Knowledge Panels – Jason Barnard – CONTFERENCE #1
How to Trigger and Manage a Knowledge Panels for your Brand.
Jason Barnard during CONTFERENCE #1 – online content intelligence & content marketing conference.
Jason Barnard as the Brand SERP Guy and Mr. Knowledge Panel
[00:00:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I got no idea why. I’m really sorry, everybody. Just take those out and get on with it. Right. Knowledge Panels, how to trigger and manage a Knowledge Panel for your brand. Off we go, my favourite topic in the entire universe.
[00:00:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’m The Brand SERP Guy, and I generally tell my story from the Brand SERP. So, this is my Brand SERP. I’ve been working on this for about 9 years now. And as you can see, it’s very rich. And it tells my story, it tells you who I am, what I do, and who my audience might be.
[00:00:48] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The Knowledge Panel is what we’re talking about today. John Mueller calls me Mr. Knowledge Panel or has in the past. I’ve been working on Knowledge Panels, trying to figure out how we can trigger them and how we can manage them to the very best of my ability. And so far, it’s been going rather well, which is delightful.
Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) on Telling His Story Through His Own Brand SERP
[00:01:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, how can I tell my story through my Brand SERP? Number one, Jason Barnard, The Brand SERP Guy. I live in Paris, and you can see that there from my LinkedIn profile, which gives my location, which is absolutely delightful. And if I move on from there, I’m a voice actor, a cartoon blue dog. And I wrote some songs. And you can see here that I’ve got my IMDb biography there. Next, I was a punk folk musician in the 90s. I played in a band called The Barking Dogs. You can see their name there on my own homepage, and you can see an icon on that little green thumbnail down at the bottom with The Barking Dogs.
[00:01:51] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Next, I was on a groovy podcast. I have a groovy podcast called With Jason Barnard. We managed to trigger a Knowledge Panel for that with the Knowledge Panel podcast update of October 2021. Next, I’m an author, book over there on the left. It’s just come out. It’s behind me here. I tweeted about it. And you can find it on Amazon in France for 61.99 euros. I can’t imagine anybody would pay 61.99 euros in France when you can buy it for $16 in the US or 14 pounds in the UK. And I’m the CEO and founder of Kalicube. It’s a SaaS Platform and its courses and the book, of course. And this is where we do the business of building, managing Knowledge Panels and creating great, great Brand SERPs for our clients.
[00:02:42] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, I am The Brand SERP Guy. And this is one of my pride and joys of the last few months is that I’ve managed to educate Google about the concept of Brand SERPs that didn’t exist before. I’ve educated Google what is a Brand SERP and that I am The Brand SERP Guy. And these People Also Ask now appear on my Brand SERP, quite near the top, which is absolutely delightful. And from my perspective, a concentration of a couple of years of talking about Brand SERPs nonstop over and over and over to the point of everybody else’s boredom. And I do apologise to you.
A Preview of the Content of Jason’s Talk About Brand SERPs and Knowledge Panels
[00:03:17] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, here we go. The plan, context: Brand SERPs, then I’m going to talk about Brand Knowledge Panels, then international variations on those Knowledge Panels. Then we’re going to look at what are Google’s sources. Then we can look at what you can do, practical tips for your Knowledge Panel, then what’s going to be coming next.
[00:03:36] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And this is really exciting. And that’s a bit I like the most because obviously managing them today is one thing, but what’s going to be coming next and it’s obviously going to be incredibly rich experience for the user. And when we say incredibly rich experience to the user, that makes it even more difficult for us to manage. Managing a simple Brand SERP is something that most companies and most people haven’t looked at yet. If we look at what’s going to be coming in the future, we suddenly realise that if we don’t start today, we’re going to be very, very, very lost in a few years time if we’re not already.
[00:04:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Then we’ve got some fun examples at the end with the blue dog and yellow koala. If anybody’s been following me or reading my tweets or coming to my talks, you’ll know all about the blue dog and yellow koala. And right at the end, what the ultimate aim is. When we put the fun and games of the blue dog and yellow koala aside in my experiments with those, the ultimate aim, what is it? What’s the ultimate aim with the Knowledge Panel?
The Context of Your Brand SERP and What Does a Rich Brand SERP Look Like
[00:04:31] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Context of your Brand SERP. It’s important for three big reasons. I’ll go through this quite quickly because I really want to get to the meat and potatoes of the Knowledge Panel. The Brand SERP is the exact match brand term. And it’s more or less convincing, more or less positive, and more or less accurate. As you can see here over there on the left, you’ve got a very rich Brand SERP from Microsoft, then you have somebody else in the middle, and you have Kalicube.
[00:04:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): We’ve managed to develop those Twitter boxes, those LinkedIn, sorry, those video boxes, and the YouTube stream into the Brand SERP. And it’s taken about a year of building great content and pushing out there to get that rich Brand SERP. So, from a standing start, getting a rich Brand SERP like that takes about a year of dedicated application of content creation. And over there on the right-hand side, you’ve got the 10 blue links that we were used to seeing 7 or 8 years ago. And that now, if you see a Brand SERP like that, the brand, the company, or even the person just doesn’t look very convincing anymore.
Your Brand SERP Is Important for Your Audience, for Google, and for You
[00:05:30] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, they’re important for your audience. Who are the audience searching your brand name? They’re your clients, your prospects, your investors, your partners, potentially. It’s your Google Business Card. Then it’s also important to Google. It’s important to Google because it’s Google’s assessment of the world’s opinion of you, which you could say is EAT. It’s showing your expertise, authority, and your trust and its understanding of who you are. And from that perspective, your Brand SERP is an amazing way to understand how Google perceives you as an entity, who you are, what you do, and who your audience is, but also your authoritativeness within your particular topicality.
[00:06:11] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Then it’s also important for you. And I think this is something people overlook. It’s an amazing window into your digital ecosystem. When you look at your Brand SERP, Google is showing your audience what it thinks is helpful, valuable, and relevant to you or for them, sorry, about you. That means that it’s showing them the content that you have produced or the content around your brand that it feels is the most relevant, helpful, and valuable to your audience. And that allows you to look at what is actually working and what actually isn’t, where the problems are, where your strengths are, where your weaknesses are. So those three perspectives are incredibly important.
The Knowledge Panel Is Google’s Factual Understanding of You
[00:06:49] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And then now, we’re going to come into Knowledge Panels because the Knowledge Panel obviously is over there on the right on desktop. I tend to focus on desktop because it’s very clear that you have the Knowledge Panel on the right, which is, let’s say, Google’s factual understanding of you. And on the left, you have Google’s opinion of what’s going to be helpful to your audience searching. So, you have on the left, recommendations and you have on the right, fact.
[00:07:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, why does it show the Knowledge Panel? It’s not just to say, oh, look, I know who this entity is. Google is trying to pull information in from multiple different sources, show it in the Knowledge Panel so that the person searching doesn’t need to click on multiple links in those blue links on the left-hand side or the video boxes or whatever it might be to find that information fragmented around different sources around the web and build it up in their own brain. Google gives them a summary of the brand or the person or whatever you’re searching for.
[00:07:48] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The idea of one size fits all, totally false. Google has a templated system. And you can see here that we have different templates depending on the companies and very different Knowledge Panels from the left to the right, from the tiny little sprout for Perceptive Fittings Ltd., whoever they might be, a tiny Knowledge Panel for Kalicube, SE Ranking much bigger, WordLift even bigger, and obviously, Meta, Facebook massive, massive, super-duper, sexy Knowledge Panel.
Google’s Confidence in Its Understanding Will Help a Brand Have Its Own Knowledge Panel
[00:08:18] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, Knowledge Panels on Brand SERPs are commonplace. Now, brands that don’t have them today are starting to look a little bit out of touch. They don’t look convincing. Google hasn’t understood them. And I think more and more brands are coming to me and saying, we need the Knowledge Panel. We need the Knowledge Panel because we need to look good to our audience when they search our brand name and obviously, secondarily, in this kind of visible Google Business Card idea, be understood as entities and know that we’re understood as entities. And that Google, importantly, is confident in its understanding of who we are, what we do, and who our audience is.
[00:08:55] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And there are 50% of brands who actually have a Knowledge Panel in the USA today, and that’s up from 43% two years ago. And it’s rising reasonably quickly. Obviously, Google has a great deal of understanding that it doesn’t necessarily show in the SERP. And that distinction between I have a Knowledge Panel in my little brain but I’m going to show it or I’m not going to show it is dependent on confidence and probability. Confidence in that understanding and the probability that the user is going to find this information in that Knowledge Panel helpful, useful, and valuable.
[00:09:31] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And facts are universal. If you look at the English language results around the world, 98% of that 51% have an equivalent Knowledge Panel in all of these 5 countries. That’s from the Kalicube data set, 18,700 and something brands.
Some Examples of Knowledge Panels and Its International Variations
[00:09:48] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But now, let’s have a quick look at the international variations. I think brands fail to realise that even if they have a Knowledge Panel in all these different countries, what Google feels is relevant to show their audience is not the same across all these different countries. Facts are universal. What is relevant to show is not.
[00:10:10] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Some really quick examples here, STIHL, they have different attributes. They have different information for America and the US, as you can see here, very, very small. The customer service number changes. That’s a big one. Google’s trying to put the customer service number that is relevant to the geo region of the person making the search. That’s obviously a great user experience. When they get it right, they look great. When they get it wrong, everyone ridicules them on Twitter. But it’s actually quite difficult for them to get right because these companies, most companies do not organise the information in an easily digestible way that Google can be confident. And once again, we come back to confident. Which telephone number is valid for which geo region.
[00:10:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And then we move on to IKEA. For their social media profiles, now IKEA have got different social media accounts for different countries. And as you can see, they’ve got it reasonably good, but Google still gets a little bit mixed up. For the USA, it’s doing very well. Obviously, LinkedIn is just has that world, the one worldwide LinkedIn account. But for the UK, it’s getting it a bit wrong with the Instagram account there. And the Twitter account is the world account instead of the UK account. And it’s up to the brand, and I think that’s what we fail to realise. It’s up to the brand to educate Google so that Google knows which account goes with which country. Because if I’m in the UK and I connect to the world Twitter account, it’s going to be less relevant to me than if I connect with IKEA through the United Kingdom Twitter account.
The People Also Search For Depends on the Relationships Google Can Understand and Importance in Any Geo Region
[00:11:41] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Next, People Also Search For. This is something I get the impression a lot of people think they’re the same across the world, and they’re not. You can see here for Netflix. It varies. It depends on the relationships that Google can understand between these entities and their relative importance in any given geo region. So you can see here, what we could consider to be the competitors of Netflix by Google’s appreciation in these two different countries for America and the UK is very, very different.
[00:12:12] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And in the dataset from Kalicube, once again, 18,000 brands. We can see that they’re all the same in about 27% of cases. And none of them are the same. All 5 are different when you have 5 in about 3 or 4%. So, the variation of these People Also Search For that seem to be terribly universal and, in fact, not universal much like other elements within the Knowledge Panel.
Taking Control of Entity Statements Because Google Shows Them as Statements of Fact
[00:12:39] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Entity statements. This is one of my favourites. It’s the People Also Ask in the Knowledge Panel, but it’s not People Also Ask in the sense that Google are not showing them as questions. Google is showing them as statements of fact, and that makes them doubly dangerous for brands. Because if they see, if their audience sees in the Knowledge Panel an entity statement that says something about them, their revenue, the number of employees, the pricing, whatever that might be, and it is not true, that’s obviously a big problem.
[00:13:09] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And what you want to do is take control. You want to manage it and make sure that you are giving the information to Google on your own website so that it can show that information factually, correctly from the horse’s mouth, which is you, right there in your Knowledge Panel. And very, very few people actually or brands rather get that right. Most People Also Ask in their Knowledge Panel called entity statements are answered by other brands, which is unfortunate to say the least.
An Example Where the Information Google Is Showing Varies Vastly Depending on the Location
[00:13:38] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, a fun example of this, which I really, really like is CheapOair. I just like the name, but I also like the fact that almost everything on this Knowledge Panel is different. Whether in the UK or the US, you will see very different elements within this Knowledge Panel, attributes, profiles, People Also Search For, depending on the country. And over there, obviously in the US, we’ve got the entity statements as well. So, a) I love the name, CheapOair, delightful, but also b) the information that Google is showing as relevant to the audience of CheapOair in the UK and the US varies vastly.
[00:14:18] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): An extra special mention for the products that appear in Knowledge Panels. WordLift do a lot of work on this with their data-driven SEO. The products of companies in Knowledge Panels is for the moment only in the USA. But as you can see, it is going to be incredibly important for brands. And it’s something that brands need to manage, take control of now before it gets to the point where these products are repairing and the control is going to be increasingly difficult. And we’ll come to how you grab control of this information further on in the talk.
Google’s Sources: Wikipedia, Bloomberg, Newspapers, LinkedIn, Google Properties, WordLift, and Other Authoritative Sources
[00:14:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, Google’s sources. And a lot of people think, oh, Wikipedia. And obviously, Wikipedia is dumb. And you can see here, we’ve got 4 Knowledge Panels, 5 Knowledge Panels with Wikipedia descriptions. A lot of the information comes from Wikipedia. We’ll see some data about that in a moment.
[00:15:11] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But there are also many, many other sources. It’s the tip of the iceberg, what we’re actually seeing here. Obviously, Wikipedia dominates. And this is information again from Kalicube Pro. We’ve got 57% of descriptions in Knowledge Panels come from Wikipedia but also other sites, Bloomberg, Newspapers. LinkedIn is very, very important. The Google properties are incredibly important. WordLift has actually got a great dataset, which it pushes in, and Google’s using that at times. And from my perspective, you’ve got my little face there and my Kalicube logo because I have many descriptions in Knowledge Panels.
Google Trusts Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) as an Authoritative Source of Himself
[00:15:47] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the point there is that Google trusts me to provide the factual, in inverted commas, description for that Knowledge Panel about entities for which I have authority. And obviously, I am the authority of myself, but it is actually necessary for me or it was necessary for me to convince Google that I am a trustworthy authority on myself. And it’s up to each of us to convince Google that we are indeed a trustworthy authority about ourselves, because we are naturally the authority. But does Google understand which entity we are? Number one. And number two, does it trust us in what we’re saying?
[00:16:25] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the other thing is I’ve, we’ll see the experiments later on with the blue dog and yellow koala, is that it shows my description for the blue dog’s and yellow koala’s, because it trusts me as an authority on the blue dog’s and yellow koala’s. And yet, I do not own the blue dog and yellow koala anymore. I created them, but they belong to another company. So I’ve managed to create an authority for myself, authoritativeness for myself about these characters, despite the fact that I no longer have the ownership relationship, and that the company that owns them up to then should, in reality, be giving the descriptions and not me.
The Importance of Industry in Niches and the Concept of Geo
[00:17:01] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, onwards. Industry in niches are incredibly important. It varies greatly. Here’s some information on from the Kalicube database again, auto and vehicles, food and drink, travel, and hobbies. If you can read those lists, because they’re written very small, you will see that there is variety according to the different industries of what sources Google is trusting.
[00:17:25] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And you also have the concept of geo. There we’ve pulled more data out and shown which sites are providing, outside Wikipedia obviously, the descriptions in those Knowledge Panels. And it varies and it’s pretty geo sensitive. So you’ve got to be aware of that as an international company is that the description in the Knowledge Panel can come from different sources depending on which geo region you are in.
Entity Equivalents and Templates for the Knowledge Panel
[00:17:48] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Next, we at Kalicube figure this out using what we’re calling entity equivalents. And what we say is, and you could look at it as being competitors but it’s a little bit wider than that, it’s entities that we feel or you feel are equivalent to your own. So if I’m in the digital marketing space, it would be other agencies, other marketing agencies, but it can go quite wide. It could be ORM agencies and it could be potentially companies or media companies within that space. Search Engine Land would potentially be an entity equivalent if I felt that I was creating content that was similar to theirs.
[00:18:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, what we do is we say, if it’s the same entity, the same geo region, the same category, we can take this information, if you give us a list of, let’s say, a hundred equivalent entities, we can bring the information in from their Knowledge Panels and indeed their Brand SERPs, and we can basically give you a template for the Knowledge Panel. I mentioned templating earlier on. Google has templates for different industries, different categories, different types of entity. And we can map out that template, both of the Knowledge Panel and of the Brand SERP.
[00:19:02] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that for me is incredibly powerful because it gives you the target you’re aiming at. It knows where the, it shows you, sorry, where the sweet spots are. It shows you what information Google understands within a specific industry, within a specific geo region for a specific entity type. And it allows you to understand what it is you’re aiming for and what things you are likely probable to get.
[00:19:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And a great example is a American football. We did this for and what shows for an American football is the number on the back of their shirt, the amount of money they make, and their spouse and obviously, lots more information as well, but that was what came out top every single time, pretty much.
Third-Party Human Curated Sites and Google Sources Human Curated
[00:19:42] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, Google’s sources, new insights from Kalicube Pro. Oops, I’ve gone the wrong way. I do apologise for that. It’s now going the wrong way totally. This is my worst day of a long time. It’s the wrong button. There you go, Google’s sources. This I love, absolutely love it. Where is Google getting the attributes from? And obviously, Wikipedia, once again, dominates. That blue line is third-party human curated sites dominated by Wikipedia but also sites such as IMDb, MusicBrainz, and Discogs, other sites that have been human curated over the last 25 years.
[00:20:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And remember that these sites were started right at the beginning. And Google has been training the machine on these sites, principally Wikipedia. But if you’re in the music industry, MusicBrainz is incredibly important, potentially more important than Wikipedia. So, remember that within different industries, within different geo regions, and different entity types, the type of human curated source will vary. Obviously, that dominates it somewhere around 70%.
[00:20:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And as we go down, we see Google sources human curated. That would be things like Google Podcasts, Google My Business, Google Scholars, Google Books, the feedback form on Knowledge Panels, surprisingly enough, and that’s about 17%.
Web Facts and Web Facts Second Generation
[00:21:12] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And then we have web facts, which is information that Google has crawled from around the web. It’s in the web from the web index, excuse me. And these appear to be a seed set of trusted sources, such as Crunchbase, that Google is saying to the machine, you can trust a lot of this information and it’s not allowed, as far as I can see, to go outside of that seed set or very far outside that seed set.
[00:21:37] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And then right at the bottom, you’ve got web facts second generation, which came up last summer and really started to service in November. And that appears to be Google letting the machine go, letting machine decide for itself. And this is where you get information, the attribute from the website of the entity itself. And this is where you start to see where that control can really, really come into force and really come into play in your favour in managing that Knowledge Panel.
[00:22:05] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And with the web facts second generation, sometimes they cite the source, sometimes they don’t. I haven’t yet figured out why or what the distinction is between the two, but this is how we find, in fact, a list of these trusted sources. And surprisingly enough, one-third of the trusted sources that Google does cite for that second generation web fact are the entity itself. So there’s a really, really nice rabbit hole to be digging down into in 2022.
Practical Tips on What You Can Do to Trigger and Control a Knowledge Panel
[00:22:33] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, the practical tips of what you can do. Essentially, you need to take control. You can heavily influence what appears, as I’ve been saying. And John Mueller says it incredibly well. He’s talking about the idea of reconciliation. Google, the algorithm, is trying to reconcile this fragmented information from around the web, trying to build it up into something that it understands, not only that it understands, but it’s confident it has correctly understood.
[00:22:59] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And from my perspective, I’m saying, give the entity a home. It’s one page on a website you own where you provide Google with the completed puzzle. So it’s got these fragmented pieces that make up a plate, and it’s trying to put it all together. And the plate isn’t quite coming together as it wants, and it’s not quite sure the pieces don’t quite fit. And you present on your entity home the completed plate, the completed puzzle so that Google can compare it to what it’s found and then be confident that it has correctly understood the entity.
[00:23:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And what we see at Kalicube with clients who come on board using the platform is that a lot of the time, we’re at what we call the tipping point. Google’s almost understood and it just needs that Entity Home to confirm that it has correctly understood. And it triggers a Knowledge Panel because it goes, oh, all the pieces fall into place, now I’m confident, fine, let’s go.
After Making an Entity Home, Signpost Using Schema Markup and Feed the Knowledge Graph
[00:23:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, every entity needs a home on a page on a site you control that describes clearly who you are and what you do. And then you need to signpost using Schema Markup corroboration on multiple independent authoritative third party sites. I call that the cumulation of corroboration. And preferably, if possible, pointing from your Entity Home to these corroborative sources that repeat what you said on your Entity Home, pretty much verbatim, and then point straight back. And the machine ends up in this infernal cycle, backwards and forwards, from the Entity Home out to these different corroborative sources, sees the same information, and then comes back, goes to another one, sees the same information. It’s education of a child, this Google child that’s trying to understand the world by pure repetition.
[00:24:43] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, make your page that the page that the reference for you. And you can see here, a couple of examples of companies where the description is being pulled from the website itself. As I said, some attributes are now being pulled from the website of the entity itself. 4 out of 10 Brand Knowledge Panels do not cite Wikipedia, 3 out of 10 cite nobody, 1 out of 10 cite a non-Wiki source, and 1 out of 100 Knowledge Panels cite the brand’s own site. That’s what you’re aiming for.
[00:25:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And you can feed the Knowledge Graph once you’ve done that. Here, we have The Barking Dogs, which is my music group from the 1990s. I am a trusted source for information about The Barking Dogs. And as you can see, in 8 minutes, I could update the description in the Knowledge Panel for The Barking Dogs, because Google was pulling that from my site, the dedicated Entity Home, the page on my website that represents the entity, The Barking Dogs. And within 8 minutes, it had indexed and was showing the new information in the Knowledge Panel. That is great control.
Filter Pills and How the Trust Google Has on Your Entity Home Is Going to Be More Important
[00:25:46] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, what’s next? And this is one of my favourite moments is the filter pills. In America, for the moment, this tends to be for rich entities in terms of a lot of different aspects to them, for example, films but also people. And as you can see here, this is mine in America. And quicker side, up there in the top left-hand corner, you can see it says Jason Barnard author. I’ve been Jason Barnard musician for a couple of years now. And with the release of the book, it took me 2 weeks to get Google to switch from saying Jason Barnard musician to Jason Barnard author. I could change my subtitle in Google’s psyche by publishing a book, and I did not use Google Books.
[00:26:30] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, that idea that Google is allowing me to educate it relatively easily shows the amount of trust it has in me in terms of myself as an authority about myself. But remember, it’s taken me 9 years to build up that trust, to build up that authoritativeness. Now today, if I started from scratch, it wouldn’t take me 9 years. I made a lot of mistakes on the way. That’s how I learned. So today, to get that kind of authoritativeness, you’re going to be looking at 2 to 3 years, I would’ve thought. So, it’s not something that happens overnight.
[00:27:06] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But with these filter pills coming in, that authoritativeness with your Entity Home, the trust that Google has in that Entity Home is going to become even more important than it was before. Because what happens is when you click on these filter pills, Google will show a vertical result that is different, that is focused on that particular aspect of the entity.
Clicking on Different Filter Pills Which Shows Different Brand SERPs to Be Controlled
[00:27:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So if you look here, I clicked on songs, we’ve got a list of some of the songs I’ve written. There were about 60 songs in that list of the 90 songs that I’ve written. I had to educate Google that I had written these songs and which songs I had written, and I did that on my own website. So that whole website is now becoming a massive Entity Home for the different entities to which I have a close relationship. So, for this, in fact, I have a page dedicated to the songs I’ve written, another one dedicated to the songs I’ve played on records. And I’m able to perhaps not control, but certainly heavily influence both the entities that Google is showing in this vertical but also the results below.
[00:28:13] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Because if you think about this, we’re looking at multiple Brand SERPs. You have the overview Brand SERP over there on the left, but this is the song of Jason Barnard Brand SERP. And it’s a new Brand SERP to control which is great news for me as The Brand SERP Guy because that means there’s even more Brand SERPs that I need to deal with, that we all need to deal with. So it looks like my little niche in the world is getting bigger and bigger and more and more fun. And I’m really looking forward to the next few years.
Looking at Songs as Products and Directing People to Where They Can Consume the Songs
[00:28:41] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But this is a person. You think, well, so what? It’s a person. What about a company? It doesn’t really matter. But if you look at these songs as products and they are products, you can download them, you can stream them off Spotify. They do make somebody some money, not me, unfortunately, but they do make somebody some money. So, the songs of the equivalent of products you would then have for a company, and this is going to come in a couple of years, in my opinion, the overview, and then you will have the product’s vertical Brand SERP.
[00:29:08] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): At that point, you really want to have control. Because here, with the songs and, in fact, with listen, I can direct people to the place that I want them to consume my songs on. If you click on one of those songs, it will send you through to YouTube Music and Spotify. I need to control that as best I can, if I would rather push people to Spotify than to YouTube Music or to Deezer. So that idea of distributing my own products becomes phenomenally important.
Controlling Other Filter Pills by Creating Entity Homes on Your Own Site
[00:29:39] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And here we’re looking at education. You can see at the top there, and this is the demonstration of what I just said before, I created a page that just describes my education. Google trusts me. It isn’t just that one piece of information that Google put in its little brain because I happen to say it, but this is the Entity Home for my own education where I can inform Google. So I, on that Entity Home, I then point out to corroboration about that education that supports and proves what it is I’m saying. So Google does trust me, but it doesn’t believe me on my own good word for the most part. So this education vertical, I can control that by creating the Entity Home for that vertical on my own website and so on and so forth.
[00:30:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): With the other ones, for videos, oh, sorry, that’s videos indeed, creating a page to control the videos, same idea. And what’s interesting here is that Google has taken these videos from my own site. I have put these videos on my own site. They’re also on YouTube, but I’m grabbing back control within this vertical on my Brand SERP for myself rather than sending people to YouTube where there is no context or there’s no real context for me, for my users, sorry, when they come to it. When they come to my website, they’re in clearly in a context of Jason Barnard, who is the person they’re looking for.
Pulling People Into Your Site Where You Have the YouTube Videos Than Sending Them to YouTube
[00:31:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Once again, for a company, it’s going to be much more interesting for you to pull people into your site where you have the YouTube videos showing than it is to send them to YouTube. And if you think about it, that’s better for Google too. Because on your own site, the people are getting into the context of the thing they were researching. Whereas on YouTube, they’re in a wider context that is potentially a less good user experience for them.
[00:31:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And it’s important to notice that they change the query at the top there. It says Jason Barnard videos. But if I type Jason Barnard videos and search for that, the results will be completely different. So these vertical results using the filter pills are different to the vertical results in the searches in the search and another different to the videos vertical if you just click on the little videos tab at the top of the Google search. So you’ve got three different verticals to control for videos about the Entity, which once again, makes even more work for all of us.
Building a Family Tree for the Blue Dog and Yellow Koala on Google’s Mind
[00:32:03] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, some fun examples. Happy families, my blue dog and yellow koala, favourite topic in the entire universe because it’s fun. As you can see, I have the description for all of these different characters. I’ve managed to build in Google’s mind the family tree. And it can identify who Mummy Koala is and that her husband or her partner is Daddy Koala and that her father is Grandpa Koala and his better half is Grandma Koala. I’m getting confused.
[00:32:37] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So I’ve built this family tree and what’s been incredibly interesting. Sorry. I did that on my own site using the WordLift plugin. And it’s been an incredibly successful experiment because what’s interesting here is that nobody talks about these characters. They were minor characters in a semi-successful TV series from 15 years ago that most people have forgotten about. Anybody who does remember them talks about Boowa and Kwala and not the family’s Grandma Koala, Grandpa Koala, and so on and so forth.
[00:33:05] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And what I’ve done is built this understanding myself on my own website with some corroborative sources that I placed out there. And when the confidence score in Google’s Knowledge Graph goes up for one member of this family, it goes up the same equivalent, the same for all the members of the family. So, as I improve the understanding of one member, it pulls the other members up and they’re all rising in confidence in Google’s little brain in tandem, which is an astonishing insight.
[00:33:38] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Which is to say that if I can find entities that are closely related to each other, I can build them as a group. And building them as a group makes Google increasingly confident and gives me increasing power, let’s say, to control and to influence what Google’s showing. As we can see here, this information, pretty much all of the information you can see here for these characters, it’s me educating Google about these characters because nobody else is talking about them.
Sorting the Knowledge Panel of Jason’s Band From the 90s From Its Ambiguous Name Problem
[00:34:08] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Ambiguity makes it tough, especially when the authoritative sources get it wrong and contradict each other. Another fun example is my rock group from the 90s. As you can see here, it’s a bit of a mix up. There was an Italian techno DJ duo with the same name, Barking Dogs. And Google got it 50% of the Knowledge Panel was about them and 50% was about my group. So I said about correcting it, and then June 2020, started the experiment, 50-50 for each group. Within 3 or 4 months, I got it to 70-30 in favour of my group with that picture still there and still some information. And what’s interesting is it took me 3 months to sort out the basics or 4 months, and then another year to absolutely nail it, that last chunk of information.
[00:34:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And once again, that illustrates how slow this process can be, that it isn’t something that happens overnight. And within the SEO industry, we’ve got very used to these incredibly quick updates and indexing our new pages incredibly quickly. And this process is much, much slower and it’s something we need to be aware of, and especially when we’re talking to clients, that it isn’t something that’s going to change in a couple of weeks. It isn’t something that we’re going to be able to master in a few months. It’s going to take a couple of years.
The Ultimate Is Control Which Is Built From Trustworthiness and Authoritativeness
[00:35:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, the ultimate aim is control. And control needs to be built, as I said over a couple of years. And control comes from trustworthiness and authoritativeness about the entity. It’s not general trustworthiness about everything. You need to be trusted and authoritative for the specific entity.
[00:35:42] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): As you can see here, it’s all based on the Entity Home. Once you’ve identified the Entity Home for the main entity, as you’ve seen with the blue dog and yellow koala, the songs and the videos, you can build a Entity Home for all of the related entities. And in the case of a company, if we bring it back to the monetary aspect, the company, its products.
[00:36:01] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): That is the foundation of what’s going to be coming over the next few years, gaining control of educating Google about who we are, what we have to offer, and who we have to offer it to. And we can see all of that visually incredibly clearly through our Brand SERP and through our Knowledge Panel. So I would argue that that is your window into Google’s understanding of your brand, your company, your product, who you are, what you do, and who your audience is. And it’s fundamentally important.
Kalicube Offers Books for Beginners, Courses for Intermediate, and the SaaS Platform for Advanced and Agency Users
[00:36:32] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And of course, Kalicube, quick bit of promotion. We do nothing but Brand SERPs and Knowledge Panels all day long. And we have a book for beginners. We have courses for intermediate. So I’ve just moved the courses onto a dedicated platform, the Kalicube Academy. And for advanced and agency users, we have the SaaS Platform where I’m building it myself.
[00:36:53] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And I’m trying to take everything I’ve got in my brain, all the 70,000 brands, 200 million data points that I’ve got in a database, put it all into an algorithm, and then just present people with the solutions, the simple list of the sources, the corroborative sources they need to look at and the resources they need to build a solid Entity Home to grasp control of their own Knowledge Panel and Google’s understanding of who they are, what they do, and who their audience is.
[00:37:22] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that’s in partnership with WordLift, Authoritas, and SE Ranking. Please do come along. Contact me if you want to get on the platform. Come along and buy the book or get on the courses if you are interested at a lower level.
Things From the Talk You May Want to Retain on Your Brain
[00:37:36] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And things you might want to retain in your brain. Knowledge Panel presence is consistent internationally, at least within the Anglophone world. The international non-Anglophone world would be an entirely other talk that I would need to give, which takes another hour.
[00:37:55] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The actual content in the Anglophone world can vary enormously. So if you’re an international brand, you would want to be paying a lot of attention to that, and Kalicube luckily helps you to track it.
[00:38:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): You want to create an Entity Home and start gaining control using schema.org but also all of those amazing corroborative sources that we talked about earlier on. I cannot emphasize enough that it isn’t just Schema Markup. Schema Markup is simply the way to signpost to all of these things and to give Google the bullet list of the facts. But the bullet list of the facts should be represented in the page. And potentially, you could just put the links in the page to all of these different resources and it would still work. So it’s the clear explanation and the corroboration that is fundamentally important here. And Schema Markup is the supporting actor. It’s the way Google can understand explicitly and clearly exactly what it is you’re saying. It’s a confidence booster, let’s say.
[00:38:55] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, build corroboration on multiple authoritative third-party sources, not just Wikipedia. They need to be relevant too.
[00:39:03] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The trusted sources that you leverage depends on market and geography and the entity type, of course. So stick to relevance within your industry for your geo region, for your entity type, as opposed to just going Wiki, Wiki, Wiki.
[00:39:16] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Brand SERPs are the most interesting thing in digital marketing ever. I’ve been studying this for 9 years and I haven’t started to get to the bottom of it yet. Every day, I discover something astonishing, interesting, and mind-blowing.
[00:39:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And you want to track and measure for stunning insights. And obviously, I’ve been tracking these things for 7 or 8 years now. Kalicube has a massive dataset. And by tracking it, I can look back into the past and understand what has changed and potentially figure out why something has changed.
[00:39:47] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Thank you very much. That’s the end of the talk. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope it was informative.
Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) on Being an Author on Google’s Brain
[00:39:55] Host: I think it was very informative. And especially when, for example, for me, it was quite interesting when you explain how you built your authority as an author and how you switch from one person to another and Google didn’t confuse or how Google right now thinks about you like a book author or a musician or both of them or they just choose one of those because I think that’s quite difficult. Because on the beginning, you also told that they have different sources. So probably, the authors are from a different database and the musicians are from different database. So, who you are right now in Google?
[00:40:36] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right now, I’m an author. And the problem I had all those years was the fact that the musician databases are so solidly ingrained in Google’s brain. When I mentioned MusicBrainz, MusicBrainz has been around since the very beginning of the internet and Google was using it to educate itself about music and it was using IMDb to educate itself about films and Wikipedia for the general world. But something that it’s understood for the last 20 something years through MusicBrainz, a source it truly trusts which is human curated, is very, very difficult to replace. So the authorship was actually quite difficult to trigger because it was so confident in the musician.
[00:41:21] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And Andrea Volpini from WordLift talks a lot about multifacetedness. And I think we fail to realise that as human beings and as companies, we have a multifaceted nature. And those filter pills that I showed are incredible insight into that. And Google will tend to choose just, oh, sorry, it doesn’t tend to, it just chooses one title because it can’t represent Jason Barnard author, musician, screenwriter. But if you search for Jason Barnard professions, it can. So it takes one preference and in this case, it’s author.
The About Page Is a Better Entity Home Than the Homepage
[00:41:56] Host: And you think it just takes the fresh one, the newest one? Or how do you think it’s done this by or it feeds from the source, yes? Because here we have also the question from Lena. What do you mean with Entity Home? So it’s the homepage from the company or what is the Entity Home? So how do you feed Google with the information?
[00:42:22] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right, well, the Entity Home is that Google is actively looking for one page on the web that represents the entity, the place where it can go, to find what the entity is saying about itself before it goes out to the rest of the web and sees if the rest of the web agrees with them.
[00:42:39] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And unfortunately, because the homepage is the focal point in a lot of SEO, it’s often the homepage that is chosen by Google as the Entity Home, but it’s not the best page to have as your Entity Home. The about page is better. Because on the about page, you can be more factual, you can explain the facts, you can point to the corroborative sources. Whereas on the homepage, you want to present your brand or your person to your audience in a much more salesy manner, let’s say. So the Entity Home is the representation of the entity by the entity. And your aim is to make sure that Google finds the correct Entity Home where you can start to educate it.
Some Problems Encountered With Knowledge Panels and What You Need to Do
[00:43:21] Host: Yeah, that’s correct. Okay. The next question from Anna. Have you had situations where displaying Knowledge Panels has linked to the problems? And if so, what kind of problems we could expect?
[00:43:37] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Well, one of the biggest problems with Knowledge Panels is when Google gets it wrong and that tends to blow up. And people talk about it and say, isn’t Google stupid, Google’s got it all wrong. And I would tend to argue that we’re fairly foolish because we haven’t taken that proactive approach to educate Google. Now, obviously you can’t get rid of all the problems. You can’t ensure that Google gets it right every time. But once again, come back to the Entity Home, if you’ve got that really solid Entity Home, you’ve got a really good chance of correcting any information that gets wrong about you.
[00:44:10] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I had an example of a client who came to see me. She had somebody else’s book in her Knowledge Panel, and she couldn’t correct it because she had a homonym. She had somebody with the same name. And she asked Google to change that. She used the feedback form on a claimed Knowledge Panel. And they changed it. And within a week, the machine just switched it back.
[00:44:33] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the lesson from that is that the machine has ultimate control. You can ask people at Google to change things. They might change them. They might not. But at the end of the day, if the machine thinks that the humans are getting it wrong, it will just switch it back. So what you need to do is become Sherlock Holmes and dig around the web and figure out where the source of that confusion comes from and correct that. And then the machine will correct itself. And that’s exactly what we did for that client.
The Effect of Topical Authority on Rankings on Google or YouTube
[00:45:02] Host: Yeah. And this leads us to another question, because I think this is exactly what you just said. The machine has playing the, I would say the role of judge, yes, because they have much more information that we have. And do you think in general that, for example, the authority, if you build your authority, let’s say, as a musician, it will also influence the organic rankings or, for example, rankings on the YouTube as an author? Do you think it’s possible in future or it’s visible now?
[00:45:37] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right now, for YouTube, I wouldn’t suggest it does change any rankings within the YouTube algorithm itself, potentially the YouTube videos in the main Google algorithm. But I would’ve thought that Google will bring these algorithms together. I can’t see them not doing that. But generally speaking, as Koray says all the time, is Topical Authority is incredibly important. And Koray managed to out rank the big guns with his entity tricks and absolutely wonderful stuff that he’s doing.
[00:46:08] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But generally speaking, what I’m saying is that we’ve managed with Kalicube by associating ourselves with the concept of Knowledge Panels, some of our little articles, FAQs are ranking alongside the big guns, like Semrush and Yoast. And so we’re playing a similar trick with less geeky entity related manipulation, if I might say. And we are doing it much more by building up understanding of who we are, what we do, and who our audience is. And the what we do is that Topical Authority.
The Key to Build Authority Faster Is to Not Make Mistakes
[00:46:42] Host: Okay. And Mike says that he has the same issue, some kind of overriding by machine, this what they already correct by human. Okay. So I believe the last question, how we can build the authority faster? So if you are an author, you are just starting, you just said, okay, maybe three years, two years, it’s a long time, yes? Especially now. I believe there are some tricks to build it faster.
[00:47:12] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. I think we’re all impatient and we want things to go faster. And that’s human nature. And we get spoiled and we think it should all be immediate. The way to build it fastest is not to make mistakes. And what I see a lot of people doing is thinking, well, I don’t need a tool like Kalicube, I can just go and find all these sources myself. And you miss so much by doing it by hand. And with Kalicube, you just click on a button. In 20 minutes, it’s given you the list of the sources that Google’s looking at for that entity listed, ordered by priority. So it’s really easy to go through them. And so it gives you that kickstart. So that would be the answer. It’s a bit salesy. I do apologise.
[00:47:51] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But the key to it is not to make mistakes. When you make mistakes, you’re going to kick yourself fairly quickly a fairly long way. For example, if you get a Wikipedia page and that triggers the Knowledge Panel, that Wikipedia page then gets deleted. The next Knowledge Panel will be doubly difficult to trigger, same thing with Wikidata. So if you’re going to go Wikidata, Wikipedia, get it right, make sure it sticks. Because if it doesn’t stick, the one step you took forward will then be kicked two steps back, and you’re going to be struggling for years to come.
[00:48:25] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, key to making it go fast is not to make a mistake, not to get greedy, not to take the shortcuts with Wikipedia, Wikidata to build up with the actual sources Google is looking at for your entity and for your entity equivalent type, as I just explained earlier, and make sure that you build up the authority and the trustworthy enough by correcting the primary important existing sources first, then build the new ones. And as you build that up, you will find that you will have enough great content on the web, authoritative content out there on the web, third-party authoritative content on the web to be able to create a Wikidata page that sticks and potentially a Wikipedia page that sticks, if that’s really what you want.
The Concept of Data Rivers and Data Lakes
[00:49:13] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The other thing to remember really quickly is there’s a concept of data rivers and data lakes. And data rivers is what we’re living in now with the general index. And data lakes is what we were living at in the days of the Google Dance. And with the data lake, what happens is the bot goes around, it crawls, it puts all the data into a big lake, and then the other bot comes around, crawls through the lake, and read us the rankings. And back in the day with the Google Dance, you would update your page, wait for it to crawl, it would put it in the lake, you would then wait for the Google Dance, which was their update of the algorithm that updated the rankings. That would be a couple of months. And that was normal behavior.
[00:49:57] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And today, we’re seeing Google bringing data rivers, which is that it crawls, it pushes it past the algorithm, who pulls out the nuggets, let’s say, and then it will re-rank them almost immediately in a few minutes, a few hours, a few days, depending on the period of time of the year. And the Knowledge Panel and the Knowledge Graph is still very much in the data lakes world where you have that weight because the algorithm is having to sort through and sift through the data in one big chunk. So, trying to go faster than that, crawling, putting in the data lake, and reanalysing the data is going to trip you up every time because you can’t move faster than that process.
Promoting Jason’s Book if You Want to Learn More
[00:50:44] Host: Yeah. Yeah. That’s understood. Yeah. Okay. So, thank you so much, Jason. The link to your book are on the chat, so, yeah.
[00:50:55] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. Thank you.
[00:50:57] Host: Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. I really recommend the book. I have it. We had a small chitchat that I’m on the page 100 right now. So I’m almost, almost done. Quite interesting lecture, especially when you would like to understand how the technical part of the, let’s say, the Knowledge Panels works and so on. Highly recommended. So, thank you so much, once again, and maybe see you in few months. We will have our next version of conference.
[00:51:33] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Brilliant.
[00:51:34] Host: I hope so. Yeah. We can meet each other later. Okay. So thank you very much.
[00:51:41] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Thank you very much.
[00:51:43] Host: And in 5 minutes, we’ll have Vassilena, which will talk about content plan, how to do the content planning right with four steps. So, let’s have a 5-minute break and be here at 9, my time, 9:00 PM, my time, 6 minutes. Thank you. Bye.
[00:52:02] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Bye bye. Thank you very much.