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…
For more about this podcast and others, go to https://podmatch.com/member/nowtellus
Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) on Singing and Playing Musical Instruments
[00:00:00] Anthony Muiruri: And you also sing?
[00:00:04] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah, I sing. A quick hello and we’re good to go. Welcome to your own show, Anthony Muiruri. I massacred your second name. I do apologise.
[00:00:17] Anthony Muiruri: That’s good. You did best. Now, how many other instruments can you play just for curiosity’s sake?
[00:00:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right here, I’ve got a guitar. And right over there, I’ve got a ukulele, but I’m really bad at it. It’s one of those things in life where you play one instrument, and you are good at it. And somebody gives you another instrument, and you think, well, I’m a musician. I can probably play reasonably well. I can play a little tune on the guitar, but it sounds very second rate. So, I would say I’m truly a bass player and definitely not a guitarist or a ukulele player.
How Did Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Start Doing Cartoons in Mauritius?
[00:00:54] Anthony Muiruri: That’s cool. Now, you did cartoons. You mentioned doing a cartoon, especially when you’re in Mauritius. How did that come to be?
[00:01:10] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): After the folk punk episode, when I was playing in folk punk festivals, we played with The Pogues. We played with Bob Dylan even. And we played in a tiny pub next to the stadium, the football stadium in Milan when U2 were playing in the stadium. And the stadium was full. It was 70 or 80,000 people in the stadium, and we played in this tiny little bar right next door, and there were three people. So, we played next to U2, and we didn’t get any audience.
[00:01:45] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And then after that, I decided that I would write and perform songs for children. So, I wrote a music album for children, played the musical instruments on it, sang the songs, and then built a website and made a TV series with my ex-wife about Boowa the blue dog and Kwala the yellow koala. And that was hugely delightful.
What Has the Blue Dog and the Yellow Koala got to Do With What Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Is Doing Today?
[00:02:09] Anthony Muiruri: And what has the blue dog and the yellow koala got to do with what you’re doing today? Because I understand they have a link.
[00:02:18] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): You’ve been researching me, how very strange. Exactly. I stopped being the blue dog in the cartoon and tried to build a career as a digital marketer. And I was trying to get work as a digital marketing consultant. And sometimes clients would talk to me in a meeting, and it would seem very positive. And then when I left the meeting, I thought, that’s a sale. They’re going to work with me. That’s perfect. And a lot of them didn’t.
[00:02:47] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And then one of my clients said to me, you know what we did as soon as you walked out the door? We googled your name. And when we googled the name Jason Barnard, it said right at the top, Jason Barnard is a cartoon blue dog. And they thought it was funny, but the other clients obviously thought, I don’t think this guy is serious. He’s a cartoon blue dog. Why would I give my digital marketing strategy to this person?
[00:03:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, what I then did is thought, if I want to convert more people who are potential clients to become my actual clients, I need to present myself as a serious digital marketer. So that when they search my name, it says Jason Barnard is a digital marketer. And then it’s got videos, and it’s got my articles on Search Engine Journal, and it’s got this incredibly convincing professional aspect that it didn’t have when it said Jason Barnard is a cartoon blue dog.
[00:03:46] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, that taught me that I can control what Google shows about me when you google my name, my company name, but then I can also do it for you or another company or another person. And that idea that Google is your business card is phenomenally powerful.
The Reason Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Always Wears a Red Shirt
[00:04:04] Anthony Muiruri: That’s beautiful. We have to get a few tips here and there as we are moving on in this episode. I actually googled your name on before we came on. And guess what? I saw Jason Barnard wearing red. So, I was not surprised to see you come on the show in red.
[00:04:32] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): A hundred percent. And that’s a really interesting point. When you communicate consistently, Google understands what it is that represents you and what your audience expects to see. So, most people see me in this red shirt and then google my name and say, okay, it’s red, that’s fine. Whereas you’ve googled me, seen the red and then said, oh, right, he’s got the red shirt, that’s fine.
[00:04:57] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): If I’m not consistent and I don’t communicate with Google, Google could have been showing blue or purple or green. And what it shows is the red colour that I use in my marketing, my branding. So, it’s showing not only my message in terms of words, but also my message in terms of the visual identity and even the colour palette.
Looking at and Analysing Anthony Muiruri’s Personal Brand SERP
[00:05:22] Anthony Muiruri: That’s interesting. That’s interesting to think about. I want to do an experiment. Maybe Jason can google my name from that side and tell us what you can come up with.
[00:05:37] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. Okay. This is in real time. Oh, how delightful. You’ve got your own website. Anthony Muiruri. How would you say your second name?
[00:05:54] Anthony Muiruri: You are doing quite okay, but it’s Muiruri. And I don’t want you to practice.
[00:06:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Muiruri. It’s got more syllables than it looks like.
[00:06:05] Anthony Muiruri: You’re doing excellent. I think I should expect that from a musician. You just got it right the first try. Muiruri.
Anthony Muiruri Is Currently Dominating His Personal Brand SERP With His Website and Social Media Profiles
[00:06:13] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): When you’re singing it, it’s much easier. What you have is, I think, is your name relatively unique? There aren’t many people with that same name.
[00:06:23] Anthony Muiruri: We have quite a few. We do.
[00:06:25] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): All right. Okay. In that case, what you’ve done is a very good job, what you have. I’m looking at my screen now. Your own website right at the top. And this is searching in America, because I use a plugin for my Chrome browser to pretend that I’m in America. So, in America, you are right at the top. We’ve got your photo next to your result of your own website, then your Instagram, then your Facebook. They all appear to be you. You are an author, so you’ve got your Amazon.com page. Is that correct?
Anthony Muiruri’s Personal Website Is Very Clear With Its Navigation of the Home, the About Page, and Other Parts of the Website
[00:07:03] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And what I would compliment you on greatly is the clarity of your website. Because you’ve got a very clear website, with clear navigation of the home, with the About page, which a lot of people don’t do. Where if I’m interested, obviously when I come to the homepage, I want to know something about you. I want to investigate what you are all about.
[00:07:25] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Then I can go to the About page to find out more about you, see why you are such a credible podcast host. You’ve got the blog, you’ve got art, you’ve got subscribe, you’ve got your book. And Google, because your website is so clear, Google is able to understand that website and provide me not only with your homepage but multiple links, including about the blog, art, and subscribe right there on the search engine results page. Beautiful job. Brilliant, Anthony. Huge congratulations.
A Broader Explanation of Google as the New Business Card According to Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)
[00:07:57] Anthony Muiruri: Thank you very much. I’ve been trying my best. And since I know we can always improve and starting here. Because when you googled me, you didn’t come up with the shirt that I’m wearing now. You didn’t have a unique colour palette. I know there are many other areas I could improve on. And that’s why we have you here to give us a little bit more insight into using Google as our new business card and exploiting it, going to our most potential team, the most that we can from it. Now, go ahead, take your time here, and tell us everything you want to tell us.
[00:08:35] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Absolutely. You make a very good point about your shirt, my shirt. And what I’ve been very careful about is using the same shirt in the photos that I post on all of my social profiles, in my baseline as an author, on my own website. It’s always with this red shirt. And not only do I do that, but every time I appear on a podcast or at a conference, if somebody else takes a picture of me, it will have the red shirt in the professional environment.
[00:09:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, what Google now sees is the red shirt dominates everything about me online in my professional role. And that’s consistency. I was just talking to somebody on my own podcast about consistency and how incredibly important it is. It’s branding. And in my case, it’s personal branding. And it takes a lot of effort. You really have to apply yourself. For example, five minutes before this show, I went over there, picked up a red shirt, and put the red shirt on because I’ve been wearing a blue t-shirt all day. So, I actually changed my shirt five minutes before I come on screen.
The Importance of Consistency Around the Web for Google to Understand Who You Are, What You Do, and Which Audience You Serve
[00:09:45] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The other interesting point is if you want Google to understand who you are, what you do, and which audience you serve, which is the fundamental understanding it needs of you in order to be able to represent you correctly to your audience when they google your name, you need to be incredibly consistent in how you express who you are, what you do, and which audience you serve.
[00:10:08] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So if I have a description that says Jason Barnard is the CEO and founder of Kalicube and an author and a digital marketer and a musician, if I’m consistent across the web with that specific sentence, Google will understand that those are the things that I do. And whichever one I put first is the one that it thinks is most important.
[00:10:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So if I put Jason Barnard is an author and the CEO of Kalicube, it would think author is more important than CEO of Kalicube. If I write Jason Barnard is the CEO of Kalicube and an author, it would think that my role as a CEO of my company, Kalicube, is more important than the author. And as human beings, that’s how we understand it as well. What comes first is most important.
When Making the Description About Yourself, Present It in a Reverse Order by Putting the Current Things You Do First
[00:10:53] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And one thing that people do with their About page, for example, is they say, I was born in 1966, grew up in Yorkshire, went to Liverpool, played in a band, did a blue dog cartoon, and now I’m a digital marketer. That for me as a person makes sense. But for my audience, it doesn’t make sense. My audience is searching for me today or interested in me today. They want to know I’m a digital marketer, before that I was a blue dog, before that I was in a band, before that I was living in Yorkshire, and I was born in 1966.
[00:11:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So when you’re presenting yourself to both your audience, current audience, and to Google, you need to do that CV in reverse order. And most people get it wrong and start with when they were born. But if you are really interested in when I was born, you’ll read to the bottom. But most people are probably not interested in when I was born. They’re more interested in Jason Barnard is the CEO of Kalicube and specialises in Brand SERPs and Knowledge Panels. Because the majority of people looking for me or are researching me are interested in my role today, because that’s what I’m communicating most.
When Writing a Book, Make Sure You Prove Your Authority First Before Going Into Other Details
[00:12:02] Anthony Muiruri: Wow. That’s good. Now I understand that because I have an experience in that in a different area. And I think they go hand in hand. When I started my first book, I reached out to someone who is more experienced after I’ve done my manuscript for a person to see it. And he looked at it. And at this point, I ask any person who’s listening or watching us. If you like to be successful, if you want to make a Google Business Card, reach out to Jason, because you go for someone who is successful in that area than you.
[00:12:40] Anthony Muiruri: So, this is what happened. My manuscript started on the place that I was born, in a village somewhere in Kenya. And then it went on to give the story. This experienced author looked at it and told me, no, Anthony, you don’t start there. You start by letting the people know who you are, your authority. Why should they be listening to you in this book that you’re writing? Why should they read whatever it is that you did? Do you have an authority in whatever you’re saying?
[00:13:11] Anthony Muiruri: So, I had to change it all over and start the book with how I am a motivational speaker and I have experience somewhere. I was invited for a book launch, and it was interesting. And now people look at it and go, oh, I want to know more. Now, after that first chapter, I’ve gone now back to the beginning, to where it began, in a small village.
After Recognising Your Authority, People Will Then Be Interested on the Rest of the Information About You
[00:13:36] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. And it makes a lot of sense. I’m only interested that you were born in a small village if I’m already interested in you as a person. And that first chapter gets me interested in you as a person. And then I’m saying, right, now tell me where you were born, I’m interested. So, the person who gave you advice is right. And I wouldn’t necessarily have thought of that.
[00:13:57] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But certainly for today, if you look at people searching for you, they’ll be looking for you as a motivational speaker. For people looking for me, they’re looking for me as a Brand SERP, Knowledge Panel, Google expert. So, I don’t want to put the blue dog first. I don’t want to put the punk folk musician first. I want to lead with why people are searching. And as you say, why am I an authority and why would you listen to me?
What Is a Brand SERP and How Do You Optimise Its Content for Google and for Your Audience?
[00:14:26] Anthony Muiruri: Yeah. I see that you talk about, and maybe this is all that you’ve been talking about, but you’ve got to let us understand. Brand SERP or rather Brand SERP, what is that?
[00:14:39] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. I keep saying Brand SERP and think that everybody knows what it means, and they don’t. And I apologise to everybody listening. A Brand SERP is a brand search engine results page. So, SERP is search engine results page. And a search engine results page, obviously, when you search on Google, it’s what Google shows you, those blue links with the photos, the videos.
[00:14:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the Brand SERP is the result for somebody’s name, your name, my name, or a company name. So, what I think people are missing in terms of Google is they think, I need to get to the top for the keywords, the search terms, such as buy a computer, because I want to sell computers. But in fact, the people you are most likely to sell to are people who already know who you are.
An Example of Demonstrating Authority and Convincing Clients in a Marketing Perspective and a Long-Term Business Perspective
[00:15:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So if you’re a computer sales company called Gray’s Computer Company, I would expect to communicate with my audience on social media, in the street, on all the different platforms. And then they would search my name, Gray’s Computer, I can’t remember what I said, Gray’s Computer Servicing Company. And at that point, I need my client, my potential client, to see a great result that reflects well on me and demonstrates me to be the authority and to be credible to sell them the computer I’m trying to sell them.
[00:16:09] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Whereas if I get to the top of Google for buy a computer, the person who comes to me through Google doesn’t know who I am. What’s the probability that you would buy a computer from a company you’ve never heard of? I think from a marketing perspective, from a long-term business perspective, getting to the top of Google for those short heads, the really commercial keywords like buy a computer, is hugely important. It’s great, but you should really be focusing on making sure that the people who are already interested in you as a company are convinced.
[00:16:44] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And what I love about the idea of a Google Business Card, which is the search engine results page for your brand name, is that when Google presents your brand as a credible, authoritative brand, and that Google Business Card looks great, you are getting Google’s stamp of approval. And we use Google because we trust Google. And if Google is presenting you in a great light to your audience, Google is giving you its stamp of approval. And the likelihood that you will be able to sell to that audience is much higher.
Jason Barnard’s Job of Educating Google Like You Would Educate a Child
[00:17:18] Anthony Muiruri: Beautiful. And then you use the word educate or something. Why do you call it Google the child or something like that?
[00:17:30] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. I think if you look at Google from the perspective of Google wants to understand the world, like a child wants to understand the world. And the reason it wants to understand the world is because it’s trying to match its user’s needs. When they search, for example, buy a computer, they want to buy a computer. When they search Jason Barnard, they want to find out more about Jason Barnard. It wants to match that need to the solutions that we are offering. So if it can understand our solutions, it can actually match them to the needs of its users when they’re searching on Google, so that understanding becomes fundamental.
[00:18:11] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, from that perspective, Google’s understanding is the foundation of its entire business. So if we can educate so that it understands, we’re in a much better position. If Google understands me and the solution I’m offering, but it doesn’t understand you and the solution you are offering, it cannot offer your solution to its users. It can only offer mine. If it understands my solution and me better than it understands your solution and you, it will prioritise my solution over your solution.
[00:18:44] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, understanding in Google’s mind is the fundamentally most important thing we all should be focusing on in terms of search engine marketing today. At Kalicube, we have the recipe for that. We know how to educate Google. We know how to get it to show my Google search engine results page for my name Red, with lots of positive information that make me look very professional. That’s our business, that’s our specialty, and we know how to do it. Educating Google is key to the future of search engine marketing.
How Can You Reach Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) to Help You Educate Google?
[00:19:20] Anthony Muiruri: Wow. Thank you very much for all that you shared. Now, you educate Google and you work with individuals and companies, I guess. Tell us how they can reach you, so that they can learn how to educate.
[00:19:41] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): One thing is, as you mentioned, most people don’t talk about Google this way. Most people talk about Google and say, we need to adapt to its algorithms. We need to put more words in the page, put more resources into making the web pages faster, whatever it might be in terms of optimising your content for Google. And I’m saying, we need to educate Google. Because if it understands, it will deliver our solutions to its users when they need it.
[00:20:10] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, from that perspective, we have a lot to share and we share most of it for free. So if you come to kalicube.com, you will find masses of articles, FAQs, and information that will help you to understand how you can educate Google, so that it understands what you offer to your audience. Then we also offer consulting for people who need some extra help, which I can give. We offer courses, online courses. You can learn all about it. We’ve got 12 hours of courses online.
Give Kalicube a Year: They Can Properly Present Your Brand SERP and Trigger a Knowledge Panel for You
[00:20:45] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): We also have the done-for-you service. Whereby if you say to me, I want to have that checkered shirt all over my Brand SERP. So that when people search for me on Google, they see the checkered shirt and they understand that they’re looking at Anthony. We can make that happen. So, you pay us a fee, and we will make that happen. We work on it for about a year, and it takes quite a lot of time because educating a child takes time, it takes patience, and it takes consistency.
[00:21:13] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, give us a year, and we can get that checkered shirt all over that result for you. And we could probably even get you the Knowledge Panel cards and a great presentation, which is basically Google showing the facts about you to your audience when they search your name in the way that you want them to see it. So, you control your brand narrative on Google. That is the key to what we do at Kalicube.
Kalicube’s Intention for Sharing Free Resources About Brand SERPs and Knowledge Panels
[00:21:39] Anthony Muiruri: That’s great. That’s wonderful. Now, to the person who’s listening out there, go and connect with Jason Barnard at kalicube.com. Yes, and most of it is free. So, what are you waiting for?
[00:21:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. We are really trying to share it, because what strikes me is we are the only company in the world who specialises in this. We do it for companies, and we do it for people. As far as I know, nobody else specialises in Brand SERP, search engine results pages, for your name or your company name, and Knowledge Panels, which is Google’s understanding of who you are, what you do, and which audience you serve, represented on that search engine results page.
[00:22:23] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And so, we realise that there are billions, literally billions of potential clients for us. We can’t serve everybody, so we give the information away for free. We teach you to teach Google. And if we can do that and make the world a slightly better place because Google understands better, and you are being represented by Google in a better manner, in a manner that you want it to, I’m a happy person.
[00:22:46] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And along the way, we’re always going to find people who need help, who can’t do it themselves, who don’t have the time to do it themselves, or they’ve got a specific problem that’s too difficult to solve. From the free resources we’ve got, where my experience comes in, and my team from Kalicube can make that happen for you.
Together With the Listeners of the Podcast, Anthony Muiruri Thanks Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) for His Time
[00:23:06] Anthony Muiruri: Wow. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you for that. Now, we have had a great time together with you here. And together with our audience, we thank you, Jason, for your time.
[00:23:22] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I thank you, Anthony, because that was a really delightful conversation, wonderfully balanced between fun, personal stories, your story, and what we do at Kalicube, and why Google is a child that we need to educate. I found that to be a perfectly balanced conversation. You did a great job with exactly the right questions to make it wonderful.
A Few Words to Remember by Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)
[00:23:41] Anthony Muiruri: Thank you very much for that feedback. I really appreciate it. So, we are now coming into the end of the show. But before we go, we would like you to leave with us a few words that we should always remember. What are they?
[00:23:57] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): From a philosophical point, I would say keep your spirit, keep your enthusiasm. Smile as you are, Anthony. You do a great job of smiling better than me today. But then I get up in the morning, and I want to move forwards with what I’m doing. I want to do my job, do it well, enjoy my life with my family, enjoy my life with my friends. And looking every day and thinking, well, I’m looking forward to this day.
[00:24:32] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): If you can achieve it, obviously it’s not easy for everybody because not everybody’s in an easy situation. But if you can find yourself a job that you enjoy, you can find people you love to support you and surround you, that for me is I get up in the morning and think, yeah, it’s going to be a good day.
Saying Goodbye to the Listeners of the Show and Ending the Episode With a Song
[00:24:56] Anthony Muiruri: Wow. It is going to be a good day. Yes, find that thing.
[00:25:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): That sounded like a song.
[00:25:03] Anthony Muiruri: It’s going to be a good day. Maybe you can sing it. You’re a musician. Sing it for us as we end.
[00:25:08] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Today is going to be a good day. It’s going to be a wonderful day. I wrote a song, in fact, for children and I can sing that. Hooray, another sunny day. Hooray, another day to play. Hooray, another sunny day for you and me and me and you. Hooray. There you go.
[00:25:37] Anthony Muiruri: Beautiful. Wow, everyone, we’ve come to the end of today’s show, and Jason has told us so much. And now it’s your aim to go out there and make Google your new business card. If you need some help, reach out to Jason, just go and follow him. That’s about it. It’s been wonderful. I have been your host, Anthony Muiruri. And together with Jason Barnard, we are saying bye for now.
[00:26:12] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Thank you. Bye bye, everybody.
[00:26:15] Anthony Muiruri: Bye.