Brief summary of the show:
How do you manage your brand on Google? What is a SERP and why is it important?
Joining me for this conversation is Jason Barnard, the founder and CEO of Kalicube. He is also an author and digital marketer who specializes in Brand SERP optimization and Knowledge Panel management. Jason uses the pseudonym “The Brand SERP Guy” for his professional work!
Jason, aka The Brand SERP Guy, has over 2 decades of experience in digital marketing, starting in 1998 (the year Google was incorporated) with a website for kids based on the characters Boowa & Kwala that he built up to become one of the 10,000 most visited sites in the world.
In the 1990s he was a professional musician with the Punk-Folk group The Barking Dogs. He currently plays double bass with Barcoustic (Hugo Scott, from the Barking Dogs is the singer).
Jason gives listeners actionable tops on:
• [1:15] What SERP means
• [3:10] What lawyers are doing wrong when it comes to Google
• [6:00] What a ‘knowledge panel’ is
• [12:40] How to control what shows up on this panel
• [15:45] Keeping an open feedback loop on Google
• [17:20] Why reviews are so important
• [22:20] How to educate Google about who you and your audience are
• [32:05] Why you need to focus on SEO as part of your strategy
• [36:55] Jason’s book review
Introducing the Podcast Guest, Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy), and His Specialty Topic
[00:00:00] Karin Conroy: This is Counsel Cast, part of the Legal Talk Network, and I’m your host, Karin Conroy. When you face a complex case outside your expertise, you bring in a co-counsel for next level results. When you want to engage, expand, elevate your firm, you bring in a marketing co-counsel. In this podcast, I bring in marketing experts who each answer one big question to help your firm achieve more. Here’s today’s guest.
[00:00:27] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Hi, I’m Jason Barnard. I call myself The Brand SERP Guy. Brand SERP is the search engine results page for your brand name or your personal name. That is my specialty. And I am here to teach the entire world how to manage their brand narrative on Google.
[00:00:50] Karin Conroy: Jason, thank you for being here. I am really excited for this conversation. And just in that intro, there were two questions or two things that came up. First of all, I really feel like Americans do not get the word specialty. The pronunciation is just not as nice as how you guys say it. You added a couple extra syllables in there, and so I love that.
The Story of How Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Started on the Internet With a Website for Children
[00:01:13] Karin Conroy: But the first thing I was going to ask you was to define SERP, because we see that everywhere, and I know it’s part of your title and how you describe yourself. SERP, once again, search engine results page. So, basically, the stuff that comes up on Google once you search for something.
[00:01:34] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Exactly. And if I may admit to something very shameful, is that I started on the internet in 1998 with a website for children. And I was a blue dog in a cartoon on the web from 1998. And we absolutely nailed Google. We were getting a million visits a month from children under 10 years old from Google.
[00:02:00] Karin Conroy: In 1998, that is amazing.
[00:02:04] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): It’s astonishing, isn’t it? Who would’ve believed it? But the shameful admission is not that. That’s a really good admission.
[00:02:10] Karin Conroy: Is it the blue dog suit?
Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Doesn’t Know the Meaning of SERP Until 2014
[00:02:12] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): No. We actually thought about making one, but we never got round to it. The shameful admission is I didn’t know what SERP stood for until 2014.
[00:02:23] Karin Conroy: Oh, my gosh. For some reason, it doesn’t seem like it’s the phrase that you hear. You hear SEO. You hear pay per click or PPC. For some reason, SERP, it seems like it’s just the technical guys that use that the most.
[00:02:38] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. And I think 2014 was when I became the technical guy instead of the blue dog.
[00:02:45] Karin Conroy: Yeah. And it became a little more mainstream to hear SERP. So, we’re not going to use SERP in the title because we’re not talking to the technical guys, but the title of this show and the question that we’re going to answer and address and talk about is how to manage your brand on Google. This is the thing that you talk about a lot. You’ve got an amazing website with all these resources. You’ve written a book on this. This is your topic.
What Are the Common Mistakes People Make When It Comes With Their Brand SERPs?
[00:03:09] Karin Conroy: So, we’re going to start first with, let’s start first with what mistakes are people making? What is everybody doing wrong, especially law firms and lawyers? What are they doing wrong when it comes to their brand, their SERP, and what they’re doing on Google?
[00:03:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): It’s a really good question from the perspective of the first thing I would say, and it’s not just lawyers, it’s everybody is doing wrong. They’re looking at Google and saying, I want people to come to my website who are searching for, in this case, I need a lawyer. But what is incredibly important, what is missed, and it’s literally 99% of all companies in the world and people. What do the people who already know who I am see when they google my name?
[00:03:56] Karin Conroy: Yes. Especially for lawyers. The next thing I was going to ask you, okay, I have another question that I want to ask, but let’s finish that one first. Because there’s so many things to cover with this topic, but let’s talk first about what people are doing wrong. They’re not thinking about the difference between a random cold lead that is searching for a topic versus someone who already has your name, who is more likely a warm lead and so much more likely a potential client.
Your Brand SERP Is a Stamp of Approval From Google and Is Your Google Business Card
[00:04:33] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. That’s beautifully said. I’ll steal that, and you get to be my potential client. It’s that really exciting, what would you call it, it’s the exciting thing that we think, I need that. And as an example would be as a lawyer, I would be saying, I need all the people who are searching for accident lawyer. And those are people who have no idea who you are. And how many people are actually going to come to your website and then start working with you with no idea who you are?
[00:05:05] Karin Conroy: It’s much more yourself.
[00:05:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah, exactly. Whereas if I’m in a situation where I’m looking for an accident lawyer, for example, and I’ve already seen your name out and about, or I search for accident lawyer, I’ve seen a list of five lawyers, and then I search each of their names before I actually start working with them. Who am I going to work with? It’s the one that Google recommends.
[00:05:27] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And Google recommending you is not only you being at the top of the search results for accident lawyer, but that stamp of approval, your Google Business Card is when somebody searches your name. And when Google says, look at this, they’ve got a great Knowledge Panel, the information box you see on the right hand side, here’s their website, here’s some photos, here’s some videos, here are the social media channels. You say, that’s an impressive lawyer, that’s somebody I want to work with. Because Google recommends them. Google likes them. And I’m using Google because I trust Google.
Among Other Things That Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Talks About, What Is a Knowledge Panel?
[00:06:01] Karin Conroy: Yeah. Okay. So, let’s talk about what a Knowledge Panel is, because this is another thing you talk about a lot. So, what is this thing called a Knowledge Panel?
[00:06:10] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. First thing is I talk about it too much.
[00:06:14] Karin Conroy: It’s okay.
[00:06:16] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But if you ask anybody I talk to, they say, yeah, you’ve talked about that before. The Knowledge Panel is an incredibly interesting aspect of Google search engine results pages, because it’s a representation of Google’s understanding of the facts.
[00:06:34] Karin Conroy: Oh, I love that. Okay. So, I’m just going to repeat it real quick. It’s a representation of Google’s understanding of the facts. So, this is how Google is seeing you.
The Knowledge Panel Is How Google Represents You Factually to Your Audience and Google Is Vouching for That Information
[00:06:45] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Exactly. It’s how Google understands you. And it’s also how Google represents you factually to your audience when they google your name or your company name. And so, from that perspective, as users, we don’t realise we’re doing it, but we see the right hand side on desktop with that Knowledge Panel as fact and the left hand side is recommendations.
[00:07:08] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So if I have the Knowledge Panel, Google is saying, I know all of this about that person and I vouch for that person and I vouch for the information I’m putting here. Awards, cases won, books written, photos, description, date of birth, whatever it might be. Google is vouching for this information. And it’s phenomenally difficult to get Google, here we say, to understand all of those facts about you. But it’s not just understanding the facts, it’s being sufficiently confident in those facts that it’s willing to present it as fact to its audience, to its users.
The Importance for Google and for Your Brand of Having Accurate and Valid Information on Your Knowledge Panel
[00:07:46] Karin Conroy: That’s a big difference between how I was thinking of it in the past. I basically was looking at that Knowledge Panel. And that Knowledge Panel, the way I was looking at it is basically a distillation, a distilled amount of, okay, here’s what we’ve collected on you, which is similar to what you’re saying, but not quite the same. It is what Google has collected, but it’s also what I’m hearing your description is this is what Google has collected on you, but this is also what Google is willing to present as valid and truthful. And that’s a big difference.
[00:08:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah, exactly. And it’s a huge difference. And because we use Google, because we trust it, that information we take as red. And when it’s wrong, it’s a huge problem. And when it’s right, it’s a huge boost and a bonus. And as you said earlier on, it’s the warm leads. It’s the people who already know who we are. And we are just pushing them over the tipping point of saying, yes, I trust this person because Google trusts them.
[00:08:49] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the other interesting thing about Knowledge Panels is I used to say Google is your business card. And I still say that. And it’s really important to think about that people will search your name before doing business with you. During COVID, we were all on Zoom meetings, googling the other people in the meeting to figure out who they were. Could we trust them? Are they talking sense? Do they actually know what they’re talking about, yes or no? So, we have that. And I actually had meetings at one point, face-to-face, three or four years ago where people were googling me under the table on their phones.
[00:09:20] Karin Conroy: It’s like it’s a glass table. I can see you.
Currently, the Knowledge Panel Takes Up a Large Part of the Brand SERP That the User Doesn’t Need to Visit Your Website
[00:09:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Exactly. And the thing about the Knowledge Panel is that it’s gone from being this thing on the right hand side to actually taking up most of what you see on a desktop above the fold, and indeed on a mobile for the first third of the scroll. And that means that Google is representing you on its search engine results page for your name in a way that is similar to your site.
[00:09:52] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): It allows them, the person, the user, to research you entirely on Google with no need to visit your website. So, you can build your website, and that’s great. And you can pull people into that website using social media, articles, whatever it might be, advertising. But the moment they search your name on Google, it’s Google who controls the message.
[00:10:13] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But what we’ve done at Kalicube is figure out how we can influence and educate Google so that it represents you in the way that you want. And that’s really important. You then control the message indirectly. And controlling your brand narrative to your audience through Google’s eyes is phenomenally important.
The Difference Between the Left-Hand Side and the Right-Hand Side of a Google Result on Desktop
[00:10:34] Karin Conroy: So, I want to get to that. But first, I just want to reiterate this idea because I really think there’s misunderstanding between the left and the right side of this Google search results. So, most attorneys and most reporting too is based on what’s happening on the left side of the screen. You are ranked this number on this page. The ranking has moved this much over this many weeks. This is what we’re doing.
[00:11:04] Karin Conroy: And all of the focus and energy and reporting and numbers are based on the left side of the page. And it’s not bad. It’s not wrong. You still need to show up on the left side of the page. But what you’re describing is a much larger emphasis on that Knowledge Panel on the right side of the page and controlling that as more important, or at least having more influence than the left side. Is that right?
The Right Hand Side Is Fact According to Google and the Left Hand Side Is Recommendation From Google
[00:11:32] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. I think we’ve said it before, but reiterating never hurts anybody. If you look at a desktop, the right hand side is fact, the left hand side is recommendation. And that idea of fact becomes even more important because Google is expanding that out. Because what does Google want to do? It wants to solve its users’ problems as efficiently as possible.
[00:11:55] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): When you search on Google, you are expressing a problem or asking a question, implicitly or explicitly. If you search my name, you are either saying, I want to learn more about Jason Barnard or I want to specifically visit his site. But in both cases, you’re curious about me as a human being.
[00:12:14] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And what Google now has done, and this is huge, is that if you search my name in certain circumstances, the Knowledge Panel takes up the entire Google result above the fold, i.e. the first thing you see as it loads on a desktop. That means that Google’s factual understanding of me becomes the representation that my audience sees. And if I have little to no control over that, I’ve got a huge problem.
Controlling Your Brand Narrative on Google and Influencing Your Knowledge Panel
[00:12:39] Karin Conroy: Right. Okay. So, that moves nice and smoothly into the next section or the next topic, which is, number one, how do you control that? And then the second part of that question is that I regularly coach my clients through this idea, that the search engine results are not the end of the story. So, you will be influenced, your potential clients will be influenced by what they see there clearly. But if they then click over to your website and it’s a disaster, then that’s just getting ranking on the search engine is not the end of the story.
[00:13:18] Karin Conroy: Number one, how do you influence that Knowledge Panel and how do you improve and make that work in the best way for you as possible? But then second, then what do you do on your website to pull them through and make the website work together with that?
[00:13:36] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): That’s a great question because in fact, the answer is more or less the same for both questions. That your website needs to be incredibly well organised. It doesn’t need to be optimised in the traditional search engine optimisation sense. It needs to be well organised, well presented, clear, and helpful to your real audience. Not the people you think might be interested, but the people who are actually interested. And if you can do that, then Google will create a Knowledge Panel for you more or less organically.
What Are the Steps and the Aspects You Need to Consider to Manage Your Brand SERP and Your Knowledge Panel?
[00:14:08] Karin Conroy: Okay. So, how do you figure that out?
[00:14:09] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, what you need to do is look, sit down. And I think one thing I talk about a great deal is you need to figure out who you are, what you do, and which audience you can best serve. And if you can do that, you can present it on your website in a clear, organised manner that will make sense to people and will make sense to Google.
[00:14:33] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): What Google then does is it looks at your website. It says, okay, I think I’ve understood who this website represents. I will then go look at their social channels, I will look at their profile pages, in the case of lawyers, I will look at justia.com, and I will confirm that all these other sources say the same thing. If they all say the same thing, and I’m sure that we’re talking about the same person, you get a Knowledge Panel. Whether you are notable or not, it doesn’t matter. Google just wants to understand and represent you accurately.
[00:15:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And so, the real trick is a clear, concise, helpful, relevant site for your audience, that’s well organised for Google, that points out, i.e. you link out to all of these different profiles that talk about you, that confirm what you’re saying, that then link back to your website. Google goes on this eternal loop of self corroboration. And by pure repetition, it ends up by understanding. And I like to say Google is a child. You’re educating it. And this child learns by repetition, honesty, and consistency.
The Concept of Corroboration: Repeating and Reaffirming Information About a Person or a Brand
[00:15:46] Karin Conroy: I also refer to all of those links and the information and that feedback loop as it’s almost like votes. So, the more that you’re out there, and you’ve got these links, and the link is saying the same thing over here as it is over here, and LinkedIn is saying this and that, each time it’s like a little vote for Google. And Google is looking at it and, oh, okay, this is saying the same thing. And so, this keeps repeating and reaffirming this idea that we’re building on this particular person.
[00:16:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah, exactly. I would use the word corroboration rather than vote.
[00:16:19] Karin Conroy: Okay. That makes more sense.
[00:16:21] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Because it’s corroboration, I’m not trying to correct you, but I’m going to use vote in a moment. LinkedIn is corroboration. Crunchbase is corroboration. Justia is corroboration because Justia doesn’t have a notability standard. It has a, do we understand? Can we present this person? Do they do what they say? Then the votes come from the Lawyers’ Association of Minneapolis, who then vouch for you.
[00:16:49] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, the votes is this idea that once you’ve established the facts around these basic social media, justia.com, Wikidata, let’s say, those are all just factual representations of you. After that, you’re looking for the votes, which would be the specific, relevant organisations who are authoritative and expert and trusted within your industry. That’s where the votes are.
The Importance of Reviews, Credibility, and E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness)
[00:17:17] Karin Conroy: Okay. So, then how is that different from the reviews?
[00:17:21] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Reviews are hugely important. And if you’ve ever heard of E-A-T, have you heard of E-A-T? I can explain it really quickly.
[00:17:29] Karin Conroy: Yeah, please.
[00:17:31] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. That’s Google’s thing for credibility. So, basically, I say credibility, but they break it down into those three things. So, Google wants to send its users. And remember, people searching on Google are not your users. They’re Google’s users. Google is sending them to you as a favour. They’re recommending you when they send a user to you. So, don’t ever think, these are my users, Google owes me them. Google doesn’t owe you them. Google is sending them because it thinks you’re a good solution.
[00:18:02] Karin Conroy: And Google owns it, and Google has control of it. And we get these questions all the time, like how fast can you change XYZ on Google? I can’t. I don’t work for Google. I don’t have control over those things. We can ask them very nicely to do a certain thing, but it’s Google’s website. And everybody uses it so often. I think they feel familiar with it or something, like they should have control over it. But you don’t, and this can be a sad reality in certain circumstances.
A More Detailed Explanation About E-A-T and the Recently Added Concept of Experience
[00:18:30] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah, no, and that’s a huge point, and it’s really well put. That familiarity makes us think that we own or control it. Just to finish on that, and I’d love to come back because it’s a great point. Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness basically says trustworthiness is reviews, which is what made me think of it. My audience appreciate me. That’s reviews. That’s forum comments. That’s feedback from users that Google can see.
[00:18:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Authoritativeness is that my peers appreciate me. That’s justia.com. That’s the Bar Association of Minneapolis. Expertise is I cover my topic on my website and on my social media platforms, expertly and completely. And Google have recently added what we call experience. So, they now call it double E-A-T, just to make it twice as good, E-E-A-T.
[00:19:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that idea of experience is say, I actually have experience in this field. So, in the case of lawyers, it would be to make sure that Google understands that you’ve covered specific cases within a specific field that they can then verify.
How Does Google Verify Information About an Entity, Especially in the Case of Lawyers?
[00:19:39] Karin Conroy: And so, how do they verify that?
[00:19:42] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): By the court records online. Court records online are all over the place. Google reads all of that. If your name is cited in a court case, in a court paper, on a official court website, you need to make sure that Google understands that it’s the same person. Because with people, there’s that ambiguity. There’s lots of people called Jason Barnard. Is it the same one? Is it that guy?
[00:20:06] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And one of your huge roles is to use your website to confirm to Google that is indeed me. And that’s part of the reason you need to really make sure your website is great. And it’s not traditional SEO. It’s not search engine optimisation as most people understand it. It’s saying, I need to educate Google and ensure that it sees the corroboration that makes sense and is truly helpful to its confidence in its understanding.
[00:20:32] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Because if you look at a Knowledge Panel, you have understanding, which is great. Confidence in that understanding is what makes the Knowledge Panel immensely big and very rich and full of your photos and your social profiles and information about you in a great description. That’s confidence. Understanding is one thing. Confidence is the key.
Considering Topical Authority to Help Google Understand Who You Are, What You Do, and Which Audience You Serve
[00:20:51] Karin Conroy: Okay. So, in order to validate that experience, you are talking about how it’s not the same as traditional SEO. So, in my mind, the validation would be something like an external link over to that court reference or whatever. Is that what you’re meaning by validating that and telling Google to make that connection?
[00:21:13] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yes. It’s as simple as that, really, truly. You look at all these great court cases. And you have a page that says, this court case I won, here’s the link. And you link through to the court paper. This case I won, point to the court paper. I don’t think losing a court case is bad, in the sense that Google isn’t judging you on whether you win or lose. It’s judging you on what cases have you represented within that specific sphere.
[00:21:41] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): There’s a great SEO called Koray Gubur, who’s a Turkish SEO, who talks about topical authority. And in the case of lawyers, that would all be about the types of cases you’re dealing with. And the better you can communicate your specialties to Google, the more Google is going to be able to surface you. Not only for your own name in terms of representing you as this type of lawyer who can represent this kind of problem, but also within the generalist searches. The more Google understands that you specialise in criminal law or divorce law, the more likely it is to recommend you in those specific circumstances without traditional SEO.
[00:22:21] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, making sure Google understands who your audience is, and that’s topicality, is absolutely key. So, what we do at Kalicube is educate Google about who you are and what you do, and then we help you to communicate your topicality, what your speciality is, and who your audience is. And I just said specialty again.
How Do Blog Posts Come Into Play in Managing Your Brand on Google?
[00:22:41] Karin Conroy: I know. I caught that one. It’s so much better. Okay. So, tell me what the difference between the way that you’re describing these external links and the focus on blog posts. Because you and I both know that it’s just this ad nauseum idea, that if you just endlessly write blog posts on all of these topics. And I’ve seen a lot of clients have a reasonable amount of success, if they do it really well and they’re pretty consistent, but it changes.
[00:23:09] Karin Conroy: And Google’s ideas about your blog posts change. It’s much different now than it was five or six years ago. So, should we be focusing on blog posts or should we be really honing in on certain topics? How do blog posts come into play in this whole topic?
When Writing a Blog Post or an FAQ, Look at the Questions Your Audience Is Asking and Answer Them Efficiently
[00:23:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. I like that question because blog posts for blog post’s sake is, in terms of Google, a pointless exercise. If you write a blog post that answers a specific question that you know your audience is searching for, it can potentially surface in Google. If you are writing a blog post because you are interested in it, and nobody ever asks that question in that way, you are writing for yourself.
[00:23:55] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And from that perspective, I tend to ask my clients to look at this from an FAQ point of view. Look at the questions your audience are asking and answer those questions. Be it 50 words, a hundred words, a thousand words, answer with the number of words that you need to answer the question efficiently.
An Example Where Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Was Searching About Domain Names and Had Trouble Finding a Simple Solution
[00:24:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And I’ll give you a really good example. I was searching earlier on for information about domain names. And the article that Google surfaced started off with an explanation of what is a domain name. And that was totally pointless. I know what a domain name is. I don’t need that explaining. And I was scrolling through, and it’s hugely frustrating. And Google doesn’t want to do that. Google has been tricked by some clever SEO. What Google would want to do is bring me to the solution to my problem right at the top of the page.
[00:24:48] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So if I’m looking for a simple answer like does .co.uk, can I buy it using Hover, for example? That was a very silly question. I would just want that at the top. I don’t want to have to scroll through an entire article to find that out. But if I’m asking what is the history of domain name since 1998, I would expect a 2,000-5,000 word article and I would spend the time reading it. So, you need to consider that when you are looking at it.
Google’s Focus on Depth, Breadth, and Velocity for the Solution or Answer You Are Going to Provide Its Users
[00:25:14] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But it’s also always a question of answering a question, providing a solution to an inquiry from a human being. And that inquiry needs to be incredibly relevant to your topicality. Here’s a really good way of looking at that. Google is looking for depth, breadth, and velocity. So, it’s looking for you to cover the topic in depth, preferably breadth as well, and they want a regular update.
[00:25:45] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, they want one article a week or one article a month. It doesn’t matter what your velocity is, but you need to maintain that velocity. So, don’t start off with five articles a week and then drop it down, because Google will drop a lot of your site.
[00:25:57] Karin Conroy: It assumes you’ve been dead.
[00:26:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. You need that velocity. And if you want to focus, if you want to prioritise, number one is depth, number two is velocity, number three is breadth. So, you want to go deep into a specific topic with a consistent velocity and then broaden it.
What Are the Important and Necessary Details You Need to Put on Your Description or About Page?
[00:26:18] Karin Conroy: That’s so good because I get a lot of questions about how to make themselves, okay, these are lawyers to begin with. And how do we make ourselves have more personality and be more human? And shouldn’t we talk about our cats? Shouldn’t we talk about what kinds of things we do on the weekends? It makes us people like us more. And I see the logic in what they’re thinking, that it makes them somehow connect to their audience better, but it’s such the wrong idea.
[00:26:56] Karin Conroy: I’m sitting there oftentimes on a call or something, thinking, no. How do I tell you that this is just wrong? But this explains it. First of all, think about what people are asking. Are your clients, when they come into your office, are they asking about your cats? I don’t think so. I don’t think they care about your cats. That has nothing to do with their problem or why they’re coming into your office or picking up the phone.
Your About Page Needs to Be Written in a Way That Makes Sense Both for Google and for Human Beings
[00:27:25] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. And that brings me to a couple of interesting points, multiple, this is too many of those points.
[00:27:31] Karin Conroy: Do you want to talk about your cats?
[00:27:34] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): No. We’re all the star of our own film, and nobody else cares. And if you are talking to me, you are interested in what I can bring to you. So, not particularly wishing to insult you, but the conversation from both our point of views is very much about what do I get out of it. And it’s exactly the same for your clients.
[00:27:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And one thing I find is About pages. At Kalicube, we focus hugely on About pages, and we write masses of About pages. And they need to be clear.They need to be written in a way that makes sense for both Google and for human beings. They need to start with what you do today very clearly and work backwards in history rather than the other way around. It’s not, we were founded in 1997, bloody blah. You don’t start with when you were founded. You start with what you’re doing today, and you move backwards. And it’s the same for a person.
For Lawyers, How Far Back Should Be the Details They Put Out About Themselves?
[00:28:31] Karin Conroy: Okay. And how far back do you say? Because this is a conversation I have all the time as well. And lawyers, jobs are to be very detail oriented and include all the facts. And so, they oftentimes will want to include every subsection of a club they were in, in college and law school, and every kind of work they’ve ever done, even things that have nothing to do with what they’re doing today.
[00:28:59] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Could I make a point here? And it’s that people very rarely follow their own advice. And a lawyer will tell you in front of the judge, the judge doesn’t have the time to listen to your entire story. You have to give contacts, get straight to the point, make sure that you’ve nailed it. They don’t care about the details or they don’t have the time to listen for the details. It’s exactly the same for your clients.
The Crucial Matter of Distinguishing Yourself From Your Company
[00:29:20] Karin Conroy: That’s it. That is it in a nutshell right there. Let’s pretend that you are presenting your bio page or you’re About page to a judge. Does the judge care what you did in college? No, they do not. And it doesn’t have anything to do with why someone might hire you either. They care that you’ve done this kind of work before, that you can prove it, and that it was successful, and that you can solve their problem. That’s it.
[00:29:46] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): No, it’s exactly it. And what I do like or not like about it, depending on which perspective you take, is that the fact that you are saying to me, a lawyer will want to explain absolutely everything they’ve done, is exactly the opposite of what every lawyer I’ve ever worked with has told me to do with them. And so, from that perspective, that was the first point.
[00:30:10] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The second point is to distinguish yourself from your company. And I think lawyers probably have a huge problem with that. On your website, you need to say, I am a specialist in ABC, this is why you can trust me, and here’s the proof of all the cases that I’ve won. That’s it. Then you can have your own personal website that says, I am a lawyer, I also have a cat, and I go skiing. And that’s fine. So, your cats and your skiing go on your personal website. And I think a lot of lawyers don’t have personal websites. I might be wrong, but they’re like me so much in their work, that they fail to distinguish that moment when they go from professional to personal.
When Triggering Knowledge Panels, It Is Important That You Have a Separate Personal Website From Your Company Website
[00:30:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And it’s a really good idea to sit down. That’s what we do at Kalicube with all of our clients. We trigger Knowledge Panels for lawyers all day long. It’s easy for us. It’s really difficult for them because they don’t know what they’re doing. We do know what we are doing. And we sit down and we say, who are you and who’s your company? Let’s separate them. That’s the first thing. Your company is an entity, even if it carries your name. It’s an entity. It’s a thing.
[00:31:18] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): You are another thing. And let’s separate them. Let’s create your personal website. Oh, but I don’t want a personal website. I don’t care. You need a website that just represents you because Google’s looking for that. If Google doesn’t have your own personal website to look at for your cat and your skiing and your professional career, it’s going to look just at your website. And that isn’t a human being. It’s a human being working at a company, and that company is something else.
[00:31:44] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Once we get that straight, everything rolls right off the presses, as it were. And that’s the huge first step. Separating the two entities, writing the description, deciding who we are, what we do, which audience we serve, off we go, and we can get your brand narrative on Google to a tee.
Traditional SEO Versus Jason Barnard’s Process of Managing Brand SERPs and Knowledge Panels
[00:32:05] Karin Conroy: Okay. So, last question before we talk about the book review is a lot of our potential clients or initial conversations start with a mention that we don’t care about SEO. We get a lot of business, all of our business comes in through referrals. So, it doesn’t matter to us. We don’t care at all about that. So, do people ever say that to you? We haven’t really ever focused on SEO, or maybe they say it in a different way or their SERP, however they might phrase it with you, but why is that a bad strategy?
[00:32:44] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. Well, SEO in the traditional sense is ranking for accident lawyer, and that isn’t my business at Kalicube. My business, Kalicube, is saying you are getting referrals, which is great. But just because Karin refers a lawyer to me doesn’t mean to say I’m not going to research them. I’m going to search their name. I’m going to google their name.
[00:33:04] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So even if you said they’re great, if Google says they’re rubbish, you’ve lost. You are leaving money on the table. You are leaving that money on the table. You’ve lost a sale. And Google’s stamp of approval is phenomenally important. We all trust Google, or all the people who use Google, except the people who don’t like Google and never use it. But we’re still talking about 90% of your audience are going to be googling your name and not DuckDuckGoing your name.
[00:33:33] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, from that perspective, a referral for me is the perfect example of they know who you are, they’re a very warm lead, they’re going to google your name. Make sure you’ve got that Knowledge Panel that puts you in the best possible light. That’s going to convert you to your clients.
Compared to Traditional SEO, Knowledge Panels Could Boost Your Brand and Reinforce Your Referrals
[00:33:50] Karin Conroy: Exactly. I think the important thing there is to differentiate between this idea of SEO, this traditional SEO idea where you’re showing up on that left side and all the stuff we haven’t been talking about, as compared to the right side and how that boosts and supports and reinforces your referrals. So, it’s really critical, especially if your business is coming mostly from referral that you’ve got it really nailed in.
[00:34:19] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I really like the phrase reinforce your referral because it’s got that ra, ra, ra thing going on, but reinforce your referral. It’s absolutely brilliant. And a friend of mine, Deirdre, told me, you are tightening up the bottom of your funnel.
[00:34:33] Karin Conroy: Oh, that’s good.
[00:34:36] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that’s what I thought when she said it.
The Benefits for Your Brand of Tightening Up the Bottom of Your Funnel
[00:34:38] Karin Conroy: That’s good. Because the bottom of your funnel, you’ve already got rid of all the garbage and all the potential clients who are a waste of time and not the ideal and blah, blah, blah. And as you get to the bottom, you’ve got the really good ones and you’re making it better.
[00:34:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. Brilliant point as well. Tightening up the bottom of the funnel is a great phrase from Deirdre. But also, if you get people coming in for accident lawyer, you are spending so much time talking to them on the phone, convincing them. But when they’re coming in through a search on your name, the sale is pretty much done. As long as Google is recommending you, you’re away.
[00:35:14] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I found that with myself, I talked about it earlier on, is that I was trying to get Google to represent me as an authoritative, expert digital marketer. And as soon as I changed my Brand SERP, what Google shows when you search my name, Jason Barnard, I converted more clients. All of a sudden, these people I was meeting with would sign on the dotted line without even asking me about the price. They stopped negotiating the price. It was wonderful, changed my life.
Google Doesn’t Make All the Decisions; Instead, It Is the Last Drop That Convinces Your Audience
[00:35:45] Karin Conroy: Exactly. All of a sudden, it’s like the light bulbs go off and you’re like, okay, this is the right path. I have done something right. And all signs point to it having been the right answer or the right change or the right refinement or whatever it is that you did. All of a sudden, it’s not subtle. You don’t need a report to tell you these things. All of a sudden, everything just starts to go more easily. Life just gets better.
[00:36:09] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah, no, exactly. And people are, I was going to say people are human, which is a very silly thing to say. It is that I’ve seen you on social, I’ve come across you on an article that you wrote, I respect you, I google you. And all of a sudden I think, yeah, this is the right decision. Google isn’t the thing that makes the decision in its entirety. It’s the last little point, the last drop that pushes that person over. It’s the tipping point. It’s the straw that, I was going to say, breaks the camel’s back, but that isn’t really very positive either. You get the idea.
[00:36:43] Karin Conroy: In a good way.
[00:36:44] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah, in a good way. Is there a good way to break a camel’s back?
What Are the Books Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Could Recommend for Refining Your Brand?
[00:36:48] Karin Conroy: I don’t know. Probably not. Okay. It’s time for the book review. So, you know that our audience is full of lawyers that don’t have time to waste on books that aren’t worth it. So, what’s the book within this world of SERP and refining your brand in order to work better with Google that you have to recommend?
[00:37:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. Great question. And it’s lucky because in fact, a client of ours is a person called Jason Hennessey. He’s an SEO, so he’s in search engine optimisation. He’s super, super smart. And he was smart enough, if I may say so, to come to us for his Knowledge Panel. He knew that he didn’t know enough about it. He came to us. He paid us the fee. We got him his Knowledge Panel, and we made it absolutely glorious. So, search his name, Jason Hennessey. That’s our work.
[00:37:43] Karin Conroy: And what’s the book?
[00:37:43] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): He, however, wrote a book called Law Firm SEO.
[00:37:48] Karin Conroy: That’s perfect.
Important Books for SEO: Law Firm SEO by Jason Hennessey and The Fundamentals of Brand SERPs for Business by Jason Barnard
[00:37:49] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): It is, yeah. And he is the super specialist in law firm SEO, Jason Hennessey, Hennessey Digital. He specialises in law firm SEO. And he’s the guy who’s going to get you to the top for accident lawyer. I’m the guy who’s going to get you the conversion when somebody already knows who you are and they search your name. So, read his book, then read my book, The Fundamentals of Brand SERPs for Business.
[00:38:13] Karin Conroy: And we’ll link to both obviously on the show notes and the show page.
[00:38:18] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): In SEO, those are the only two books you need to read.
[00:38:21] Karin Conroy: There you go. That’s it. That’s all you need to do, two books. You can get that done quickly in a couple weeks.
[00:38:28] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): From what I understand about lawyers, they read incredibly quickly. So, they probably would read it in an evening, wouldn’t they?
What’s Something That Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Believes to Work in Marketing or Branding?
[00:38:36] Karin Conroy: It depends on how long the book is. Maybe it’s one of those little thin ones. So, sure, maybe they can get that done. So, what’s something that you know that works just when it comes to marketing in general or SERP? What’s just one thing that you know that works?
[00:38:53] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): We’ll come right back to the beginning, which is delightful. Your website, beautifully organised, that truly helps your audience is going to make sure that Google will represent you in the way that you want. So if you are truly representing yourself and the services and the solutions you can provide to your audience in a clear manner, your audience will understand first and foremost, but also Google will understand, so you win on both sides.
[00:39:27] Karin Conroy: Yeah. Exactly. That is awesome. I think that does bring it full circle, that there’s all this really important stuff to know about representing yourself on Google. But at the end of the day, if your website’s a disaster, it’s not going to work. So, you put all this money and time into this Google profile. First of all, your website feeds into that Knowledge Panel. And so, that won’t work as well either. So, you have to pay attention and keep both very healthy and working well to work together and for the whole picture to work for you.
[00:40:05] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Absolutely. I couldn’t have put it better. I was going to add something, but I don’t think I can improve on that.
Final Words About Educating Google From Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)
[00:40:09] Karin Conroy: That’s perfect. Jason Barnard is the founder and CEO of Kalicube. And this has been such a great conversation to really take a different angle for how to do well on Google and consider that whole side of referrals and the knowledge base and how that is very different from what’s happening on the left side of the page. So, thank you so much for your time and this conversation. It was really great.
[00:40:36] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. And can I say one last thing, which is Google is a child. It wants to understand the world. We are educating it about our little corner of the world. If you educate the child that is Google, Google will understand and Google will present you to its audience, its users when you will be useful to them. And it will represent your brand, your personal brand in the way that you want. Google is a child, learn to educate it.
[00:41:02] Karin Conroy: Yeah. Perfect. Okay. Thanks again.
[00:41:05] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Brilliant. Thank you so much, Karin.
[00:41:07] Karin Conroy: Thank you for listening to this episode of the Counsel Cast Podcast. Be sure to visit our website at counsel-cast.com for the resources mentioned on the episode and to give us your feedback. If you enjoyed this episode, I would appreciate if you could rate and review the podcast on Apple and subscribe to your favourite podcast platform. See you on the next one.