Thumbnail: Smartest People in SEO with SE Ranking First Guest – Jason Barnard

New content alert 🔔’Smartest People in SEO’ with SE Ranking is here.

Our first guest, Jason Barnard, has over 2 decades of experience in digital marketing under his belt. Keynote speaker, event host, 100% digital nomad, and host of the SEOisAEO podcast.

During the interview Jason answered the following questions:

– Your top tips for SEO beginners? 00:52

– What SEO KPIs should we track? 03:56

– Your best advice for doing local SEO in 2020? 05:58

– Are SERP features worth fighting for? 08:34

– How important structured data are? 09:55

Waiting for your feedback 😉

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) as a Digital Nomad Who Attends SEO Conferences Around the World

[00:00:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’m trying to look clever with the glasses, yeah, otherwise I just look like a foolish old man in a red shirt. And you can use that. I’m Jason Barnard. I’m a digital nomad traveling the world, going to conferences, giving talks in places like SMX in London, SMX in Munich, Pubcon, BrightonSEO. 

[00:00:21] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Overall, I’ve got a competition with my daughter to see who can visit most countries most quickly. I’m about 40 because I like traveling. I used to be in a band. I used to tour Europe, playing double bass in a folk punk band, and spent six years driving around Europe, playing gigs, and drinking beer.

What Was Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Up to This 2020 and What Are His Top Tips for SEO Beginners?

[00:00:41] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): My aim in life for 2020 is to make everybody realise how fundamentally important and incredibly interesting Brand SERPs are. My number one top thing to do would be to search your own brand name. First and foremost, see what comes up. What comes up is what Google considers to be the most valuable and pertinent information about your brand for people who are searching for your brand, your audience.

If you can look at your Brand SERP and start correcting that, start looking at what’s wrong with it and working to make it better, you’re already going to be helping your overall digital strategy.

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[00:01:11] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): If that information is inaccurate or negative or even not positive or it misrepresents your brand, you can immediately see where you can start working to make your SEO efforts better. Because what Google is doing is reflecting the world’s opinion of you. So if you can look at your Brand SERP and start correcting that, start looking at what’s wrong with it and working to make it better, you’re already going to be helping your overall digital strategy.

Second Tip From Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Provide Multimedia Content for Google 

[00:01:40] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Google is going multimedia, and we need to provide the content for it to do so. Video is the best content right now for creating. Because if you create a video, you’ve got this amazing opportunity not only to serve people on YouTube or on Facebook or on Twitter, you get the video boxes also in the SERP, which are incredibly powerful because you’ve got the little image, much more interesting than a blue link.

[00:02:06] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And video content is incredibly good for repurposing. And Loren Baker from the Search Engine Journal was talking to me about this idea of repurposing. If you take a video, you can then make an audio file that somebody can listen to in the car or on a smart voice assistant. You can do a transcript and adapt it to make an article. You can take screenshots and make an image gallery.

Some Ideas for Repurposing Media Content for Multiple Platforms and Multiple People in Different Situations 

[00:02:27] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): That video content can be repurposed multiple times. You can also, in fact, take little clips and make them for Facebook or for Twitter and push them out to your audience on those platforms, which is absolutely wonderful. And you are using this one piece of content to serve multiple purposes on multiple platforms and multiple people in multiple situations.

[00:02:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): There’s so much information out there, so much advice, a lot of bad advice, a lot of misinformed advice. I was talking to John Mueller from Google who was saying that two-thirds of what he says is taken out of context when it’s repeated. So when you hear somebody say, oh, John Mueller said this or that, or even Gary Illyes said this or that, take it with a big pinch of salt.

How Can You Make Use of SEO Tools Like SE Ranking?

[00:03:14] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): If you know what you’re doing, you know what you’re trying to do, tools can be incredibly helpful. But if you don’t know where you’re going, they’re a big waste of time. So, finding a tool that suits you, suits your needs, suits what you’re trying to do is fundamental. 

[00:03:29] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And with rank tracking and analysing your site, what I find interesting about tools like SE Ranking is that they give people, who don’t know very much about SEO, great pointers as to where they should be going. And I like simple tools that give simple pointers with simple ideas about simple things that I can do to move forward step by step.

It’s very useful to track queries that are truly the queries that your audience are making.

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[00:03:57] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I think it’s very useful to track queries that are truly the queries that your audience are making. Don’t make the mistake of trying to rank for keywords just because there’s a lot of traffic. Track the keywords that are truly interesting for you in terms of the audience they will bring you. Tracking them in terms of ranking is incredibly important. Measuring your success in purely clicks is probably a mistake today.

The Idea of On-SERP SEO and the SEO KPIs You Should Be Tracking and Checking

[00:04:24] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Now, we’re talking much more about on-SERP SEO, and I think that’s a very interesting concept. The idea that when my brand name appears on a SERP, I’m getting free visibility. The fact that I don’t get a click isn’t necessarily important, if I’m getting my brand message across on the SERP. So, along with tracking your keywords, also going to Search Console and check the visibility that you have, the number of impressions, the number of times Google is showing you. 

[00:04:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): If people are clicking through less or they’re not clicking on your results, even though you appeared in the SERP, you would want to make sure that you’ve got your brand name in your meta titles and meta descriptions. Because even if they don’t click through to your site, they’ve seen your brand. You’ve been in front of them once.

With Today’s Overload of Information, It Is Critical for a Brand to Be Seen At Least 20 Times Before Someone Considers Their Offers 

[00:05:08] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And apparently, we see 5,000 brands a day. It’s impossible for anybody to remember all that. So, you need to get in front of people an awful lot now before they actually engage with your brand. And somebody was talking about 7 times, you have to be seen by somebody 7 times before they buy from you. Nobody knows where that number comes from, but it’s not true.

Using the SERPs as a vehicle for communicating your brand and your brand message to people for free is great.

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[00:05:30] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Today, because we’ve got so many brands throwing so much information at us, we’ve got information overload on the social media platforms on Google, on the TV, and in the real world as well, it’s probably more like 20 times. 20 little touches before somebody will even consider doing business with you. So, using the SERPs as a vehicle for communicating your brand and your brand message to people for free is great.

Some Advice for Local SEO in 2020 by Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[00:06:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Your number one top priority is your Google My Business Panel. And once again, search your brand name, look what comes up in that panel. If it isn’t good, correct it, because you actually can go in and correct all this stuff. You need to make sure that’s fully optimised. It’s accurate, and it’s positive. You answer the questions people ask. You’ve got great reviews. 

[00:06:19] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): You can also ask yourself questions through the Google My Business and fill it with as much information as you possibly can. Because that’s what Google is using to understand who you are, what it is you offer, and who your relevant audience is going to be. So, that’s the first thing you want to do before trying to get the map packs, because the map packs are run off the Google My Business. So, search your brand, optimise your Google My Business Panel, then start thinking about the map packs.

Other Important Things for Local Search: Quality of Service to Your Clients, Repeat Visits to Your Physical Location, and Customer Satisfaction 

[00:06:48] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The other really important thing about local search in particular is that Google is judging you permanently on the quality of the service you give to your clients. And that can be through their activity on Google itself, the reviews they give through Google. But more recently, we all know that Android phones is Google. Google tracks us. It knows when you go into a business, it knows when you leave a business, and it knows when you don’t go back. 

[00:07:20] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, there are quality signals through people actually visiting your store. Repeat visits are a quality signal to Google, and that’s repeat physical visits to your physical location. It’s scary, but incredibly important. So when somebody walks into your store or your physical business, you have to make sure that you’ve satisfied their needs.

[00:07:43] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): But not their needs from your point of view, their needs from their point of view. If they leave a bad review because they thought you were grumpy and you don’t think it matters to be grumpy, they’re right. They’re the customer. You’ve lost the game. So, you need to satisfy your clients on their terms.

Last Important Reminder for a Local Business: Google Is Your Homepage and Make Sure Your Brand SERP Is Well Optimised 

[00:08:01] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the last thing I would say about local business that’s really important to bear in mind is Google is your homepage. We were talking about websites earlier on. You might want a website, but today, do you really need a website? How many people actually click through to it? Very few. 

[00:08:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): What you need to do is make sure that your Brand SERP is so well optimised that people choose you straight off the bat, come and see you. You satisfy their needs on their terms. Then they come back time and time again, and that quality signal goes through and through and through. And then you’re going to win the game.

Are SERP Features and Blue Links Worth Fighting For in This Day and Age?

[00:08:36] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yes. I would say blue links are probably not worth fighting for anymore, which is terribly controversial, but I’ll stick by it. The thing about blue links is up until 2014, we got 10 blue links and we were all very happy. But what did that mean? It meant Google is saying, here’s a choice, click through, have a look. If it’s interesting, fine. If it’s not, come back and then click on another one. That’s not a very good user experience. 

[00:08:58] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Google is now saying, I want to give you the answer as much as I can on the SERP. That’s making a lot of people panic, but is it a bad thing? As a user, I think it’s great. As a brand, I’m sulking because I’m not getting the traffic, but those Rich Elements are opportunities. Google has the ten blue links as its base. 

[00:09:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): If it can find a piece of content, for example, a video or an image or a featured snippet or a Knowledge Panel or People Also Ask or a carousel, that brings more value to the user for the search query they just made. If it brings more value than the blue links, it comes in and takes away one of the blue links. It’s killing the blue links. One of the blue links drops off the bottom. So, blue links are dying, and Rich Elements that you’ve just talked about are what’s replacing them. So, I would say a hundred percent aim for that because blue links are dying out.

The Importance of Structured Data: Schema Markup, HTML Tables, Lists, and Content

[00:09:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Schema Markup is incredibly important for everything we’re doing today in digital marketing. If you want to communicate to a machine who you are, what you offer, what your content is all about, you have to do it through Schema Markup, because that is the standard today for all the machines. 

[00:10:11] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And it’s not just Google. It’s Bing, it’s Amazon, it’s Facebook, it’s Apple. They all need structured data to understand who you are, what you do, and what you are offering to their audience. At the end of the day, people searching or surfing on their sites are their audience, and you are asking them to push their audience to you.

Besides Schema Markup, Other Structured Data Are HTML Tables, Unordered and Ordered Lists, Headings, and Paragraphs 

[00:10:30] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): HTML tables, which are terribly 90s, are structured data. You can use HTML tables incredibly powerfully to communicate information to Google. It’s actually got a little search engine, which just tells you all the information it has found in HTML tables. Lists, unordered lists and ordered lists, very powerful as well. Google loves them because they’re structured. 

[00:10:53] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, don’t just think about structured data as being Schema Markup. It’s HTML tables. It’s lists. It’s also, in fact, headings and paragraphs. A lot of people get that wrong. It seems to be content. It seems to be copied. But actually, you’re saying, here’s a heading, this is the main topic, here’s a paragraph, here’s a subheading, a subtopic, here’s a paragraph. That’s structured.

[00:11:15] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): HTML by nature is structured. And unfortunately, as human beings, we tend to write very bad HTML. So if you want to go back to your technician and talk to them about what are the most important things they should be doing today, one of the most important things is structuring the HTML so that it’s much more easy for Google to digest.

Last Words of Inspiration From Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) to End This Episode

[00:11:36] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): We all want to run before we can walk. We all want to sprint forwards as fast as we possibly can, but sprinting forwards isn’t an option. It’s step by step by step by step, building your house brick by brick. 

[00:11:51] Host: I think we’re done.

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