The Knowledge Panel and Brand SERPs in Google with Jason Barnard
In this episode Gert had a delightful and very informative conversation with the widely known title of The Brand SERP Guy, Jason Barnard. Jason is an author and he used to be known as the Blue Dog cartoon character in Boowa and Kwala in 2007.
Using the child analogy with the History teacher, the teacher is the authority on the subject of history, but not a good authority on how to bake a cake. This is where the Knowledge Panel comes into picture and how Google will present you to the searchers, e.g. who you are, what you have to offer, what is your brand, etc. Listen and learn how easy it is or how much less effort you can build up your Knowledge Panel using the Kalicube Process than doing it manually.
There’s more to this episode that you can pick up especially on Brand SERPs, so listen to the very end and make sure to download the transcript of the episode.
[00:00:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Getting people on relevant authoritative sites, and I say relevant, which is incredibly important, to write or publish information about you. So, you can write for them, they could write about you, both are great. But it is the idea that if somebody on a third party site that you have no control over is confirming what you are saying, that’s an incredible assurance for Google.
[00:00:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And if we use the child analogy again, obviously the history teacher would be incredibly authoritative and incredibly relevant for history topics, but they wouldn’t be a great reference for how to bake a cake, whereas the baker would be a great reference for how to bake the cake. So, you would want to, if you are talking about baking cakes, you would want the baker to explain to the child and not the history teacher.
[00:00:50] Narrator: Welcome to the SEO Leverage Podcast, where we talk about search, marketing, and conversions.
Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) on Brand SERPs as the Baseline of Everything We Do Online
[00:01:05] Gert Mellak: Hello. My name is Gert Mellak from seoleverage.com. This is episode 90. And I have to say, very often people ask me about the 80-20 of SEO. So, when it comes to search, marketing, SEO, what should they really be focusing on? And I have a handful of things for them, but one of the things I always mention is pay attention to how your brand comes up in search, because this is going to be the baseline, really the foundation for a lot of decisions your potential users are making.
[00:01:36] Gert Mellak: And I’m really happy to welcome today a very special guest, probably the person who knows the most about how Brand SERPs can be optimised and your brand image on Google, Jason Barnard. Thank you very much, Jason, for taking the time.
[00:01:51] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Absolutely delightful. Thank you for having me on. I’m happy to be here to talk about my favourite topic. And what I do realise more and more is what you just said is that this is the baseline, and we forget it a lot of the time. The Brand SERP, Google’s understanding of you, how it presents you to its audience, its users who are your audience is the baseline of everything you’re doing online.
A Background on How Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Started on the World of Knowledge Panels and Brand SERPs
[00:02:16] Gert Mellak: Absolutely. So, we certainly know you’re an expert in this. You have written a book, Fundamentals of Brand SERPs for Business. I have it here. And it’s really interesting. I really recommend it, because it just shows that search or how your brain comes up in search is much more than only optimising a few codes here and there. And I definitely encourage everybody to give this a read. I will try my best to give, extract a little, a few knowledge pumps out of you in this conversation.
[00:02:42] Gert Mellak: Our audience is mostly comprised from course creators, coaches, memberships, Shopify site. So, we have a little bit of everything, but really courses and coaches, I think, is probably our main client base. And obviously, when you sell a course, when you want to be selling a coaching offer, reputation is extremely important. So, people are going to google your name. They are going to see what have you written, what have you done. I cannot trust you. Have other people trusted you as well?
[00:03:09] Gert Mellak: So, we got introduced by Katrina McKinnon, a former guest of this show as well. She was talking about the helpful content update and how content should be done. And I really appreciate the intro. I’ve been following you for a while, but I would appreciate if you can give our readers a little bit of a background of where does this focus on Knowledge Panels and Google SERPs come from.
Jason Barnard Optimised His Own Brand SERP by Educating Google About Who He Currently Is, What He Offers, and Who Are His Audience
[00:03:34] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. Well, in fact, interestingly enough, my initial introduction to this came from the fact that I was a blue dog in a cartoon in 2007. And obviously, Google had a great understanding of that because it was in IMDb. There was a Wikipedia page. There’s lots and lots of information that Google could collect. There’s MusicBrainz as well because I wrote the songs. And so, Google had this very firm opinion in its mind that it should present me as a cartoon blue dog because that’s what it had understood.
[00:04:04] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And in 2013, I was pitching for clients in SEO. And they would google my name, and it would say Jason Barnard is a cartoon blue dog right at the top of the SERP. And obviously, from my perspective, that was really not helpful in terms of actually converting the clients. So, what I then did was say, right, why is Google presenting me that way and what can I do to get it to present me the way I want it for my current audience, which is businesses who are looking for somebody to help them with their SEO. That was where it all started. And so, what I then did was set about what I now call educate Google who I currently am, what I currently offer, and who my current audience actually is.
The Relation Between Branded and Non-Branded Searches and When Should People Start Worrying About Their Brands
[00:04:56] Gert Mellak: It’s really interesting. I very often talk with my clients about those children’s game. I have my two kids. They’re young, and they like to play this game where you connect one dot to the next one, dot A to B to C to D, and then suddenly there’s a cat, right? So, I tell my clients, look, you need to think about it like connecting the dots for Google. Google has no freaking idea that this is a cat unless you connect the different dots for them and really try to connect as many dots as possible on all kinds of different properties Google might be taking into account. We’ll talk about later a little bit about which properties these might be.
[00:05:34] Gert Mellak: But really interesting is because very often in SEO, we are very focused on non-branded searches. Okay. So, we have a tool here, SEO Leverage. We have a section where we split out branded from non-branded searches and say, look, if you want to raise your brand awareness, at some point you need to cover non-branded searches, get more people exposed to your brand.
People Should Start Worrying About Their Brand Before They Even Create the Company
[00:05:55] Gert Mellak: But there is obviously a second point to it. And it’s where you already know this person or this brand. I know SEO Leverage. I’m going to type in SEO Leverage into the search and see what comes up and get inspiration. Is this good or is this bad? We want to obviously avoid the bad. We don’t want to make a mistake and hire the wrong agency or the wrong person, the wrong coach, get the wrong course. So, how do you see the relation between branded and non-branded searches? When should people start worrying about your brand?
[00:06:25] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): You should start worrying about their brand before they even create the company, to be honest. But the idea that branded search isn’t important is ingrained into SEO. SEOs tend to think, as you said, about expanding reach. And I think the most important thing is you sit down, you identify who am I, what do I do, and to whom do I offer it. And then you said about basically communicating that to your team and then you communicate it to Google.
What Kalicube Does: Building Digital Strategy From the Brand SERP Outwards
[00:06:59] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And what we’ve done at Kalicube is what we’ve called building digital strategy from the Brand SERP outwards. So, what we do is we look at what appears when somebody searches Kalicube. We say what do we see, what did we expect to see, and what do we want to see. And then we work from what do we see to what we wanted to see, so that what we see is what we expect to see.
[00:07:23] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, initially, what we thought was, right, we don’t have a Twitter account that’s worthy of the name. So, we worked on Twitter. We got the Twitter boxes. That indicates that Google sees that our audience is engaging with us on Twitter. Twitter is an important aspect of our marketing funnel that Google needs to present to our audience when they search our brand name. And then we move forwards through that.
Kalicube on Reaching the Tipping Point: Information About Kalicube Is Almost Immediately Reflected on Google When They Want It to Be
[00:07:45] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And recently, we got to what I would call the tipping point, whereby everything we say is almost immediately reflected on Google when we wanted it to be. And all of the different aspects of our business are being presented, our brand message, our social voice, our products, where you can connect with us. And all of that is very, very solid.
[00:08:12] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that viewed Kalicube Academy, which is where we teach people about Brand SERPs and Knowledge Panels, the Kalicube website itself, my own website, my podcast website, Kalicube Tuesdays, which is the event we have, and Kalicube Pro, which is the SaaS platform. You can hop from one SERP to the next and understand everything about every aspect of our company in detail without ever leaving Google. I don’t need to visit our websites, although obviously they end up doing so if they’re interested.
The Importance of Rich Snippets and Using Structured Data Like Schema Markup
[00:08:44] Gert Mellak: Absolutely. It makes a lot of sense. So, just really repeating. So, who am I, what, where, to whom do I offer it. Really important questions for every business, obviously when starting out, ideally. But you raised a really interesting point a lot of people are underestimating. It’s just how much information we can actually get out of Google itself. So, we’re always trying to look for fancy tools. And if you’re not paying $2,000 a month for tools, you’re probably missing the point. But ultimately, it’s really Google is showing us what they want to see, which is an interesting point, right?
[00:09:20] Gert Mellak: So, there’s what Google wants to see. There’s what we have or want to show. And we need to close this gap somehow. And I appreciate you managed Kalicube. I forgot this in the intro. Obviously, your empire around Kalicube with courses and academy and your software. Obviously, we need to come back to this as well.
Rich Snippets Are Immediate Gains That You Can Get From Using Schema Markup, Which Is Google’s Native Language
[00:09:38] Gert Mellak: One of the important points here in search very often that’s mentioned are Rich Snippets, right? Rich Snippets, many people, first thing that comes to mind with Rich Snippets very often is that who might show the price of a product or might show review stars on the search snippet. How important are these things to take into account for a course or a coaching program?
[00:10:01] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. I think they’re very important because they’re immediate gains that you can get from using Schema Markup. And what Google are doing is they’re not doing it for any reason, except they’re giving you a carrot and saying, if you insert this Schema Markup in your page, we will give you this snippet. And that’s the carrot. But the aim of Google is to get you to start using Schema Markup because Schema Markup is Google’s native language. So, once you start getting those snippets, you start adding other things.
The More Structured Data Google Gets, the Happier It Is, the More Confident It Is in Its Understanding of What’s in Your Web Page
[00:10:32] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the more structured data, which is what Schema Markup is, the more structured data Google gets, the happier it is, the more confident it is in its understanding of what’s in your web page, and the better it can match your solutions to the relevant audience when they search. So, what Google’s doing is giving you a sweetie, if we go back to the child analogy, a bit of candy, if you add Schema Markup. You’re the child. You say, oh, I’ll take that candy.
[00:11:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But in fact, if you take that further, you can switch that over on Google. You can flip on it. You become the parent, and it becomes the child. And you can use Schema Markup and presentation on your site and clear copywriting, clear branding, and a really well focused marketing funnel, and use that to educate Google, once again, as you said, who you are, what you have to offer its users, and who are the subset of its users who are truly your audience.
The Multiple Wins in Using Schema Markup and in Thinking Ahead for Your Strategies
[00:11:32] Gert Mellak: It’s so funny how we, and I don’t want to go too far off this, but how we very often see that Google gives us a reward in order to make their machine better, in order to probably take something away from us in the future. We see this, for example, right now, there’s a big trend has been for the last two years probably, that we see that if you have a very specific article answering exactly the question, you rank better than if you have a long article answering it at somewhere, which ultimately makes sense. Google wants to make users happy.
[00:12:01] Gert Mellak: So, all agencies, what are we doing? We don’t have a choice. We need to provide specific answers. Ultimately, it seems like we train Google to at some point have exactly the answer they need for all the questions. And then they’re probably taking a few years down the track. They’re going to take this away, right? So, they give it like this candy, just care of this reward right now. If you want to have the visibility and enhanced visibility, you’re going to play with it.
You Have to Play the Game if You’re Going to Use Google as Your Platform for Traffic and Acquisition
[00:12:25] Gert Mellak: Ultimately, you feed Google information they need for their long-term goal of dominating the planet or what it might be. But it’s interesting how Google really placed this, really interesting. So, really, for a course creator right now, not using Schema code would mean leaving out potential higher click-through rates from search or leaving potential out that can bring more engaged users. Would you say this is correct?
[00:12:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. There are multiple wins. And I think you’ve got to take a step back. As you say, you think, oh, eventually Google’s going to take this away from me. But at the end of the day, what will happen is that people will visit your website when they’re actually truly interested. So if you play the game right, Google’s going to do this anyway. And if they don’t send the person in five years time to you, they’ll send it to your competitor. So, you have no real choice but to play the game if you’re going to use Google as your platform for traffic and for acquisition.
[00:13:28] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, you need to think in five years time, I will have other strategies in place. I can build different marketing channels, so I don’t just rely on Google. So, you use Google while you can. You take advantage of it as much as it will be taking advantage of you. So, don’t look at it as Google stealing my stuff. It’s let’s make use of Google, get some branding on Google, get some traffic from Google, and in the meantime, think about how can I market better?
Create the Content for Your Audience, Put the Content on the Platform Where Your Audience Hangs Out, and Package the Content for Google
[00:13:53] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And one thing I like to talk about is say, create the content that really answers a question or solves a problem for your audience, put that content on the platform where they naturally hang out, which could be Medium, it could be Facebook, it could be LinkedIn, it could also be your own site, then package that content so that Google can make the best use of it. And at that point, you’re getting the benefit for your company from the content on the initial platform, and Google simply becomes a bonus. So, then you’re playing Google a nice trick from your perspective using Google as a bonus.
[00:14:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And from the Schema Markup perspective, for courses, you can have carousel in Google, if you add the Schema Markup for a course and then an item list on the collection page before on the category page, what that then means is Google will be more likely to show you. So, it’s going to a) more likely show you on relevant searches and b) more likely to show you as a carousel, which is a huge chunk of real estate on Google. So, from your perspective, using Schema Markup, playing the Google game is hugely beneficial in the short term. And if you play the Google game from a Google is a bonus perspective, it’s going to make your business last for years and years and years and years and years.
Jason Barnard’s Cartoon, Boowa and Kwala, Is Receiving Attention on TikTok 20 Years Later
[00:15:12] Gert Mellak: Absolutely. I think, yeah, leveraging whatever Google gives us right now in order to get more brand awareness from the right audience is ultimately going to build out the brand, make the brand stronger. And it seems like far out on the horizon is really branding, what’s going to survive. Whatever the metaverse or wherever we are going to live and do the things we usually do are going to be absolutely real. We have one point of the…
[00:15:40] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I had an interesting experience this morning, coming back to the blue dog, that my daughter sent me a screenshot of TikTok. Now, Boowa the blue dog was an online character and a TV star from 1998 to 2008. And what happened during that time was we built an immense presence on Google. We had a million visits a month from Google alone to this website for kids. And I never would’ve dreamed that today on TikTok, there are 45 million tags of Boowa and Kwala on TikTok 20 years later, when the characters no longer exist in any meaningful manner. And so, that’s just a really good lesson. Google was so important in 2000s, and those people are now on TikTok. And TikTok has now started this buzz around these characters 20 years later.
The Difference Between a Knowledge Panel and a Google My Business and the Question of Can Everybody Get a Knowledge Panel
[00:16:39] Gert Mellak: It’s impressive. I think with Hello Kitty, I’ve heard the same thing happened, where this was brand in a draw somewhere and then somebody grabbed it and made a campaign out of it or something like that. So, definitely, brands are there to survive. One of the interesting things when you type in a brand name, very often that you see, apart from all the different components, there is on the site something comes up, which is very often called a Knowledge Panel. Sometimes we see a so called Google My Business listing come up.
[00:17:07] Gert Mellak: For our listeners, can you differentiate? We know you have been doing a lot of work on Knowledge Panels. Kalicube is really focusing on Knowledge Panel. You mentioned initially before we started recording, you’re focusing on creating a course there on Knowledge Panels specifically. What’s the difference between a Google My Business and a Knowledge Panel? And the second question, can everybody get a Knowledge Panel?
Google My Business Is the Physical Location of the Company, While a Knowledge Panel Is the Concept of the Company Itself
[00:17:30] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. The question of what is the difference between Google My Business panel and a Knowledge Panel is actually quite subtle. The Google My Business is part of Google Maps. And the Google My Business is an entity, a thing, but it’s a physical location of a company. Whereas what’s in the Knowledge Graph, which is the Knowledge Panel, is the company itself, the concept of the company. So, Kalicube will have, for example, its Google My Business in the south of France, so it will have a Google My Business panel, but we also have a Knowledge Panel, which represents Kalicube the business as opposed to Kalicube’s office. So, you need to bear it in mind that you have those two that exist together in parallel.
Yes, Everybody Can Have a Knowledge Panel; You Just Have to Educate the Child That Is Google
[00:18:16] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the answer to the second question is yes, everybody can have a Knowledge Panel. When you think about something like Wikipedia or Wikidata, you need to be notable. And the point about that is that it’s an encyclopedia for humans. So, they only want to have information that would be of interest to a human being to read. Whereas Google is saying, well, I want to understand the entire world. So, it doesn’t have the concept of notability. It just has the concept of understanding and confidence in that understanding.
[00:18:51] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And if you look at the scale, Wikipedia has 50 million articles. The Knowledge Graph contains 1,500 billion facts. Google has to use machines to build its understanding, whereas Wikipedia is using human beings to curate the data, to add the data little by little, page by page. Google at scale cannot do that. So, from that perspective, you are in a situation where you are not going to be able to ask a human being at Google to add you to the Knowledge Graph. You’re going to have to educate the algorithm, educate the child, and that’s just simply it. And it’s really, really simple.
[00:19:32] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And at Kalicube Pro, what we do is exactly this. It’s what we call The Kalicube Process. Educate the child. It’s only three steps. Anybody can do it. It’s good marketing. And the Kalicube process platform simply takes this very simple process and makes it efficient, effective, and incredibly easy.
What Can People Start Doing Today to Educate Google About Themselves?
[00:19:53] Gert Mellak: Interesting. So, we have essentially Google My Business. Yeah. Obviously, it makes sense, the connection with Google Maps, Google My Business. Although, we honestly, because Knowledge Panel very often seems to be a little bit tricky. Even people who have a really recognised authority in their space, if they don’t have a book, which seems to be a really strong trigger for a Knowledge Panel, sometimes have a hard time getting.
[00:20:21] Gert Mellak: So, very often, Google My Business is like an intermediate step to get something on the site on Google, where you just have, even if you have an online business, you can hide the address. Google enables this. You can get your reviews, et cetera, get something there. Ultimately, the Knowledge Panel obviously is not just to be visible there on the site of Google, but it also means that Google has a really, really good understanding about your brand, knows what you’re doing, what you stand for, how they can relate you to your brand, to certain searches.
Kalicube Pro Offers an Agency Level Tool, a Done-for-You Service, and Lots of Resources and Videos
[00:20:49] Gert Mellak: So, it definitely seems to be worth engaging and pursuing getting this Knowledge Panel, because it’s just a confirmation that Google has a good grasp on what you’re actually doing. So, how would somebody with a course or a coach go about educating Google? Obviously, with Kalicube Pro, we have stated this. Is there anything people can start doing today to say, okay, let’s connect one of those dots for Google and educate them about what I stand for?
[00:21:19] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. What’s delightful here is I can go from the most expensive to the cheapest. So, the most expensive, Kalicube Pro is actually an agency level tool. So, we get agencies on board who can then help their clients with the Knowledge Panel and the Brand SERP. Just underneath that, we do a done-for-you service, whereby our team at Kalicube uses Kalicube Pro to educate the child for you, but you can actually do it for free. So, you can go onto kalicube.com. We’ve got masses of resources. We’ve got hundreds of hours of videos, literally, and hundreds of thousands of words that I’ve written, and my team has contributed to as well, where we explain all the ins and outs of this very simple three step process.
Kalicube’s Three-Step Process: Build an Entity Home, Corroborate the Information Around the Web, and Use Schema Markup or Hyperlinks
[00:22:03] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the three step process is build an Entity Home. And the Entity Home is the place on your website that Google trusts as being the source of information about you from you. John Mueller talks about reconciliation. So, we could call it the point of reconciliation. It’s the point on the internet, the page on the internet where Google can reconcile all the fragmented information it has found about you on the web into one neat completed puzzle. You were talking about children earlier on. It’s trying to put a plate puzzle together with fragmented pieces all around the web. And on your Entity Home, you simply present it with the completed plate puzzle so that it can say, I completed the puzzle correctly because the entity has shown me that that is the case.
[00:22:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the second one is to make sure that all the pieces of the plate puzzle around the web corroborate what it is you’re saying on the Entity Home. So, you basically correct every piece of information around you about your brand around the web. Then from the Entity Home, you point out to this corroboration using Schema Markup. Or if you don’t like geeky Schema Markup, use hyperlinks. Just link to them in the page. It’s fine. You’re linked to them, and they link back to the Entity Home. And then Google goes on an eternal cycle of self corroboration, whereby it goes out, it finds the same information, it comes back, sees the information again, goes out, sees the information, comes back on first, second, and third party sites.
[00:23:39] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, on your own websites, first party, on second party websites, social media channels that you don’t own, but you control at least partially, third party, where you have no control. And if Google gets into this eternal cycle, after a while, it will trigger a Knowledge Panel for absolutely anybody, if that cycle is truly consistent, truly corroborative, and the sources that you are pointing to are trustworthy, accurate, and relevant.
How Long Does It Take Google to Actually Trigger a Knowledge Panel?
[00:24:08] Gert Mellak: Interesting. How long does it take Google, after they figure this out, to actually trigger a Knowledge Panel? Do you have any experience, points there?
[00:24:18] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. If you do a great job, I call it the spring clean. You go out to every single source, and you correct them all at the same time. And you add all these hyperlinks or Schema Markup, depending on how you’re doing it, if you’re geeky or not geeky. And you write an incredibly clear description on your Entity Home about who you are, what you do, and who your audience is, then it will take about three months. But obviously, there are caveats. If it was a total mess before, it can take longer.
If You Have a Deleted Wikipedia or Wikidata Page, It Will Take Longer for Google to Trigger Your Knowledge Panel
[00:24:47] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): If you’ve had a Wikipedia page or a Wikidata page deleted, it can take a year. Because in that particular example, Wikipedia and Wikidata are basically sources that engineers at Google have told the child, Google’s algorithm, as it were, the child, you can trust this. So, it’s gone to school, Wikipedia or Wikidata. The school teacher said, this is true. It’s going, okay, brilliant. Triggered a Knowledge Panel, and it’s absolutely happy. And then suddenly, the teacher takes the information away and says, oh, maybe it isn’t.
[00:25:21] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the child is very confused. This incredibly trusted and authoritative source has told it this is true, then told it it’s not true. It removes the Knowledge Panel. So, convincing it that what the teacher initially said was true was in fact true is a phenomenally difficult job. And the child is now going to be very, very, very nervous about it.
Keep Control of Yourself Using Your Entity Home Then Just Add a Wikipedia or Wikidata Page as Supporting Evidence
[00:25:43] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And we did this at Kalicube. I had a Wikidata page deleted for Kalicube. I created the page myself. The Knowledge Panel triggered it. It was a beautiful thing. And then somebody at Wikidata deleted the page. The Knowledge Panel disappeared. And it’s taken me one year to build the Knowledge Panel back, but I didn’t use Wikipedia, I didn’t use Wikidata. The Entity Home is recognised as the About page on my own website. And it’s pulled the description from my website, and it recognises me as the founder.
[00:26:16] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that’s the point as well is I gave control to Wikidata or Wikipedia. And what I should have done is kept control for myself, get control, then I add the Wikidata as supporting evidence. And the other thing is with Wikidata, what they need is the references from third party authoritative sources. And when you go through this process of cleaning up all of the sources, you’ll find some, and you can use them as references on Wikidata, whereby the editors will be much less likely to delete it. And then if you’ve built your Knowledge Panel without Wikidata or Wikipedia, of course, even if they do delete it, you don’t care. The Knowledge Panel will stick.
Which Sites Would Support Your Information for Your Knowledge Panel?
[00:26:56] Gert Mellak: Absolutely. Reminds me of Pluto. If you put it back in the solar system, people are going to go crazy. So, we all learn Pluto is part of the solar system. Now it’s not, and you put it back. It’s going to take more than a year to convince everybody that this is not a new truth, I guess. It’s interesting how you break this down. So, you have the Entity Home. Like you said, this is usually the About page giving all the information, who you are, what you stand for, who you work with, who you can help.
[00:27:25] Gert Mellak: You have the information, essentially backing this up, being the external supporting information. Yes, you do the same thing. This could be, I understand, this could be on Twitter, this could be on Medium, like you said, some other platforms, other sites essentially talking about you in a certain context. Would you say articles on other blocks talking about how you are focusing on the Knowledge Panel would support you as well? Or should this be recognised authorities like the social media platforms?
First Party Websites: You Own and Control, Second Party Websites: You Partially Control, and Third Party Websites: Completely Independent
[00:27:55] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. That’s a great question. I mentioned earlier on first, second, and third party websites. And what’s interesting is that a lot of people talk about first party websites, your own. And they talk about third party, which is totally uncontrolled by you, completely independent. And very few people talk about second party. And second party for me are Twitter, LinkedIn. Google knows that you control partially the information.
[00:28:20] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, on those websites, the information, the repetition, the added value deteriorates relatively rapidly. On your own website, repeating the same thing, the repetition deteriorates very rapidly. On third party websites that are relevant and authoritative, there is no deterioration in the added value that they bring. So, as you are bringing more and more supporting evidence, you want to say, I get the first party, second party right, then I need to focus on third party, which is basically digital PR.
If Somebody on a Third Party Website Is Confirming What You Are Saying, That’s an Incredible Assurance for Google
[00:28:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Getting people on relevant authoritative sites, and I say relevant, which is incredibly important, to write or publish information about you. So, you can write for them, they could write about you, both are great. But it is the idea that if somebody on a third party site that you have no control over is confirming what you are saying, that’s an incredible assurance for Google.
[00:29:18] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And if we use the child analogy again, obviously the history teacher would be incredibly authoritative and incredibly relevant for history topics, but they wouldn’t be a great reference for how to bake a cake, whereas the baker would be a great reference for how to bake the cake. So, you would want to, if you are talking about baking cakes, you would want the baker to explain to the child and not the history teacher.
How Much Effort Does a Person Need to Exert to Educate Google Enough to Show His/Her Knowledge Panel?
[00:29:44] Gert Mellak: Makes a lot of sense. How much effort? Because this is definitely a question I get from my clients. So, they say, hi, I want now to do a Knowledge Panel. How much effort do I need to put into this to convince Google, to educate Google enough to show my Knowledge Panel? I understand it’s not going to be 22.5 hours straight an answer. But how should people go about the process of building this up, if they don’t outsource this to you? So, they can use your tool. I understand this gives guidelines, step by step, but how could they quantify the effort?
[00:30:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. If you look on kalicube.com, we’ve got the process to actually set out for people, for musicians, for companies. You can just go to kalicube.com. You have a look at that, and we set out the process. So, you don’t need Kalicube Pro at all. Somebody at Kalicube Pro, Alyssa, did this process manually. She went and found every reference to me manually. And it took her 12 hours, and she got so bored. And then we did it with Kalicube Pro, and it took 10 minutes.
Kalicube Pro Will Took Only 10 Minutes of Work Rather Than 12 Hours When You Do the Work Manually
[00:30:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the Kalicube Pro list, of course, is prioritised. So, you go through it, and you know that this article is important, this one less so, this one less so, this one less so. So, with Kalicube Pro, basically in a day, you can go through the whole process. And doing it manually, if you had the courage to spend 12 hours going through your entire digital ecosystem manually, you could probably do it in a week, but most people get so bored.
[00:31:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And they’re so bored by the end of the time they’ve made their list, and they don’t know which ones to focus on. They can’t get their head straight about what they need to do next. And it isn’t a question of we’re not telling you what to do next. It’s that human beings are very indecisive. You probably end up spreading this work over three months, and that would be a relatively generous assessment.
The Example of When Jason Barnard Changed His Description in the Knowledge Panel From Musician to Author
[00:31:49] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But one thing that we found to be very important is if you can do it all in one go, it has much more effect than if you do it gradually over time. And the example I would give there is that Google had me as a musician. It said Jason Barnard, musician. And I wanted to change that to author. So, what I did was I changed my description about myself from Jason Barnard is a musician to Jason Barnard is an author and a musician. So, I put author at the start. So, Jason Barnard is an author was the first thing that Google saw in my description.
[00:32:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Then I took the listing Kalicube Pro of 65 profiles and different pages that are first party, second party, and third party. I changed all of the ones that were first and second party in about two hours, three hours. And then I wrote to all the third parties and said, can you change the description on this web page to Jason Barnard is an author, blah, blah, blah. And it took two weeks for it to switch from musician to author.
[00:32:50] Gert Mellak: Interesting.
You Need to Educate the Child That Is Google by Explaining Very Clearly and Confirming Through Authoritative and Relevant Sources
[00:32:51] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): There were two things there is that number one, I changed it everywhere. And number one, I changed it everywhere within two days. Google had crawled it all again. And it had seen that absolutely everywhere this was the fact. And Google just went, okay, everybody agrees, my latest call says this, so therefore he must be an author. And if it had seen that a little bit over time, over three months, I would guess it would’ve taken six months to eight months for it to actually switch, because it would’ve been this child seeing contradictory information all the time.
[00:33:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And once again, this child, if it’s seeing this contradictory information, won’t be able to decide. And you are the adult in the room. You are the parent. You need to decide. You need to be clear. And you need to educate this child by explaining it very clearly and then pointing to all of the people, all of the sources, authoritative and relevant, who can confirm what you’re saying. So, the child understands and is incredibly confident in that understanding.
Comparing Educating Google to Connecting the Dots to Form the Right Picture
[00:33:52] Gert Mellak: Makes a lot of sense. So, ultimately, connecting as many dots as possible, as fast as possible, in order to just show them the image and not tell them, look, this might be a dog, might be a cat, might be a giraffe. Keep connecting the dots and wait six months and just stick with my analogy.
[00:34:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. So, your children doing the join the dots game is basically saying the child needs to be superhuman and do it incredibly quickly. And they go, it’s a cat, and then doesn’t know, it’s a dog.
[00:34:20] Gert Mellak: Yeah. Don’t make them hesitate. But it’s interesting how Google then, once they establish this network of connections, they trust. They’re checking this all the time. So, when information changes, Google is very happy to just switch. And like you said in your example, two weeks, it changes very quickly. Google in two weeks is probably the time it takes them to crawl all those pages again and very quickly to establish, okay, now my network of connected information says something different. Now Jason is an author, and that’s fine. And we just take it this way.
The Important Process You Need to Follow in Writing or Changing Your Entity Description
[00:34:52] Gert Mellak: So, this makes a lot of sense. I think people are definitely going to be able to relate very, very much about this. I really appreciate how you work through this. And I don’t want to take too much time out of your schedule here. I was wondering if there’s anything I should have really asked you that could be actionable for our course creators, our coaches, our clients in SEO that didn’t come up in this conversation.
[00:35:20] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): First of all, I’d like to say I really love the way you explain that. I really appreciate it when somebody who’s interviewing me takes what I said and re-summarises it in such a neat manner. And that’s definitely something that we’ll do a transcript of this. Kristine, if you’re listening, that’s a chunk of guts and text that we need to take out and highlight because it’s a great explanation.
[00:35:44] Gert Mellak: Thank you very much.
First, Establish Your Entity Home; Second, Write the Entity Description in a Manner That the Machine Can Truly Understand
[00:35:45] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I think one thing I would like to say is people obsess about Schema Markup. And it does give you the little bells and whistles and little things, and it’s the carrot, the sweet, or whatever that Google is offering you to get you to use it. But in my mind and in Kalicube’s process, Schema Markup is only the fourth most important thing. Number one is the Entity Home. You have to decide what the Entity Home is, and you need to convince Google that that is the Entity Home. And it’s preferably your About page, but it can also be your homepage.
[00:36:16] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Number two is the entity description. You need to write the description that the machine can truly understand. And at Kalicube Pro, within the platform, we have an NLP, natural language processing analysis, whereby we analyse what Google understands from the texts you’ve written. And you would be surprised at how confused it can get and how small changes can clarify things for Google very, very quickly.
[00:36:44] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So if you can get the description, so that Google understands it, even without context. So, we ping this into its algorithm, its NLP algorithm. And it sends us back what it’s understood, and there is no context. So when you put it in the context of your website or your LinkedIn profile or Facebook, obviously the context adds to that understanding, adds to the confidence in that understanding. So, the machine is incredibly comfortable with that understanding, especially when it’s repeated over and over and over again.
Third, Corroborate the Information; and Fourth, Use Schema Markup, Which Is Helpful But Not Necessary
[00:37:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The third most important thing is that all of the corroboration repeats it, that the pieces of this puzzle that Google’s trying to put together fit together correctly. And then the fourth most important thing, as I said, is the Schema Markup because that simply supports the first three steps: identifies the Entity Home, repeats the description, points to the corroboration. So, in fact, Schema Markup, it’s incredibly powerful. It really is a huge help.
[00:37:43] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But if you don’t feel comfortable, if you really don’t feel comfortable, a) there’s a free tool on Kalicube Pro that you can use to create the basic Schema Markup, but we also have a client, G. Scott Graham. He just didn’t want to use Schema Markup. And he just used links in his page, and he triggered a Knowledge Panel in a month. So, Schema Markup is not necessary, but it is very helpful. So, what I would’ve said there is that the question you didn’t ask was how important is the entity description? And the answer is second most important.
Schema Markup Is Next Level, But People Can Just Get the Wording Right and Make It Really Easy for Google
[00:38:14] Gert Mellak: It’s definitely matching also what we find in competitive researches. Very often when we say, okay, somebody searches for a generic term and there is a competitor coming up from our client, then we analyse what are they doing in order to be ahead of this client, for example. Very often, the only thing we find is that there is a text from a really relevant site saying this person is such and such. This David Garcia is an author, Janet Smith is a health coach, something like this. And then you type in health coach, and Janet Smith comes up.
[00:38:53] Gert Mellak: Why? Because the only reference Google can find, and this is a trusted website that talks about her, is that she’s a health coach. So, Google really seems to only be interested in connecting the dots whatever way. Obviously, Schema is the next level makes a lot of sense. But we definitely see especially on low competition areas, where people just get the wording right and make it really, really easy, like you say, for Google to understand what this is.
How Does Google Take Into Account the Knowledge Graph When It Comes to Ranking Non-Branded Terms?
[00:39:21] Gert Mellak: And then there’s just one last question I just thought of, and then I’m going to let you go. How do you think Google takes into account this network, this Knowledge Graph when it comes to ranking non-branded terms? Does this question make sense?
[00:39:39] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yes, it does. The answer is before this summer, I would’ve said not very much. Ali Alvi from Bing, who is the featured snippet algorithm boss at Bing, Microsoft said, we don’t use the Knowledge Graph. We use NLP to analyse. We try to guess what the question is, what question the content answers. And that’s how we do featured snippets, which is brilliant. Today, I would say I think Google and Bing have moved a big step forwards, that there is much more interaction between these different algorithms and the Knowledge Graph and its understanding of your entity, company, person, product, book, whatever it might be.
Take Advantage of Google Offering People Also Ask, Carousels, and Different Interactive Elements Like Videos on the SERP
[00:40:18] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the other thing is even if it isn’t incredibly important in the blue link algorithm, think about all the other algorithms that are contributing to the SERP, the carousels, the video boxes, the Knowledge Panel, the featured snippet, the People Also Ask. All of these are going to be using at least partially this entity recognition, this understanding of who you are, what you do, and which audience you serve. And Google is aiming more and more to get people to research on Google in depth by offering People Also Ask, by offering carousels, by offering all of these different interactive elements, videos on the SERP, for example. And we need to take advantage of those.
[00:41:02] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Many of them are entity driven, especially carousels, People Also Ask. It’s all to do with Google’s understanding of the relationships between all of these different things going on on the SERP when you search. And it’s saying, how can we move you forwards in your journey on Google? But ultimately, in order to buy, in order to convert whatever it is you have to offer, the solution you have, the user will have to come to you.
[00:41:27] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that’s where you need to focus. It’s make sure that whether the person researches on Google, on Facebook, on Medium, on whatever platform it might be or multiple platforms, which is much more likely, the day they decide to buy, convert, purchase, subscribe, whatever it might be, that they come to you and not to somebody else. And that’s all about marketing and branding. And Google is simply the vehicle that helps bring them to you.
Where Can People Find Out More About Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) and Kalicube?
[00:41:56] Gert Mellak: Makes perfect sense. Google is just leveraging whatever information they have in a structured way and they, quote unquote, understand for whatever they put out across the different properties. Thank you so much, Jason. This was really, really generous. Thank you so much for taking the time. I know you’ve got a few websites. Where can people find out more about you, about Kalicube, about what you do, and how you can get them their Knowledge Panel?
[00:42:23] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. Yes, I’ve got too many websites, too many offers, too many things going on. So, search my name, Jason Barnard, or my company, Kalicube. The beauty of what I call the Google business card is that you get to choose how you interact with me. You can visit my personal site to find out more about the blue dog or my punk folk group from the 90s. The next result is kalicube.com, if you want to do business with me.
[00:42:47] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The next result is Twitter, if you want to throw some funny tweets at me. The next one is the Kalicube Academy, if you want to join the Kalicube Academy and learn all about this stuff. The next one is the book, if you want to buy the Fundamentals of Brand SERPs. And the next one is LinkedIn, if you want to hang out in a professional manner on LinkedIn without committing to doing business with me.
[00:43:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, what’s interesting there is that you search my name, Jason Barnard, or my company name, Kalicube. And you get to choose how you want to interact with me, now that you’ve found out what I’ve done and you’re interested in what I’m offering or I can offer or my company can offer.
Check Out the Summarised Tips of the Podcast in Written Version at the SEO Leverage Website
[00:43:25] Gert Mellak: Awesome. Thank you so much, Jason. We’ll put this up on seoleverage.com/podcast. This is episode 90. Now, everybody go and check this out, kalicube.com, and the other sites you can find with an optimised Brand SERP about Jason. And yeah, we are going to summarise the tips in a written version over at seoleverage.com/podcast. Thank you so much, Jason.
[00:43:51] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): That’s brilliant. Thank you so much, Gert. That was amazing. That’s a great interview, great questions, delightful conversation. And I did see the dog running around in the background.
[00:44:00] Gert Mellak: That’s my brown dog.
[00:44:02] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): See you soon.
[00:44:04] Gert Mellak: Thank you. See you.