Digital Marketing Europe Onsite and online on 29-31 March in 2022 Learn more about the conference: https://bit.ly/3GmSl8d
Join our next Digital Marketing Europe conference on 29-31 March in 2022 where you will be able to dive deep into the latest strategies, tactics, practices and tools in the digital marketing industry. This time, the conference will be held in a hybrid setting allowing you to attend workshops and listen to expert talks on-site or online.
[00:00:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Hi, everybody, and welcome. I’m Jason Barnard. I’m here to talk to you all about Knowledge Panels, specifically Knowledge Panels without Wikipedia. First thing I need to do is share my screen and then I can start presenting myself and telling you a little bit about me and then giving you the talk.
Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Telling His Story Through His Brand SERP
[00:00:21] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, I’m Jason Barnard, The Brand SERP Guy. And this talk is all about how to get a Knowledge Panel without Wikipedia. I have a SaaS platform called Kalicube Pro where we specialise in getting Knowledge Panels for people or helping people get Knowledge Panels for themselves or their brands. And we’ve learned to do it without Wikipedia, which is a super-duper exciting and wonderful, wonderful, wonderful thing to be able to do. Now, there’s a poll in the chat asking for your level, how expert you are. If you can answer that, then it will help me make sure that I’m pitching the information to the right audience level.
[00:00:59] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, I’m The Brand SERP Guy, self-proclaimed. This is my Brand SERP. It’s what I’m calling Brand SERPs. And the idea of a Brand SERP is that it tells your story, who you are, what you do, and who your audience is. And I think mine does that pretty well. And I’m going to try and tell my story through my Brand SERP. I’m also The Knowledge Panel Guy. That’s my Knowledge Panel that I’ve been working on. I’m doing this for about seven or eight years now on my own name. I currently have 500 experiments on the go, trying to learn how to optimise Brand SERPs, make them positive, accurate, and convincing, but also how to trigger and manage Knowledge Panels.
[00:01:36] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’ve got two decades in digital. I used to be a blue dog in a cartoon. I’m there on the left, Boowa, and that’s Kwala on the right. We’ll see them later on in the presentation because they’re a good laugh. I also have a groovy podcast, intelligent, interesting, fun. I’ve got some great guests like Rand Fishkin. We’ve had John Mueller, Bill Slawski, all the wonderful people in the industry who share their incredible knowledge. I’m a speaker and a host. Today you’ve got Yoast Academy and SE Ranking and my podcast with Rand Fishkin.
[00:02:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’m also an author. I write for Search Engine Journal, SEMrush amongst others. I’m a tutor and coach. I’ve got some Brand SERP courses that teach you to optimise your Brand SERP, make it positive, accurate, and convincing. And I’ve just launched a beta version of Kalicube Pro, which is a SaaS Platform that puts all of that learning into a platform and put the power into the hands of our clients.
Introducing What Is a Knowledge Panel and How Big Corporations and Famous People Automatically Have One
[00:02:30] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, I’m going to be looking at the front end representation of your brand or your person or your product. And it needs to be super sexy, obviously. Now, what I’m going to be talking about in this particular presentation is that part on the right, the Knowledge Panel, phenomenally important because Google perceives that as fact. It’s what Google is showing as fact. And what Google says is fact, I think we all agree, whether we like it or not, we tend to trust Google. So it’s incredibly important as a brand to make sure that Google is getting its facts right.
[00:03:05] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, with a featured snippet, it’s showing what it thinks is the best answer it’s found online. It’s putting its reputation on the line and it has to be pretty confident. But with Knowledge Panels, it really, really has to be confident. And that’s the trick. The trick is to make sure that Google is confident in the understanding it has of your company or your person.
[00:03:28] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): It’s automatic for big corporations. People like Microsoft obviously have a Knowledge Panel. Google’s understood them. Google can present these as facts, but it’s not just reserved for companies like Microsoft. That’s my client on the right, Transatel. And I also work with WordLift, SE Ranking, and Kalicube. We’ve all got Knowledge Panels that describe who we are and what we do. Google has understood who we are and what we do. And it provides information as fact to its users.
[00:03:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And for people, automatic for stars. Again, this is my funny joke. I’m using Russell Brand as an example because they’re Brand SERPs and I think that’s incredibly funny and it makes me laugh every day. It probably doesn’t make you laugh or maybe it does. I don’t know, but it isn’t just for stars. I’ve got my Knowledge Panel. Andrea Volpini from WordLift has his. On the right there, we’ve got my sister and Darian Kovacs, who’s a Kalicube client who’s just figured his Knowledge Panel. And we’re terribly, terribly happy for him so I added him to the presentation.
Presenting the New Look of the Knowledge Panel and Managing Your Digital Presence as Google Provides More Information About You
[00:04:25] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And this is really cool. Google is experimenting with a new look and I think it’s going to be permanent. I hope it’s going to be permanent because it’s absolutely delightful. It breaks the Knowledge Panel down into the chunks that it uses on mobile. On desktop, it’s showing those same chunks. And when you click on the pills at the top, the lozenges, it searches in those different verticals. So for my particular Knowledge Panel, you can listen to the music, watch my videos, watch the TV shows I’ve done, listen to my songs, and the albums. And it will dig down into all those different verticals for you.
[00:05:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, with the idea that Google is trying to provide more and more information on the SERP about you, about your brand, that becomes phenomenally important because what it’s presenting is going to be more and more interactive like this. And you need to, really need to grab control and manage that presence much in the way that you manage your digital presence on all the other platforms.
[00:05:23] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, Google takes a lot of convincing. So it’s a slow process, but we’ll go through the process. It’s a very simple process, so do stick around. However good or not experienced you are at SEO, this is going to be a really simple process that anybody can understand. It’s just then a question of convincing Google and a question of time. But by the end of this presentation, you’ll know how to get a place in Google’s Knowledge Graph. You’ve got how to trigger a Knowledge Panel on your Brand SERP or your personal Brand SERP, and how to make that Knowledge Panel look sexy.
What Is a Knowledge Graph and How Can It Trigger a Knowledge Panel?
[00:05:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, it can be misleading. That front end is misleading in a sense. I’ll go back there. The front end can be misleading in the sense that Google is representing in that Knowledge Panel what it has understood about your brand or your person. And it’s representing what it has in the Knowledge Graph.
[00:06:12] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, what is the Knowledge Graph? We’re just talking with Dixon Jones from England. He says that a Knowledge Graph, or I say a Knowledge Graph is an encyclopedia. He says that each entry in that encyclopedia is a piece of information Google has understood, and your brand or your person is a piece of information that you want to get into Google’s encyclopedia so that Google can then present that information to its users, but also use it to improve the results that it’s presenting to its users, whatever the search query. So getting Google to understand who you are, what you do, and who your audience is getting into that Knowledge Graph is phenomenally important. And that Knowledge Graph will trigger a Knowledge Panel.
[00:06:49] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): A lot of people think that getting into the Knowledge Graph or getting a Knowledge Panel is necessarily based on Wikipedia. Now, Google used Wikipedia as a training set. So, for many, many years, it was generally necessary to have a Wikipedia page in order to have a Knowledge Panel on your Brand SERP or personal Brand SERP. That is no longer the case, far, far from it.
Using Google Properties to Generate a Knowledge Panel and Citing Some Examples
[00:07:14] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): As we’ll see, you can pick your target. All of these Google properties will or can generate a Knowledge Panel without your brand or your person being in the Knowledge Graph proper. They are, in fact, lots of different, small Knowledge Graphs or small-ish Knowledge Graphs. If you look, Google My Business, Google Maps is a massive Knowledge Graph. It hasn’t been integrated into the Knowledge Graph yet, but that’s what’s happening.
[00:07:40] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): If we now move on to Google Books, that’s an enormous Knowledge Graph of books and people who’ve written books, authors of what it is known as. And here’s an example, Eric Schwartzman, who’s just released a book. He is in the Knowledge Graph. Sorry. He has a Knowledge Panel, but he is not in the Knowledge Graph and does not have a Wikipedia page.
[00:08:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): If we look here, we have Whitespark. They are in the Knowledge Graph. Sorry. They have a Knowledge Panel, but they’re not in the Knowledge Graph. I’m getting confused myself here. And we can see down at the bottom, in fact, I didn’t point that out. At the bottom you can see /g/11c2lc2q9t. That is the identifier that Google has for this entity. And that identifier is Google’s reference to this entry in what Dixon Jones was calling Google’s encyclopedia. That entry is represented by that ID. And that ID is part of Google Books.
[00:08:37] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, if you look here, Whitespark have a Google My Business. They don’t have a Wikipedia and they’re not in the Knowledge Graph, but they still have an ID for that encyclopedia. It just isn’t yet in the Knowledge Graph. Next, Darian Kovacs, Google Podcasts is how he got in. He has his own identifier. Once again, not in the Knowledge Graph, but he has a Knowledge Panel on his Brand SERP.
[00:08:59] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The Backpacker Job Board is another client of Kalicube, recently started trying to get their Knowledge Panel. They got it within a few weeks, which was brilliant. They got it from Google Search, which is incredibly interesting. The Google Search itself is starting to build a Knowledge Graph that is not part of the main Knowledge Graph. Search Engine Journal also has its place thanks to Google Search.
The Importance of Google’s Confidence in Its Understanding and Some More Examples of Knowledge Panels
[00:09:25] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Next, but basically, sorry, ultimately, and this is what I was trying to get to, and I actually thought this slide was slightly earlier. It’s going to merge or it is in the process of merging all of these individual Google property Knowledge Graphs into the main Knowledge Graph. And you really want that to happen, as we’ll see in a moment. It’s basically saying I have the knowledge. I have the knowledge in these different properties. I will create an ID. And then I will port that information into the main Knowledge Graph over time as I become confident. And one word that comes back over and over and over and over again is confidence, Google’s confidence in its understanding.
[00:10:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Oh, and it’s not only Google properties. And this is the bit I love. Here we have Digital Olympus 2021, which has a delightful Knowledge Panel over there on the left. And the source is actually Kalicube. It’s my site. I’m doing experiments with a company called WordLift, who specialise in building internal Knowledge Graphs and doing the Schema Markup, which we’ll see in a moment. And we have managed to trigger this Knowledge Panel and provide the sourced information to Google to provide in that Knowledge Panel as fact, simply on the Kalicube website.
[00:10:42] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And this one, for the Kalicube Tuesdays, which is an event I run, four minutes from the moment I created the event on YouTube and Eventbrite, it took four minutes for Google to add it to its Knowledge Graph and trigger that Knowledge Panel, not that Knowledge Panels get triggered in four minutes. This is part of a series. So the series is supporting the episode and that is very, very, very powerful. Google trusts Kalicube Tuesdays. It understands that every Tuesday, hence the name, there is a new event. So it’s waiting and expecting that event. And that idea of regularity and consistency is also incredibly important.
Using Jono Alderson’s Knowledge Panel as an Example With a High Confidence Score
[00:11:25] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And there’s Jono Alderson from Yoast. His company has a Knowledge Panel, a tiny little Knowledge Panel that you can see there at the top. He has no GMB for that company. He has no Wiki entries. It’s just Jono and Kalicube. And you can see there on the left, it’s the confidence score in the Knowledge Graph of that entity.
[00:11:46] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, what Jono has managed to do is get his company into the Knowledge Graph without any of these Google properties understanding or pushing him in there, purely on the company information itself. And over the year, that’s about a year, he’s built up the confidence that Google has in that understanding from something around 50 to now 292. Now the numbers don’t really mean that much, but it does mean that Google is significantly more confident in its understanding of what Jono Alderson Ltd is, what it does, and who its audience potentially is.
[00:12:23] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the little vertical gray lines there are updates the Knowledge Graph, which if you want to investigate more, please do visit our site, Kalicube Pro. We’ve got a Knowledge Graph sensor where we actually track when the Knowledge Graph updates. And we’re currently in the process of trying to see does that or does that not correlate to changes in Knowledge Panels.
In a Short Term Perspective, Google Sources Are the Easy Wins
[00:12:41] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Next, short term, Google sources are the easy wins. Basically, if you can get your presence in any of these Google properties, you are already starting to create understanding in Google’s mind. It’s not the central Knowledge Graph, but it’s a stepping stone towards that central Knowledge Graph. And that central Knowledge Graph, I’m using the word central and I’m using it quite a lot, from the idea that Google has these disparate sources of information, all of which have Knowledge Graphs, and it’s porting them on into one central resource, because it wants one individual encyclopedia for its algorithms to be able to look at and obviously cross pollinate each other, but also cross inform each other.
[00:13:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And each of these verticals, Podcasts, Books, Scholar, Google Search, Google Play, Google Shopping, Google My Business, Google Maps, will all eventually be pulling their information out of that one central knowledge hub. So, getting into the Knowledge Graph is phenomenally important, because you haven’t won the game by being present in one of these even if you triggered a Knowledge Panel. It will be much too easy.
[00:13:59] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So whatever the source, long term, only one thing matters, really only one thing. It isn’t where Google has found the information, Google Maps, Google Books, Google Podcasts, whatever it might be. That’s the stepping stone. That’s the starting point.
The Significance of the Concept of Reconciliation or the Entity Home
[00:14:22] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): What is the most important is what John Mueller said just this weekend. He calls it reconciliation. I’ll actually go through this. Mike Blumenthal, who’s very, very big in the local search world, and if you want to understand how Google is building this Knowledge Graph, you just need to start looking into local search because Google Maps is a Knowledge Graph. And Bill Slawski said, Google Maps, very impressive, but it’s just a proof of concept for the main Knowledge Graph, which is what we’re now trying to deal with. So, local search was a training ground for Google. So we can learn a lot of lessons from how the local search community deals with SEO. So I would advise you to start reading up on your local search, because it will give you a lot of clues as to how to get into the Knowledge Graph and how to manage that Knowledge Panel.
[00:15:12] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’m calling it the Entity Home. Now I’ll explain what that is. It’s the little thing in the middle there which is where Google considers the entity lives online. It’s a web page. It’s not a website. It’s one place that Google sees as the trusted source from the horse’s mouth, as we say in English. Basically, myself, talking about myself, telling Google what I want it to understand about myself would be my Entity Home, my personal website. Entity Home from my company will be on the company website, where I communicate to Google, who I am, what I do, who my audience is. And that’s phenomenally important.
[00:15:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, I’m calling it the Entity Home. John Mueller calls it the reconciliation page or the concept or the process of reconciliation. It’s the idea that we bring this, we have this information, we state it, and then we point out, as we’ll see in a moment, to all the corroborative sources out there. We reconcile that information and focus it on one individual page on the web that Google goes to to understand who you are, what you do, and who your audience is. That’s how you’re going to do it.
First Step to Trigger a Knowledge Panel: A Page on Your Site Is the Source of Information About You
[00:16:20] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, the plan is so incredibly simple, you will fall off your chair. There are three steps to push information into the Knowledge Graph and trigger a Knowledge Panel. First, you need to remember that your site or a page on your site more accurately is the source of information about you. You need to make sure you set out who you are, what you do clearly in your copywriting and start with your About Us page.
[00:16:43] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The About Us page is phenomenally important. And I would recommend that the About Us page is a great place to start explaining who you are and what you do and who your audience is, because it’s a factual page. It’s a page that represents just that one entity, which is your company in the case of a company website or a company brand or yourself, About Me, on your personal website. Importantly, it avoids you getting confused between the message you’re trying to give to Google, who wants to understand who you are, what you do, and who your audience is, and your audience, who want to potentially navigate to buy a product.
[00:17:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So your homepage of your website is not necessarily a great place to have your Entity Home because you are mixing up those messages. You’re potentially going to confuse the audience by being too factual or not convince them. I would advise you not to mix the factual information about you that you’re communicating to Google through this Entity Home with the sales message or the navigational aspect that is your homepage.
Second Step to Trigger a Knowledge Panel: You Need to Add Schema Markup
[00:17:51] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Next, you need to add Schema Markup, terribly, terribly complicated, important for the moment in order to talk Google’s language. Basically, Schema Markup is simply restating what you’ve got in the page in Google’s native language in a format that Google can digest natively. Schema Markup can be quite complicated. There are lots of tools out there that can help you including Schema App, who are a Canadian company. Yoast and WordLift also do a great job on Schema Markup and in links. We are talking with Dixon Jones earlier on, also does some Schema Markup. With Kalicube, we also generate the Schema Markup for your Entity Home.
Third Step to Trigger a Knowledge Panel: You Need to Get Significant Coverage and Corroboration
[00:18:31] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Then you need to get significant coverage and corroboration. I can’t actually say the word corroboration. And you need to get it from multiple independent, reliable, secondary sources. And that can include Wikipedia, but isn’t necessarily Wikipedia. It can include a Google source, but doesn’t necessarily need to include a Google source. As we saw earlier with Jono Alderson with Digital Olympus 2021 and with Kalicube Tuesdays, none of those entities have Wikipedia pages or Google sources to support them. We’ve done it completely on our own.
[00:19:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): There are multiple millions and millions and millions of potential sources. And what’s really interesting is that the sources can be Wikipedia, big sites like Wikipedia, or the Guardian, big newspapers, reliable newspapers, but they can also be incredibly small and yet authoritative within your industry. You want to look for the sources that Google will trust within your industry in your georegion.
[00:19:33] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, for example, if I’m a poodle parlor in Paris, I would want to have my information corroborated by a poodle expert’s website in Paris, because that website is going to be very authoritative for poodles in Paris. So don’t just focus on the big names. Also look within your industry at exactly which sources Google is looking towards.
Google Doesn’t Have the Concept of Notability Unlike Wikipedia; You Just Have to Educate It Like a Child
[00:20:04] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, I’m going to come back really quickly to multiple independent, reliable, secondary sources. That’s actually the rules in Wikipedia that they expect you to provide references in order to get a place in Wikipedia. The difference between Wikipedia and Google’s Knowledge Graph is Wikipedia says you have to be notable. So not only do you have to point to all these sources, but these sources have to say that you are notable and interesting enough to be in a human readable encyclopedia.
[00:20:32] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Google doesn’t have that judgment. It doesn’t require you to be notable. It just wants to understand. So, anybody, any company can get in the Knowledge Graph and can have a Knowledge Panel. There is no concept of notability. Google just wants to understand. And all you need to do is explain and educate it. Think of it like a child. You educate a child, you tell it the information, but that child then needs to have it re-explained and reconfirmed by multiple other trusted sources. For example, the grandmother, the head teacher, the baker down the road, the policewoman, or the policeman, the postman, all of these people that they see and trust are potential sources of corroboration and confirmation of the information you have given them.
[00:21:19] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And just like a child, Google will not shout out the information in the playground. A child, when it learns something, doesn’t go to the playground and shout out this information because it doesn’t want to look stupid. It waits until it’s absolutely sure. Then it starts shouting the information out in the playground. And Google’s that child. It’s understood who you are and what you do, but it’s not going to shout it by putting it into a Knowledge Panel until it’s absolutely sure, convinced that it’s correctly understood who you are, what you do, and who your audience is. That’s when you get a Knowledge Panel.
What Matters in Getting a Knowledge Panel: The Sources You Provide, Your Entity Home, and Pointing to These Corroborative Sources
[00:21:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Only three things matter to getting a Knowledge Panel. The sources that you provide, once again, can be Wikipedia, can be Wikidata, can be one of those Google repositories, those Google sources, but it can also be linked in IMDb, Discogs, Crunchbase, Bloomberg, Irish Times. I’ve got my poodle Paris parlor up there on the right. Once again, it doesn’t need to be a phenomenally big site. It just needs to be authoritative within your industry and in your georegion.
[00:22:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, the important thing is to place this information on the sources that are the most relevant and helpful and believable and authoritative and trustworthy for Google. Make sure that you have an Entity Home where you state this information yourself. Then you point to all of these corroborative sources to prove that you are right to educate Google. You’re educating Google by purely hammering over and over and over and over again that same piece of information that you initially gave it on your Entity Home. You’re corroborating, hammering that information home.
[00:23:08] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): In local search, you have the concept of NAPs, name, address, phone number. And traditionally in local search, you would say, I would need to have my name, address, phone number to be consistent across all the different platforms out there that Google’s looking at. It’s exactly the same concept, but it goes much further than name, address, phone number. It’s all the information about you, all the pertinent and important information about you, your brand, or the person, depending on whether you are working on a person or a brand.
Analysing the Beautiful Knowledge Panel of Doyle & Tratt Products
[00:23:33] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And ultimately, you need to trigger that Knowledge Panel. You need to take control. You need to build understanding. Now, Doyle & Tratt Products, never heard of them before, but they’ve got a delightful Knowledge Panel. Why is it so delightful? At the top there, you can see there which is actually the website of Doyle & Tratt Products. And that little round icon, the world icon means this is the recognised Entity Home by Google. Google has recognised that the entity lives on this website, on a specific page on this website. That is when you start to be able to control what appears in the Knowledge Panel.
[00:24:10] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And as you can see right underneath, Google has taken the description that’s showing in this, remember, factual part of the SERP. It’s taken that description from the company’s own website. It’s the company’s own description of themselves. That is how much Google trusts them. That is how confident Google is that the information they provided on that Entity Home is correct. It’s willing to shout out in the playground to all its users that this is factual information about this company, and the company provided it themselves. That’s the ultimate aim.
[00:24:43] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And then below that you have the piece of information when it was founded, the headquarters and the founders and the social profiles. Once again, Google has to be sure that these are the social profiles that the person who is looking for this brand would want to visit to interact with this brand in order for them to show it in that Knowledge Panel.
[00:24:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Then underneath that I’ve separated it because the two Knowledge Panels came from two different countries. The People Also Search For, it’s understood who the competitors are, what the context of this company is. Their competitors, Philips and Osram, which presumably make light bulbs, it’s understood, as you can see here, who Doyle & Tratt Products Varilight are, what they do, and who their audience might be. And they’ve done it from the Entity Home outwards.
Having Control of Your Knowledge Panel Also Gives You Immense Control Over Your Brand SERP
[00:25:34] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, I’m going to end actually a little bit early, but messing with the Knowledge Graph. I really, really want to push home that this, if we come back here, what Doyle & Tratt Products Varilight have managed to do is get control of that Knowledge Panel. That means they start to be able to heavily influence, I wouldn’t say control, but definitely heavily influence what it is Google understands about them. And that, in terms of SEO in general but also digital marketing in a broader sense, is phenomenally important.
[00:26:11] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): If you want, this is coming back to Brand SERPs, my favourite topic, what does your audience see when they google your brand name. It needs to be positive, accurate, and convincing. If it’s not, obviously, you’re not going to impress the prospects and the clients who are searching your brand name. And remember, the people who are searching your brand name are the people who are bottom-of-funnel, either about to convert or already clients. And you really want to convert those people who are bottom-of-funnel, searching your brand name as the last step before buying. You want to convert them, or a lot of your users will navigate to your website by searching on Google, come through to the website. You need to make sure that they consistently see this brilliant, positive, accurate, and convincing message because you want them to stay on board.
[00:27:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, if you can get control of your Knowledge Panel, it gives you immense control over what appears in your Brand SERP, what people see, what your audience see when they search your brand name. So getting a Knowledge Panel allows you to control your Brand SERP, which allows you to make it positive, accurate, and convincing to your audience. And that’s incredibly important to your bottom line. It all fits together absolutely beautifully. And that’s what I’ve been doing for the last seven years.
The Story of How Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Entered the World of SEO and Digital Marketing
[00:27:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’ll tell you really quickly the story and we’ll see why in a moment. Why I started doing this was because initially, before being an SEO, a digital marketer, I made a cartoon for kids. I was a blue dog in a cartoon on ITV and several other countries. And we had a website and there were lots of songs and it was all a lot of fun. Back to the topic of kids again, we were entertaining children with songs, animations, games, and a TV series.
[00:27:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And then I became a digital marketer and I would go into meetings. And I would convince people that I was this amazing SEO and I could transform their business with the digital marketing strategy on Google that would bring them lots of clients, lots of sales, lots of profit. I would walk out of the room and 50% of the time, I would not get that conversion even though I had thought that I had convinced them that I was the right solution to their problem, that I could provide the SEO, digital marketing services to them that would boost their business.
[00:28:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And one day, one of my clients said to me, do you know what we did as soon as you walked out of the room? We googled your name, I want to say brand name, your name. And we saw the blue dog. The blue dog was top. The blue dog was middle. The blue dog was at the bottom. All they could see was Jason Barnard is a blue dog in a cartoon. And they obviously thought it was funny and nice and sweet. And they saw beyond the blue dog and saw that I was actually a credible digital marketer, but the other 50% who didn’t sign up saw the blue dog and thought I am not going to give my digital marketing strategy over to a blue dog. I lost so many clients because the message that they were seeing when they googled my name was not positive, accurate, and convincing in the context of being a digital marketer. If I’d been pitching to try to be in a cartoon, I would’ve been perfect.
Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) on Making Sure That His Brand SERP Reflects Who He Is and What He Does Today
[00:29:20] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So I then set out, this was seven years ago, to make sure that that Brand SERP that you saw right at the beginning reflects who I am and what I do today. For the audience who was searching for me today, it doesn’t mean to say the information about the blue dog no longer exists. It’s still there, as you saw earlier on the Brand SERP, but it does mean it’s relegated to a piece of information about my past history. My Brand SERP now talks about who I am today, why I’m convincing today, who I can help today, who I am, what I do, who my audience is, positive, accurate, and convincing.
[00:29:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And what’s great about Brand SERPs or I think is great about Brand SERPs is a lot of people would think, yeah, I can optimise my Brand SERP in a couple of months. I’ve been doing this for seven years and it’s only now both incredibly stable, incredibly accurate, incredibly positive. And I think it’s now convincing. So, it’s an ongoing task that even after seven years, I can still improve it. I can still make that Brand SERP better. I can still add things to my Knowledge Panel pieces of information about myself that would help to convince my audience when they google my brand name, my personal name to do business with me.
The More Google Understands About You, the More It Can Potentially Show You as a Solution to Its Users’ Problems
[00:30:37] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, messing with the Knowledge Graph to fun and games at the end. Once Google has understood who you are, it’s got you in the Knowledge Graph. You’ve got your Knowledge Panel. Google is open to feeding all sorts of information that helps it to understand more about you. And the more it understands about you, the more it can potentially show you as a solution to its users’ problems.
[00:31:04] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Because remember when people search on Google, they’re expressing a problem to which they’re looking for a solution or a question for which they’re looking for an answer. And Google is simply trying to recommend the best answer or the best solution to that problem or question. And if it’s to do that, it needs to understand. If it’s to recommend you or your solution, it needs to understand who you are and what that solution is, but it also needs to understand who that audience is. And that’s what the Knowledge Graph does. And that is why it’s so important to be in the Knowledge Graph. And that is also the Knowledge Panel is a representation, the front representation of the Knowledge Graph. So getting a Knowledge Panel is fundamentally important to your business.
Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) on Managing to Educate Google Where He Was Born, Where He Went to College, and Other Personal Information
[00:31:48] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, what I’ve managed to do is say, for example, where was Jason Barnard born? You can see Jason Barnard / Place of Birth. That indicates that this is knowledge. It’s not a featured snippet, even if it’s the top of the results. And it says Leeds and it’s taken that information from my own site. It trusts me when I say I was born in Leeds. It’s seen the corroboration obviously, but it would also cite me, citing myself, talking about myself to my audience. Although I wouldn’t have thought very many people actually search that particular term.
[00:32:21] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Then I managed to inform it, educate it that I went to John Moores University in Liverpool. And there I’ve faded out the other ones because I’m not right next to John Lennon but not very far away, which is pretty cool. There’s an association between myself and John Lennon. It doesn’t make me a better person, more interesting person, but it makes me feel pretty good. But that once again is me informing Google, educating Google where I went to college, where I went to university.
[00:32:51] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And then we look at this, and this is phenomenally complicated, phenomenally interesting is that I’ve had multiple jobs. And I think most of us are in that situation. Companies also can have multiple areas of expertise, and that’s something that’s very, very difficult to communicate to Google. Google tends to think that we or tends to understand us to be doing one single thing. In this case, at one point itself, I was a search engine marketer or in search engine marketing. It has a lot of trouble understanding the multifaceted nature of people and brands and businesses.
Jason’s Knowledge Panel Remained Even When His Wikipedia Page Got Deleted and Rand Fishkin’s Story of Taking Control of His Brand Message by Getting His Wikipedia Page Deleted
[00:33:27] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But what we can in fact do is if we say, what is Jason Barnard’s job? I’ve managed to inform it. Once again, it’s got me at the top there. At the time I had a Wikipedia page, so I did cheat a little bit at the start. That page has now been deleted. It was deleted because I messed with it too much and the administrators and editors didn’t like that, which I completely understand. They deleted the page and yet my Knowledge Panel remained.
[00:33:49] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And in fact, the confidence that Google has in the information about me has gone from a score of 500 to about 1000. I’ve managed to double the confidence that Google has in the information it has about me. And importantly, and I think this is critical in terms of Wikipedia why it isn’t quite so interesting as it might first appear, is that I now control my own brand image. I don’t want Wikipedia editors to control what is communicated either to Google or to my audience about me or in fact for my brand. Wikipedia editors do not know.
[00:34:30] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Rand Fishkin had his deleted. He used the example of saying, if you ask a Wikipedia editor what did Captain Kirk say in the 15th minute of the 20th episode of the 15th season of Star Trek, they can probably answer that question. If you ask them who founded Moz, they get it wrong. And they were getting it wrong and he tried to correct it. They wouldn’t correct it so he asked them to delete the page and he had to fight to have his page deleted. And he did it because he wanted to get control of what his audience and Google saw and understood about him and make sure it was accurate, because that is the key. And he wanted control of his own brand message, the information that was being communicated to his audience in Google. And that isn’t through Wikipedia. You don’t have control. You rely on them, their whims and misunderstandings, which are obviously pretty dangerous. You want to get the control yourself.
[00:35:21] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So I managed to get all of this information, screenwriter, search engine optimisation, SEO professional, voice acting, a musician, on my own site, by explaining it on my own site, and then pointing out once again to all the corroborative information there is out there. In the case of a musician, for example, it would be Discogs, it would be MusicBrainz. In terms of voice acting, it would be IMDb, scriptwriter, same thing. SEO professional, Search Engine Journal, SEMrush, SE Ranking, WordLift, potentially, all within the SEO space, all respected authoritative sources for Google to find information and corroborate information about me.
[00:35:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And then we go onto this and obviously we’ve got Jason Barnard sister, Jason Barnard date of birth, Jason Barnard place of birth, Jason Barnard alma mater, Jason Barnard songs, the songs I wrote, there’s a blue dog, Jason Barnard professions. And you can see there that Google can actually answer all these question factually because it has truly understood who I am, what I do, where I come from, what I did, and that understanding is fundamentally important.
Building the Family Tree of Boowa and Kwala in Google’s Mind and Pushing It Into the Knowledge Graph
[00:36:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And here, to finish with, just because I think it’s really funny, that blue dog comes back again. And I’ve started to build the family tree in Google’s mind, pushing this into the Knowledge Graph, and playing happy families with Kwala whose mummy is called Mummy Koala. And you can see their significant other, Daddy Koala. We go through to Daddy Koala. He’s related to Grandpa Koala who’s significant other is Grandma Koala. And they all belong to the fictional universe, Boowa and koala. That’s quite some understanding of this particular imaginary family tree.
[00:36:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And obviously this is never going to make me any money. It’s a proof of concept. But if you imagine Kwala as a company and all of those other ones are either parent companies, sub companies, products, people, Google’s seeing those relationships. And it’s managing to map out the relationships between these different entities, Kwala and her family, or your business, your products, your founders, your parent company, your sub company, whatever it might be. So, you can immediately see here that mapping out that understanding is going to be phenomenally important for your SEO.
[00:37:33] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): My experiments started on me in 2013. And they were a bit of a game, but it’s not a game anymore. This in 2021 is the minimum for any brand worth its salt. When you search that brand name, you come up number one, obviously. And on the right, you have that Knowledge Panel that’s full of information about you, that’s factual, accurate that you provided, preferably not in this case, Wikipedia, for example. And here, Rand Fishkin as a person. This is the absolute minimum. When you search, when your audience searches your name, to have that Knowledge Panel, to be understood by Google.
[00:38:17] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And once again, we come back to the new look of that Knowledge Panel. I think it’s brilliant. I’m really keen for that to roll out around the rest of the world. At the minute, it appears to only be in America. And it seems to be an experiment on specific user sets. I’ve been getting it for the last couple of weeks and it seems to be sticking around, so I hope it will. But that Knowledge Panel reflects clearly who I am and what I do. And that for me, for my audience, when you search my name is phenomenally important that I’m communicating what I want to communicate to my audience and not what Google chooses or just leaving up to plain luck.
Triggering and Managing Knowledge Panels in Five Simple Steps
[00:38:52] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, triggering and managing Knowledge Panels in five simple steps. I’ll explain it. This is Kalicube Pro platform, which actually walks you through and provides the corroborative sources for you. We’re using technology from WordLift, Authoritas, and SE Ranking to drive it. You define the Entity Home. You write clear, focused, factual description about the entity, about your brand or your person, depending on which one you’re optimising for. You establish the fundamental facts about the entity that you want to communicate to Google. You create a machine-readable version of steps two and three. In fact, it should read two and three instead of one and two. I need to correct that. For Google in Schema Markup, JSON-LD format, so that Google can digest and it’s confident that it’s fully understood what’s in that description, because all that Schema Markup does is reiterate what you wrote in the description.
[00:39:41] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Then you need to update all the information about that entity on the third party websites that we have identified. You can actually do it by hand. If you want, you can use a tool like SE Ranking, but Kalicube brings it all together, shows you these corroborative sources that Google is looking at, prioritises them all. And you just go through and you correct all of this information.
[00:40:01] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And somebody asked me, what’s your success rate for triggering Knowledge Panels? The answer is obviously not a hundred percent because some experiments are still ongoing, but it isn’t a question of can I. It’s how long will it take. And how long will it take? Depends on how much of a mess all of those corroborative sources are in, how much contradiction there is out there, how much of a mess I have made or the person has made or the entity has made with their digital footprint.
Connect With Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Through Twitter or LinkedIn
[00:40:27] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, that for me is the end. Kalicube Pro by the way is still in beta. If you want to apply for beta, please do write to me. Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn. You are welcome to talk to me, exchange with me about Knowledge Graphs, Knowledge Panels, and Brand SERPs because they are my favourite topics. Now, we’ve got five minutes left. If anybody’s got any questions, I will be delighted to answer them. I actually didn’t even get round to looking at that poll.
[00:41:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): After that, he says, thank you very much, Jason. That was an enlightening and delightful piece. And I do thank you. What I’m going to do, actually, seeing as nobody has any questions is flip through. I’ll share the slide deck after the event on whatever it’s called, what’s it called, SlideShare. So you can actually grab the presentation and walk it through in your mind again, but I’m going to go back to this.
Looking at Jason’s Brand SERP, His Podcast, Twitter Feed, Articles, Courses, Videos, Social Profiles, and People He Is Associated With
[00:41:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): It’s actually interesting to look at how that Brand SERP tells my life story and tells my life story in a way that I want it to be told. I want my audience to see my life story presented in this way. And I’ve managed to convince Google that that is how it should be presenting my life story. Basically saying this at the top is where you want to go if you want to visit Jason Barnard’s website, find out more about him. Here’s his podcast. Here’s his Twitter feed. Here’s Search Engine Journal, SEMrush. Then there’s my courses, then the videos, then the LinkedIn profile.
[00:42:09] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Then on the right there, you’ve got the factual information, including the Entity Home. You can see the little round world icon where it says, this is where the entity lives for Google. Pieces of information about me, who my mother is, who my child is, what my music albums were, the TV series. You got the blue dog there we were talking about earlier on. He’s still on the Brand SERP, but he’s one aspect of my life and not my entire life.
[00:42:36] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And then at the bottom, I’ve managed to get myself associated with Rand Fishkin, Bill Slawski, Cindy Krum, and Hamlet Batista, which is very, very good for my own credibility. If you look at that, you think this guy is a credible person in the digital marketing space, because there is lots of information or pieces of information that indicate that I am some kind of expert, some kind of leader within my field including the people, including the videos, including the sites that I’ve been writing for.
The Effectiveness of Your Digital Marketing Strategy Is Affected by the Engagement of Your Audience
[00:43:09] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And I would argue that what appears when somebody searches your brand name or your personal name, Google wants to show what you want it to show. It just needs to be convinced that that is what your audience is looking for, that is what’s going to satisfy your audience. Because when somebody searches your brand name, what are they doing? They’re looking either to research you or to find out a specific piece of information or visit your website. And in that case, Google says or thinks the algorithm figures out what content can I put on this Brand SERP that’s going to be useful, helpful, and valuable to the audience.
[00:43:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And I use video boxes as an example. I use that a lot is that if your digital marketing strategy contains video and you are spending a lot of money or a lot of time or pushing a lot of resources towards videos and you don’t have videos on your Brand SERP, that means one of these three things, either your videos are not engaging your audience or Google doesn’t see that your videos are engaging your audience. Because if it sees that your videos are engaging your audience, it will put them on the Brand SERP when somebody searches your brand name, because it knows that is useful, valuable, helpful information for your audience.
[00:44:37] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Same goes for Twitter boxes. If you’ve got a Twitter strategy but you are not getting Twitter boxes, it means that your audience isn’t engaging or Google doesn’t see that your audience is engaging with your content. So, it’s also a really, really interesting way and helpful way to look into your digital marketing strategy and assess whether or not your digital marketing strategy is being effective or at least being seen to be effective by Google.
[00:45:02] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And I would argue that if Google doesn’t see that it’s effective, then it probably isn’t. Google’s probably the best insight we have into the entire world wide web. Thank you very much. Oh, sorry. I didn’t actually realise I had to stop the session. So I’ve got seven, six seconds left to say thank you very much for listening. I hope that was helpful. Please do connect with me online.