Thumbnail: In Search SEO Podcast 46: Understanding the Underpinnings of Structured Data

This week we have the wonderful, delightful, musical, Jason Barnard here to talk with you all about rich results & structured data markup:

* Why the “block construct” is so important to Google & what it means for your rich results

* The changing relationship between rich results and traffic to your site

* Thinking about structured data beyond clicks

Plus, we take a look at what you could do after being hit by a core update!

Welcome to a New Episode of In Search SEO Podcast With Mordy Oberstein and Sapir Karabello

[00:00:00] Mordy Oberstein: Welcome to another edition of the In Search SEO podcast, where we’ve paint the town red with search marketing insights. We are back with a vengeance. As today we have the wonderful, the delightful, the musical Jason Barnard, here to talk with you all about rich results and structured data markup, why the block construct is so important to Google and what it means for your rich results, the changing relationship between rich results and traffic to your sites, and thinking about structured data beyond clicks. Plus, we take a look at what you could do after being hit by a core update. I am your host Mordy Oberstein. I am joined by the always chic, the never pedestrian, Sapir Karabello. 

[00:01:00] Sapir Karabello: Never pedestrian, you got to come up with better, I don’t know, description, Mordy. I think our little break made you rusty. 

[00:01:10] Mordy Oberstein: Okay. I thought that was hip. 

[00:01:13] Sapir Karabello: I’m disappointed. 

[00:01:15] Mordy Oberstein: Really?

[00:01:15] Sapir Karabello: I was super excited. 

[00:01:16] Mordy Oberstein: You know what, fine. We’re going back on break. We’re done. I give up. I’m back three seconds, and you’re already criticising me. Three seconds we’re back.

[00:01:26] Sapir Karabello: You’re rusty.

[00:01:27] Mordy Oberstein: Rusty. I thought that was great. No. All right. Fine. You know what, I don’t care. 

[00:01:33] Sapir Karabello: Wow. I feel appreciated.

Mordy Oberstein on Learning That Sapir Karabello Has a Private Twitter Account and Loves the Movie Goonies 

[00:01:35] Mordy Oberstein: You should, because I care more about other things that have more to do with the podcast than me hyping you up. You don’t have a Twitter account.

[00:01:45] Sapir Karabello: I do. 

[00:01:45] Mordy Oberstein: You do not.

[00:01:46] Sapir Karabello: I do actually. 

[00:01:47] Mordy Oberstein: You do? Wait. Where is it? 

[00:01:54] Sapir Karabello: I’m not showing you.

[00:01:55] Mordy Oberstein: Because people are mentioning you on Twitter. 

[00:01:56] Sapir Karabello: I know. Actually, I saw. And just for the record, I love Goonies. Okay, just for the record. 

[00:02:02] Mordy Oberstein: Yes. Okay. Andrew, she loves Goonies. 

[00:02:04] Sapir Karabello: Yes. Andrew, Sloth ultimate. 

[00:02:07] Mordy Oberstein: I’m sitting here, reporting back every time someone mentions you as part of the podcast. Hey, Sapir, look, someone likes you. Is that amazing? And you had a Twitter account this whole time. 

[00:02:18] Sapir Karabello: It’s not a real Twitter account. I use it to be a stalker. 

[00:02:24] Mordy Oberstein: This is pathetic. 

[00:02:25] Sapir Karabello: I know.

Promoting the In Search SEO Podcast and a Tool Called SERPulator by Rank Ranger

[00:02:25] Mordy Oberstein: Okay. Well, a lot of banter, getting back into it, let’s move on. Do not forget, we again put out an episode of the In Search SEO podcast each and every Tuesday. You can find it on the Rank Ranger blog. You can find it on Stitcher. You can find it on Spotify. You can find it on SoundCloud. Of course, you may subscribe on iTunes. 

[00:02:46] Mordy Oberstein: Also, while we were gone, in Rank Ranger, we have released the SERPulator, best name ever. Guess who thought of that name? Right here, the SERPulator. The SERPulator, by the way, is a free tool. You could find it on the Rank Ranger homepage, by the way, under Resources. It lets you preview your meta data on the SERP. So if you’re writing a title, you could say, am I going to get truncated? If you’re running a description, am I going to get truncated? 

[00:03:17] Mordy Oberstein: And it’s up to date with the average every day description and title length on the SERP, so it’s constantly changing. And we give you the average, and the SERPulator will tell if you’re truncated based on that day’s average. Also, you can use it to fetch title and description from any URL that you can see.

[00:03:44] Sapir Karabello: Super cool. 

[00:03:44] Mordy Oberstein: Super cool, free tool, preview your SERP results with the SERPulator. I’ve been waiting a week to say that.

[00:03:53] Sapir Karabello: That’s a great name.

After a Month Off, the Podcast Did a Reformat and Will Not Be Doing a Live Stream for This Episode 

[00:03:54] Mordy Oberstein: Thank you. Okay. So, before we get going, we’re back but with a slightly different format. Hey, we took a month off. We’ve rethought this podcast thing. Although, we did update the banners. I didn’t show you yet, even. 

[00:04:11] Sapir Karabello: Oh, really? 

[00:04:11] Mordy Oberstein: Yeah. We took one. You’ll like them. We used it. 

[00:04:13] Sapir Karabello: I’m excited now. 

[00:04:14] Mordy Oberstein: I know. I’m saving this as a surprise. When the episode goes live, you’ll see it.

[00:04:17] Sapir Karabello: Okay.

[00:04:18] Mordy Oberstein: Okay. But we are doing a format change because I’m on my way to LavaCon. Or by the time this gets released, I’m already on the plane back from LavaCon in Oregon. Does people from Oregon say Oregon? We have someone here from that state. I’m like, oh, go to Oregon. What the heck is Oregon? It’s Oregon. I’m like, all right, dude, chill out, Oregon. So, because of that, I won’t have time to do the podcast. I didn’t want to push off another week, so we’re doing it, but here it is. Here’s the episode with a little bit of a different format because we’re recording slightly in advance, like a week or so in advance. So, we can’t do the news. Sorry, Sapir, because it’ll be pointless.

[00:04:59] Sapir Karabello: I’m absolutely devastated. 

[00:05:00] Mordy Oberstein: Are you really? You seem very happy to do the news. In fact, you told me, yes, I hope to do the news this week. Can we do this every week? 

[00:05:08] Sapir Karabello: Why are you exposing me like this? 

[00:05:10] Mordy Oberstein: You exposed yourself. This is just getting really sexual right now. What a weird twist of fate. Okay, so we’re not doing the news, because what’s the point in giving you news that’s already two weeks old? So, we’re not going to do that. Makes sense? Okay. But we’ll do news in the future. Yeah. Just in case you were worried.

[00:05:35] Sapir Karabello: Thank you.

Mordy Oberstein as a Jewish Who Celebrated a Lot of Jewish Holidays and Took a Break From Twitter

[00:05:36] Mordy Oberstein: Okay. So, I know we haven’t done this in a while. I needed a break, to be honest with you. So, in case you didn’t know, Mordy Oberstein is Jewish. What you thought it was Irish? Oberstein. And there’s a lot of Jewish holidays. 

[00:05:49] Sapir Karabello: Someone actually thought you were Irish? 

[00:05:51] Mordy Oberstein: No. It’s a joke. 

[00:05:53] Sapir Karabello: It’s not funny. See, a joke needs to be funny.

[00:05:55] Mordy Oberstein: It’s Oberstein, Odonald.

[00:05:59] Sapir Karabello: I don’t know.

[00:06:00] Mordy Oberstein: Forget it. Okay. So, there’s a lot of Jewish holidays, so I had to take off anyway. If you follow SE Roundtable, you saw Barry Schwartz, same thing. I’m on break. Everything is automated. I’m not answering comments, signing Barry Schwartz. So, it was that. And I needed a freaking break, to be honest with you. It was burnt out. I took off. I didn’t read SEO news for a day. 

[00:06:25] Sapir Karabello: For a day. Oh, wow.

[00:06:27] Mordy Oberstein: I barely looked at Twitter for a week. 

[00:06:31] Sapir Karabello: Really? 

[00:06:31] Mordy Oberstein: Yeah. I needed a break from Twitter. Twitter is a lot of work for me sometimes. Not that I don’t love all of you out there who follow me, who I interact with. I needed a break. 

[00:06:40] Sapir Karabello: That’s okay.

During His Break, Mordy Oberstein Saw a Statement From Gary Illyes About Core Algorithm Updates

[00:06:41] Mordy Oberstein: But I didn’t take a complete break, because there’s no way to be totally disconnected. I don’t think that’s even possible, but okay. And one of the things that I saw when I was disconnected or slightly disconnected made me think it’d be a great topic to go down the SEO wormhole with you. Okay. I didn’t totally disconnect. 

[00:07:10] Mordy Oberstein: And during my limited Twitter time, one of the things that caught my attention, even though I was on break, was a statement from Gary Illyes, I think I pronounced that right actually, Gary Illyes, over at Google, who said that bad links to your site are not what’s behind being impacted by the core algorithm updates. In fact, I personally don’t think that links in general are what’s behind the core updates. I think the core updates are in fact that the antithesis of links, so to speak. You’re like, yeah, what’s that about?

[00:07:48] Sapir Karabello: Elaborate. 

[00:07:49] Mordy Oberstein: Elaborate. Okay. I think the core updates are all about Google trying to go beyond links and look at content or sites or pages more intrinsically, more qualitatively. Because as I just mentioned or Gary Illyes just mentioned, I can’t remember what he said. But as I have mentioned many times, links are an indirect signal. It’s like judging a meal based upon how it looks. It looks great, but in theory, it could taste like an ape’s anus. 

[00:08:16] Sapir Karabello: That’s a disgusting example, but I’m oddly impressed.

[00:08:21] Mordy Oberstein: You’re oddly impressed with my metaphor or my simile, rather, to be more precise? 

[00:08:28] Sapir Karabello: I don’t know. It’s disgusting, but it’s a good example.

The Google Core Algorithm Updates Is Not Concerned About Good or Bad Links

[00:08:33] Mordy Oberstein: It’s a good example. Come on, you’ve had that, right? It looks amazing. It even smells good. And you taste it like, oh my God, what the hell went wrong? Anyway, okay. This podcast thing is fun now that we’re back after a week. Anyway, this is not what I wanted to talk to you about exactly. Because as much as we could talk about links and the future of links and core updates or whatever, that’s not what I want to talk to you about was. 

[00:09:05] Mordy Oberstein: So based upon this, I tweeted out something like, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. What Google is saying here makes sense. It’s not about links or bad links. And I got into a conversation with Dr. Pete from Moz about this. And we were both getting a little bit perturbed, frustrated, I’m slightly annoyed, righteous anger, about the fact that when Google talks about the core updates, they say, there’s nothing you can do here. Just write some good content. Everything will be great for you and your site. 

[00:09:33] Mordy Oberstein: Let me push my glasses back up my nose here. It’s ridiculous. Seriously, that’s your advice? That’s it? That’s all you get? There’s no way of hope in this. Just write good content. And if your content is good and you still don’t rank well, tough noogies for you. There’s nothing you could do about that. It just doesn’t make any sense. Why? Ask me why it makes no sense.

When It Comes to Driving the SEO Conversation, Google’s Core Updates Are Rich and Robust 

[00:10:01] Sapir Karabello: Why it makes no sense? 

[00:10:02] Mordy Oberstein: You forgot a word in there. Why does it, right? 

[00:10:06] Sapir Karabello: I don’t know. I’m just following what you say.

[00:10:08] Mordy Oberstein: Let’s try that again. Ask me why it makes no sense. 

[00:10:11] Sapir Karabello: Why doesn’t it make sense? 

[00:10:13] Mordy Oberstein: Because if you think about this, if you look back on SEO, let’s say the last, I don’t know, year or so, and you think about what’s driven the conversation, there is nothing as rich and robust. It sounds like a bag of coffee. It’s rich and robust. There’s nothing as rich and robust when it comes to driving the SEO conversation as Google’s core updates. Think about it. Let’s just run through it. 

[00:10:42] Mordy Oberstein: What’s driven the renewed focus on E-A-T? The core updates. And what’s driven the conversation about the quality rater guidelines, vis-a-vis the algorithm? The core updates. And what’s driving the conversation about the importance of authority? The core updates. And what’s introduced to notion of Google being able to take a more qualitative look at content and profile your site? The core updates. Yet we’re supposed to believe there’s nothing to learn from the core updates. It’s like, nothing to see here, move along.

A Loan Case Regarding the Latest Google Core Algorithm Update on September

[00:11:14] Sapir Karabello: Yeah. I get what you mean. They should give people more credit than that. 

[00:11:18] Mordy Oberstein: Right. Come on. This is a little bit silly. I agree. I’m going to try to put some of my teeth on this. I’m going to give you a case on the last core update, the September core update. So, I did a piece analysing the update before my hiatus. And one of the things I saw was the interesting little plan with financial sites that lost ranking as a result of the update. So, there seemed to be a lot of loan sites. When I was looking through the data, I’m like, Oh, that’s peculiar. There are a bunch of loan sites in the mix here, so let me look at those loan sites now. 

[00:11:48] Mordy Oberstein: What I’m going to say here, my little caveat before I talk about Google’s updates, what I’m going to say here is one little piece of data, one little sliver of the overall algorithm pie. I’m not defining the algorithm. I’m not saying the algorithm was about this entirely. I’m just pointing out a little tidbit of information that it pulled out. So, I look at these loan sites. I’m like, okay, let’s see if I can find a pattern with these loan sites. Because again, odd, not so odd there’s financial sites, but so many loan sites I thought was a little bit peculiar.

Even With Substantial Content, Google Still Did Not Like the Site of the Loan Case

[00:12:19] Mordy Oberstein: So, one of the things I saw when I looked at all these loan sites was that there seemed to be a lot of pages offering a lot of content. Meaning the content was not thin. It was really long, really on a prolific, substantial looking content. You would not consider this thin content, yet it got hit by the update. I’m like, okay. So, it’s not about thin content, which I didn’t think it would be, but it’s just so interesting that this looks like really good content. 

[00:12:45] Mordy Oberstein: I’m not sure why Google didn’t like this site. There weren’t so many ads. There weren’t so many CTAs. I’m like, I don’t really see anything here. And I was going to give up. I was going to give up, but I didn’t. I persevered. And I said, oh, I realise the problem here. Because what I did was I looked at the sites that were not impacted, and I actually started reading every single line. That was really annoying.

When Good Sites Talk About the Loan Itself, All It Contains Are Hardcore Information and Nothing About Marketing 

[00:13:10] Sapir Karabello: I can imagine. 

[00:13:11] Mordy Oberstein: Yeah. And what I found was that the really good sites, the sites that didn’t get hit, whenever they talked about a loan per se, imagine all different sorts of loan types, small business loans and whatever loans and this kind of loan and that kind of loan, I have no idea about these things. So, let’s say small business loans. That’s the one I looked at in particular. So, when the good sites wrote about it, when they talked about the loan itself, not overall. Of course, it’s going to be marketing content and all sorts of CTAs or whatever on the page. 

[00:13:42] Mordy Oberstein: But when they talked about the loan itself, all you got was hardcore information. You didn’t get any marketing talk, any marketing lingo. You didn’t get any backhanded like, hey, you really should get this loan from us. It was simply hardcore, straight up, no frills information, really good information. The other sites, even though there was a lot of good information on them, and there was a lot of long content, prolific content, substantial content. Every once in a while, they would write something marketing like within the details about the loan. Why is this a really good idea for you to get this loan?

Google on Picking Up the Tone of Content of the Website and the Switch From Information Talk and Marketing Talk

[00:14:22] Mordy Oberstein: Another thing I saw was that sites tended to focus on not what the loan was about, but how you can go about getting the loan through them. So, also the good information, solid information, but not about the loan itself. It was information. It’s already steering you a certain way. And it was really, really interesting because it would look like to me was, say Google was almost as if able to pick up on tone. As if to say, we saw you put in some marketing information, some marketing tone, some marketing words in here.

[00:14:53] Mordy Oberstein: The tone of this content, if you want to call it that, is not purely informational. There’s a little bit of marketing tinge in it, and that’s not what should be here. For these kind of sites, for these kind of users, they deserve to see straight up information so they can make the best decision. They shouldn’t have any emotional coercion through your marketing talk, overwhelming them in any way, shape, or form. Follow me?

[00:15:20] Mordy Oberstein: Okay. So, really crazy stuff, it’s a type of analysis that I think Google’s trying to do forever, and I think now they’re able to actually do it. I remember one line was like, here’s what this loan is, ABCDEFG, and this is a great idea for you to do if you’re doing ABCDEFG. I’m like, bingo. Google was able to pick up on, on that switch from information talk to marketing talk. I think Google has been looking to do that forever, obviously, and I think it’s here. That’s like a whole new level of nuance when profiling, when looking at content. Again, it’s almost as if Google was able to pick up on their tone of content. And if Google do not trust your loan content, you know what happened.

Final Thoughts and Insights From Mordy Oberstein About the Google Core Algorithm Updates 

[00:16:05] Sapir Karabello: I’m sure you’re going to tell me soon enough. 

[00:16:07] Mordy Oberstein: You got slammed. Not slammed, you lost rankings. Now, not to toot my own horn, I’m actually saying this for practical purposes. After I wrote this, a few people wrote to me and said, wow, that was really helpful. Yeah. By the way, all joking aside, my podcast persona aside, it’s always nice to hear that. Because first off, what I did was like, it was a theory. It was like, okay, this is my analysis. I could be totally off. I could not be totally off. I don’t think I was off. I had a good enough reason to think that it wasn’t off, obviously. And you never know. So, it’s always nice to hear when someone says, that really helped me. It’s very fulfilling. 

[00:16:43] Sapir Karabello: Good job.

[00:16:44] Mordy Oberstein: Thank you. I appreciate that. It does make it all worth it in reality. At the end of the day, this podcast persona aside, I’m so happy, charismatic.

[00:16:54] Sapir Karabello: Charismatic, where?

The Google Core Algorithm Updates Should Be About Trying to Help People

[00:16:56] Mordy Oberstein: Hey. It really is about trying to help people. Okay. Anyway, so I’m like, hey, this actually help people. This is great, but that’s so weird because how could it help people if Google is telling you, there’s nothing to do here, nothing to learn here? So, basically, everything I just said, just throw it out the window because Google said there’s nothing to learn from the core updates. There’s nothing to see here. Move along. It’s just so bizarre. 

[00:17:22] Mordy Oberstein: Because with each and every update, not every update, but many of these updates, I’m walking away with insights that I never would’ve thought before about how Google approaches a site. I’ve looked at unconfirmed updates, and I’ve been to analysing this stuff for years already at this point. I’m telling you from my personal experience, the core updates are just rich beyond rich. It’s like a gold mine of information.

It’s Bizarre That Google Says That Nothing Can Be Seen on the Core Updates and You Just Have to Write Good Content 

[00:17:46] Mordy Oberstein: So, that’s why it’s so bizarre to me that Google is saying, nothing to see here, move along, just write good content. If you’re not relevant, you’re not relevant, tough noogies for you. And it’s got to be so upsetting to people because there is something you can do. There is nuance. There are things Google is changing. And it is possible to get a little bit of a glimpse of what’s going on. So, long story short, I think it’s time for a revised approach to the core updates and how you go about talking about them, my dear Google.

[00:18:15] Sapir Karabello: I actually agree with you for a change. So, unfortunately, I can’t make any snarky remarks this time. So, shall we move on? 

[00:18:24] Mordy Oberstein: Success. No. I’m going to gloat in that. So, basically, what you’re saying is that was so amazingly awesome that you have no qualms about it, and that there’s no critique. There’s nothing bad you can say about me. I have a giant ego. I’m completely oversensitive, obviously. It just should be clear, like some people I know. I’m not talking about you.

Introducing Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) as an SEO Consultant, Author, Speaker, and Podcast Host 

[00:18:51] Mordy Oberstein: Okay. So, from what’s beyond your control to what is very much within your control, your appearance on the SERP as a rich result. So, here’s Jason Barnard on structured data and your appearance on the Google SERP. Welcome to another In Search SEO Podcast interview session. Ooh, do I have a delicious treat for you today. He’s a top-notch SEO consultant, an industry author and speaker, and he has the best pipes in the entire industry. And fittingly, he is the host of the SEO Is AEO Podcast. He is Jason Barnard, welcome. 

[00:19:33] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Hello. Thank you for having me. I like the best pipe. It makes me sound Scottish, but I’m not. 

[00:19:38] Mordy Oberstein: I don’t want to insult you then. I’m sorry. 

[00:19:41] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): No, no. no. Being Scottish would be great. I’m actually English. Being Scottish right now would be probably better. 

[00:19:47] Mordy Oberstein: Yeah. I feel you on that.

[00:19:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I love singing and the doing the SEO Is AEO Podcast, and singing that introduction is so much fun.

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) on Having an IMDb Page Because of His Cartoons More Than 10 Years Ago

[00:19:56] Mordy Oberstein: So, fun fact about you, I was investigating before I have you on the show, and you have an IMDb page, don’t you?

[00:20:02] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I do. Yeah. That’s because I was a blue dog 10 years ago. In fact, from 1998 to 2008, I did a voiceover for a blue dog. In fact, I did five characters. And interestingly, I did the blue dog. I was my own mother, my own father, my wife’s grandfather, my wife’s father, and my daughter was my sister. It’s really, really weird, isn’t it?

[00:20:33] Mordy Oberstein: That’s amazing though. 

[00:20:34] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. We were doing a cartoon, and we had just two characters, me and my wife. We did it for 3 or 4 years. And then we realised that we couldn’t keep the series going if we didn’t have more characters. We invented the characters, but we were living in Mauritius, which is a tiny island just off Madagascar. And I advertised for voice talent, and there wasn’t any.

[00:20:55] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And we were doing it in French and English. So, not only did I need voice talent, but I needed bilingual voice talent. So, we ended up saying, if we’re going to do it, we’re going to have to do it ourselves. So, I started doing all these other voices. And my daughter, we wrote her in to be the blue dog’s little sister. And it was a really good laugh, but a bit weird. 

[00:21:17] Mordy Oberstein: I haven’t found the cartoon yet. I’m tempted to really dig in there and find it. Is it on YouTube? 

[00:21:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. There’s a few things on YouTube. There’s a song called Tiny Little Tickly Ants. And that goes, tiny tickly ants, walk on me, walk on me, walk on me. Tiny little ants, they make me laugh. 

[00:21:40] Mordy Oberstein: Like I said, best pipes in the industry. 

[00:21:43] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): For kids songs, yeah, brilliant. So, anyway, yeah.

What Are Rich Results, or as Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Calls Them, Rich Elements?

[00:21:46] Mordy Oberstein: Okay. We’re going to talk about rich results, from voicing your own cartoons to rich results. Just get us on the same page. When we say rich results, what in the heck are we talking about? What is that? 

[00:21:59] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’ve been saying Rich Elements. Because for me, they’re just elements within the page. For me, it’s a little bit confusing. Whereas when one says rich results, all results in Google are now rich in the sense that all the SERPs are rich. But technically, yes, they are individual results. We will be talking about individual rich results. The idea of a Rich Element for me is the position zero, the Knowledge Graph, Google My Business, maps, images, videos, carousels, People Also Ask, the FAQs that have completely gone nuts. 

[00:22:35] Mordy Oberstein: Yeah. Unbelievable.

[00:22:37] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But all of this stuff is coming out and is making Google’s results richer and richer. So, whether you call them rich results in their globality or individually or Rich Elements, I think Rich Elements is nice because it’ll tie into something we’ll be talking about later on, which is blocks. That idea of an element, very important. I’ve been talking to lots of people about that, and we’ll come to that later. 

[00:22:57] Mordy Oberstein: Okay. So, I’m probably going to steal Rich Elements because I like that much better than rich results. So, I’ll source you on that. I’ll make sure to give you a shout because I like it. That’s good. 

[00:23:06] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’ve been on my own up until now, so I’ve got some support, which is great.

How Did Rich Elements Rise and Become One of the Talking Points of SEO?

[00:23:10] Mordy Oberstein: Okay, great. I wonder if we can talk about you for a quick moment, just again, to build up the understanding for the general wider audience out there. The Rich Element has become one of the the talking points of SEO, a cornerstone of SEO, if you want to call that now. How has that happened? How have we gotten to the rise of the Rich Element? 

[00:23:28] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): How has it risen is because users want this multimedia content. And initially, they were going to the Google results, seeing those ten blue links, and clicking through. And what Google has been doing is moving it onto the SERPs, which is logical for Google. A lot of people are complaining about it, which is completely understandable. 

[00:23:47] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But if Google’s aim is to get the user to the answer to their question or the solution to their problem as quickly and efficiently as possible, it’s clear that it’s got to be on their results for them. After that, you have a whole question about will people continue to create content to feed Google that’s just going to put it on their SERPs? And that’s the whole question that we can dive into later on.

The Simplistic Empathy or Neutral Empathy That Is Helpful for SEOs and Digital Marketers 

[00:24:08] Mordy Oberstein: Yeah, for sure. We definitely will. 

[00:24:11] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): If you’re looking at, I keep saying empathy for Google and Gennaro Cuofano from WordLift was saying, you don’t have empathy for a company like that. But empathy, not in the sense of thinking, I care for them. Empathy in the sense of understanding their point of view. And I think that simplistic empathy or that neutral empathy, we’ll call it that, is incredibly helpful for us as SEOs and digital marketers to know what we should be doing, what we can be doing.

If we understand what Google is looking to do, we can understand what we need to do to fulfill its needs.

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[00:24:43] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): If we understand what Google is looking to do, we can understand what we need to do to fulfill its needs, but also leverage off our own benefits as much as possible. Before, it was clicks. Now, it’s impressions and visibility and brand with some clicks. 

[00:25:00] Mordy Oberstein: Exactly. And it’s a funny thing because if you don’t have that sort of empathy, and I like that, you get stuck at a rut of complaining why it’s Google doing this, how is this happening, and this is really annoying, but you never take that step forward. So, how do I swallow this and what do I do to move forward, which I want to talk to you about later and I do want to get to that.

Jason Barnard’s Concept of Blocks and Its Relation to Rich Elements

[00:25:15] Mordy Oberstein: So, we’re on the same page, so to speak. You have a three pillar approach to all this, a three pillar construct. And one of the foundations of that you just mentioned is blocks. So, you think in blocks, you talk about blocks. In regards to Rich Elements, what exactly is that? Do you care to explain what that is and how the block relates to Rich Elements? 

[00:25:37] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. I love the idea of blocks. I’ve been talking about it for a couple of years now. But in fact, my concept of blocks, initially I was saying chunks. And then I met Jono Alderson who said, oh no, they’re blocks, I prefer blocks. I said, okay, I’ll become a block user.

[00:25:56] Mordy Oberstein: A blocker.

[00:25:59] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Brilliant. You can be Ian Jerry. Then we have Cindy Krum who says fraggles. 

[00:26:06] Mordy Oberstein: Right. Exactly.

[00:26:07] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): You’ve heard about that, which is much more nuanced and very, very interesting. And I was talking to Dixon Jones who actually pointed out to me that Microsoft used the word chunks. So if I’d been working on Bing, I would’ve been using chunks and been fine. But because it’s Google, I use blocks. 

[00:26:23] Mordy Oberstein: It’s Bing. No one cares. So, we’ll use blocks.

Looking at Blocks in the Perspective of the World Wide Web and Structured Data 

[00:26:27] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But the concept is if we think in blocks, it all makes enormous sense very quickly. If you look at the web, the world wide web, your website is simply a block within that world wide web. Within your website, you have categories that are blocks. Within those blocks, which are categories, you have pages, which are blocks. So, we’ve got block within block within block within the world wide web. And then you go into the page. 

[00:26:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): If you’re using semantic HTML5, everything in there is a block. You had your aside, your article, your footer, but also H1, H2, and the paragraph that goes with it. That’s a block too. So, we’ve got blocks within blocks within blocks within blocks within the world wide web. Then you dig into all the Rich Elements we’ve been talking about, which is tabular data, videos, audio, images, image galleries. All of these are blocks too. And in the case of a tabular data, you’ve got block within block within block within block within block. Then I get lost.

[00:27:25] Mordy Oberstein: That’s going to last. Right.

[00:27:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah, exactly. But it makes so much sense when you think of it like that. As a human being, it makes sense. But to a machine, it makes even more sense.

Why Do Blocks Makes Sense to Human Beings and to Machines as Well? 

[00:27:35] Mordy Oberstein: And why is that? 

[00:27:37] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Because it needs to think in terms of relationships between entities. So, each block, not each block, is going to represent an entity, but it is an entity, with a relationship which is it has a child or a parent or both or a sibling. If we look at Knowledge Graphs and graph theory and the fact that all these machines now are working on graph theory, entities connected to each other by relationships, blocks makes perfect sense.

[00:28:06] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): If you look at linking on the page rank, it’s actually an entity, which is a page but also a block linked to another entity, which is a page and also a block with a relationship, which is a link. Whereas a link doesn’t really have any meaning as such. It can have a meaning as in I am partner with. But in fact, the link is completely neutral. It doesn’t say I am partner with or is my client or is a reference to me or whatever it might be. 

[00:28:35] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, with links, you, suddenly you realise that although page rank has been around for years, it’s actually pretty feeble and weak, when you compare it to the idea of entity link together with relationships that have specific descriptions about them. And that’s really, really, really powerful. 

[00:28:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And if we then lead that back up to the Rich Elements idea, Cindy Krum’s fraggles differs from the block. And that’s why I like it is because it’s a block with a handle. She calls it fragment handle. You can’t see it on the podcast. But if you imagine Google reaching in with it and from the top, it grabs a hand on it, just pulls the block out, and sticks it in the SERP. And if it wasn’t thinking like that, it couldn’t do it. So, fundamentally, we need to think in blocks because that’s what Google is leveraging to pull these Rich Elements into the rich results.

Are Blocks What Allow Google to Pull Out Rich Elements and Put It in the SERP? 

[00:29:33] Mordy Oberstein: Right. So, basically, you’re saying that the block is what allows Google to pull out the Rich Element and put it under the SERP?

[00:29:38] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. And it also allows it to construct in its mind, in inverted commas, the web as blocks with the relationships. So, it’s entities with relationships. And I don’t know if anybody listening to this has done any MySQL or SQL databases, you have to define all your relationships. And graph theory is you have an entity with a relationship and you don’t need to define it. And it’s very flexible and very fluid, very powerful and can scale, which is the problem Google’s always had. And now, they can scale incredibly fast and incredibly well. And the fact that we’re seeing more and more of these Rich Elements, they just keep coming. 

[00:30:20] Mordy Oberstein: Yeah. It’s unbelievable. It really is.

[00:30:23] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. I wrote an article in Search Engine Journal, which explains how they gain their place. We won’t go into that. Look it up. 

[00:30:30] Mordy Oberstein: The bidding system.

[00:30:33] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. The bidding system. It’s bidding a value to the user in the context in which the user finds themselves or the context of the user query, which is brilliant. And then you say, well, that’s Darwinistic. Google couldn’t possibly write multiple algorithms for all these different elements. What it’s done is it’s got the same algorithm with different weightings and probably different factors. I won’t go too far in that. And that’s for content creation. If you have a video that doesn’t bring enough value to the user, it won’t get its place. But if you can prove to Google that it has value for the user intention, it will get a place because it bids. It will make a bid of value.

Applying the Concept of Entities To the Idea of Blocks, Like the Gutenberg in WordPress 

[00:31:21] Mordy Oberstein: So, funny sort of question. I’m really big into entities. I’m on a soapbox about entities for the last year or so. And I wonder, it just hit me now as you were speaking, do you think Google looks at each block, let’s say that the header or the main body itself, each block has its own entity of sorts? Meaning it’s analysing each in its own way as it would each individual entity. 

[00:31:46] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. Cindy Krum is absolutely convinced, and I would agree with her, that Google is now indexing in blocks. A page is the block, but then it would also index a block within a block. If you look at WordPress, if you look at Gutenberg in WordPress, that’s a really useful way to visualise as a human being what’s going on. And once again, people are complaining about Gutenberg. 

[00:32:10] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But you’re saying, it forces you to structure, it forces you to think in blocks. And you’re feeding a machine. You want the machine to send you traffic. If you want it to send you traffic, you have to present the information in a manner that it can digest easily. And I was talking to Jono Alderson about Schema Markup, and he’s completely obsessed. 

[00:32:27] Mordy Oberstein: Right. I saw that. 

[00:32:30] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Rightly so. And he’s saying, but it just allows this whole machine to scale and to move much, much faster.

More About Schema Markup From Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[00:32:36] Mordy Oberstein: I think it’s a funny thing. People don’t realise that Google has resources and has limited resources. Besides being a behemoth, it does have resources that are limited and it wants to make it easier on itself, which is funny thing. Because Google said that they can do some of the things, or they’ve alluded to that they can do some of the things that they’re doing with Rich Elements via machine learning. They don’t need the markup per se. But through machine learning and understanding, they can do that sort of thing. 

[00:33:01] Mordy Oberstein: I’m wondering what your thought is on this. Do you think that Google will move in that direction or for the sake of simplicity and for the sake of saving resources, it’s always going to rely on the markup to easily pull those blocks out?

[00:33:12] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right now, I tend to look at Schema Markup as being a way for you to confirm to Google if it’s correctly understood what’s in your page. And I was talking to, once again, Jono Alderson, same interview. And he made the nice analogy of saying, initially Google asked us for keywords 20 years ago. And then they said, oh, that’s spammy. And they got rid of them. And then they said, we don’t need Schema Markup. Now they’re saying, actually we do need Schema Markup. Because they need it for the precision.

The Importance of Precision and Looking at Schema Markup in a Granular Manner  

[00:33:41] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And I think because for two reasons, or maybe one reason, I can’t actually think that far ahead, they’re going to need that precision. And naturally, as human beings, we don’t give enough precision. And if they can provide us with Schema Markup name value pairs, that encourage us to think about the precision we can give, the attributes and the information we can give to get very granular, why would they stop?

[00:34:05] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I can’t think of a point at which for a product, it would stop getting granular. Moving it slightly aside, what are they doing? They’re using reviews to pull out attributes of entities. And if you look at something like a free Wi-Fi in a coffee house, if I search for that, often it will come up as part of a review, the free Wi-Fi involved. 

[00:34:28] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Because product and business owners don’t give enough detail and users will tend to express things from their problem, their main point, which is what they’re expressing in search, which makes a perfect match. We’ve gone a bit off topic there, but I think that idea of granularity and precision, which is Jono’s word, gives a long future to Schema Markup.

Taking Into Consideration the Q&A Feature of Brands and Websites, Especially in Local SEO 

[00:34:51] Mordy Oberstein: Yeah. Just to go back down that wormhole we just brought up, I think it was a couple of months ago. I was talking to Greg Gifford about this, or is it Mike Blumenthal? I don’t remember. Either way, in the Q&A feature, in the Knowledge Panel. Either way, it’s a great local expert, so whatever. Don’t worry about it. In the local panel where you have the Q&A feature, they were saying that when you type in a question, Google’s starting to give you back an answer from reviews left within that panel.

[00:35:19] Mordy Oberstein: So, that’s another media. Google loves having that easy access to the information, and it loves using it in all different ways. I agree with you. Machine learning can do X, Y, and Z and that’s great. But if you could do the same thing, there’s no advantage in the machine learning. In fact, I would say there’s a disadvantage at this point, but let’s just say Google does somehow develop the machine learning. They can create that refinement at such a level, but why would they do it themselves if they’re going to have you do it for them? 

[00:35:46] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah, exactly. A hundred percent. I think also if somebody like Yoast is doing this properly, and they are, they’re doing a phenomenal job. Just looking at you, I’m completely blown away. Just on WordPress with Yoast, that’s 14% of the web. 

[00:36:01] Mordy Oberstein: Yeah, that’s true. 

[00:36:02] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Google is investing heavily in WordPress, so that’s only going to increase. Yoast also did something for TYPO3 and having those other platforms. So, Google are now looking at it and saying, actually we’ve got this heavyweight, no offence, Yoast, sorry, behind this. And they’re doing the job that we or as individual developers weren’t. And I think that’s phenomenally great. I don’t think there’s anything to criticise Yoast for that. You’re saying, you’re doing it for us. And I don’t have to make all these decisions. Conclusion, Schema Markup is going to be around for a while. And anybody who isn’t doing it tody is liable to miss the boat.

The Featured Snippet and Other Rich Elements as a Representation of Your Brand in the SERP

[00:36:41] Mordy Oberstein: Yeah. Okay. We can talk for an hour, two hours, three hours, four hours, but we don’t have time for that. What I want to do is jump over to the other side of the equation. That’s the fallout of all of this. One of the interesting things I’ve seen out there is that when people talk about Schema Markup and rich results or Rich Elements, it’s the increased traffic to their site that it brings. But I’m wondering, are we moving away from that paradigm? For example, you have things like the how to or the FAQ markup. And the FAQ markup is a behemoth. First of, it’s amazing, it’s prolific, it’s whatever, but it’s also going to answer questions right on the SERP. 

[00:37:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. The featured snippet or the answer box, the positions zero, whatever you want to call it, it had its heyday a couple of years ago. And everyone’s going, oh, you get more clicks. This is amazing. You get to leapfrog everybody. The explanation of how you leapfrog is actually in that Darwinism Search Engine Journal article, which actually explains or Gary Illyes explained to me how that featured snippet decides whether or not to put that featured snippet. And initially, they were getting loads and loads of clicks. And it’s all these new Rich Elements have come in. The clicks are going down, and now people are starting to panic. So, the gold rush heyday has gone. 

[00:38:00] Mordy Oberstein: I like that, the gold rush. 

[00:38:02] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And we’re seeing more and more in that featured snippet spot, videos, the direct link to the right answer to the exact part of the video where the answer is. If I’m lazy, which I am, I just click on the video, listen to the answer, and you’re away. So, yes, we’re losing traffic. We’re all losing traffic. And then maybe we need to change, we definitely need to change our perspective.

The SERP is another representation of my brand.

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[00:38:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But maybe a good way to look at this is to say, my website is one representation of my brand that I control. The SERP is another representation of my brand. For Brand SERPs, obviously when somebody searched for my brand name. But also whatever keywords I’m appearing for, I now need to brand them. I need to make sure that I’m getting my message across.

[00:38:45] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And it’s now not just saying, oh, I’ve got to get the keywords in and I’ve got to get this incredibly sexy meta description to get somebody to click. Which is not only those, but getting my brand message in there so that even if somebody doesn’t click, they’ve read it. And making sure, the ten blue links are dying out. And the question is how fast Google are replacing them bit by bit as it can, when the content becomes available. At the moment, it doesn’t have so very much, let’s say, video or images or as much as it maybe would like. Actually with images, it does. With images, I think 80% of SERPs have images.

[00:39:20] Mordy Oberstein: Yeah. It’s crazy. It’s unbelievable. 

[00:39:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): That’s because we’ve all been taking photos for the last 10 or 15 years with our phones. So, there loads and loads of images out there, not so much video. So if you are looking to rank today, you can probably do better looking at video and saying, I want to represent my brand through video in Google’s SERP.

The Rise of Podcasts and Other Audio Content on Google’s Multimedia-Based Content Strategy

[00:39:42] Mordy Oberstein: Yeah. Look, even the audio content. Podcasts are out there. All things being equal, there’s very little audio content out there. 

[00:39:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I would agree a hundred percent. I’ve said to a couple of clients, why don’t you think about doing a podcast? And they say, who cares about podcasts? It doesn’t rank. And then that’s the point. It doesn’t rank because Google doesn’t have the content. And so, we are looking now as saying, we need to create the content that fills these multimedia gaps that Google’s super rich SERPs demand. Because users are demanding it. And if you’re saying, I want to get this to click through. You’re trying to force a user to spend more time, which isn’t actually in the user’s interest. 

[00:40:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So if you go even further than saying Google’s being nasty to me, you’re saying actually Google’s being helpful to the user. And at the end of the day, the user doesn’t want click on the link either if they can get the answer. And then to move that further out, your social networks are a representation of your brand. Your reviews are a representation of your brand. 

[00:40:47] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So if we take a step back and say, I have all these representations of my brand. Some of which I control completely, some of which I control partially, some of which I can influence, that would be the SERPs. You aim to hit all of those to communicate your message, your brand message, what we’re offering, why you should buy from me. And then they get to your site, presumably when they’re ready to buy.

What Are Some Ways People Do in Getting Their Presence and Message Across the SERP? 

[00:41:11] Mordy Oberstein: So, how do you do that though? Because obviously, reviews are great. Obviously if you get the featured snippet for the video, and you make sure that thumbnail in the video has your logo or whatever it is, fantastic. But what are some ways you’ve seen people be a little bit creative with this and getting their message across or their brand presence across via the SERP features or the SERP itself without the click?

[00:41:30] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): For the moment, I don’t think many people have had many great ideas, to be honest. 

[00:41:35] Mordy Oberstein: Agreed. That’s why I’m asking.

[00:41:42] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): We’re either clients ourselves, i.e. we sell stuff on the web or we’re a digital marketer. I say to a client, right, let’s talk content. We’ve done the technical stuff. We’re indexable. We’re crawlable. The speeds are okay. We don’t have to really worry so very much about that apparently, finally. It is that thing of diminishing returns. You’ve got your site under two seconds. Then the person who’s clicked through from the SERP is still concentrated, more or less, on what they were doing in the first place.

[00:42:12] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): In over two seconds, the context, they start looking around. Once you’re under two seconds, obviously I’m being terribly general. The diminishing returns is pulling it down and pulling it down and pulling it down. And then you say, okay, what happens when they land on that page? What do they see? Then you say, what content can we create to get ourselves onto the SERPs? So, you’re saying you’ve got this idea of creating content to pull into those Rich Elements spots and in fact to create them for yourself. It’s not saying, who’s got the spot that I can steal it off. It’s saying, which queries don’t yet have this Rich Element that would benefit from it.

Jason Barnard’s Content Strategy Advice to His Clients About Their Blue Links, Video Content, and Other Multimedia Content 

[00:42:53] Mordy Oberstein: That’s a good point. That’s a really good point.

[00:42:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Then you say, okay. And something I’m talking to my clients about is a multimedia strategy. So, they say, oh, I’d just write some blog posts. And you’re saying, but there you’re competing for these ten blue links, which are now no longer ten blue links. There’s six blue links. Everybody else is competing for that. You need loads of links into your page. You need to optimise it. There’s going to be loads of investments to actually get anywhere near that top page.

[00:43:20] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But if you say this could do with a video and it doesn’t have one, create a video content for it. If you think audio is going to be better, do that. If an image gallery would do a good job, do that. If you can get a featured snippet, obviously you want to optimise for that. And then you say, maybe my content strategy is a series of content, which can be each episode.

[00:43:45] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’ve just written some Schema Markup for that with a friend of mine, Hugo, to say my podcast is now a creative work series. I can’t remember what the exact thing is because he actually did the dirty work, not me. And it contains multiple episodes. And each episode can be audio, text, video, so you’ve got speakable text as well obviously, audio, text, video, whatever, images.

[00:44:11] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And you end up with this, I hope, this is my imagination running away with me, I hope that you get this coherence that you get with a TV series or a series of films or whatever it might be. Where you say, here’s my body of work and here are all the elements. And each element is specifically the one that is needed for that specific type of query or the topic that it’s dealing with, and leaving ourselves open-minded that it might be text, but it might also be audio, video, images, or whatever else. I’ve run out of ideas there.

The Future of 3D Presentations, 3D Augmented Reality, and Holograms 

[00:44:47] Mordy Oberstein: I think that’s it for now. 

[00:44:51] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): There will be more, 3D presentations. 

[00:44:54] Mordy Oberstein: Holograms, whatever it is. They have that now. They have 3D images on the SERP. I’ve only seen them once or twice, but yeah. 

[00:45:01] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Really? Oh, great. 

[00:45:03] Mordy Oberstein: Yeah. A couple of months ago, they came out with some sort of 3D AR image on mobile. So if you put a shark in the back of your office, I have no idea what it’s for, but it’s really cool. 

[00:45:17] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Okay. I was wondering what that was behind you.

[00:45:21] Mordy Oberstein: My kids love that there.

If Google Is Moving Into a Multimedia World, We Also Need to Move Into a Multimedia World 

[00:45:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. And so, Google is moving into a multimedia world. We need to move into a multimedia world. And if you think about, this is the example I give, if you think about Yahoo, it’s this human curated set of multimedia results that might adapt to you if you’re logged in, but it’s human curated. Google is starting to do and will end up doing exactly the same thing, but on a query by query basis, on a case by case basis, depending on the context.

[00:45:52] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And you’re going to end up with this multimedia page in front of you that will contain many of the answers you’re looking for. And as digital marketers, we can’t just complain about it and sulk and hide our heads. We need to figure out how to deal with it. I think two things are obvious. One is we’re never going to get that traffic again. And the other is the traffic we are going to be getting is going to have to be much more qualified, and we’re going to have to start looking at other methods to drive that traffic. 

[00:46:25] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Unfortunately, all these big Facebook, Apple, Twitter, they’re becoming more and more walled gardens, so it’s going to be tough. As we were saying earlier on, people haven’t yet come up with the good ideas. That doesn’t mean to say the good ideas aren’t going to come.

The Hard Reality of Getting Fewer Sales From Albums and More Sales on Touring in the Music Industry 

[00:46:41] Mordy Oberstein: No. I think it’s personally going to be very, very tough. I think it’s like the music industry, when Napster came around and then you finally had iTunes, whatever it is. The album is dead. No one makes albums anymore. For the sake of I’m going to sell a ton of records, I’m going to make my money that way. And I want to download the album, I want to download this song, I want to download that song. And the artists are making their money through touring now. The music will always be a media, but it’s a different form of media. Whereas content, we’ve think this is how we made web content 10 years ago, and that shouldn’t change. I think it’s a little bit silly. 

[00:47:16] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. That idea, and that’s quite interesting, is with music artists used to sell loads of albums. Now they make very little money at Spotify. I can vouch for that. The blue dog doesn’t get much money for these things. 

[00:47:30] Mordy Oberstein: That’s terrible. I’m sorry. 

[00:47:32] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the blue dog doesn’t tour, but the idea of touring is taking it offline again. And with people like Greg Gifford who are now saying, he’s been in local search for years and years and years. And now everyone’s talking about entity relationships. I’ve been working like that for years because that’s all it’s ever been. 

[00:47:51] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And now when you’re talking about local search, a lot of it is now going offline. Local search said that people come to your place, so Google can track your Android phone and see that there’s lots of people at your place, get them to give reviews online so that this offline and online are emerging again. Where you spent 20 years being isolated in a little bubble online, and that’s over. It’s part of the reason we’re all resisting because it was nice and comfy.

The Difference of Writing Content From a Qualified and Unqualified Source 

[00:48:19] Mordy Oberstein: It’s hard change. It’s not easy. I personally think that the top level content, if you’re a weather site and you’re offering the temperature outside in New York and Philadelphia, whatever it is, that’s dead. I don’t need you for that. I don’t want you for that. I’d rather not have to click on the SERP. So, the whole idea of content, a top level content or surface level content in my mind, I know I’m going out on a limb, but that’s dead.

[00:48:40] Mordy Oberstein: If you want to write content, write about weather trends and weather analysis, deeper level content, that when the user really does want something that Google can’t offer, I don’t think they can, at least not yet, because the SERP is not built for long form content. If it’s built for a quick snippet here and there, then that’s what you’re going to have to do. 

[00:48:57] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. And that comes back to and that’s a really good way to see the idea of qualified and non-qualified. Qualified is somebody who’s really interested in the subject. Unqualified is somebody who just wants to know what the weather is today. And as you rightly say, the unqualified traffic, what does it bring to you except for cookie and maybe the possibility to annoy them incessantly online as they surf around with the iron that they just bought anyway. And you’re still throwing, saying by design, by behind. That’s one of the most frustrating things in life. It’s my pet hated thing. Sorry. 

[00:49:29] Mordy Oberstein: No. What was that? I’m sorry. I missed you. 

[00:49:32] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The idea that I’m looking for a fridge, and then I buy a fridge, but I visited several sites. And they all stick a cookie on me and then they remarket me. I bought the bloody fridge.

Google as a Problem-Solving Machine and Its Obsession with Adding Media Onto the SERP 

[00:49:44] Mordy Oberstein: I love that. My Facebook feed is like that. Sometimes, I manipulate it on purpose. I’m looking to buy a product, so I’ll search for tons of related queries to it. And then I get tons of ads, which is great. It’s exactly what I want, but then it takes a little while for them to realise I’m done, whatever. So, with that, let me just ask you what’s next? Where do we go from here? You’re right. Google is obsessed with adding media onto the SERP. 

[00:50:12] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. I think where we go next is what we’ve just been saying is looking for the qualified visits, as opposed to the people who are just curious about the weather or looking for the size of a t-shirt or whatever it might be. Creating quality, interactive, multimedia content that is truly of interest to users. Once again, Jono Alderson, my favourite person at the moment, just because I listened to the podcast yesterday. He was talking about the idea of rather than looking at content, looking at solutions, saying what solution am I providing?

Google is trying to provide solutions. I need to indicate to Google, prove to Google that I have the correct solution, the best solution for its client.

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[00:50:46] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that’s an about face in our heads, which is perhaps difficult. But once you’ve done it, it just makes so much sense. I’m providing solutions. Google is trying to provide solutions. I need to indicate to Google, prove to Google that I have the correct solution, the best solution for its client. And we often forget that these people are Google’s visitors and clients. They’re not ours. And if Google wants to send them to us, that’s its prerogative. And complaining that it is sending us less is a bit harsh really.

[00:51:21] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And then you prove to Google that I have the correct solution for their user in that context. Coming back to what you said earlier on, if that solution is cursory, i.e. what’s the weather, then Google’s going to keep it. If it’s qualified deeper content, Google will give it to you. And if I had one philosophical approach for the future, it would be that. And I hadn’t thought about that before, so thank you very much.

For a Commerce Site, What Does Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Prefer Between Product Markup and FAQ? 

[00:51:53] Mordy Oberstein: That’s what I’m here for. You’re welcome. Okay. So, I always have to do this to my guests. I have this little game that I do. So if you’re an avid listener of this show, you know what I’m talking about. I call it Optimise or Disavow It. So, it’s where I’m going to give you two really hard options, and you have to choose one or the other. Two good options, and you got to throw one away. Or where I might give you two really bad options and you’re stuck choosing a really, for lack of a better word, crappy option that you never want to do so, this is the Jason Barnard version of Optimise It or Disavow It.

[00:52:33] Mordy Oberstein: So, since you’re talking about Schema and Markup and Rich Elements, if you’re a commerce site and you’re thinking about creating, going into the world of markup, you have markup for products and you have the, I call it the super sexy FAQ that just rolled out about a few months ago, whatever it was. If you can only do one of them, the product markup or the FAQ, which one would you do for a commerce site? 

[00:52:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Product. 

[00:52:59] Mordy Oberstein: Product. Okay. 

[00:53:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Simply because it’s nearer to the sale, and we’re looking to make money. And I think we get overexcited as SEOs or as digital marketers with a new toy to play with. Voice search is another great example. Even just a few months ago, that was talk of the town. We all got overexcited about it. It’s actually just a toy for the minute.

The Recent Advancement in Image Search and Voice Search Technology 

[00:53:24] Mordy Oberstein: It’s a toy. It really is. It really is a toy. I can ask it funny questions, and it gives me funny answers back.

[00:53:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah, no, exactly. And Stuart Rogers, in fact, was talking about that. We were talking about images earlier on. It was him who pointed out to me that we’ve been taking photos for 15 years. And so, there is a massive photos online that Google is now using, so that content is ready. So. It’s image search that’s today and voice search, which will be several years, maybe not 15, but it’s a generational thing as well. 

[00:53:52] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Because younger people, the younger generation now that I’m getting a bit older, are talking to their machines. And I find that a bit weird, but it’s going to come through. It’s going to filter through. So, voice search today, no, image search, yes. This comes into the multimedia idea. And so, coming back to what we were talking about, the FAQ thing, it’s completely exploded. And there were examples on Twitter, I saw actually this morning, where people, it’s actually got ridiculous.

When Using a Platform Like Yoast, It Is Easier to Make a Rich FAQ Section to Satisfy Your Clients 

[00:54:20] Mordy Oberstein: Yeah. I saw that also this morning about that. What was it, the travel site, whatever it was? 

[00:54:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. Yoast has implemented it within Gutenberg, so everyone’s getting jiggy. But you’ve got 14 million sites that can now do this, and it’s really easy. I did a test. 

[00:54:41] Mordy Oberstein: No, yes, it’s great or not great. 

[00:54:43] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I was doing a training course for the Yoast Academy. And so, I tried it out to see, and I was going. It takes me the time to write the FAQ. And I click on a button of code, it’s done. And I get my super duper rich FAQ thing. So, it’s actually really easy when you’re doing it within a platform, rather than the three hours it took me to write before, and there’s still errors in it when I was checking it. So, you look at that and the FAQ has two problems. One of which is it’s too early in the buying process to be the primary choice. I’m not saying don’t do it. I’m saying do it. 

[00:55:23] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): It’s also very good for after sales. Judith Lewis was talking to me about how often SEOs forget the after sales. And that’s the thing as well. Satisfying your clients from beginning, to attracting them, to selling to them, and then after sales. We forget about that because the client might then leave a bad review. If they’re looking for something specific about our products and we’ve forgotten to do our SEO and they can’t find the answer to their problem with our product, they’re going to get really annoyed. That’s incredibly boosting and useful for that.

[00:55:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): In fact, having said products, you could also say, depending on my situation, if I’m looking for sales, I would do products. And if I was looking to reassure a client base that looks a bit shaky, I’d go for FAQ on my FAQ for my product, so that I can satisfy these clients and stop them complaining about me. We’ve actually got a double answer, and I hadn’t really thought it through.

Using the FAQ for Client Retention, After Sales, and Penalty Rollbacks 

[00:56:18] Mordy Oberstein: I never thought of that before. Using the FAQ as a way to keep your client retention, keep them happy, keep them informed, an easy way to get that help centre out there. I never really thought of that. That’s great. 

[00:56:27] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. It really struck me when Judith said that to me. I thought you just did the same thing. Oh, wow, yeah. 

[00:56:36] Mordy Oberstein: Yeah. That’s right.

[00:56:37] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And you extend that out and you said, I think he was perfect for that. I’ve actually got a client who’s doing that at the moment. So, I should really have put two and two together much earlier. The FAQ is very powerful for that. I think it’s being abused. If there is a big rollback or a penalty or whatever it might be. 

[00:56:58] Mordy Oberstein: Whatever you want to call that, I got you. I always do that. It’s a penalty, it’s not a penalty, whatever the motion. 

[00:57:06] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Penalty rollback, I think, is better. For answers and questions about your products where you are helping your client, which are going to be very low volume and very brand specific, Google isn’t gonna roll that back because it’s useful. And from that perspective, this client who I won’t name, has a slight reputation problem because people aren’t able to find the information after sales. And this is our solution. We’re going all out for that one. And in fact, I just quite like that because my immediate reaction is products because it’s closer to we all want to make money. That sounds like a sound bite. But in truth, I’m doing the FAQ. 

[00:57:50] Mordy Oberstein: There we go. This is a great example of SEO. It depends. 

[00:57:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. So, there you go. That’s my answer. I don’t want to say it depends because you did.

Ending the Podcast With Some Final Words From Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) 

[00:58:02] Mordy Oberstein: Thank you. I took the bullet for both of us on that one.

[00:58:06] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Thank you very much. 

[00:58:08] Mordy Oberstein: All right. Thank you, Jason. I really appreciate you coming on. This was so much fun.

[00:58:12] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Brilliant. It was amazing. An amazing set of questions, and it really hit the points that I’ve been really interested in the last few months. And all these people have been on the podcast, and I’m sure you are the same. When somebody comes onto the podcast, you sit there and you go, wow, yeah, I hadn’t thought of that. And then get it all in your mind. And I was talking to Steven van Vessum. He was talking about the idea of we all have the same pieces of the SEO jigsaw puzzle. You just put it together differently. 

[00:58:43] Mordy Oberstein: I like that. That’s good. 

[00:58:44] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I like that idea. And so, I’ve got all these pieces from the last 76 episodes or whatever it is I’ve done, and they are falling into place. And as I’m talking to you, that falls into place. Judith Lewis comes in with the FAQ. You get the same thing.

[00:59:00] Mordy Oberstein: It’s brilliant all the time. It’s brilliant. We did one a couple weeks ago. And someone on the team was listening to it. He was like, hey, we should do that. I’m like, you know what, I didn’t catch it, yeah, but we should do that

[00:59:12] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Brilliant stuff. That was absolutely amazing, Mordy. Thank you very much. 

[00:59:16] Mordy Oberstein: Thank you so much for coming on, Jason. Bye bye. 

[00:59:19] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Thanks a lot.

Mordy Oberstein’s Positive Comments About the Episode With Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) 

[00:59:20] Mordy Oberstein: And we are back to your regular schedule In Search SEO Podcast. He is so much fun, by the way. He is a make command. That voice is amazing. I can listen to him sing for forever. I would pay to hear him sing. I would. 

[00:59:33] Sapir Karabello: That’s cute. 

[00:59:34] Mordy Oberstein: It’s so much fun, for real. I love talking to him. For realsies, if I can use a millennial term, is that a real thing you guys say? No. I don’t know. For real? 

[00:59:43] Sapir Karabello: For real. 

[00:59:44] Mordy Oberstein: For realsies. I feel like it’s something my sister would say, for realsies. There’s some people, I feel after I interview them, I need to keep up with them and pick their brains once in a while. He’s definitely somebody I felt like I need to keep up with them. I got to pick their brain. Great deal of SEO knowledge going on there, which brings us, by the way, to our Rank Ranger community question of the week. Take it away, Sapir.

Are Rich Results Still Worth It When They Take Traffic Away From Your Site? 

[01:00:11] Sapir Karabello: Are rich results still worth it when they take traffic away from your site? 

[01:00:17] Mordy Oberstein: So, think the FAQ, think how to markup. Do the formats still work for you when they take traffic away from your site? Meaning you have the FAQ there. Assuming you’re not abusing with insanely irrelevant information, the user gets the answer. They may not need to click on your site, and you can’t blame Google because you did that. So, is it still worth it? Is it still worth having that rich result? Having you to feel happy, wow, look at this great result I got here on the SERP, looking at your content, fair enough, but not making the click because of the markup that you used.

[01:00:58] Sapir Karabello: That’s an interesting question. 

[01:00:59] Mordy Oberstein: No one to blame but yourself. So, let us know. Look for the Rank Ranger community question. It’ll be in the blog that harbors the podcast. It’ll be on Twitter on the Rank Ranger Twitter account. You can find it on the Rank Ranger LinkedIn account. I’ll tweet it. Sapir maybe will tweet it on this mysterious Twitter account that she has all of a sudden. That would be very helpful.

A Little Banter Between Mordy Oberstein and Sapir Karabello Before the SEO Send-Off Question 

[01:01:18] Sapir Karabello: It’s a private.

[01:01:19] Mordy Oberstein: Oh my God. Here’s a fun one for you now because we’re not doing the news. 

[01:01:25] Sapir Karabello: Oh wow, heartbreaking. 

[01:01:27] Mordy Oberstein: Hey, let’s hit it with the news, but we’re not doing it because I’m going to LavaCon. 

[01:01:30] Sapir Karabello: Do you see the single tear rolling down my cheek? Do you see it, Mordy? 

[01:01:34] Mordy Oberstein: I didn’t think you could cry.

[01:01:36] Sapir Karabello: See, it’s that heartbreaking.

[01:01:38] Mordy Oberstein: I thought you have to have a heart first to cry. 

[01:01:43] Sapir Karabello: Okay. You just wait until next podcast. I’m going to go. 

[01:01:47] Mordy Oberstein: That’s right. No, we’ll do it now. You’ll get me back now with your SEO send off question. Because since we don’t have the news, we’re going directly to our fun SEO send off question. And this week, I blame Sapir. I blame Sapir for this question. 

[01:02:10] Sapir Karabello: It’s a lousy question. 

[01:02:13] Mordy Oberstein: At least you admit it.

The Recent Record-Breaking Instagram Account of Jennifer Aniston 

[01:02:15] Sapir Karabello: So, a few days ago, Jennifer Aniston, you know who it is, right? 

[01:02:20] Mordy Oberstein: Yes, I know who Jennifer Aniston is. I knew about her before you were born. 

[01:02:23] Sapir Karabello: Shut up. Okay. She opened an Instagram account. 

[01:02:28] Mordy Oberstein: Wow. My life is now complete. 

[01:02:31] Sapir Karabello: She got the most number of followers, I think, in an hour. I don’t remember. She has a Guinness World Record or something. 

[01:02:40] Mordy Oberstein: That’s some world record. There’s that guy who grew those fingernails really long. He’s got a pretty good Guinness World Record, and then there’s Jennifer Aniston. 

[01:02:47] Sapir Karabello: Anyways, that’s not the point. The point is that her first photo that she uploaded was a reunion of all the original six cast members of FRIENDS.

[01:03:00] Mordy Oberstein: Of what? 

[01:03:01] Sapir Karabello: Cast members.

[01:03:02] Mordy Oberstein: Of what? 

[01:03:02] Sapir Karabello: FRIENDS.

[01:03:03] Mordy Oberstein: Oh, the TV show.

[01:03:04] Sapir Karabello: Yes. FRIENDS. Come on, Mordy. 

[01:03:07] Mordy Oberstein: I got it. Can I be honest with you? I never liked FRIENDS. 

[01:03:12] Sapir Karabello: What? 

[01:03:12] Mordy Oberstein: Was I not clear why? I never liked FRIENDS. I always thought it was annoying. 

[01:03:19] Sapir Karabello: Okay. You’re weird. 

[01:03:19] Mordy Oberstein: Which is why I find this question annoying. So, why don’t we ask the question?

[01:03:25] Sapir Karabello: Oh, wait, so what was the question? 

[01:03:28] Mordy Oberstein: You blanked out on the question. Our first podcast back, and you blanked out on the question.

If Google Was a FRIENDS Character, Which One Would It Be?

[01:03:33] Sapir Karabello: If Google was a FRIENDS character, which one would it be? 

[01:03:41] Mordy Oberstein: Ross’s dad. 

[01:03:42] Sapir Karabello: What? 

[01:03:44] Mordy Oberstein: Yeah. Elliot Gould. 

[01:03:46] Sapir Karabello: I have no idea. 

[01:03:47] Mordy Oberstein: See, I’m going old school on you. Elliot Gould is a famous actor. He was in MASH the movie.

[01:03:51] Sapir Karabello: The character itself, it’s so insignificant. 

[01:03:54] Mordy Oberstein: Yeah, no, he’s a great actor. And it’s random.

[01:03:59] Sapir Karabello: But Google, it’s Ross’s father?

[01:04:01] Mordy Oberstein: Yeah. Because you know why, they both start with G, Gould, Elliot Gould and Google. 

[01:04:07] Sapir Karabello: I have no comment about that.

Changing the Answer of Who Is Google as a FRIENDS Character From Ross’s Father to Joey to Chandler

[01:04:08] Mordy Oberstein: Because what else am I going to say? Seriously, who? The funny guy?

[01:04:13] Sapir Karabello: Joey, maybe. 

[01:04:14] Mordy Oberstein: Joey, Google is Joey. Because Google is a horrible actor who’s not funny and who is not a good actor and is not funny. So, therefore, he’s Joey.

[01:04:28] Sapir Karabello: Amazing, amazing answer. Thank you. Yeah.

[01:04:31] Mordy Oberstein: You know what, I change my answer. What’s the guy’s name, the main guy, Chandler? 

[01:04:40] Sapir Karabello: He’s not the main guy. All six of them are main. 

[01:04:42] Mordy Oberstein: He’s the main guy, Chandler. I say Google is Chandler because sometimes they’re both annoying. You know what, Google is all of them. Because sometimes Google is annoying, and that shows really annoying. That’s my answer. Final answer? Yes, final answer.

[01:04:59] Sapir Karabello: Okay. Thank you, Mordy.

[01:05:03] Mordy Oberstein: Wait. You didn’t give your answer. 

[01:05:07] Sapir Karabello: I have no answer. 

[01:05:08] Mordy Oberstein: What kind of crap is this? You only had four weeks to prepare this. 

[01:05:14] Sapir Karabello: You didn’t give me four weeks. I thought you were making the fun SEO question.

Ending the Podcast After the Fun SEO Question About Google as a FRIENDS Character 

[01:05:17] Mordy Oberstein: I haven’t done the fun SEO question in two months. 

[01:05:20] Sapir Karabello: Me neither. 

[01:05:22] Mordy Oberstein: That was loud. What do you mean either? 

[01:05:26] Sapir Karabello: I’m always loud. 

[01:05:26] Mordy Oberstein: Okay. I’m sorry. I’m sorry to all our listeners. We’ll have a better fun SEO send off question next week. 

[01:05:33] Sapir Karabello: That was fun though.

[01:05:34] Mordy Oberstein: That was fun though. That was fun. Thank you again for joining us. We’re glad we’re back. We’re glad you are back. We’re glad to be back. And we’re glad to bring you an all new episode next Tuesday, so check it out. This has been In Search because we’re all in search of something. Take care now.

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