Your Brand SERP on Google Is the Most Important KPI You Never Looked At by Jason Barnard
[00:00:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Keep talking. It doesn’t go, oh, here you go. You’re right.
[00:00:02] Larry Kotch: There we go. Hello, everybody. Welcome to the search track. Great to have you all back if you’ve just come over from the keynote. So it was a fantastic keynote by Sanjay earlier. I hope everyone took away a lot from that. And now, as the day split into these various tracks. So if you’re watching us now, you are on the search track, the best track. And if you’re watching us, you are going to be here on this track doing organic and paid search strategies. That’s what we’ll be talking about, the concepts that will help you generate more business online via Google and other search engines.
Presenting Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) as a Speaker, an Expert in Brand SERPs and Knowledge Panels, and a Contributor to Digital Marketing Publications
[00:00:32] Larry Kotch: So, our first speaker today with me on the call is Jason Barnard, the original punk rocker of SEO. Jason is a very sought after speaker who practically wrote the book on online reputation management, having been involved in the industry since day one of Google, practically, where he built a kids website that was actually at one point, one of the 10,000 most popular websites on the internet. His particular area of expertise is in Brand SERP and personal Brand SERP and the Knowledge Panels. And incidentally, that is what he is going to be talking to us today about.
[00:01:05] Larry Kotch: Jason is a regular contributor to leading digital marketing publications, such as Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land. He regularly writes for others, including WordLift, SE Ranking, Semrush, Search Engine Watch, Searchmetrics, and Trustpilot, just to name a few names that many of us in the SEO industry will be very familiar with. So with that introduction done from my side, I give you the amazing Jason Barnard and his talk on Brand SERP. And he’s going to actually introduce himself using the very thing he’s going to be talking to us about today. Good luck, Jason. And I’ll be watching intently.
[00:01:38] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Thank you, Larry. I’m actually hosting tomorrow, so I’ve just got a great lesson in how to host. Thank you, Larry, for giving me that opportunity to learn.
A Brief Introduction to Brand SERPs, Why It’s the Biggest Miss of Your Digital Strategy, and Knowledge Panels
[00:01:49] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And today I’m talking about Brand SERPs and why it’s the biggest miss of your digital strategy. I think people don’t look at them enough. I think it’s overlooked, what appears when somebody searches your exact match brand name or your personal name. We overlook it because we think it’s easy and we think it isn’t incredibly important. And I’m going to argue that it is important and it isn’t as easy as it looks, but it’s certainly one of the easier tasks in SEO. And it builds a massive, massive incredibly powerful digital strategy around an amazing digital ecosystem for your brand.
[00:02:22] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, I’m going to start by presenting myself using my own personal Brand SERP. And this is the point with the personal Brand SERP or your Brand SERP, you should be telling your brand story. And this is what I’ve managed to do. I’m The Brand SERP Guy and here you can see my Brand SERP. It looks lovely, very colourful. That’s taken me quite a long time to build. I’ve been doing Brand SERPs since 2013. And we’ll see what I was doing before that from the rest of the Brand SERP.
[00:02:49] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I also love Knowledge Panels. Knowledge Panels are incredibly interesting. We can look at Knowledge Panels, the right-hand side of Google, as Google’s knowledge, as the name implies. And the fact is we need to educate Google. That’s a talk for another day. Today we’re talking more about the left-hand side, which is Google’s opinion, Google’s recommendation. The right-hand side, this Knowledge Panel is fact. And Mr. John Mueller from Google calls me Mr. Knowledge Panel, which is delightful and terribly, terribly charming.
Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) as a Voice Actor, Musician, Podcaster, Author, and CEO and founder of Kalicube
[00:03:19] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’m currently living in Paris, as you can see from my LinkedIn profile that ranks there on my Brand SERP. I was a voice actor in a blue, I was a blue dog, sorry, in a cartoon. I was a voice actor for many years, as you can see from that video, from the songs in my Knowledge Panel, and from the IMDb profile. I was a punk folk musician that Larry mentioned earlier on. You can see there in my site. I’ve got those little sitelinks that mentioned The Barking Dogs. That was a punk folk group in Paris in the 1990s. I played the double bass and I absolutely loved it.
[00:03:52] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I have a groovy podcast with amazing guests, Rand Fishkin, John Mueller’s been on it, Andy Crestodina. And you can see that from the With Jason Barnard Podcast Knowledge Panel at the bottom there and the With Jason Barnard result. And I’m an author, released this book, launched this book in January 2022. I’m terribly pleased. It took me a lot of time to write this thing here behind me on the shelves. It’s a great introduction to Brand SERPs, accessible to anybody, but also incredibly helpful to SEO professionals. Marie Haynes of the EAT fame said that she wished she had read it five years ago, because it’s a beautiful, wonderful, fresh view of SEO and digital marketing in general. And I’m terribly charmed by that too.
[00:04:41] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I also am the CEO and founder of Kalicube, which is a SaaS platform and courses in Brand SERPs. Everything is about Brand SERPs in my little world. And you can see that from that blue link result. And in short, I’m The Brand SERP Guy. And over the last year, I’ve managed to educate Google. And we also, now on my Brand SERP, have that question, who is The Brand SERP Guy? A year ago, Google didn’t know what a Brand SERP was. And now it has those two People Also Ask what is a Brand SERP and who is The Brand SERP Guy. I’ve educated Google to understand what a Brand SERP is and that I am the expert, to the point at which when you search my name, it associates me so closely with that that it shows those People Also Ask right near the top of my Brand SERP. That is a summary of who I am, what I do, and who my potential audience might be.
A Preview of the Talk: The Three Points of Your Brand SERP, Overall Digital Strategy, Anatomy of a Brand SERP, and How to Optimise a Brand SERP
[00:05:31] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, the plan today is to go through the three points of your Brand SERP: your audience, Google, and yourself. That’s incredibly important to understand that your Brand SERP is actually viewed differently by these three different groups of people. Your audience, Google, and yourself have different points of view, have different needs and can get different understanding and leverage different advantages out of the Brand SERP.
[00:06:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And your Brand SERPs should always be a big part of your overall digital strategy. I’m incredibly, incredibly enthusiastic about this point. I think once you look at your Brand SERP, you think, well, I rank number one, that’s fine, that’s enough. It isn’t enough. There’s so much more you can learn from your Brand SERP as we will see throughout this talk.
[00:06:17] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’m then going to look at the anatomy of a Brand SERP. I think that’s a question that’s really important, because people haven’t really thought about it very much in the past. We don’t really know what one should look like, and I will show you what one should look like, what your Brand SERP should look like.
[00:06:31] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And I’ll end with quite a big chunk, how to optimise a Brand SERP. That’s going to be really interesting as SEO professionals. People who know about SEO, you will understand how to make your Brand SERP better, let’s say, sexier, more accurate, more positive, and more convincing to your audience when they google your brand name.
Focusing on Exact Match Brand Searches and Optimising Your Entity Identity
[00:06:49] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But before we start, I just want to reiterate that I’m talking about exact match brand searches. I’m not talking about brand plus review, brand plus product. I’m talking about your brand name or your personal name or your podcast name or the film name, if we’re talking about a film. Brand SERPs apply to all these things. They even go as far as products. If somebody searches a product name, that is still a Brand SERP. We could call them entity SERPs. So this is right at the heart of entity optimisation.
[00:07:17] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Koray Gubur talks about managing and optimising your entity identity. And I love that because it’s such a lovely iteration. I don’t know what that’s called. Iteration, oh, I can’t remember. It doesn’t really matter. Entity identity, optimising your entity identity is something that we should all be looking at today, and we can do that through the Brand SERP.
Comparing the Brand SERPs of Big Companies and Small Ones
[00:07:39] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, exact match brand search is your Google Business Card. And this little illustration demonstrates that. And you can see here, Microsoft look incredibly impressive from their Brand SERP. You would expect that from a big company. But actually, you don’t need to be a big company to look that impressive. Here we have Microsoft on the left. In the middle there, you have Kalicube. Kalicube looks pretty good. We’re a tiny company.
[00:08:01] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): This is a Brand SERP of a company that doesn’t have the means, it doesn’t have the products, it doesn’t have the shops, it doesn’t have the top stories, but we can still have those images and those videos. And if you look at Kalicube today, if you search Kalicube on Google today, you will see multiple videos, you will see Twitter Boxes, you will see a great content strategy represented on that Brand SERP. This green shop was taken about nine months ago. The most recent ones, if you look it up, will be more impressive, more convincing, more positive, and more accurate.
[00:08:34] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And on the right there, you’ve got 10 blue links. Now I think we all now think when we see 10 blue links, that isn’t what I expected. And for a brand, that makes the brand look incredibly unprofessional, unconvincing, potentially negative, and in this case, it’s actually quite inaccurate too. And there are three reasons they’re so important.
The Three Important Points of Your Brand SERP: Your Audience, Google, and You
[00:08:53] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): They’re important to your audience. Your audience, who is searching your brand name, know who you are. They know what you do. They’re thinking or they’re doing business with you already. They’re your clients, your prospects, your investors, your partners. They’re the most important people to your business. They’re the people who are going to drive your bottom line. What they see on that Brand SERP is incredibly important to your bottom line because that’s what’s going to get them on board or keep them on board. That Google Business Card becomes fundamentally important to your business.
[00:09:23] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): It’s important to Google because it’s Google’s assessment of the world’s opinion of you. And you could say it’s your E-A-T. If Google is getting the right content, the positive content that’s relevant to your brand, it’s also relevant to your audience. Then Google has understood where you are expert, where you are authoritative, and where you are trustworthy. And it’s presenting your trustworthiness, your authoritativeness, and your expertise to your audience when they search your brand name. So, Marie Haynes, I mentioned earlier on, she and I talk a great deal about E-A-T and Brand SERPs.
[00:09:57] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And it’s important for you, of course, because it’s a window into your brand’s digital ecosystem and content strategy. If you look at your Brand SERP, you can immediately see where you’re succeeding, where you are failing. If you are investing in video, but you don’t have video boxes on your Brand SERP, that suggests you’re investing badly or you are investing, your audience are engaging, but Google doesn’t see it. It doesn’t appreciate that this is valuable, helpful content for your audience, that it should be showing them when they google your brand name. So that video strategy would need to be adapted. So this is an incredible insight into what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong.
The Importance of Updating the Information on Your Brand SERP and Building Branded Queries
[00:10:35] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, let’s take a look at your Brand SERP. Search your brand name right now. You’re sitting in front of your computer, listening to me. Take a moment to open another tab. Search your brand name. Does it look like the one on the left or the one on the right? Even if it looks like the one on the left, which looks pretty good, and I put a little smiley face to make you happy that you are looking like that, you can improve it. This is an ongoing task because the Brand SERP will change over time. Your strategy changes over time. Your content changes over time. You need your Brand SERP to reflect the up-to-date information about your brand.
[00:11:08] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And just in case you didn’t think that they are still important, John Mueller from Google, the Googly guy, talks about pool search queries, and I love this. Google say pool search queries, but that is actually just branded queries. And what he is saying is Google is suggesting that today we should be focusing increasingly on these pool search queries, building pool search queries, branded queries. It’s a great signal to Google, but also it’s going to become increasingly important, especially, and this isn’t what John says, but this is what I read into it, as people are staying on the SERP more to investigate and to research higher up the funnel, you need to get them down to the bottom of the funnel where they’re searching your brand name and at that point, you need to dominate, you need to manage, you need to optimise, you need to control, and we’ll simulate to run the control is phenomenally important.
When You Improve Your Overall Digital Ecosystem, That Will Improve Google’s Opinion of You
[00:11:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And by definition, by improving your Brand SERP, you are entering into a marketing virtuous cycle. You improve your Brand SERP. In order to do that, you need to improve your digital ecosystem. You need to go out to every single reference to you, everywhere you are present online. You need to improve it because it will be reflected directly or indirectly through your Brand SERP.
[00:12:19] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, when you improve that digital ecosystem, of course, that will improve Google’s opinion of you. And that’s EAT and much more, its entity SEO. It’s your entity identity. It’s also your presence in Google on other SERPs. Because if you are creating great video, that great video will also appear on other SERPs not related to your brand name, and that will get you in front of a new audience that you didn’t already have. All of this is incredibly powerful, and we are doing it at Kalicube. And we, for a year now, we’ve really focused on this digital ecosystem, looking at our overall digital ecosystem, and the effect has been astonishing on our bottom line.
[00:13:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Google reflects all of your digital ecosystem, everything you’re doing and everything your clients, customers, partners are talking about you around the web through your Brand SERP. So in fact, tracking your Brand SERP and looking at your Brand SERP pages, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 will give you an incredible insight into exactly what’s going on around your brand across the web.
[00:13:22] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And who better to track that than Google. And Google, effectively what they’re doing with the Brand SERP or what you would be doing by tracking it, is tracking Google’s tracking of your brand within the internet as a whole. Your entire ecosystem is laid out there, prioritised by Google who know more, I would argue, than anybody else in the world about what’s going online about your brand.
[00:13:49] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And who’s happy in this circumstance? When you’ve got a great Brand SERP, your audience are happy. They’re saying that great Google Business Card. Google are happy because they understand your expertise, authority, and your trustworthiness within your specialist topic for your audience, who will then be interested in what you’re talking about. And you are happy because you are driving amazing brand visibility through that content strategy around your digital ecosystem. And you’re also being incredibly convincing to Google within your topic for your wider SEO strategy. And when your audience search your brand name, they’re going to be more convinced, more likely to get on board if they’re a prospect and stay on board if they’re already a client.
The Anatomy of a Brand SERP: What Does a Good Brand SERP Look Like?
[00:14:30] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, the anatomy of a Brand SERP. What does a good Brand SERP look like? Obviously, we don’t have an absolute here. It depends on your industry, it depends on your geo, it depends on the work that you’ve done on it, but this is a typical Brand SERP that is quite good, several blue links from different sources, a set of video boxes, People Also Ask, Rich Sitelinks. Those are what I’m calling Rich Elements rather than SERP features. Rich Elements allows us to include things like Rich Sitelinks, which are a big chunk of real estate, as we’ll see later on, that you control right at the top, where you can control your brand message through those Rich Sitelinks much, much, much more important than people giving them credit for most of the time, in my opinion.
[00:15:10] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, a good Brand SERP would tend to have seven or eight blue links, three or four Rich Elements, and a Knowledge Panel on the right-hand side. And it would be positive, it would be accurate, and it would be convincing. And you would have absolute control. You would be able to control directly or indirectly every single result, every single word on that page, which implies that you then control your brand message that you are presenting to that audience searching your brand name, once again, bottom of funnel, your A-list audience.
[00:15:41] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Seven blue links, three Rich Elements, and a Knowledge Panel. Interestingly, under 50% of brands have Knowledge Panels. We have a database of 70,000 brands that we’re tracking at Kalicube Pro. We’ve been tracking them for 7 years. 50% of brands have a Knowledge Panel. I think that is a massive miss. A Knowledge Panel is simply a representation of Google’s understanding of your brand, factually speaking. And if you are into entity SEO, and if you’re not, you should be. Entity SEO is the future. Entity identity, managing that entity identity, you must have a Knowledge Panel because the Knowledge Panel indicates that Google is understood who you are, what you do, and who your audience is. And until you have that, Google doesn’t have that understanding. You are at a big disadvantage moving forwards for the next few years.
Reading a Brand SERP: Positive Reviews, Video Boxes, and Rich Sitelinks
[00:16:28] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Reading a Brand SERP. I look at this and I see immediately we’ve got reviews. That’s great, positive reviews. That means that Google has ranked this review platform as being the most representative of your brand. If it’s a bad review that’s ranking up there, Google assumes or is thinking that those bad reviews truly represent your brand. That’s a big, big, big signal to you that you have a problem. Even if you’ve got great reviews on other platforms, Google is estimating or evaluating these as the most important.
[00:16:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, you can look at reviews. You can look at video boxes. Is my strategy any good? Do I have the right videos there? Are the videos positive? Are they my videos? Are they somebody else’s videos? You can look at the People Also Ask. What questions are people asking around my brand, about my brand? Can I potentially answer them? Can I dominate this? The Rich Sitelinks, can people access the different parts of my website easily and simply through my Brand SERP or not?
[00:17:21] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Rich Sitelinks are there because Google wants to help your audience to navigate to a part of your website that they would otherwise have to go through the homepage. This is for the user experience. If Google doesn’t give you the Rich Sitelinks, then it implies that your website is badly organised, and you need to look at that website. So it’s incredible insights that you can get just from glancing at a Brand SERP. And I can read a Brand SERP like you read tea leaves except factually, because tea leaves is obviously not so reliable as a Brand SERP. I can read this and I can understand where you should be focusing in order to drive your global digital strategy forwards most effectively. It’s a great way to prioritise.
[00:18:04] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And we’ve actually built a platform, a SaaS platform, Kalicube Pro where we pull this to the fore and we can basically analyse your Brand SERP and identify the priorities for your overall digital strategy through your Brand SERP. Whereby, as I said earlier, you improve your Brand SERP, but you will also improve your digital ecosystem and your digital strategy.
The KPI for a Good Brand SERP: Great Quality, Positive Sentiment, and Having Control
[00:18:25] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): What KPI? This is something people ask me a lot. We have a measurement at Kalicube, the quality, sentiment, let’s say, and the control. Obviously, if you want great quality, great sentiment, positive sentiment for when your audience google your brand name, the best way to do that is to have control. The darker blue here on the right is more control. If you can control that Brand SERP, you control the message. And that message could therefore be positive, accurate, and convincing for your audience.
[00:18:52] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And you can track it over time, obviously. And you can show if you’re an agency, show your clients how you are improving that Brand SERP, how their brand image is improving, because that Brand SERP represents Google’s assessment of your overall brand image online. The greener it is, the better your Google Business Card, but also the better Google’s perception of your reputation online is. That has to be one of the most important insights today in both SEO and digital marketing more generally.
[00:19:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): We can also do across geo. I think this is something that people don’t realise, especially if you’re an international company. That Brand SERP will vary enormously across different geo regions, and you need to look after them all if you’re an international company but also a national company. From town to town, it will change. So you need to make sure that you are tracking that geo Brand SERP and making sure that you look good in Australia but also look good in New York or in France or in Ireland or wherever else your business is present.
How to Improve Your Brand SERP: Watch the Videos on the Kalicube YouTube Channel, Listen to the Podcast, and Watch the Daily Brand SERP Series
[00:19:53] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, this is the exciting, fun part of how to improve your Brand SERP. I’m checking the time to make sure I don’t overrun. This goes quite fast. I’m assuming that the people watching this, you guys out there in the audience have some SEO knowledge, but even if you don’t, there are ways to catch up. If you don’t manage to keep up with what I’m talking about, you can watch the videos on the Kalicube YouTube channel. We have gazillions of videos all about these techniques about different techniques in SEO and also digital marketing more generally.
[00:20:23] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): If we look back at the podcast I mentioned earlier on, one of the things I learned from this podcast is I was an SEO. Before I was a blue dog then I was an SEO. Now I’m a digital marketer. And I would even say now, I’m becoming a marketer as opposed to a digital marketer. And the podcast is full of great people, incredibly intelligent people, knowledgeable, Rand Fishkin, Andy Crestodina, I mentioned earlier on, Bill Slawski, sharing their knowledge with me on the podcast. And that’s allowed me to understand much better the wider perspective beyond SEO into digital marketing, and even with people like April Dunford, into marketing more generally.
[00:21:02] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): You can also watch The Daily Brand SERP series. There are 170 or more episodes out there. And I just analyse one aspect of a Brand SERP every day on video. And that gives you an incredibly easy entry into Brand SERP analysis and Brand SERP optimisation. And there are learning resources at the end that I will share that allow you to really dig down into the subject through the books, the courses, and the SaaS Platform.
General Tactics for Blue Links: Update Those You Control
[00:21:28] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, general tactics for the blue links. Obviously, the first thing you do is update those you control. That is an absolute no brainer. I’m not talking of anything you didn’t know here, but also look at all the domains, all the relevant pages on those domains, all the meta titles, all the meta descriptions, the images on those page, we’re getting more and more images in mobile especially but also on desktop now, and the content.
[00:21:52] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And I think people sometimes forget sub domains. They forget other domains they control. They forget those Rich Sitelinks. You can see there on the left with Kalicube. They forget the images that not only appear on mobile. Now, they’re also appearing more and more on desktop. Having a great image that represents your company is incredibly important.
Improving the Ones You Semi-Control Like Your Social Profiles and Looking at the Ones Below and Pushing the Content up
[00:22:11] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But then you also want to improve the ones you semi-control. And you can add the ones that aren’t already there. You could add something to Bloomberg or to Wikidata or to Crunchbase. And you should optimise things that you already have that you semi-control, such as Twitter and YouTube, all these profiles. Google wants to rank these profiles because they represent your business, but they also are a way for your audience to engage with you.
[00:22:35] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And when somebody searches your brand name, one option Google wants to give them is the choice of how they engage. Do they want to engage through your website, through your Twitter profile, through your YouTube channel, or do they want to read your articles? In my case, on Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land, or similar. So, those ones you semi-control, you should not overlook them. You should not minimise them because they will tend to appear on your Brand SERP. Google loves them.
[00:23:01] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And then you should also look at the ones below. If the ones on your current Brand SERP don’t represent your brand in the way that you want, and I’m not saying negative, I’m saying just not perfect. If that brand message and that potential engagement from your audience isn’t exactly what you wanted, then you can look below pages 2, 3, 4, look at the content and push that up by effectively doing SEO for others. For example, Owler, LinkedIn for yourself but also an association website within your industry would potentially be very interesting for Google on a Brand SERP, helpful to your audience. And you can help that association with their SEO on your page to help yourself. So, doing SEO for others is also part of the Brand SERP strategy you should be implementing.
A Knowledge Panel Is a Must-Have for Your Entity SEO
[00:23:48] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the cherry on the top is that Knowledge Panel. Now, I say cherry on the top and I actually don’t mean cherry on the top. If you were listening earlier on, you must have entity SEO. This is a must-have. If you don’t have one, you need to build one now. And it’s really, really, really vital for your entity SEO moving forwards for your entire SEO strategy. Google needs this understanding in order to be able to match your offers with the needs of its audience. If it doesn’t understand you, it doesn’t understand your offers. How can it possibly in the future match those to the audience who are searching for those offers and those expertise, authoritativeness on that specific topic?
[00:24:32] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, Google’s understanding and that’s, once again, a talk for another day is vital and you need to educate it. I love to say, treat it like a child. You’re the responsible adult in the room educating this child about who you are, what you do, and who your audience is, so that it understands when you will be appropriate, when you will be helpful to its audience searching on Google. And also, it will understand how you want to be presented to your audience when they’re searching your brand name.
The Glory of Rich Elements, Also Known as SERP Features
[00:25:05] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, the glory of Rich Elements. I absolutely love Rich Elements. SERP features, we can call them. As you can see here, over a year, the number of Rich Elements on a Brand SERP has gone up significantly doubled. The number of blue links has not gone down. I thought initially the blue links were dying, but they’re not. Frederic Dubut from Bing has told me that they will never die or at least not in the foreseeable future, because the entire Google ecosystem and Bing ecosystem are built on those blue links. That’s how they make their money. Those ads are driving their revenue and the blue links is the basis.
[00:25:41] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I wrote an article from Gary Illyes about his explanation about how ranking works on Search Engine Journal. Look that up. It’s a great read, Darwinism in Search. His explanation is all about the fact that those blue links are the foundation and all the rest is built on top in a bidding system, that I won’t go in for today because I don’t have time. Read that article. I think it’s well worth reading. And you can see how these Rich Elements get their place.
The Purpose of Rich Sitelinks on Your Brand SERP and How to Control Them
[00:26:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Firstly, Rich Sitelinks, here we are. What are they there for? They’re there because Google wants to give your audience searching your brand name easy access to different areas of the site that will be helpful. Your homepage is not a destination in itself. So, the ideal result would be a homepage and then the Rich Sitelinks so that your audience can go to the about page, the contact page, the login page, whatever it might be.
[00:26:31] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I was talking to Joost de Valk from Yoast who know index, the login page by default. And they’re now rethinking that because they realise now that I’ve explained that the login page is potentially a great result, put in the Rich Sitelinks because your clients want to go to the login page. So, once again, these seemingly simple, seemingly innocuous elements on your Brand SERP are actually vitally important and you have immense control in this specific case.
[00:26:59] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And how do you control it? Just good onpage SEO, very simple, meta title, meta description, the content in the page. You need to add some content, even your contact page. Google needs a little bit of content in order to be able to understand the context correctly and to be sure that it’s correctly understood.
[00:27:14] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Then you want to use Schema Markup to mark the type of page, homepage, contact page, about us page, profile page, pricing, and the blog. And then Semantic HTML5, vastly underrated, once again. Fabrice Canel from Bing told me explicitly that at least Bingbot uses Semantic HTML extensively in order to tag and annotate the content before it puts it in the index. Gary Illyes then said that all search engines work more or less the same, which implies that Google do exactly the same. Semantic HTML5 is definitely something you should be looking into, if you aren’t already.
The Significance of Image Boxes on Your Brand SERP and How to Optimise Them
[00:27:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Image boxes, absolutely delightful. We can see around the world, much more popular than in the UK, in the US. This is because image boxes are relatively easy to trigger. And in the UK and the US, there’s much more video content, there are many more Twitter accounts, and so on and so forth that Google can put in to replace the image boxes. So if you’re looking for an easy win, image boxes are your easy win on your Brand SERP. And then you can look to replace them further down the line with video boxes, Twitter boxes, and so on and so forth that take longer.
[00:28:19] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): How do you do that? Good image SEO and a design strategy so that it actually looks pretty when you see it on your Brand SERP like this. Quality images, image SEO-ed, Semantic HTML5 again, Schema Markup again, distributed on trusted sources. Google doesn’t want to show just images from your own website. It wants to show from multiple different sources. So you need to spread those images around the web to give Google some variety. And you need a consistent brand image to be sure that that looks pretty.
The Video Boxes That Google and People Love and How to Optimise Them
[00:28:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Video boxes, absolutely delightful. Creating video contact, one of my favourite things in the entire universe right now. We’ve done a lot of that. As you can see here, we’ve got some great video boxes on our Brand SERP. This is a great representation. Google loves video. Why does Google love video? Because people love video. Video is increasingly important. Creating video content should, if it isn’t already, be part of your digital strategy and your content strategy. And once again, distributed around the web, on YouTube, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Vimeo potentially, on your own website as well.
[00:29:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Once again, we’re looking at this offsite content that creates this digital ecosystem where you’re building your Brand SERP around that digital ecosystem. Once again, just video SEO, nothing very complicated. Quality videos, Semantic HTML5, SEO on your videos, captions, incredibly important, so Google can understand. You’ve seen how bad the automatic captions can be on YouTube. Help Google understand better. Distributed on trusted sources, once again, you’re looking offsite, getting that digital ecosystem built up. Audience engagement, incredibly important for the Brand SERP. When Google sees your audience engaging with your content, it knows that that content is important, valuable, helpful, and relevant to your audience and will then rank it on the Brand SERP.
[00:30:09] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Once again, a consistent brand image, we’ve been working very hard on that. That design is starting to be recognisable. We just push that same design, all this similar design with those colours, that colour scheme makes us look good, makes us recognisable at a glance.
Twitter Boxes, Their Realtime Control Over Your Brand SERP, and How to Get and Maintain Them
[00:30:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Twitter boxes, delightful, realtime control over your Brand SERP. As you can see here, that’s what 17 seconds, 15 seconds. That’s my record between the moment I tweeted Shaun the Sheep to the moment Google showed it on my personal Brand SERP. That means that with those Twitter boxes at the top, you can control what’s right at the top or near the top of your Brand SERP within 15 or 16 seconds simply by tweeting. It takes you a little while to get the Twitter box. But once you’ve got them, you can maintain them, they stay, and you’ve got that control once again at the top.
[00:30:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And if you look at my Brand SERP, you’ve got my website then the Twitter boxes. That’s a good third of my Brand SERP that I’m controlling. Simple to get them, just takes time, maybe six months. We did an experiment with Kalicube. It took us eight months from a standing start. Quality tweets, consistently tweeting, using images, using videos, audience engagement, peer approval. Make sure that you’re interacting with people within your industry and companies within your industry so Google understands that these tweets are relevant and a consistent brand message and brand image, once again.
People Also Ask: The Questions That Google Sees as Most Relevant for Your Audience
[00:31:28] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): People Also Ask. I’ve got an increase here because as you can see, as with the rest of Google, the number of People Also Ask has increased vastly over the last year and a bit. We can see here on Brand SERP has increased phenomenally. We’re now up to 51%. These are the questions that Google sees as most important, most relevant for your audience about and around your brand. If you don’t have them, then Google hasn’t understood.
[00:31:52] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Once again, we’re into that idea of understanding, doesn’t understand what your brand does and who your audience is, because then if it did, it would understand what questions your audience are asking about and around your brand. So you really need to get them. And if you get them, you need to dominate them. And only about 10% of brands dominate their own People Also Ask. Who is getting that People Also Ask? It’s their competitors. It’s forums. It’s not controlled. It’s not part of their brand messages. That’s a big, big, big miss.
You Can Get People Also Ask by Asking Questions About and Around Your Brand
[00:32:23] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): How do you get them? FAQ section, one question per page. I’ve got multiple videos online and within my courses on the Kalicube Academy, I actually give the entire strategy for this. It’s really simple, just takes a little bit of time, and it’s incredibly powerful. You need to, in that FAQ section, answer questions about your brand, answer questions around your brand. You can create relevant blog articles. They’re very good for ranking into People Also Ask and also informational pages, surprisingly enough, about the brand and about the brand offers.
[00:32:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): If there is a specific question, here we’ve got UBG, who are a client of mine. Every single question in the People Also Ask, even when you click on them and they expand down, there are about 30 questions in total. Now, we answer 27 of them. That is a great strategy because we are answering the questions that are most important to our audience. And we are dominating not only the Brand SERP People Also Ask, but all the questions that people ask around our brand on Google.
Google Is a Child Who Needs to Understand and Be Confident to Get a Knowledge Panel
[00:33:21] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Knowledge Panels. I’ll go through this really quickly. This is SE Ranking, a great SEO tool that I enjoy using a great deal. In the UK and the US, there are a lot more Knowledge Panels than in the rest of the world. That’s simply due to lack of understanding. And that lack of understanding, in my opinion, is due to lack of education by us, the responsible adults, about our brands to this child who is Google.
[00:33:43] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): This is a little bit more complicated in just the number of words I’ve had to write, but it’s actually very simple. Give your Entity a home on your website, one page that describes the entity clearly. You place and correct corroborative information on independent third-party sites that are relevant, authoritative, and trusted. And then you signpost from the Entity Home using Schema Markup all of that corroboration.
[00:34:06] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): This is a learning experience for Google. The responsible adult, you, tells it what the facts are on the Entity Home, and then you point it to all the corroborative third-party sites, let’s say, grandma, the baker, the head teacher, the teacher, the policewoman down the road. They corroborate what it is you said. The child then understands and not only understands, but is confident it’s understood. And when it’s understood and it’s confident, that’s when you get a Knowledge Panel, no reason not to have one, very simple.
[00:34:35] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And what I described just above is just a simple, rounded, balanced content strategy, nothing complicated, nothing incredibly technical. There was no real technical SEO in there. The only exception would be HMTL5 and Semantic, sorry, Semantic HTML5 and Schema Markup that actually isn’t necessary. It’s the content and the engagement from your audience and the relationship that Google can see between you and your audience through that content often on third-party sites that makes all the difference in the world to that control and that Brand SERP quality.
When You Improve Your Brand SERP, You Improve Your Google Business Card and Boost Google’s Opinion of You
[00:35:11] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, wrapping it up, the reminder. When you improve your Brand SERP, you’re improving your Google Business Card for your audience bottom and post funnel. You’re more convincing to that audience. You boost Google’s opinion of you, your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness, incredibly important moving forwards. And you improve your overall digital ecosystem.
[00:35:34] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And for me, I have just covered in this talk in 30 minutes every aspect of your acquisition funnel from top to bottom once they get to your site, honestly, that’s your problem. But this strategy gets them to your site, convinced that you are a great solution who is relevant and helpful and valuable to them to solve their problems.
To Learn More: Read the Brand SERP Book, Take the Brand SERP Courses, and Use the Brand SERP SaaS Platform, All on Kalicube
[00:35:57] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I would suggest that tracking, measuring, and improving your Brand SERP is a strategic necessity. It’s overlooked by most brands. I don’t believe that’s a good move on their part. It’s a massive miss, as I said at the start of this talk. And if you want to learn more and dig deeper, there are three options from Kalicube. We’ve got the Brand SERP book for beginners, if you’re really just getting into it. As I said, Marie Haynes, who is definitely not a beginner, really enjoyed the book, got a great deal out of it and said, she wished she had read it five years ago. David Amerland too, who knows his stuff, he’s written three or four books about SEO, also said this is standard reading for any marketer or digital marketer.
[00:36:37] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): We have intermediate. We have the Brand SERP courses on the Kalicube Academy. These are in detail videos where I present all the techniques and tactics and strategies that I’ve talked about here very briefly but in much, much more detail. And then for the advanced for agencies, we have a Brand SERP SaaS platform. It tracks, it measures, it analyses, and it provides insights into how you can improve that Brand SERP and master that Brand SERP, make it controlled, make it positive, make it accurate, make it convincing to the audience searching that brand name and beyond. Thank you very much. That was your Brand SERP on Google. That’s the biggest miss of your digital strategy. I’ll bet my bottom dollar.
The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard) on Learning Something New Every Day Even After 10 Years
[00:37:21] Larry Kotch: Thank you so much, Jason. Thanks so much for that amazing talk. And I think you’ve enlightened a lot of us to take Brand SERP a hell of a lot more seriously as part of our SEO strategy.
[00:37:30] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah, I hope so. I love that talk. And as I go through every time I’ve given the talk many, many times, I think, oh, this is really, really, really interesting and cool. And what I’ve been doing this now for 10 years? I thought like everybody else, oh, after a month, I’ll have sorted all this out because I’m a good SEO. 10 years later, I’m still learning something new every day.
[00:37:55] Larry Kotch: That’s amazing. Well, look, if anybody wants to follow up with all the other links that Jason provided, I think these sessions will be recorded and they’ll be sent over after. Otherwise, I think you can actually get the PDFs if you go in the back and then get that last slide and go and sort out your Brand SERPs, everyone.
What are the Metrics and KPIs to Track as SEOs?
[00:38:16] Larry Kotch: We do have a question in Q&A by someone, but I also wanted to start with something as well that I think maybe people might also be interested in, which was just around the some of the figures you’ve seen when you’ve seen successful implementations of exactly the sort of things you’ve been talking about today, what that looks like. Does that mainly affect traffic or conversion rates? And what kind of things do you see on the site in terms of the kind of metrics around, all the KPIs we track as SEOs?
[00:38:49] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. Well, I think as SEOs, we need to widen our view a little bit more of Google. It’s becoming a multimedia engine and we’re getting more and more results on the SERP where, on SERP SEO is now a thing. On SERP SEO, a great deal of it is on third-party sites. So if you approach it from that point of view and you say, well, these third-party sites aren’t stealing my audience. I’m actually reaching a bigger audience through them and then bringing them to the bottom of funnel because they know who I am and they’re searching my brand name, then what you see is a) I get more engagement with a new audience on YouTube, on Twitter, on Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, I’m pushing this content down, b) I get a higher brand search volume.
[00:39:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And as John Mueller said, pool queries are the future. Those people searching convert better because they already know what I offer before they get to that point. They come to my site. And Kalicube, we’ve done an experiment is I took on a team a year ago. Before, I was a one man band as it were, punk band. And we’ve built up our digital strategy. We’ve pushed this content out. We’ve built our Twitter. We’ve built our LinkedIn. We’ve built our YouTube. We’ve got a beautiful Brand SERP. I’m getting as many leads through LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter as I am through the website.
[00:40:05] Larry Kotch: Amazing.
[00:40:06] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, also now the website is driving sales as well. So, it takes time, but you are building that digital strategy and the digital ecosystem that gets those seven touches. They’re not seven touches, but let’s say they were. You get the seven touches before they even search the brand name.
An Experiment on Building Content Strategy on Third-Party Sites Duplicated on Your Own Site Works
[00:40:23] Larry Kotch: I get you. I completely get what you’re saying now. Yeah. So that’s brilliant. So everyone who is listening, there you go. If that wasn’t motivation enough, then I don’t know what is because that’s fantastic.
[00:40:36] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. Yeah. And sorry, one of the thing is I do all these experiments. The reason I’ve, one of the things I’m doing now is experiments. I’ve got about 2000 experiments that have gone on and are going on at the moment. And I do them on myself and my company so I can learn so I can tell people how to avoid the mistakes that I make along the way. And that massive one on Kalicube is exactly the question you just asked is saying what happens if I build a content strategy mostly on third-party sites duplicated on my own site? The answer is it really works.
[00:41:09] Larry Kotch: Yeah. That’s fantastic. Well, look, I’ll be sending this to our head of SEO straight after this once this video comes out. And so, you might hear from him. But not to steal any more of your time, I know that we’ve got some Q&A. We have a Q&A. I think it says is marked as answered, but I’m not sure if you’ve seen that one as well, Jason.
[00:41:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I just think that the five thumbs up that makes me happy.
[00:41:33] Larry Kotch: Yeah. Yeah. So, I don’t know if you want me to read that out or if you’ve got that.
[00:41:36] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. Can you read that out because my eyesight’s terrible?
The Effect of Having Google Ads on Companies
[00:41:39] Larry Kotch: Yeah. So Juris is asking, how would you recommend balancing with presenting brand and SEOs or organic results and in Google Ads? Is there something companies need to keep in mind from your point of view? Should companies do brand on Google Ads as well?
[00:41:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. Google Ads is a really interesting question because it depends on the brand, of course. If you’ve got other people, other companies bidding on your brand name, you need to do it. If you don’t, you can do it if you want to control the top of the page, and it’s really cheap. So if you, for example, think when somebody searches for my brand on mobile, if I put an ad there, I know that I control the message. If they’re searching on desktop, if you’ve got the ads and then my homepage and then the Rich Sitelinks, everything above the fold is me. So you can use it as pure control.
[00:42:28] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the thing about Google Ads is that you can get the cost down to absolutely tiny amounts. And the idea isn’t to stop people clicking on them, because the more people click on them, the lower the cost gets, and you actually end up saving money. And in the courses, I’ve actually got a lesson about Google Ads. And one of the interesting things is that when you’ve got your quality score of 10 out of 10, you think, I’m done. And what I’ve seen is that with brand searches on the Brand SERP, you get 10 out of 10 pretty much off the bat and you think, oh, that’s it. And you really don’t pay attention.
Continuing to Optimise Even if You Have a 10 Out of 10 Score
[00:43:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): My clients save 30% additionally once they’ve got 10 out of 10 by continuing to optimise, according to the way I teach them to optimise. And what then happens is, especially if you’ve got other brands bidding on your Brand SERPs on your brand name, is that the more your cost goes down, sorry, the more your quality score goes up, the more your cost goes down. Because it’s relative, the more their cost goes up, and if you can drive your cost down enough, you will drive them right off your Brand SERP.
[00:43:32] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And I saw an example that HubSpot have got an incredible Google Ads strategy. And you can imagine everybody’s bidding on HubSpot.
[00:43:39] Larry Kotch: Yeah.
[00:43:40] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): HubSpot get top spot every time because they’ve got such a good Google Ads strategy. They didn’t stop at quality score 10 out of 10. They pushed and they pushed and they pushed because that 10 out of 10, let’s say it’s 90%, but that extra 10% is where all the winning happens and where you drive everybody else off.
Is a Weak Brand SERP the Cause of Low Conversions?
[00:43:57] Larry Kotch: Yeah. It’s where all the outsized impact is. That’s really cool. And there’s another question from Natalie Moran, who says, what do you think there is a relationship between a weak Brand SERP and a lack of conversions even though the site is well optimised for SEO? So if you’ve done all the other standard SEO stuff, let’s say, and you’ve got a very weak Brand SERP, is that the cause of low conversions?
[00:44:23] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Well, a weak Brand SERP, I see the relationship they’re looking for. The weak Brand SERP will not affect conversions very much of people who already know who you are. They search, they click on the homepage or one of the links, they go to the page, they buy the product because they’re already convinced. So that isn’t going to change a great deal. Where it does change a great deal is anybody who is unsure, who’s using Google as a recommendation engine. They will scroll down the Brand SERP, research you a little bit. What Google says about you matters. We use Google because we trust Google’s opinion. And we’re looking at that Brand SERP at Google’s opinion.
[00:44:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): If you scroll down and a weak Brand SERP would be all blue links. That’s weak. You look terrible, bad reviews. The content they would expect to see isn’t there. The social media profiles aren’t there or they’re underoptimised. That person is going to start having doubts so they can start bailing at that point.
[00:45:18] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But for me, actually, the foundational fundamental problem with a weak Brand SERP is it indicates a very weak digital strategy and an unconvincing ecosystem. So that means everybody in the top of the funnel, coming down the funnel is getting a bad experience. So they probably won’t get you out of the funnel. They probably never will end up searching your brand name. And that means your entire marketing funnel has big holes in it, all the way down. And you need to start plugging those holes to get them to the bottom.
Once You Improved Your Digital Strategy, a Weak Brand SERP Will Become Strong
[00:45:53] Larry Kotch: So that’s what you were saying that it’s a very key indicator of the health of your entire content funnel in a way.
[00:46:01] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. Exactly. You said it much more eloquently and simply than I did, but that’s exactly it. And the thing is that weak Brand SERP, once you’ve improved your digital ecosystem, improved your digital strategy will become strong. So you are winning on both. You’ve plugged all the holes in your funnel on the way down, people are searching your brand name, and then when they get there, they’re already convinced. And you’ve got that status where people are convinced already, and it’s just a crash and click and buy.
[00:46:28] Larry Kotch: Makes sense. Well, everybody, thanks so much for joining us. And, Jason, thanks so much for your your brilliant presentation and your time with us in the Q&A. I hope everyone took something away and is going to go and find the additional information that Jason posted up so that we can all do get on top of our Brand SERPs. So, right now we’re going to go for a break. It’s a 15-minute break. Thanks again to Jason and everyone in attendance and see you back here after some coffee and some brain food. Take care, everyone.
[00:46:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Thanks a lot, Larry. That was briliant.
[00:46:59] Larry Kotch: Thanks a lot, Jason. Bye. Bye.
[00:47:06] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Oh, we’ve got another nine seconds. Connect with me. Search my name, Jason Barnard. Look at my Brand SERP and decide where you want to connect right now.