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Google Is A Child (And We Need To Learn To Educate It)

In this episode of the Agency Spark Podcast, Sara talks with Jason Barnard on how Google is a child and we need to learn to educate it.

Jason Barnard is an author and digital marketing consultant. He specializes in Brand SERPs (what appears when your audience Googles your Brand name) and Knowledge Panels (what Google understands about who you are and what you do).

His backstory – from playing the Cavern Club in Liverpool to touring Europe playing double bass in a punk-folk group to playing the role of a cartoon blue dog in a TV series to remote working from a tropical island in the Indian Ocean.

Key topics:

  • How to educate Google to understand who you are, what you do, and who your audience is
  • How to think about SEO and where things are headed
  • How Kalicube Pro helps you signal expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness to search engines

More from Jason Barnard:

This episode of the Agency Spark Podcast is brought to you by Monday.com, a powerful project management platform. Monday.com helps teams easily build, run, and scale their dream workflows on one platform.  I personally am a user and big fan of Monday.com – I start my workday pulling up the platform and spend my day working within it for everything from task management to running client engagements. Learn more about Monday.com at ducttape.me/monday.

[00:00:00] Sara Nay: This episode of the Agency Spark Podcast is brought to you by Monday.com, a powerful project management platform. I personally am a big user and fan of Monday.com and spend most of my day working within their platform. Learn more about how to set your team up for success at ducttape.me/monday.

Presenting Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) as an Author and Digital Marketing Consultant

[00:00:25] Sara Nay: Welcome to the Agency Spark Podcast. This is your host, Sarah Nay. And today, I’m with Jason Barnard, an author and digital marketing consultant. He specialises in Brand SERPs, what appears when your audience googles your brand name, and Knowledge Panels, what Google understands about who you are and what you do. His backstory ranges from playing the Cavern Club in Liverpool to touring Europe playing double bass in a punk folk group to playing a role of a cartoon blue dog in a TV series to working remotely from a tropical island in the Indian Ocean. So, welcome to the show, Jason. 

[00:01:04] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. Thank you for that wonderful introduction, Sarah.

[00:01:07] Sara Nay: I’m so excited to chat with you today. We were talking before we started recording, and we have a big topic to get through in a short amount of time. So, the pressure is on, but you can do it.

[00:01:16] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right.

Google Is a Child and We Need to Educate It About Who We Are, What We Do, and Who Our Audience Is

[00:01:18] Sara Nay: The topic that I want to dive in with you today is the fact that you believe Google is a child and we need to learn to educate it. Jason, I’d love to hear you expand on that statement. 

[00:01:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. I’ve been working on this for maybe 10 years now. And the thing I like about the analogy, Google is a child, is it immediately takes away the fear of Google. We’re looking at it as a child and we need to learn to educate it. And the idea for that comes from the Knowledge Graph. Now, the Knowledge Graph is basically Google’s understanding of the world, and it’s like a massive encyclopedia for the machine. So, what Google is doing is building understanding through an encyclopedia that the algorithms can use to understand the world.

[00:02:03] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And because it’s still at the beginning, it’s still a child. So, it’s a child who wants to learn, it wants to understand. And if we look at Wikipedia, which is an encyclopedia of human beings, there’s 50 million articles in Wikipedia. In Google’s Knowledge Graph, this child already has 1,500 billion facts. So, it’s an incredible piece of understanding, it’s an incredible source of knowledge, but that’s nothing compared to what it needs to understand.

[00:02:32] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And what we often tend to do is think Google understands, Google gets it, but Google has a massive mess on the web to try to sort through. And however we think we develop our sites, they’re all different, they’re all messy. There’s problems with our own logic in our own brains. We all think differently. Humans are chaotic by nature. And we can’t expect Google the child to understand on its own. We need to help it to understand, we need to educate it. And that’s where I’m coming from. We need to educate it about who we are, what we do, and who our audience is.

Google Wants to Get Its Users to the Best Solution to Their Problem as Efficiently as Possible

[00:03:07] Sara Nay: Yeah. I think it’s great. As you mentioned, I’ve worked with a lot of small businesses over the years. And I think of Google as Google runs the world. It’s intimidating. We don’t know what to do when it comes to that whole world. And so, I think it’s a really great point. As you said, think of it as a child and give it the information it needs to educate and grow. And it completely takes the intimidation factor away. So, I think that’s great.

[00:03:28] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And like a child, it’s progressing week by week, month by month, year by year building on that understanding, building on its capacity to use that understanding in terms of what it’s trying to do, which is provide solutions to its users. Because when a user searches on Google, they’re asking a question or expressing a problem to which they’re looking for a solution or an answer.

[00:03:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, all Google’s trying to do is match their problem to your solution. And if it understands who you are, what you do, and who your audience is, that becomes incredibly easy for Google. It wants to get its user to the best solution to their problem as efficiently as possible.

[00:04:07] Sara Nay: Yeah. And so…

[00:04:09] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): From that… oh, sorry.

[00:04:10] Sara Nay: No. Go ahead. Go ahead. Finish your thought.

What Jason Is Doing With Kalicube Is Build a Safety Harness Into People’s Digital Branding and Help Them Manage Their Brand Message

[00:04:12] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): From that perspective, I was talking to a marketing branding person who was saying, actually, what we are doing at Kalicube, what I’m doing is building insurance, a safety harness into your digital branding on Google. We’re basically helping you to manage your brand message on Google search results.

[00:04:31] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And once you start doing that, it means it’s understood who you are, what you do, and who your audience is, which means all those Google updates that scare us all so much are unlikely to affect you, because Google has that understanding. And it isn’t likely to be going downwards. It’s more likely to be improving if you’re working on the understanding, educating this child.

Kalicube Contains Free Tools and Free Resources for Managing Brand SERPs and Knowledge Panels

[00:04:51] Sara Nay: Yeah. That’s great. And I know you’ve built, you mentioned earlier before we started recording that you’ve built a tool that helps people accomplish this in a much more simplified way. And so, I’d love to hear more about that tool.

[00:05:03] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): At Kalicube, I’ve built loads of free tools, loads of free resources, because none of this is incredibly complicated or secretive. I’m not trying to keep it all secret how we actually do it. But what I do is build Knowledge Panels, which is the information box on the right hand side of results when, for example, search for Google or for Facebook was that Knowledge Panel on the right hand side. And we manage what appears on the left hand side, which is the Brand SERP, the search engine results page for a brand. And I used to do it all manually. And I was using tools like Semrush or SE Ranking or Ahrefs. And they’re built for something completely different, which is to rank for various keyword.

[00:05:44] Sara Nay: Yeah.

[00:05:44] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, I would work with a company who would say I want to rank for buy light bulbs or whatever it might be. Whereas, I’m saying I want to control and manage what appears when you search my name or my brand name. So, I built the entire machine myself from scratch, because it’s such a boring job collating all that data, getting it all together, figuring out where Google is looking for information about your brand, where it’s getting that information, how well it’s understood, and what you need to do to improve its understanding or improve the confidence it has in its understanding.

The Work That Used to Take Jason Three Days Now Takes Him Five Minutes Through the Use of Kalicube Pro

[00:06:19] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, what Kalicube Pro, which is a SaaS platform, does is basically the work that used to take me three days now takes me five minutes. I click on a button and the machine just goes out and it says, Google, where are you getting information, what does all this look like, what do you think of this brand, what do you think of that brand, and how are you presenting it. And then it just produces this long list of things that we need to correct in order to get Google to understand correctly and/or build its confidence.

[00:06:47] Sara Nay: That’s great. And once you go through, I love that it saved you three days worth of effort.

[00:06:53] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Don’t tell my clients.

[00:06:55] Sara Nay: Yeah, I won’t tell your clients, but that’s absolutely wonderful. I really appreciate when people look at, okay, how can we just do things better and not just do the things the same way. So, I think this is great.

It’s Like Spring Cleaning to Sort Out Your Brand SERP and Get a Knowledge Panel in Place

[00:07:05] Sara Nay: So, my question though is let’s say someone goes through and uses the machine once and then get the list of things I need to do and fix and update. Is it a one time thing or are you recommending people go through this consistently over the years, as almost like an audit to see where they need to update their information?

[00:07:22] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah, no, that’s a great question. Because most people just think I’ll do it once, and that’s job done, which it is. What you would tend to do, what I always do is a spring clean. I would say it’s a spring clean. It takes about three months. And you go through the spring clean, and you do all the difficult stuff, all the heavy stuff. And you get all those sources. You sort out the Brand SERP, what the audience sees when they google the brand name. You get that Knowledge Panel in place. You get some information in it. You start building up the confidence.

[00:07:49] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): There we’ve got understanding of who you are, what you do, and who your audience is. And we’ve got you in the Knowledge Graph, in Google’s literal brain, it’s encyclopedic brain. And from there you can just say, okay, that’s good. But you can also say, actually now what I want to do is build up its confidence.

[00:08:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, you keep iterating that every month for a couple of years. It takes a couple of years. And what you’re then doing is saying this child that is Google has understood who I am, what I do, and who my audience is. Now I want it, instead of being 50% confident in what it’s understood, I want it to be 100% confident.

[00:08:25] Sara Nay: Yeah.

If You Want to Control Your Brand Message on Google, You Need to Build Google’s Confidence Which Can Took You a Couple of Years

[00:08:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that analogy of the child really works. Because if the child is 50% confident, when it goes to the playground at school, it will sit in the corner and it won’t say anything, because it will be frightened that it’s going to say something that everyone will laugh at the poor child. But if it’s 100% confident, it shouts it all out. And it’s running around the playground, telling everybody all about this stuff that it knows.

[00:08:48] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that’s the point at which you have that insurance, you have that safety harness. And that’s the point that you control your brand message on Google. So, I would say, yeah, you can just do the spring clean, it’ll sort everything out, and everything will look hunky-dory, and you’ll be happy. But if you really want this child running down the street, around the playgrounds, shouting your name out to its friends and users in Google’s case, you really need to build that confidence and you would do well to do it for a couple of years.

[00:09:18] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): It took me a couple of years to really build up my own situation in Google. And if you look at my name, Jason Barnard, or Kalicube, you will see a great result and you will see a deep understanding and Google representing me and my company and our brand message in the way that we intended, not the way that Google is guessing.

Another Analogy Where a Confident Child Is Putting Its Hand up in Class as Opposed to a Child Sitting Quietly

[00:09:38] Sara Nay: Yeah. That’s great. The confident child running around the playground sounds like my two year old. She’s very confident and loud. So, I can understand what the in picture looks like. 

[00:09:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. That particular part, the analogy maybe doesn’t work quite so well. Maybe if we’re looking at a 12 year old child who would be worried about looking foolish if they said something inaccurate or putting the hand up in class, maybe that’s a better analogy. You’ve got a child who’s putting its hand up in class every single time the teacher asks a question, as opposed to the child who’s sitting at the back, hoping nobody notices them.

The Concept of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness in SEO, Which Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Calls Credibility 

[00:10:13] Sara Nay: Yeah, no, I love these examples. I think they’re really great. And also the whole idea of it’s not a one and done, it’s a spring cleaning, but then continuing to build the confidence over time. That’s a lot about how we talk about SEO in general, not just this component of it. It’s something that as you continue to do on a regular basis. It’s not like you can SEO your website, I put air quotes up, and then be done with it. It’s a work in progress that takes time and commitment over the years. And so, I think that aligns with what you’re saying. Yeah. 

[00:10:41] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. Talking about SEO, we talk a lot about E-A-T, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. And that’s the buzzword of the moment. It used to be all links. And now links is just one part of authority. So, we now have this three part idea of saying Google has to see our credibility. I use the word credibility, which makes more sense to me, but credibility for me is just expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.

[00:11:05] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now if you think about it, if this child understands explicitly who you are, it can apply all of the signals it has for your expertise, your authoritativeness, and your trustworthiness, i.e. so if you’re in its encyclopedia, in its Knowledge Graph. But if you are not explicitly understood by the child, it’s guessing who you are. And therefore, any E-A-T signals it has are necessarily dampened by the fact that it’s guessing.

[00:11:36] Sara Nay: Yeah.

[00:11:37] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, you have that idea is what we do at Kalicube Pro is make sure that this child fully understands who you are and by extension can therefore apply to their full power all of those expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, I can’t say it anymore, signals that you’ve been working so hard to build, even if it’s links.

This understanding by the child that we drive at Kalicube Pro is the single most important thing you have to do for SEO.

jason barnard (the brand serp guy)

[00:11:57] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that actually comes back to another interesting point, which is links is all about websites and web pages. But in fact, the website is simply a representation of your company or your brand or your person. And what Google is doing is moving away from the idea of websites and towards the idea of understanding the company behind the website. And the website simply becomes a representation of that company. And from that perspective, this understanding by the child that we drive at Kalicube Pro is the single most important thing you have to do for SEO, for your branding Google.

To Learn More About the Machine Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Built, Visit Kalicube.pro or Visit Kalicube.com for Case Studies and Free Resources

[00:12:30] Sara Nay: Fascinating stuff. If people want to learn more online, where can they check out the machine that you’ve ultimately built?

[00:12:37] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): You can visit Kalicube.pro. If you’re an agency, please do contact me. I’m really interested in getting agencies on board who want to use this approach, which is semantic, which is entity based, all the buzzwords we’ve got around at the moment. And this machine, as far as I know, is the only one that does it. If you are interested in the concept and how we actually do it, we’ve got loads of case studies and free resources on Kalicube.com. We don’t hide what we’re trying to do, in the sense that what we’re trying to do is really simple.

A Quick Explanation on How to Get Google to Understand Who You Are, What You Do, and Who Your Audience Is

[00:13:05] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’ll give you in the last 3 minutes, 2 minutes a really quick explanation. How do you get Google to understand who you are, what you do, and who your audience is? You identify the Entity Home, which is the place the company lives or the person lives in Google’s mind online. So, it’s one page on one website that represents the entity written by the entity. Google uses that. They call it the point of reconciliation. And it uses that as a reference to compare all the information it finds out about you on the web.

[00:13:38] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, what you then have is this reference the child looks at and says, okay, you’ve explained that to me. Now I’m going to go and check if it’s true around the rest of the web. So, you then need to simply correct everything around the web. And then you need to take your Entity Home, the page on the web that represents your company or yourself, and signpost to all of the corroboration that proves what you’re saying. Once you’ve done that, the child builds this understanding by repetition.

[00:14:03] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And anything you want to know about that and how we do it is on Kalicube.com. And if you actually want to use the platform, it’s Kalicube.pro. And if you want it done for your service, we do that too. We’ve got a small team here. And all my love and knowledge goes into Kalicube Pro. It’s strange. It’s a mad machine, but I love it. 

[00:14:22] Sara Nay: I’m definitely going to be checking it out myself. So, I appreciate you being here and sharing all these insights today. And thank you all for listening to the Agency Spark Podcast. This is your host, Sarah Nay. And we’ll see you next time.

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