In this episode, Ross Dunn interviewed Jason Barnard, the Brand SERP Guy, CEO, and founder at Kalicube. pro. Jason’s understanding of how the Google Knowledge Panel can be influenced and leveraged for brand recognition is unmatched. SEO 101 listeners will takeaway very helpful tips on how to secure their own Knowledge Panel.Listen to “SEO 101 Ep 401: Knowledge Panels and SEO with Jason Barnard” on Spreaker.
[00:00:00] Narrator: Welcome to SEO 101, your introductory course on search engine optimisation. So, turn on your computers, open your mind, grab your mouse, and get ready to get back to the basics. SEO 101 on webmasterradio.fm is now in session.
Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) and His Previous Experience of Being a Cartoon Blue Dog
[00:00:26] Ross Dunn: Hello and welcome to SEO 101 on webmasterradio.fm episode number 401. This is Ross Dunn, CEO of StepForth Web Marketing. And today we have a special guest episode for you. We’re interviewing Jason Barnard, The Brand SERP Guy, CEO and founder of Kalicube, and previously a blue cartoon dog. We will get to the bottom of that. How are you doing, man?
[00:00:51] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’m doing great. Yeah. As soon as anyone mentions the cartoon blue dog, I’m happy as a lark.
[00:00:56] Ross Dunn: Oh, good. Tell us a little about that. We’ve got to get to that first off.
[00:01:01] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. Well, I was in a TV series where I played the role of a cartoon blue dog. And it actually came from a website. So my initial work was on the web with my wife. She was a yellow koala and it’s all a bit weird, but it did make sense when we made it. I promise you. And then we made a TV series. And what was interesting and I say to people, I was a blue dog in a cartoon, which is nice, but we were in Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, which is in the middle of nowhere, small island, tropical island just off Madagascar. And we had the blue dog and yellow koala, and we were making five games and activities a month for the web.
[00:01:48] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And we invented families because we thought these two characters, we can’t carry it month after month after month for years and years and years. We managed 3 years, and then we said, let’s create a family. We created the family and the family didn’t say anything, nothing for a year because we couldn’t get any voice talent to do the voices of the mothers and the fathers. So, my blue dog had a sister, a mother, and a father, and the yellow koala had a mother, a father, a grandfather, and a grandmother.
[00:02:18] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And what we didn’t really think through was obviously we had to have these extra characters because nobody can build a series over 10 years with just 2 characters. You have to have other characters coming in. And we couldn’t find a voice talent, so I had to do in the end I did 5 voices, more or less. Well, I have to admit some of them were pretty awful.
[00:02:42] Ross Dunn: But they’re kids. Who cares? They don’t mind mine, so that’s all right.
[00:02:48] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The thing about kids is actually they know when you’re not being honest. And you can get away with doing a voice that isn’t incredibly convincing as long as the soul is there. And I’m a great believer in soul, not in a religious sense but in a sense of who we are as people, as living beings.
[00:03:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the end of that story is I was my own mother, my own father. My daughter was my sister. My wife was my best friend. I was her father. Our friend was her mother. I was her grandfather. And that same best friend was both my wife as a grandparent and my wife as a parent. And that is bizarre.
[00:03:32] Ross Dunn: Wow. That is not confusing.
[00:03:36] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Listen back. It actually makes sense.
Jason’s Transition From Being a Cartoon Blue Dog to Being in the Web Marketing Space
[00:03:40] Ross Dunn: So, I guess in a nutshell, how did you get from there into the web marketing space?
[00:03:47] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Well, in fact, what happened was that I had a bad experience with a business partner. I was being a blue dog and I thought the world was made of roses and mushrooms and delightful peaches and anything else that’s fluffy and delightful and tasty. And he was there to just make as much money as he possibly could, as quick as he possibly could. Unfortunately, he created a situation where he could take the business away from me, and I lost the blue dog. And that’s one of the greatest regrets of my life.
[00:04:23] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, I then had to rebuild a career. And the first thing I could do was to say to people, well, Boowa and Kwala, the blue dog and the yellow koala site for kids, we were getting 5 million visits a month, a hundred million page views a month in 2007 when there weren’t that many people online. And a million of those came from Google. So I basically said, if I can get a million visits for a site for kids on Google, then I can help your business get lots and lots of visitors because I can basically game the machine, which as we discussed earlier was pretty stupid at the time.
[00:05:02] Ross Dunn: Stupid, but as we know it worked back then and we got smarter about it.
[00:05:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): That is an interesting point. Looking back, you’re saying how stupid was that. But at the time, it was pretty complicated and they were much better. Google, at that time, is much better than the competition. So, retrospect is a terrible beast because you look at it and you say, it was just counting words and counting inbound links. And it seems so simple now, but at the time it was phenomenally complicated.
The Evolving World of Machines and Search Engines From Counting Words and Links to Understanding the World Like a Human Being
[00:05:32] Ross Dunn: Well, it was time-consuming. That’s for sure. And everyone else, it was, like you were saying, voodoo. It’s just, they have no idea. Even now, we have SEO 101 for a reason. We’re really just trying to demystify it all. It isn’t rocket science, but there are steps to it and it is a process. And a lot of people don’t have really an understanding of that. And, hey, I get it. I don’t know how to do my books either, but I got someone else that does that. We all have our strengths.
[00:06:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. I like the idea of saying, it’s obviously incredibly oversimplified. But in 1998, 1997, you started before me. And we had that discussion before and I’m terribly, terribly upset. You started a year before me. We just counted words. Google didn’t exist. And all of these search engines, Excite, Lycos, Magellan, HotBot.
[00:06:31] Ross Dunn: Infoseek, my favourite.
[00:06:32] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Infoseek. Thank you. They just counted words, and you would create one page per keyword per variant. And you ended up with thousands and thousands of pages to manage, each of which had a specific keyword density, and it would work. And you could put white text on a white background and they couldn’t see it. So you would just cheat your way through the whole system.
[00:06:55] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Then Google came along and said, oh, let’s start counting links. And this was revolution and it changed the entire game. And that was in 1998 when they incorporated, so 2000 when they started really playing the game as it were. And you look at it now 20 years later and you’re going, that’s so simple. It’s so idiotically simple, but it was so even more simple before. And you mentioned marketing, and you said in 1997 you were a marketer. I wasn’t. I was a word counter and a blue dog.
[00:07:28] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And then in 2015, we moved into this world where just counting words and counting links just doesn’t work anymore. And these machines are super, super, super smart. And we’re now moving into the world that I think you thought you were in 1997, marketing. And if we’re not a good marketer, we’re not going to live in an SEO, Google, Bing, Yahoo, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, all of these machines work in the same manner. They understand the world. They have Knowledge Graphs that understand the world in a similar manner to the human being. And you have to convince it like you have to convince a human being.
[00:08:04] Ross Dunn: Yeah, you do. And I love that with Google these days. I should say these days. We’ve been doing this for a long time simply because, I guess, it wasn’t so much that I saw the light as so much as I want to sleep at night. I didn’t want to do any of this stuff that might get your rankings right away but really would get you a bit later.
Having Good Content and Engagement on Your Site and Getting Into the Gray Area of Link Building
[00:08:21] Ross Dunn: So, we just went with the white hat, quote, unquote, white hat. It’s a hard thing just to put on paper, but we just didn’t do anything that went against the guidelines for many, many, many years now and just built up clients through great content and ensuring their site was well indexed and just really following the rules. I guess doing any link building is not following the rules, so there’s that gray area. But the fact is that is part of the algorithm and people need to get things faster, but that’s it.
[00:08:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. A couple of things. Number one is I agree with you a hundred percent. I didn’t venture into the black cat, white text on white background world. I didn’t need to because the content was great quality, and we got engagement from the beginning. And so, in fact, I would agree with you that we were marketers from the get-go. The kids love the games. The kids hang around the games. The teachers and the parents and the grandparents and the babysitters all loved the site. So, we got that kind of traction in the visits.
[00:09:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the other thing is the inbound links is that I didn’t ask for links. Actually, that’s not a hundred percent true. I didn’t create a situation where I might get a link simply to get a link. What I did was simply suggest to people they might want to link to me, which isn’t the same thing. So I don’t think link building per se is a bad thing. It’s simply that if you suggest it to somebody and they think, oh, that’s a good idea, that’s fair game. If you say to them, you give me a link and I will give you something in return, or you give me a link and you get something in return from whatever means, that’s link building. And there you’re getting into the gray area. But if you’re just saying, hey, why not put a link because this is actually really useful to your audience, a teacher, for example.
[00:10:13] Ross Dunn: It’s just good networking.
[00:10:14] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Exactly. That’s good marketing. And that’s fair dues, and it’s always been fair dues.
Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) on How He Got Into the World of Knowledge Panels Starting From Losing His Company
[00:10:21] Ross Dunn: Fair enough. Yeah, definitely. And I think it’s been a fun ride. We could go on forever about all this stuff. It’s been a few years, hasn’t there? A few changes, just a few. One of the things that really I came to know about you was from Kalicube and that was through the Knowledge Panels.
[00:10:42] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. I’ve gone a bit mad there, to be honest. I think I’m one of the only people working in a terribly granular manner. There’s lots of tools that will build these semantic network and Knowledge Graph.
[00:11:01] Ross Dunn: The average listener probably won’t have a clue what we’re talking about. So, what is it that you’re into? What is it that you do with the Knowledge Panel? I’ll let you go.
[00:11:10] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I started out and it actually comes from the blue dog. I’ll tell you the story as quickly as I possibly can because that’s phenomenally interesting is when the blue dog company collapsed in a heap and my partner walked away with the company and the blue dog, which between you and me and anybody who’s listening, it literally ripped out my soul. I felt like my entire existence as a being on this earth had gone. I was so much that I got so much into being a blue dog because it’s loads of fun, but I ended up thinking I was the blue dog. And when he took the company away, it felt like he had ripped my soul out my body. And I had to rebuild, so that’s kind of one of these philosophical things that I managed to do and I’m very happy about.
Trying to Make a Living Through Digital Marketing and Realising the Importance of Controlling His Own Brand SERP
[00:12:01] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And what I had to do was actually make a living in the short term. And making living was going out and getting people to say or saying to people, I can build your SEO, I can do what I did with the blue dog and the yellow koala. And I realised that I was actually going into the meetings. People would say, yes, we want to work with you. This is great. This is going to work out. And I thought, sale. And literally, I was thinking like 90% of the time I was thinking that’s a sale, that’s done. And 50% of the time they would pull out. They wouldn’t sign the deal.
[00:12:32] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And then somebody told me, actually, what we did when you walked out of the room was we looked up your name, we googled your name and it just shows a blue dog. And the blue dog is the cartoon and we don’t want to interest our entire digital marketing strategy to a blue dog, so we didn’t sign the contract.
[00:12:53] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And I realised at that point that my business card wasn’t what I handed to them in the meeting, although it obviously is. My most important business card is that double-check that they do afterwards, which is searching my name. And I then set about saying, right, okay, obviously, the blue dog is part of my life. It’s not going to disappear from my Brand SERP, my personal Brand SERP, what appears when you search my name, but what I can do is make sure that the dominant information is all that I’m a digital marketer and I’m credible and I’m authoritative and I’m trustworthy and I’m an expert, which is EAT, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness that Google talks about all the time. So I would say that in 2015.
[00:13:35] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And it worked a treat. All of a sudden, the meetings went well. And then I would sign the contract afterwards and there was no problems at all. And it made me realise how incredibly important it is that we control what Google shows when somebody searches our personal name or our brand name. And it completely changed my point of view of what I was trying to do.
Managing Brand SERPs, the Result When Somebody Searches Your Brand Name, and Knowledge Panels, What Google Perceives as Fact About You
[00:13:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And Knowledge Panels are obviously a part of that. And Knowledge Panels are representation of Google’s understanding of the entity, the person, the brand, the music group, the song, the movie, whatever it might be. And it shows in that right-hand side as fact. And we look at that as human beings and I think we don’t really realise it. We look at the left-hand side and it’s all advice. It’s recommendations. This is what Google thinks is possibly the best result for what you’re looking for.
[00:14:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): On the right-hand side is saying, this is fact. And so once you get that Knowledge Panel, which is the next step beyond the Brand SERP, are you saying I’m a digital marketer. That Knowledge Panel is Google saying, this is what Jason Barnard is. And if it’s Jason Barnard is a blue dog, obviously that’s a problem. If it says Jason Barnard is a digital marketer and he’s incredibly impressive, but he was a blue dog once in the past, absolutely no problem at all.
[00:14:52] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, what I’ve now started to do is say I need to manage two things. I need to manage the Brand SERP, which is the big thing, the result when somebody searches your brand name. And the people who search your brand name are your audience, are the most important people to your business or to yourself as a human being. They’re looking you up or they’re navigating to your site. They’re interested in you. They’re people who are close to either doing business with you or already doing business with you.
[00:15:19] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And then on that right-hand side, you’re looking at what Google perceives to be fact about you. And that’s getting really deep into the brain of Google, which is what we were talking about earlier is that Google’s trying to understand the world like a human being does. And that Knowledge Panel on the right-hand side is exactly the representation of what Google has understood, and it’s confident it’s understood.
[00:15:45] Ross Dunn: Awesome. Okay. Well, let’s take a quick break. When we come back, let’s unpack this a bit and figure out how a person can do that.
[00:15:51] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Sorry. It was a bit much, wasn’t it?
[00:15:54] Ross Dunn: We’ll be right back.
[00:15:57] Narrator: SEO 101 will be back right after recess.
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[00:17:39] Narrator: Okay, class, take your seats and no talking. Recess is over and SEO 101 is back in session only on webmasterradio.fm.
[00:17:48] Ross Dunn: Welcome back to SEO 101 on webmasterradio.fm, hosted by myself, Ross Dunn, CEO of StepForth Web Marketing Inc. We’re joined by Jason Barnard, The Brand SERP Guy, CEO and founder of Kalicube.
Is It Possible for the Average Person to Have a Knowledge Panel?
[00:18:02] Ross Dunn: So, Jason, let’s say the average person out there has the interest of having their own Knowledge Panel. They want to be able to say that you can type in my name and I’m going to show up in the Knowledge Panel. This is what I do. Is that possible for the average person?
[00:18:19] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yes. Possible for everybody. It’s a great question because a lot of people think, well, I see Wikipedia in there so I have to be famous to have a Knowledge Panel. And that’s simply not true. Obviously, people who are famous are going to have a Wikipedia page. Wikipedia remains dominant, but Google doesn’t have the concept of notability that Wikipedia does. Wikipedia and Wikidata, for that matter, will say, you need to be notable. You need to be interesting to other people. People will search for you spontaneously. So, we will not put you in because we don’t want to fill Wikipedia and Wikidata with junk data about useless information that people are simply not interested. It’s not to say that you are not important. It’s simply to say that people as a general volume of entities aren’t interested in you specifically. So you have that level of notability that you need to hit.
[00:19:20] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Whereas Google is simply saying, I want to understand. It doesn’t have that, how can you put it, it doesn’t have the filter of saying you need to be notable. It just says, I need to understand.
[00:19:31] Ross Dunn: It’s not quite as snobbish.
[00:19:33] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I was going to say that, but I’m going to get in trouble with Wikipedia editors again.
[00:19:37] Ross Dunn: I can say it.
The Multiple Things a Knowledge Panel Depends on: Google’s Understanding, the Probability Someone Is Searching for You, Ambiguity of Your Name, and Geolocation
[00:19:38] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, you’ve got that question. One of which is Google has understood who you are. And the second question behind that is what is the probability that the person is actually searching for you, Google’s user is searching for you and not somebody else with the same name or a brand with the same name.
[00:19:56] Ross Dunn: That’s the kicker I find, but yes, we’ll get into that.
[00:19:59] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So you can have a Knowledge Panel, but you don’t necessarily see it on the search results. So the Knowledge Panel is there. It’s just hidden because Google never shows it because it doesn’t think that the probability that somebody’s searching for you is so very high. And that depends on multiple things. One of which is the commonality of your name, the ambiguity of your name. If you’re called Simon Cox, a friend of mine, loads of people are called Simon Cox. Obviously, that’s ambiguous. It never knows which one you’re actually looking for, so it has a lot of trouble with that one.
[00:20:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Secondly is how newsworthy you are. Now the idea of notability does come in. If you are more notable, that Knowledge Panel will be more likely to appear. But then you add in geolocation. And I found the example of Mary Moore. I can’t remember why I found that name. Mary Moore in America is the actress, Mary Tyler Moore, plus a writer. There’s six or seven Mary Moores in America. In Ireland, it’s a writer, but it’s a different writer. In the UK, it’s an actress, but it’s a different actress. And in Australia, it’s a judge.
[00:21:08] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, in fact, if you search for that name, Mary Moore, in these five different countries, and that’s what Kalicube does. It tracks it across these, in fact, six countries. And it shows you that that geolocation, especially for human beings’ names, people’s names is phenomenally important to the probability that you’re searching for them. If you are in America, Mary Tyler Moore is probably a big one. If you are in Australia, apparently Mary Moore the judge is incredibly newsworthy and notable and interesting. And the probability and it’s nothing to do with am I famous or am I not famous, am I important or am I not important, am I…
[00:21:46] Ross Dunn: It’s the relevance.
[00:21:48] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): It’s the relevancy to the geolocation. And potentially, as we move forward with things like Google Discover, which you will then unpack, I’m sure, the relevancy to me as a user.
Looking at the Problem of Ross Dunn’s Ambiguous Name
[00:22:00] Ross Dunn: Interesting. So, let’s take me for example. Obviously, I’m well familiar with my circumstances. There’s a lovely man by the name of Ross E. Dunn, and he’s an author. So, I find that very difficult to get anywhere with. So, if I try to get into the top ranking, there’s just no way because he’s got a Wikipedia article. I’m finding that’s a stop issue. Correct me if I’m wrong on any of this stuff, but it seems like that’s just getting past that. If I try and get Ross Dunn, it doesn’t seem to happen. And now, there’s a footballer, dammit. That’s a Ross Dunn that’s doing well too.
[00:22:38] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Who takes millions of dollars.
[00:22:40] Ross Dunn: Yeah. If I type in Ross Dunn SEO, I would’ve thought I would show up for sure because there is no other, but it doesn’t happen. What is it that a person needs to, again, my example, if you want, but what is it a person needs to do to have that work?
[00:22:57] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Well, there are multiple points, in fact, in what you’ve just said is Ross Dunn the writer is perhaps interesting or famous or more probable in the US but not in Australia. So there’s probably a Ross Dunn in Australia who’s beating the pants off your Ross Dunn there because they’re more relevant to the users in Australia. So, immediately, you can say, right, well, that’s part of the problem has gone. It’s not simply that he’s more famous. It’s that he’s more relevant within the context.
[00:23:30] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And if I, I’m going to use my name because I haven’t researched your name and I do apologise for the completely lax preparation for the interview.
[00:23:38] Ross Dunn: That’s alright. I’m not going to publish this episode. Anyway…
Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) on Dominating His Name Through the Aspects of Probability, Confidence, and Clarity
[00:23:44] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): If you look up Jason Barnard, there’s a footballer in South Africa who’s quite famous. There’s an ice hockey player in Canada. There’s a doctor in New York somewhere. There are three digital marketers in the UK. It’s not like I don’t have any competition. But if you search my name, I come up in all of these places. Number one, number two, number three, number four, each of these people get one blue link and I get the Knowledge Panel, the video boxes, the Twitter boxes. I dominate and that’s to do with confidence. Google is so confident that it knows who I am, what I do that it just throws it out there simply because it’s thinking, at least I know this is true. So, you’ve got that aspect of it.
[00:24:28] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But then if you go to San Francisco, I recently discovered there’s a university lecturer called Jason Barnard in San Francisco who’s published multiple papers. And there, all of a sudden you don’t get the Knowledge Panel. He gets a couple of places as opposed to just the one. But on the right-hand side, you don’t longer see my Knowledge Panel. You see two See Results About, because then Google is saying, which one do you mean? Do you mean the one we are really confident about who keeps going on about himself, Jason Barnard the digital marketer, or do you mean the university lecturer who happens to be in the same town as you in San Francisco?
[00:25:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, you have those multiple aspects, which is probability, confidence, clarity, that Google has understood who you are, what you do. It’s like a child, I think, in many aspects is a) we need to educate it and like a child, you need to educate it bit by bit, point by point through trusted sources, such as the headmaster, the parents, the grandparents, whatever that might be for a child. And secondly, it doesn’t want to say something that might not be true. It doesn’t want to make a fool of itself. So, that kind of confidence, it is like this child pitching up and going, boo, I know this.
[00:25:52] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, if you think about Google as a child in the Knowledge Graph sense in how it understands the world, you need to educate it, you need to make it confident so it can leap into the party atmosphere and shout out what it thinks it’s understood.
Introducing Kalicube Pro as a Platform That Can Make Your SEO Life Easy
[00:26:06] Ross Dunn: So, is there a way to explain how that is done to the average listener without showing them?
[00:26:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah, no. It’s actually incredibly stupidly simple. It really isn’t complicated. Kalicube Pro, I built the platform. Basically, what I’ve done is I’ve figured out how to educate Google. And the process is incredibly granular and incredibly boring. And it’s very time-consuming and I can’t think of anything less interesting than my actual job in that sense. So, basically, what I did was built Kalicube Pro as a platform that automates everything that I’ve figured out what to do. And I initially developed it because I was so bored of doing my own job. I thought I have to figure out a way to make this easy for myself, and bit-by-bit I’ve built the platform.
[00:27:02] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Basically, what it does is it pings Google about an entity, yourself, myself, a company, your company, Kalicube. I work with Yoast the plugin with Joost de Valk, Jono Alderson. Hopefully, I’m going to soon be working with Wix, looking forward to that one. I’m working with SE Ranking, working with WordLift. So I’m name-dropping here, but…
[00:27:28] Ross Dunn: Yeah. You’re doing a great job. That’s awesome.
[00:27:31] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Seriously intelligent marketing people representing seriously important companies in the world who realise that making sure that Google not only understands who you are and what you do and who your audience is, but that it’s incredibly confident in that understanding is the fundamental basis of everything that’s going to come. And if we start now, we’re going to win the game.
Corroborating Information for Google to Understand Who You Are, What You Do, and Who Your Audience Is
[00:27:59] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And what Kalicube Pro does and all of these clients are basically saying, theoretically because I know my business, because I’m an SEO, I could do all this because all it involves is saying my website is the Entity Home. Google looks at that and it says, that’s the horse’s mouth. That’s the information I get from the horse’s mouth. Fair enough, just don’t believe you because the horse doesn’t speak the truth, necessarily. Horses lie. Sorry horses and horse fans. I do apologise about the analogy.
[00:28:29] Ross Dunn: Victimised.
[00:28:30] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yep. And what you do from the horse’s mouth is point to all the corroboration. And this is basically saying the child has heard from their parent. But if they get confirmation from the headmaster, the postman, the policewoman down the road, all these people that the child trusts, the grandparents, grandparents are great, love grandparents, if the child gets confirmation from all these different sources, it becomes confident that it has fully understood.
[00:29:02] Ross Dunn: And that’s the same as Schema.
[00:29:03] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yes, exactly. And so, basically, you say on your site as the horse what it is you want Google to understand who you are, what you do, and who your audience is, which are the three single things that it needs to understand in order to be able to begin to consider you as a solution for its users. And then you say, but look at all this corroborative information. And then you just go around the internet and you correct it all and you make sure that it all corroborates what you said on your site, which is ridiculously simple and very stupid, but that’s how it works.
[00:29:35] Ross Dunn: And time-consuming, like you said.
[00:29:38] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Sorry?
[00:29:38] Ross Dunn: And time-consuming, like you said.
Kalicube Pro on Pulling a List of Sources, Correcting All Information, Creating a Home, Pointing to It, and the Job Is Done
[00:29:40] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. And boring and figuring out which is the most important source. Who knows? Wikipedia, Wikidata, obviously that goes without saying. But beyond that for any industry and any geolocation, the most important sources are going to be different. But beyond that for any individual company, person, music group, music song, product, it doesn’t matter. The actual list of important sources that Google is paying attention to is different.
[00:30:12] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And I hadn’t realised quite how different until I built the tool and then I test it on my own name. And I’ve been working on this for seven years, so I know all of the sources that talk about me. And I’ve got this terribly tentacular and depressing grasp on the whole thing, which seems terribly self-centered, but it’s actually just I want to understand what happens when I change things. And the system I built pulled up 10% of the references that I thought were important that turned out not to be important and vice versa. And if I’ve been doing this for seven years, and I’ve really been paying attention, and the machine pulls up 10% where I was actually wrong, and I went, wow, yeah, okay. And now I think about it, that is true.
[00:31:04] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): What I’ve done is basically said the machine Kalicube Pro pulls out a list and says this, this, this, this, this, this, this in this order, go and correct all that information, create your home, point to it, Bob’s your uncle, bingo, and you’re in there. And it’s blindingly simple. And all I’m doing for people like Yoast and SE Ranking and WordLift is offering them a big, big time saving operation where they could do it themselves, but I saved them loads of time.
Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) on Having His Wikipedia Page Deleted
[00:31:38] Ross Dunn: You’re filling a phenomenal gap, obviously, because I didn’t know much about this until I started reading about it. Again, I was drawn to your site and thought, wow, this guy knows what he’s talking about. And it’s been great. You’re popping up everywhere now. Good for you.
[00:31:53] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. I shout very loud. And part of it is that I just like talking. Sorry, I do apologise. Being British, I feel terribly guilty about the fact, but an awful lot of what you see is me experimenting to see what happens when I change something. An interesting story with Wikipedia is that I had a Wikipedia page for myself. I had one for the blue dog and yellow koala. I had one for my punk folk group from the nineties. All of which are notable. Absolutely no question at all that they’re notable. They all got deleted last year. And they all got deleted because I’d been messing with them too much.
[00:32:37] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And why had I been messing with them too much? Not because I want to, obviously, I wanted it to be correct, but also I wanted to see every time I changed something and I did it several times and I’m terribly naughty and I’m sure the Wikipedia people don’t like me, but I changed the stuff to see what the Knowledge Graph would do in response. So, at the end of the day, what I did was learn. And then somebody came along and said, you’ve been messing with your Wikipedia page and we’re deleting it. And they all got deleted within two weeks.
The Rules of Wikipedia and Why Is It Much Better to Have Your Wikipedia Page Deleted
[00:33:08] Ross Dunn: It’s pretty ridiculous though. If they’re notable, they should be there whether or not they’re opinionated about it or not.
[00:33:14] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Wikipedia actually has two rules. One of notability and the other is you shouldn’t be editing your own article. And they deleted me on the second one. It’s fair news. I don’t necessarily agree. I think the notability thing should overcome that particular point, but yeah, fair enough. And from my point of view, it actually comes down to for three days, I sulked. My ego took the biggest hit. And then I thought, actually, Wikipedia editors are not the people to judge whether or not what I have achieved in my life is important or not. And then I thought, how can I now prove to Google that what I had been saying on Wikipedia, and I do say I had been saying on Wikipedia, is in fact true, and rebuilt all three of.
[00:34:02] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And I then did an interview with Rand Fishkin about a month later. And it was really interesting because he said he fought to have his Wikipedia page deleted. And I said, oh, why? And he said, because they were saying things about Moz, who founded it, where it all worked, how much money was put into it. And it was wrong. The information was factually wrong. And I tried to correct it and they wouldn’t let me correct it because I am the person concerned, therefore I’m not allowed to get involved. And that’s where you get into this terrible debate and it’s a terrible cycle. And he got it deleted. He said, actually, the reason I looked or I tried to get it deleted and I ended up getting it deleted was because I don’t want Wikipedia editors to control my brand story, my personal story.
[00:34:50] Ross Dunn: Makes good sense.
[00:34:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And as soon as he said that, I was sitting there and this was literally a month after mine have been deleted and I’ve been sulking. And I said, wow, you understood intellectually what I had to understand by getting slammed, basically. I had to learn a difficult lesson and he had figured out himself from a logical and an intelligent point of view. Hats off, absolutely hats off to Rand Fishkin for that, because you don’t want these faceless Wikipedia editors controlling your brand story or your brand message.
[00:35:27] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And Wikidata is perhaps slightly different, but you want to control it yourself. And I think that’s the fundamental basis of Kalicube is I want you to control your own message because I know that it’s possible, I know it isn’t actually very difficult. It’s just really boring and really long.
The Impact of Brand Searches and Brand SERPs on SEO
[00:35:51] Ross Dunn: So turning this into a SEO related thing, does this have any impact on SEO?
[00:35:59] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Oh, yes. Oh, crumbs, lots of load, yes. Right. Number one, anybody who searches your brand name is your number one top favourite person because they’re either about to do business with you or they’re doing business with you already, so that’s obviously incredibly important.
[00:36:13] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And John Mueller at the end of last year at SMX said, brands need to be aiming at pool queries. And what he means by pool queries is branded queries. They call them pool queries. And basically, Google are now saying you actually want people to be searching your brand name. And I think from an SEO perspective, that’s fairly obvious why it shows that you’re popular, it shows that people like you, especially when your brand name is associated with positive terms like Jason Barnard, oh, genius. Let’s try that one on. I’m trying to encourage people so that I suddenly look intelligent to Google, but that’s number one.
[00:36:51] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): You’ve got number one is the brand searches. Number two is what appears when somebody searches your brand name. But number three, if you search for best podcasts, you see a big carousel at the top. And that’s above the blue links. It’s above those normal results. So I would turn, it’s Seth Rogen and all those famous people, but there’s no reason that you or I couldn’t be in there, especially if it’s best SEO podcast. You get a carousel for that too. And that’s all based on entities. It’s based on Google’s understanding.
[00:37:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Once again, coming back to that child analogy, if Google understands that your thing is a podcast and where it can send you usefully so you can listen to that podcast and it understands that’s what you’re looking for, Bob’s your uncle. These are the rich results. The blue links aren’t necessarily dead, but certainly these carousels, the video boxes, the Knowledge Panels, the People Also Ask, all of this is increasingly based on Google’s understanding of the world. It’s entity based search. And we were talking about Dave Davis earlier on. Read a couple of articles by Dave Davis and you’ll see exactly what I mean.
Promoting the Free Set of Tools of Kalicube Pro for Everyone
[00:38:03] Ross Dunn: That’s awesome. There is a lot of work to it. So Kalicube, why don’t you tell everyone how that’s spelled so they can find it?
[00:38:14] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): K A L I C U B E. And the platform’s called Kalicube Pro. So Kalicube is actually an agency that I created years ago. I started collecting all this data about 78,000 brands and people in a database with 10 million Brand SERPs. I’ve got a database full of Knowledge Graph information. It’s completely insane. And I’ve been collecting it for years, thinking this is going to be useful one day, one of those hoarders. And it’s all sitting in this database somewhere. And all of a sudden, it’s become interesting and become useful.
[00:38:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And talking to people like Bill Slawski in the SEO world or Mordy Oberstein from Wix or Andrea Volpini from WordLift, I realise how important this database is going to be, because I’ve got three or four years of data for Google’s understanding of entities of things in an understanding the world sense. I’m incredibly excited about the fact that it’s finally, all this hoarding has finally come to fruition. And it’s going to be useful to the community, not just to me. So Kalicube, what I meant is that Kalicube is actually a free set of tools that you can just go in and look at what’s in the Knowledge Graph. You can look what the trusted sources are. All of that is free. The paid aspect of Kalicube is simply say, I’m just going to make this really easy for you.
[00:39:40] Ross Dunn: So it’s Kalicube.pro, right?
[00:39:42] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah.
Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) on Buying Kalicube.com to See If He Can Switch Seamlessly Between the Two Websites
[00:39:43] Ross Dunn: Okay. Yeah. So not .com, everyone, it’s .pro. And it is great. It’s got lots of phenomenal content on there, lots of reading. You’ve got a course you teach, right?
[00:39:52] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. I’ve got courses too, but actually, the .com, I actually recently bought it.
[00:39:56] Ross Dunn: Oh, good.
[00:39:57] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Because it was available four years ago and they were asking for $6,000 for it. And I said, oh, I’m not buying that for $6,000. And the price has just gone down. As long as I held out and didn’t buy, the price came down. It eventually came down to a price that I will not name.
[00:40:13] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): That seem to me reasonable, not from the point of view that I really thought it was useful, but I now want to see if I can switch the entire Kalicube Pro website, which is all about the podcast and the events and the free tools, to Kalicube.com and have the Kalicube.pro website as the platform for helping you with what the Kalicube.com website explains to you and see if I can make that switch seamlessly, that when you’re searching Kalicube, it never skips a beat in terms of what actually appears, that Google understands the switch. So that’s my challenge for the month of April.
[00:40:55] Ross Dunn: Good. Thank you.
[00:40:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’m getting overexcited, but that’s what it all comes down to. My entire existence is about experimenting on things that I control. I don’t want to experiment on clients. I want to experiment on me because if I get it wrong, it doesn’t matter. Who cares? And you’ve got the blue dog and yellow koala, their families. All of those are in the Knowledge Graph, the songs, the albums, my music group, my company, myself. The idea from my perspective is the more I experiment, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I can share. The more I learn, the more I can help people with problems that they can potentially have. And I’ve probably seen most of the problems that people have had simply because I’ve got it wrong so often over the last seven years. I now know where not to stick your feet.
Google Updates Don’t Affect Brand SERPs That Much
[00:41:44] Ross Dunn: That’s awesome. I tell you, I’m always watching. It’s there’s always lots to learn, and it’s not an area that I have time to keep on top of, man. It is just like anything else. It takes a lot of time. SEO used to be something you could just digest yourself. You could spend the time. It wasn’t that difficult. And it’s not so much that it’s difficult now, but it’s just got so much minutiae now that you’ve got to focus. And congratulations on picking a really good niche.
[00:42:10] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And I think that’s really true. And it’s a really interesting point is I have an awful lot of trouble not getting distracted by other things I think are really interesting. Yeah. And somebody says, oh, there was an update. And I was talking to Glenn Gabe on Twitter and he was saying, oh, I’ve written this amazing article about the Google update in December. And I was going, the thing about Brand SERPs is that the Google algorithm updates don’t affect them very much. So, actually, I don’t care about Google updates in my little world of Brand SERPs. And it’s so tempting to go and look at it. But if I do, I get lost in a rabbit hole that actually doesn’t help me.
[00:42:51] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And I noticed the other day, I’m doing some data studies and it seems to me, and this is not yet confirmed, that when the Google algorithm, the main algorithm is very active December, January, this year, December last year, January this year, the Knowledge Graph doesn’t change. And the Knowledge Graph just had a big update 11th of February on my sensor system that I’ve got on Kalicube that you can go and have a look at. And it’s basically once Google main algorithm settles down, the Knowledge Graph can play around. They don’t mess with both at the same time.
[00:43:28] Ross Dunn: Very interesting.
[00:43:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. This is a big enough rabbit hole for anybody.
Knowledge Graph Updates That Jason Is Keeping Track Of
[00:43:33] Ross Dunn: I see it for some reason that all assumptions, but I assumed that the Knowledge Graph was a constant iteration. It didn’t get big updates.
[00:43:43] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Oh, a hundred percent, a hundred percent. That’s what we all think and that’s what I thought. And then I noticed a year and a half ago in July and August of 2019, there was a massive update, absolutely massive. And I wrote an article on Search Engine Journal and I do encourage you to read it. And I tweeted about the other day. I literally cried the morning I finished the article because I thought I’ve just found something that nobody else has thought about or seen. And I got so, I’m a bit of an emotional chap.
[00:44:19] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And a year and a half later, I just reanalysed the data from the last year and a half. And I realised there were updates a couple of times a month to the Knowledge Graph. And interesting enough, it takes December off. The last two years, it hasn’t done anything in December. So December is kind of a holiday for the Knowledge Graph. And it would seem to me, and I’m still investigating it, that the Knowledge Graph updates and the Google updates are basically happening in an off sync manner.
[00:44:49] Ross Dunn: Opposing.
[00:44:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. Thank you very much. I was showing it on the video, but nobody can see the video.
[00:44:53] Ross Dunn: Yeah, opposing. That’s really interesting, opposing schedule. So, okay.
[00:44:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So that’s my new theory. I don’t know if it’s true. So I’m throwing it out there and it might be completely wrong, but this is my theory.
Where to Read and Know More About Jason’s Work
[00:45:03] Ross Dunn: So, if people want to keep track of this kind of work you’re doing, do you publish your findings as you go or is this all just behind the scenes? Is there a place we can follow to read about this as you’re doing it?
[00:45:18] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Well, it’s a mixture. If I don’t publish information I have figured out, it’s simply I don’t have the time and it’s nothing to do with me trying to hide stuff and make more money out of Kalicube because that really isn’t my bag. My bag from Kalicube what I’ve realised is if I explain everything to everybody, the value of Kalicube is simply that I’m going to save you loads of time.
[00:45:40] Ross Dunn: Exactly.
[00:45:41] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And if I can do that, I’m winning the game all the way down the line, because there’s nothing very complicated about saying you have to state on your own site who you are, what you do, and who your audience is, and then get it corroborated by authoritative trustworthy sources. That’s bleeding obvious once I’ve said it.
[00:46:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the trick then is to figure out which of the sources and how to actually present yourself on your own site, which is more complicated than people think. Your language, the way you describe yourself in your own site is often very ambiguous. And marketing go and find. I don’t want to be rude to marketers, but a bit of fact wouldn’t hurt anybody. And you’ve got that whole point. And my research is not about keeping secrets. It’s about saying if I can get people to understand what it is we’re faced with, I’m much more likely to get them on board for me to help them to make that task as simple and as fast and as painless as possible.
[00:46:47] Ross Dunn: Fascinating. Thank you for…
[00:46:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, Search Engine Journal, Danny Goodwin from Search Engine Journal is incredibly supportive. He will publish any of my mad theoretical ideas, and I love him for it. I published a lot on there. I published a lot on WordLift. I don’t publish on my own site. So if you want to read what I’ve been writing, have a look on LinkedIn or Twitter and search my name and it all comes up, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land, WordLift. SE Ranking is starting to publish some stuff. SEMrush has published loads of stuff. So it’s distributed out there, and you have to follow the breadcrumb trail. And I’m actually now thinking of setting up a page on my site that just lists them all to make it simpler.
Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) on Showing Himself as Expert, Authoritative, and Trustworthy Within His Domain
[00:47:34] Ross Dunn: There you go. It’s going to be a long list soon, right? This is good.
[00:47:39] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yes. Yeah. And the other thing, just to close this whole aspect, is that I’m sharing the information. I think showing myself to be reasonably expert, authoritative, and trustworthy within my domain. And that’s a big part of SEO today. And if on my own site I can succinctly indicate to Google this is where all my corroborative, authoritative, expert, trustworthy content is being published, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land, WordLift, so on and so forth, I think that’s going to build Google’s confidence in my own EAT. I have no proof. I’m in the process of testing it. I’m going to do this. And in five or six months, I think I will have some kind of indication that this is a good practice and it’s a good way to move forward.
[00:48:33] Ross Dunn: Wonderful. Well, on behalf of myself, Ross Dunn, CEO of StepForth Web Marketing, and my special guest, Jason Barnard, The Brand SERP Guy, CEO and founder of Kalicube, thanks for joining us today. Jason, you’ve just been an amazing guest. Thank you. I really appreciate it. A couple of podcast today you’ve already done. So you’ve fitted in and I appreciate that.
[00:48:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah, no. I love it. And I appreciate the fact that you let me rant and rave and gabble on. I loved it. And you said it was going to be cool and easy-going, and it was.
[00:49:05] Ross Dunn: Excellent. Glad to hear it. Well, remember, everyone, we have a show notes newsletter you can sign up for at seo101radio.com. There you don’t miss a single link. You can watch the video from this. And we’ve got the full transcription as well with links. If you have any questions you’d like to share with us, please feel free to post them on our Facebook group, easily found by searching SEO 101 Podcast on Facebook. If you enjoyed the show, we’d appreciate any feedback on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or your favourite podcast stream. Have a great week and remember to tune in to future episodes which air every week on webmasterradio.fm.
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