along the way is that if in Wikipedia it said Jason Barnard is an SEO consultant, it would say in the Knowledge Graph that I was an SEO consultant. Wikipedia still has a great deal of power. A year ago, it was pretty much 100%. Now, it isn’t. Wikipedia has heavy influence, but it doesn’t have the power it used to have.

[00:40:35] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, that’s an important point is Google is letting go of the training wheels that are Wikipedia. And we don’t need to obsess about Wikipedia anymore. We can actually build our presence in the Knowledge Graph and get that Knowledge Panel without Wikipedia. And the thing that Rand Fishkin said to me is he had his page deleted. He asked them to delete it because he was saying, I don’t want somebody but Wikipedia controlling what’s being said about me, what the truth is about me, because they don’t know. And he’s right. As soon as it was deleted, I got back control. As you can see, I’m describing myself in my own Knowledge Panel and it’s not Wikipedia or Google books or anybody like that. It’s me. So, I’m not handing my brand message over to some faceless person at Wikipedia which is great.

Getting Other People to Fix Your Knowledge Panel and How Kalicube Pro by Jason Barnard Can Help You With It 

[00:41:21] William Jones: Interesting. More and more. Because I’m trying not to look at it from an SEO point of view, it’s my SEO point of view is, tell me, what do I need to get into the Knowledge Panel because there are people that I’ve seen people, quote unquote, sell them for $250, promise you the world, and I’ve seen people sell it you for $2,500, but there’s a process. You need this. If you have a podcast, if you have a movie, the IMD, and if you have this and have this and you’re likely to get it, but even then it’s not guaranteed.

[00:41:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. Yeah. Well, the $250 one is one I hear all the time. This is, I don’t know if it is particularly wicked here, but that’s the one that comes up a lot. You pay $250. They create a page on Wikitia. Wikitia is a kind of pseudo Wikipedia, very cheap, rather depressing and it will trigger a Knowledge Panel. But basically what happens is it tricks the machine, but then you claim the Knowledge Panel. When you try and claim it, somebody at Google just deletes it because it’s Knowledge Panels spam. And Google don’t want the machine to be tricked. So, what the people do is they, Google is they delete it to teach the machine that that’s not the right way to do it. So, they’re basically using that. It’s training. So, I think that letting the machine get cheated so they can teach it how not to get cheated anymore. So if it’s $250, it’s a cheat, it’s spam, and it will probably get deleted at some point.

[00:42:46] William Jones: The ones that I’ve seen that are more expensive, they’re the ones that are usually going to be it’s a long process, usually three months, and then they say got to have all these nodes of data to actually get the Knowledge Panel.

[00:43:01] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): That’s exactly it. It takes three months. It’s the data lakes thing. Again, the machine needs time to sort through all that data and join the dots together and become confident. And I’ve actually built a tool called Kalicube Pro. It’s a platform, rather. And it does what you just described, but you do it yourself. It’s a do it self-service, do it yourself Knowledge Panel builder. So, it basically tells you which nodes you need to join together, how to join them together, provides you with a Schema markup, helps you write in a description, and basically, helps you with that three-step process: Entity Home, writing a clear description with a Schema markup, pointing to the corroboration, correcting the corroborative sources. And it does that step by step, but it’s self service because, to be honest, it’s really boring work. 

[00:43:50] William Jones: Really boring. And it’s funny, my son, I’m trying a little SEO and I’ve always thought I like SEO, but I’ve also said, to me, SEO is the same repetitive stuff over and over and over and over and over again. And, eventually, if you do it so many times you get rewarded. And my son has told me, it’s simple. SEO is simple dad. It’s just the same damn thing over and over again. I was like, yes, it is. But it gets rewards and you like to see different things. 

[00:44:22] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But it isn’t part of the art of your job and mine to identify where the sweet spots are. Identify the weaknesses and correct the right weaknesses in the right order. It’s, basically, saying this is our perfect list. I’m going to tell you which ones we need to correct. We then prioritise it according to what’s going to have most effect and what is actually reasonable for your business or not. So, the art of what you’re doing is doing the same thing over and over, but slightly different lead, packaging it, putting that jigsaw together differently depending on the client, their resources, their needs, and their situation. 

[00:44:58] William Jones: The other thing we like to do at Thompson, especially with GMB, or just looking at the competition, a lot of times you can find there are strengths. I like to look at their strengths and then where are their weaknesses? And then for me, doing that, it’s if you’re in the ring and you’re in a boxing match or whatever, and you’ve hurt or you see the other opponent has a weakness and they’ve been hurt, you take advantage of it and pound it and pound it and pound it until you overtake them and you win. But this is my 2 cents I’ll look at things.

[00:45:35] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): We’ve gone from educating children to punching people in the face.

Kalicube and How The Platform Works

[00:45:42] William Jones: Interesting. So, what’s the name of the website again where you do it yourself done, it’s not done for you, but you do it yourself?

[00:45:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. My company is called Kalicube. I’ve been doing this for years and agency and we help people with their Brand SERPs and their Knowledge Panels. So, basically helping with what happens when bottom of funnel, prospects, and clients search your brand name. And then I built the Kalicube Pro platform because Yoast devout from Yoast. The plugin asked me to help them. And I realized that if I was going to start working for people who really knew their stuff, people who are really smart, I would need to have something that was more complete than just me making up as I went along.

[00:46:32] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, I built the platform. And it actually crawls, gets all those references that you need, presents them to you, and then helps you through the task of organising them. And then you write the description about the entity, which is your company or yourself, depending on what kind of Knowledge Panel you’re looking for. And we have a sandbox where you can actually just test descriptions until you get the machine to understand. It uses Google’s NLP to analyze the text, to see if the machine understands what you’re writing. And surprisingly enough, most of the time, the first iteration of your description, which is the one you currently have, is simply not understood by the machine. And as we worked through it and improve it, we’ve got some techniques. I’ve got a video that shows how to do that, which is actually on YouTube. You can just look it up. It’s free. 

[00:47:16] William Jones: Yeah. I’m looking at the site now, Kalicube Pro. You have a SAS author, Knowledge Panel, the Knowledge Panel graph, API explorer, trusted sources, Kalicube Pro. That’s the one where you, the Kalicube Pro is the part where you’re actually going to do it. Interesting.

[00:47:38] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): It’s phenomenally important to Entity Home, I’ll say it again. But write a great description that the machine actually understands and that’s surprisingly difficult, but it’s the foundation of everything that follows. You place that on the Entity Home, you then corroborate with the existing mentions of you as somebody who was saying earlier on, talking about mentions, hopefully getting them to link back so you get that cycle. 

[00:48:02] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But what Kalicube also does is it takes equivalent entity types, so if you’re a person in Orlando who is an SEO specialist, Kalicube will pull up the sources that Google is using for that entity type person in that geo region Orlando for that industry SEO. In my case, my company Kalicube, a marketing agency in France within the digital marketing space. We did American footballer, a person who plays American football in America. What are the trusted sources for that industry, for that type of entity person within that geo region, and we can basically list them out. We can list out the social platforms that Google’s looking at, the new sites it’s looking at, the video sites it’s looking at. You’d think YouTube right down the line, but it’s not. So, all of these different things is saying this within your industry for your entity type within your geo region is where Google is looking. This is where you need to focus. And that is incredibly powerful. And I just got a bit overexcited and serious and I do apologise. 

[00:49:16] William Jones: No, I’m definitely going to be taking a look at this.

[00:49:20] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): We’ve got a database of 70,000 brands, so we can actually analyse that. And one thing we do for clients is, say, if you want to give me a list of entity equivalents, industry, geo, and entity type, we can upload that to Kalicube and within half an hour, I can actually just pull all this out as fresh data. So, we can do bespoke work to actually dig that, dig right down. That’s what we did for the American footballer. And we identified the top 10 news sources, and then they went out and they got three articles in the space of a week. And they told me, usually we have to contact 15 or 20 different platforms, media sources, to get three or four articles. We only had to contact five because they’ve got cited in the right five. 

[00:50:09] William Jones: Yep. Authority. Let’s see here.

[00:50:12] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. So, it is. I’m trying to build it out on my problem right now is finding the time to actually build out the tool because I’ve got the data, but I just need to be able to present the data to people in a self service manner which is suprisingly difficult.

[00:50:29] William Jones: There are lots of people that ask about it, believe it or not, that asked about how to get the Knowledge Panel and do you offer it as a service? That’s not something I offer as a service. 

[00:50:42] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Well, yeah, as I say, my aim is I don’t really want to offer it as a service. I want to offer it as a self-service so that I can focus on figuring this stuff out. And building up the data set so that I can actually provide that valuable information, because if I do, let’s say 50 Knowledge Panels in the next year for 50 different people and companies, I actually haven’t taken the industry, the understanding of the whole process further, very far forwards. But if I can provide that service and get three or 4,000 people to build their Knowledge Panels and collect the data for those three or 4,000 people, I will understand a lot more. I will have a lot more data and we will be able to do this much more efficiently and effectively as a community. And I’ll have a lot more fun, which is the most important part. 

[00:51:29] William Jones: Which is the most important part. Have fun on whatever you’re doing and enjoy life.

[00:51:34] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. Well, I love digging into the data and if I could just dig into the data all day long, I will be a Happy Larry. 

[00:51:42] William Jones: It’s been nice. We’re going to have to get off here. I got to actually, I live in the Philippines actually. It’s almost 10 o’clock or 9:30. And then I have one last appointment that I get to hit the sec.

[00:51:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): It’s bedtime for you. And for me, it’s almost. I’m going out and having an afternoon cup of tea and then going and having dinner with a friend. 

[00:52:05] William Jones: Yep. About the same time. So, it’s been good having you on here. I’ll be in contact and I’m definitely going to check out Kalicube. 

[00:52:11] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Brilliant! 

[00:52:12] William Jones: And take a look at this and stuff and the free tools maybe even send some. If people asked me about it, at least I can, I would like to go through it myself that way. If someone asks how to do it, I can at least say, well, go to Kalicube.Pro and this is what you got to do, fill this out, get your Knowledge Graph. 

[00:52:31] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Well, I’ve had a few people on Kalicube Pro. Some people understand it really natively, naturally, and incredibly enthusiastic. And some people don’t because it’s a little bit complicated. I’m trying to simplify the user interface. But people who do get it, get results pretty much immediately and pretty much every time. 

[00:52:53] William Jones: Nice. Nice.

[00:52:57] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Thank you very much for having me. That was absolutely delightful, William. 

[00:53:00] William Jones: I appreciate it, Jason. I appreciate it too, buddy. Thank you for coming on. And I would tell you guys good night or good day wherever you’re at. Appreciate you guys and thank you for all your questions. If you have any other questions, just make sure to drop them in YouTube or on Facebook, and I’ll just tag Jason so he can answer them or I’ll get them to him soon. All right I appreciate it, guys. You all have a good day. 

[00:53:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. See you soon. Thanks a lot, man.

[00:53:26] William Jones: Appreciate it.

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