In this episode of Get the Balance Right podcast we are joined by The Brand SERP Guy, Jason Barnard. He is the host of the With Jason Barnard Podcast and the founder and CEO of the ground breaking digital agency, Kalicube. Jason is the world’s expert on all things related to Brand SERP (search engine results pages). Since 2013, Jason has been tracking, studying and optimizing the results that Google generates for brand names.
[00:00:00] Heather Zeitzwolfe: You’re listening to Get the Balance Right Podcast, where you’ll learn how to run a successful business and balance it with your busy life. I’m your host, Heather Zeitzwolfe, CPA, profit advisor, and money coach. I work with creative entrepreneurs to take the mystery and confusion out of their numbers, so they can reach their financial goals. Do you want a life that is emotionally, physically, and monetarily balanced? Are you ready to live a life based on passion, purpose, and financial freedom? Then let’s get the balance right.
Introducing the Guest, Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy), and the Topic About Brand SERPs and Knowledge Panels
[00:00:40] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Hey, everybody. Welcome to another episode of Get the Balance Right Podcast. This is episode 50. Jiminy Crickets, oh my goodness, 50, wow. Well, I’m so glad that you are here for my 50th episode. My guest today is Jason Barnard, who joins us from the land of yummy croissants, Paris, France. Bonjour. Jason is known around the world as The Brand SERP Guy.
A Preview About Brand SERPs and Their Role on Your Content Strategy and Your Brand’s Digital Ecosystem
[00:01:09] Heather Zeitzwolfe: I know you might be like, wait, what SERP, what Brand SERP, what? Don’t worry. I didn’t know what that meant either, but it turns out our Brand SERP is something that all of us entrepreneurs in this day and age should know and care about. SERP stands for search engine results pages. Here’s the thing. You know when you do a Google search with your name or your business name, what appears is your Brand SERP.
[00:01:39] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Think of Brand SERPs as your digital business card. Therefore, it’s important when someone searches your business that Google represents your brand in a desired way. By design, Google will display an honest representation of your content strategy and reflection of your brand’s digital ecosystem. That means if Google doesn’t get your brand right, then you haven’t been successful in your content strategy.
You Can Search Your Own Name and Look at Your Own Brand SERP, Which Can Range From Stellar to Downright Embarrassing
[00:02:09] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Ooh, I know this may sound super technical, but no matter what level of your understanding is about search engines, SEO, and all that jazz, this episode doesn’t go down that complicated path. I asked the questions you probably want to know. All right, we’re going to play a little game here. If you are in a spot where you can get on the internet, let’s do this. Try googling your name and see what comes up. That’s okay. I’ll wait. You can pause this.
[00:02:40] Heather Zeitzwolfe: All right. You see what’s coming up? What’s coming up in your search? Is it good stuff, embarrassing stuff, not much at all? What about the content that you’ve created? Blog posts, videos, landing page, are any of them showing up? Depending on the effectiveness of your web presence, this can range from stellar to downright embarrassing.
A Preview About Knowledge Panels and Their Importance to Your Business and Career
[00:03:06] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Okay. Now for the super important one, google your business, type in your business name. Now what happens? Hopefully, the results are a little better. Does your business have a Knowledge Panel? A Knowledge Panel is that little box on the side that generally contains info about your business, like pictures, maybe a map, reviews. If you’ve registered your business with Google, then it should be showing up.
[00:03:29] Heather Zeitzwolfe: But Knowledge Panels are not just for business. Think about when you search for an actor or a writer. They have those Knowledge Panels that come up. But did you know that you can personally have a Knowledge Panel, even if you’re not famous? You can. Really cool, right? So, here’s where my guest comes in today.
Jason Barnard as the Founder and CEO of Kalicube, a Podcaster, and His Previous Career as a Cartoon Creator and a Musician
[00:03:49] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Jason Barnard is the top expert on all of this, both Brand SERP and Knowledge Panels. He is also the founder and CEO of Kalicube, a groundbreaking digital marketing agency. Kalicube offers a variety of services, including a cloud based platform called Kalicube Pro. On the Kalicube Pro website are courses, including ones on how to optimise your Brand SERP, manage your Knowledge Panels, and improve your overall SEO performance. There were several free tools on the website as well, so check out the links in the show notes.
[00:04:29] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Now, Jason has over two decades of experience in digital marketing. Back when Google was just in its infancy, Jason and his wife created a site for kids that became one of the 10,000 most visited sites on the world called Boowa and Kwala. Jason is also the host of With Jason Barnard… podcast. This episode is super informative about a subject that we should all care about, since our brand’s representation on the web is so vital to our businesses. Jason and I also discusses early years as a member of a punk rock band. And if you’re not technical, don’t worry. I’m not either. I ask the questions so that you can understand this stuff.
[00:05:17] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Just a side note. During this interview, my laptop started overheating and this extremely loud and obnoxious fan that I have came on. It’s like zzz. To my dismay, my mic picked up some of this noise. So, part way through the interview, you’ll hear a weird zzz sound. I tried to remove that zzz, but then it sounded like I was trapped in a tin can. I thought that was worse. So, I think the content is super important. So, please excuse my pesky fan. All right. Here’s my discussion with The Brand SERP Guy himself, Jason Barnard.
Welcoming Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy), Who Is Currently Residing in Paris, France
[00:06:03] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Jason Barnard, welcome to Get the Balance Right Podcast. I am so excited to have you on my show.
[00:06:09] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Thank you. I’m delighted to be here.
[00:06:11] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Thank you so much. And you’re coming all the way from Paris.
[00:06:15] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. It sounds really exciting. But right now, given the lockdown, it’s just as boring as everywhere else, I would think.
[00:06:22] Heather Zeitzwolfe: It’s such a weird time.
[00:06:24] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): It is a weird time, and I feel frustrated being in Paris. But as I said, you look at it and you think it could be a lot worse.
[00:06:31] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Yeah. And you guys got croissants.
[00:06:32] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): We do every morning. Definitely.
What Is a Brand SERP: It’s What Google Shows When People Search Your Brand Name or Personal Name
[00:06:34] Heather Zeitzwolfe: All right. Let’s get down to business here, because you are a very interesting person and you are known as The Brand SERP Guy. What is Brand SERP? What does that mean?
[00:06:47] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Right. Brand, we all know. SERP is search engine results page. And it’s basically what does Google show your audience when they search your brand name. And surprisingly, nobody has actually really looked into this in the last 20 years or so. And I am, I would like to say breaking new ground, but it’s such old ground that I’m basically dealing with something that we all should have been dealing with for the last 20 or 30 years. What do these search engines show when your audience google or bings or searches your brand name? And you would be astonished at how varied it is, how bad it can be, how good it can be, and how much we can control it.
How Did Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Went From Studying Economics to Doing SEO?
[00:07:26] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Really? Okay. Let’s put a pin in that for a minute, because I want to back up and ask you a little bit about yourself and you have a business. Can you just describe a little bit about maybe your background? I noticed that on LinkedIn that you studied economics. So, I’m curious. How did you go from economics to SEO and branding and all of that?
[00:07:46] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I did economics because for me it was the easiest subject to study. It was a subject that I got the best marks in without making any effort at all. And I went to Liverpool to the same university as John Lennon, which sounds really cool, but it doesn’t make me a better person. It just happens to be that I was there 20 years after him. And I joined a band, which was actually more than the economics degree, the thing that changed my life.
[00:08:10] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): A friend of mine said, oh, you sing, do you want to sing in a band? We created a band together. It was called Stanley the Counting Horse, which is possibly the worst name for a band you could imagine. And then I had a few adventures in Liverpool, and then moved to Paris, where I joined a band playing the double bass because they had heard that I was a musician in Liverpool. So, they asked me to join the band.
After Being in a Punk Folk Band and Playing Around Europe, Jason Barnard Created a Cartoon for Kids Then Segued Into Digital Marketing
[00:08:34] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And that became a career for almost 10 years, just playing double bass, traveling around Europe, playing gigs. And we ended up actually being reasonably famous within the European circuit. That fell apart. And I then created a cartoon for kids, where I was a blue dog and my ex-wife was a yellow koala. That lasted 10 years. And then I segued into the digital marketing universe for reasons that are actually related to the blue dog, because the blue dog and yellow koala ended up with 5 million visits a month on a website.
[00:09:09] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Yeah. I was going to ask you, but that’s one of my questions later on. Yeah. I want to ask you more about that later on for sure.
[00:09:16] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Oh, you are good at keeping the audience on tender hooks, saying we’re going to talk about the blue dog later on. That’s genius, genius hosting.
More About Jason Barnard’s Journey and Experiences as a Punk Folk Musician
[00:09:24] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Let’s go back though to this whole band thing. Now, was this a punk rock band? Was this in the 80s?
[00:09:29] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Early 90s. Late 80s, early 90s. It was punk folk. I was a punk when I was a kid. The first music album I bought was The Clash, London Calling.
[00:09:37] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Good one.
[00:09:38] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. Thanks to my sister. I would love to say it was thanks to me, but I was listening to Donny Osmond and all that kind of stuff. Then she said, why don’t you listen to this? And I listened to it and I thought, oh, that’s amazing. The first album I bought, thanks to my sister, was not Donny Osmond but The Clash. And that’s really cool, and I’m so glad she helped me with that. And then it ended up being in a folk punk band, where we played basically punk music in a folk manner or folk music in a punk manner, depending on how you want to view it.
Jason Barnard on Meeting Famous Punk Bands and Having the Privilege to Play Alongside Some of His Heroes
[00:10:09] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Wow. That’s really interesting. So, what other bands would you say that are like that? Was it like The Pogues or something? What would you compare that to?
[00:10:16] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): A hundred percent, The Pogues. We played with The Pogues multiple times and the Mano Negra, who were a French group with Spanish origins. I actually played with Captain Sensible from The Damned, but he had chicken pox. I went in and I said, ooh, you’re one of my heroes. He said, I can’t talk to you because I’ve got chicken pox. So, I had to leave the room. We played with Bob Dylan, on the same bill as Bob Dylan. I would love to say with Bob Dylan, but that’s absolutely not true. Anyway, we ended up playing with some astonishing people, who were actually my heroes when I was younger. And that was an immense privilege.
[00:10:48] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Wow. I think if I was going to get chicken pox again, I would want to get them from Captain Sensible. That would be awesome.
[00:10:54] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. Maybe I should have made more effort and got them from him, because it would’ve given me an even better story.
The Story of How Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Came Into the World of Digital Marketing and Then Into Brand SERPs
[00:10:58] Heather Zeitzwolfe: My husband loves The Damned. We hear a lot of that in my house for sure. Okay. Now, you went from punk folk to doing this cartoon to digital branding and now Brand SERP. You’re the guy. You’re the guru. How does one jump from a cartoon to digital branding? Did you go back to school? Did you just know the right people? How did you get into this?
[00:11:20] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): The blue dog and yellow koala actually were a big success online. We ended up with 5 million visits a month and 100 million page views a month on a website for kids, which is completely insane. And we were competing with people like Disney and PBS. And that all fell apart for various reasons. And then I needed to find a way to make money quickly. So, I figured I’d tell these people, if I can get a million visits a month from Google to this website for kids, think what I can do for your business online. And it worked really, really well in the sense that I actually got some work, and I made some money, and I managed to actually feed my family for a few years.
Jason Barnard on Realising the Importance of What Google Shows When People Search Your Brand Name or Personal Name
[00:11:59] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): But what I realised one day is that I wasn’t signing as many clients as I thought after the meeting. I would go into the meeting. I would say, this is what we’re going to do. We’re going to build your digital strategy. We’re going to pull you up to the top on Google, blah, blah, blah. And they would go, oh great. And I walk out thinking that’s sold, that’s done, easy peasy, lemon squeezy, whatever you would say. And I didn’t sign most of the clients, and I was wondering why.
[00:12:25] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And then one day my client said to me, when you left the room, we searched your name. And what came up was a big picture of a blue dog, and we are definitely, definitely super nervous about giving our digital strategy to a blue dog. And it suddenly occurred to me that what people see when they search your name or your brand name is phenomenally important to how they perceive you, however much you’ve previously sold yourself to them and however you’ve done that.
[00:12:52] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So, I then set about saying, how can I make this less about the blue dog and more about my talents as a digital marketer? It took me about a year to get it right. And I thought, okay, that’s it, I’ve finished the job. And then I realised there’s a lot more to be pulled out of a Brand SERP, because what Google shows your audience when they search your brand name or your personal name is its opinion of the world’s opinion of you.
[00:13:16] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): If you can get a global opinion of the world’s opinion of you, that’s incredibly valuable as a marketing tool, because who knows the world better than Google? And I can’t think of anybody, no marketing agency, no market research company. If you want to know what the world thinks about you, ask Google.
What Are the Steps One Can Take to Control Their Brand’s Online Presence on Google?
[00:13:35] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Interesting. Being that the internet is one of those things. You put something out. It’s always there, regardless if you think that you’ve deleted it or whatever. And then there’s things that are out of your control. People make comments or whatever it is. How does one control their brands online like this? It sounds like you have to consciously make an effort to make sure that your brand is what you want the world to think it is, or at least Google to think it is. So, is there steps that you can take to do this?
[00:14:03] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah, there are. And it sounds from the way you presented it, and it’s not an insult, but it sounds like you’re manipulating it, but you’re not. Google wants to show an accurate reflection of you to your audience. It has no reason to show anything else. The only problem it has is understanding what that reflection should or could be. If it’s showing something that doesn’t reflect what you think your brand represents, you either haven’t communicated to Google correctly or the world doesn’t think as well of you as you think they do.
[00:14:35] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And either way, you need to deal with it. Either you need to correct what the world thinks about you so that Google can then reflect it correctly to your audience when they search you on Google, or you need to illustrate and demonstrate to Google that Google’s getting it wrong and that your audience actually thinks much more positively about you than Google appears to imagine.
How Do You Start Teaching Google the Way It’s Supposed to Be Reflecting You or Your Brand?
[00:14:56] Heather Zeitzwolfe: How does one start going about this? Say for instance, you’re just a small company. You’re not a big corporation, like Coca-Cola, that can afford all this branding. If you’re just a small, maybe a solopreneur, maybe you’ve got a coaching business or you have a digital marketing agency or whatever, how do you start teaching Google the way that it’s supposed to be reflecting who you are?
[00:15:15] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I think manipulate is a word that I’ve said so many times, and it isn’t. I would like to think that from my point of view, you can potentially manipulate Google. And I’m sure that’s something that people will do with what I teach. But for me, the idea is simply saying, I want Google to reflect me accurately. That comes to that point of saying either it hasn’t understood or I’m wrong about what the world thinks about me. And either way, you need to deal with it. And cheating and manipulating is, I would suggest, not a long term solution.
Jason Barnard on Building a Tool Called Kalicube Pro to Help People Control Their Digital Brand Presence on Google
[00:15:45] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And the other thing is what you said right at the beginning. It will figure it out one day. It might not be today. It might not be tomorrow. It might not be next month. But in two years down the line, it’s going to figure that out. I had a really good example with Kalicube Pro, which is the tool I’ve built, the platform I’ve built to help people to do this.
[00:16:01] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): It’s not a negative thing, but my sister is a writer. And she created a film club in Liverpool in 1982. And somebody cited her as being the instigator of something that’s happening this month. And the tool dug that out and said, Josie Barnard, these people are talking about you and saying how wonderful you are. And a second one that was really cool is she was cited in an article in The Guardian about traffic wardens, completely random.
[00:16:31] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): But that’s the point is that the Kalicube tool, just to explain, actually just pings Google and figures out what Google thinks the world thinks about you and then reflects it back to you and says, what do you think about this? And if you think it’s rubbish, let’s start working on it. And if you think it’s great, let’s start making it better. One thing that came out of that is that you don’t necessarily realise, once you have any kind of digital presence, how much other people talk about you.
How Do You Ensure That Google’s Reflection of You Is Positive, Accurate, and Convincing?
[00:16:56] Heather Zeitzwolfe: How do you make it better? You just have to be on social media constantly. You have to update your blogs. How do you make it better?
[00:17:02] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I think something that will always come out is that there’s always something less than a hundred percent positive that will pop up. All you need to do in order to make sure that when people are looking for you, that it’s positive, accurate, and convincing, is ensure that Google understands that that particular negative or less than positive piece of information is less relevant and less helpful to your audience than a piece of information that you want it to show. It’s simply a question of demonstrating to Google that the reflection it’s giving is not the most appropriate reflection of who you are, what you do, and who your audience is and why they should trust you.
[00:17:40] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Hey there, this is Heather. I hope you’re enjoying the podcast. And if you are, if you wouldn’t mind, please hit the subscribe button now. That way you’ll never miss an episode. All right. Now, back to the podcast.
How Does One Measure How Google Is Representing Your Brand?
[00:17:57] Heather Zeitzwolfe: How does one measure how Google is representing your brand? Is that just from, you just look at it and you’re like, that doesn’t sound right? Or you mentioned that you have some tools. Are there tools that will actually help you with this?
[00:18:09] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): It’s a great question because I’ve been doing it just by going, I look at that, it doesn’t look good, off we go. And it’s really ad hoc and rubbish and is completely based on what I feel. In French, we say l’odeur. It’s what you smell. And you say, that doesn’t look right, let’s deal with it. And what I’ve done is I actually ended up getting some quite major clients on board and realise that I can’t do that. For companies who actually need to understand and be able to measure, I built Kalicube Pro as a means to represent what I understand just by looking and measure it and be able to represent it and say, this is improving or this is not improving.
[00:18:46] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And it’s, I’d love to say an adventure and wonderful, but some of it, I just think sometimes just your gut feeling is just so nice. And it makes more sense, and the numbers don’t necessarily reflect that. I have a measurement system, but I also advise people to look at it and use their common good sense to think the school is good, but there are still things that I can improve.
Who Are the People That Can Take the Courses Which Kalicube Is Offering?
[00:19:05] Heather Zeitzwolfe: You also offer courses to this website. Is this something that digital marketers should take for helping their own clients with their branding? Who are your courses geared towards?
[00:19:15] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I actually created the courses for people who don’t really know very much about SEO. And basically, it’s saying you can manage your online reputation, what people see when they google your brand name or your personal name, using quality, simple SEO techniques. I thought this is never going to be interesting for anybody who knows anything about SEO.
[00:19:35] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And it turns out that it’s so niche, it’s so specific that nobody, as far as I’m aware, has ever looked into it in this much detail. So, you can take somebody who knows absolutely boatloads about SEO, and they will still say, yes, I learned something from this course. So, what’s nice about it, and I love that coming back to the blue dog and yellow koala, it’s universal.
Jason Barnard Managed to Teach People Who Know Nothing About SEO and People Who Think They Know Everything But There Is More to Learn
[00:19:57] Heather Zeitzwolfe: That’s great. Because when I saw that you had courses, I was thinking, oh, I probably have to be an SEO nerd or something to really understand it.
[00:20:04] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): The courses themselves, as I said, I designed them for people who know nothing about SEO. So, I actually go through the basics of SEO. And what is interesting is that does help people, because there are very, very, very simple things you can do that will immediately improve what appears when somebody googles your brand name. There are also some things that aren’t obvious to people who are super experts.
[00:20:25] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So, what I think I’ve managed to do is hit this market, which is teaching people who know nothing how to get involved and teaching people who think they know everything, that they don’t necessarily know everything on every aspect and every plane, and that there are a lot of things that you can do that aren’t obvious and that aren’t necessarily directly traditional, in inverted commas, SEO that will help you to improve Google’s opinion of you. But if you are to improve Google’s opinion of you, you necessarily need to improve the world’s opinion of you, because that’s exactly what Google is reflecting.
What Are Some of the Things That You Should Focus On to Improve Your Brand SERP?
[00:20:59] Heather Zeitzwolfe: What are some of these ways that you can do this? Does it depend on individual situations?
[00:21:04] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): There are some universals, obviously. First thing to do is to look at your homepage on your website and say, does it actually represent me as I would wish? And the answer is surprisingly often not. We fail to look at ourselves in the mirror sufficiently. You need to take a big step back and say, how do other people perceive this and not how do I want to present myself. You need to put yourself in other people’s shoes, because that’s what they’re seeing and that’s what you need to represent. And I think most people fail to do that, including myself.
[00:21:34] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Second universal is reviews. Obviously, you need good reviews, and that isn’t necessarily the case. And it’s easy to say, oh, bad review, they were wrong. But in fact, if the overall weight of reviews is negative, you need to start looking at yourself and think, what am I doing wrong? Have I got the wrong audience? And they don’t appreciate what I’m offering because they’re the wrong audience. Or am I not giving a good service to the audience that I’m actually trying to serve?
After Looking at Your Homepage and Your Reviews, You Can Focus on Creating Videos and Serving Your Audience
[00:22:01] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Next up is things like videos. If you are making loads of videos, but you don’t see videos when you search your name or your brand name, then you’re making videos that aren’t either being appreciated by your audience or Google isn’t seeing that they’re being appreciated by your audience. So, it’s a really nice way to look in there and say, am I actually making the right content for the right audience in the right place, where they are truly engaging, where I’m actually making sense?
[00:22:27] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Once again, you look at Google and it’s saying, oh, you’re rubbish. And Google is a really good judge of that. You would like to suggest that Google is getting it wrong. But I think most of the time, if Google is showing something, it isn’t getting it wrong. You probably need someone’s introspection and look at what you’re doing and think, am I actually truly serving my audience? And I’ve certainly, personally learned a great deal from having the intelligence, self-awareness to take a step back and say, actually I’m not as good as I thought I was.
[00:22:55] Heather Zeitzwolfe: This goes beyond just branding, like a mindset shift, self-reflection. There’s a lot to this.
The Importance of the Content You’re Creating, the Proper Communication With Your Audience, and the Way You’re Presenting to Google
[00:23:01] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): That’s really interesting. Either you are getting it wrong in terms of the content you’re creating and the way you’re communicating with the audience, or you are not letting Google know, which means that you’re not presenting it correctly. Either way, you’ve got a question to ask of yourself and something to improve. And after 7 years, I have things to improve in the way that Google is presenting my brand, as a person or a company, to my audience.
[00:23:23] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And you remember that people who are googling your brand name are your audience. They’re the core audience. They’re the people who are important to you. They’re the prospects and the clients and the potential hires. They’re the really, really, really important people to you. People don’t search a brand name and completely know where they search it because they’re interested in you and your offers.
What Are the Best Ways and Aspects to Consider in Getting Your Videos to Show Up in Your Brand SERP?
[00:23:40] Heather Zeitzwolfe: When someone searches a brand and no videos show up, is that something that you have to make sure that you have? Maybe you’re in Vimeo or YouTube. How would be the best way to get your videos to actually show up?
[00:23:52] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): There are multiple aspects. One of which is how the video is presented on the page. Is the video presented in a way that Google can be confident that it’s deliverable? I’m really, really interested in the idea of if Google is to show your video in this particular case or text or an answer to a question or whatever it might be, whatever your content is, does Google understand that your audience will be able to consume that content in a manner that that audience actually wants to consume it?
[00:24:20] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So, for example, video. If I’m on a mobile phone, I will use video a lot because reading is so difficult because I’m 54 years old and I need glasses. You have that question of, is my content deliverable? And the second question is, is my content engaging for my audience? And the third question is, can Google see that?
Considering the Phenomenal Scale That the Machines Work At, the Engagements of Your Audience to Your Brand Is Important
[00:24:38] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): To give you an idea, I was talking to Fabrice Canel from Bing, who’s Mr. Bingbot, who’s the guy who designs the machine that crawls the web for Microsoft, which is basically the equivalent of Google. And he said they discover 70 billion pages every day. Hang on, get this. It’s not 70 billion pages every day. It’s 70 billion pages they have not yet seen before.
[00:25:00] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Really? Wow.
[00:25:01] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Then you start to realise the phenomenal scale that these machines work at. Every time you tweet or you put something on Facebook or you put something on LinkedIn, it doesn’t see it at all, but it sees a very, very large amount of it. They can measure that, and they can see is the audience of this brand or this person engaging with this content. And if they aren’t, there’s no point in showing it.
All About Jason Barnard’s Podcast: Why He Started It, How He Talks With His Guests, and What He Learned
[00:25:22] Heather Zeitzwolfe: You have a podcast as well. Can you just tell a little bit about your podcast?
[00:25:26] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I started out as an excuse to travel around the world. I asked my accountant, can I just go to lots of conferences and spend money from the company going to conferences? And she said, no, you can’t, unless you get a client every time. And I said, but if I create content, can I do that? She said, yep. That would be absolutely acceptable from a taxation point of view.
[00:25:47] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I created the podcast to basically give me excuse to go around the world and turned up at these conferences in digital marketing and found people having interesting conversations, interrupted the conversation or waited till it ended and then talked to them and said, could we have a conversation about that but on record, on audio, video? And it turns out that’s the best way to learn.
Jason Barnard Learned a Lot From His Podcast Simply Because He Was Talking With Passionate People
[00:26:09] Heather Zeitzwolfe: That is so cool. But also from a taxation point of view, that’s really an interesting thing that you’ve done.
[00:26:14] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. It was an excuse to travel around the world. It was something I really wanted to do. I did it for a year and a half, and it was absolutely brilliant. And it brought that immense big surprise, which was that I learned more in a year and a half than I had learned in the last 20 years, simply because I was talking to people who were passionate about what they were talking about. And I could ask them any question I wanted, and they would answer. And it’s still going on today. I’ve got 170 episodes. And every time I talk to somebody, they always teach me something I didn’t already know.
[00:26:45] Heather Zeitzwolfe: I love having my podcast, where I get to talk to people that I wouldn’t normally get to talk to and grill them with questions about Brand SERP and such.
[00:26:53] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I think people like yourself, who interest in answers out of people because you’re naturally curious. I think that’s a very powerful element of human existence, that it’s not just those basic standard questions. It’s saying, oh, I’m actually really interested in the answer to this one.
The Reason Only Few People Have the Idea of What Is a Brand SERP
[00:27:08] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Personally, I work with a lot of digital marketers, videographers, branding people, but I have never heard this term Brand SERP before. And I tossed the idea around with them, and they didn’t know what I was talking about. Was this something that you coined the phrase, invented, or is this something that can other people make a career out of this as well? Are you just the guide?
[00:27:32] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): The reason nobody’s heard of it is because I’m the only person saying it. I started doing this, and I couldn’t find a phrase for it. And I invented that phrase, and I’m pushing out. Then I’m trying to get people to use it. And people often say, oh, branded search. And I’m saying no, no, no, it’s not branded search, it’s your Brand SERP. It’s the exact result on Google when somebody searches your exact brand name with nothing added, not Jason Barnard reviews, just Jason Barnard, what appears.
[00:27:59] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I think it’s fairly unique, and I think it’s phenomenally important. And this is the beauty of it is that it is niche in that nobody else is doing it, but it’s universal in the sense that everybody needs it. If somebody wants to launch a career in Brand SERPs, you’re welcome because I can’t possibly serve 6 billion people and 50 billion companies and tourist attractions, who all need this service.
All About Jason Barnard’s Cartoon for Kids, Boowa and Kwala: How It Was Created and Why Did It Became a Success
[00:28:22] Heather Zeitzwolfe: We are going to talk about that animation that you did.
[00:28:26] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): At last.
[00:28:27] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Yes. Come on. Let’s talk about this. I saw it on your LinkedIn page, that it was a very popular cartoon that you started with your wife. I know we talked about you had a punk rock band, but how did you actually get into this animation space? And were you doing the animation? Were you doing the voiceovers? How were you involved, and how did you make it such a hit?
[00:28:45] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I’m stubborn. So, the reason it was a hit is because I’m stubborn as opposed to anything else, but actually that’s untrue. It’s also because it was really good. I’m stubborn when I think that what I’m being stubborn about is important or helpful or beautiful or lovely. And the blue dog and yellow koala were everything I could have dreamed of doing, which is positive for the world, bringing something wonderful, educational, happy, positive, quality, great team. I could go on and on and on.
From Writing Punk Folk Songs for His Band, Jason Barnard Started Writing Songs for Children
[00:29:17] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): But I actually went from the punk folk musician, which was another thing I truly believed in. I think the music we did was good. It wasn’t as good as The Pogues perhaps, but it was certainly good enough to stand up on its own and make other people’s Friday and Saturday evenings a little bit better than they would otherwise have been, to making cartoons for kids.
[00:29:38] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I was writing songs, and the people in the punk folk band said, we don’t like your songs. It turned out it’s because they were a bit childish and they were a bit naive and they weren’t punk folk enough. I just basically say, well, I’ll write songs for kids. And it turns out I’m actually very good at that much, much, much better than I am at writing punk folk songs.
The Creative Process of Writing Songs: Some Are Really Good and Some Are Actually Just Rubbish
[00:29:57] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And I wrote 80 or 90 songs for children in the space of 10 years. And some of them are all right, some of them are medium. I don’t think any of them are absolutely awful. And some of them, I actually think are really, really good. I wrote a really bad song for the punk folk group, and it’s appalling. I listen to it now and you just go, oh, what was I thinking?
[00:30:18] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I think part of the creative process is that you have to go through the rubbish. Everybody has written some rubbish. I don’t think you can name any artist who hasn’t done some rubbish. And oh, I just said I was an artist. How terribly pretentious of me, sorry. But being a blue dog actually was very liberating because you can hide behind it.
You Can Still Look Up Boowa and Kwala on YouTube and Listen to Some of Their Happy Children’s Songs
[00:30:36] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Is this available on some kind of CD or album DVD? Can you get those songs somewhere?
[00:30:41] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Just look them up on YouTube. They are all up there. So, you can actually listen to Jason Barnard being, the name of the dog is Boowa and the name of the yellow koala is Kwala. So, you can look up Boowa and Kwala, and you can find the blue dog and the yellow koala, who were best friends for a reason that I can simply not explain. You can listen to them singing these happy children’s songs. And one of the great things that I feel in life is that I think that was a really positive contribution that is still being appreciated by people today.
Jason Barnard on Doing the Animation Himself at the Start, Trying to Find Good Animators, and Finally Hiring the Best Animator He Could Find
[00:31:12] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Who did the animation? Were you involved in that at all?
[00:31:15] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Oh, crumbs. Yeah, I did the first animations. If you look at the very first ones, they’re absolute rubbish. We found a guy. He had left school at 16. He had no qualifications. He came in for an interview, and my wife said she was the illustrator. How can I choose? Who should I employ as an illustrator, animator? And she said, just get them all to draw a picture of the yellow koala and bring it back to me, and I will tell you who’s the person to employ.
[00:31:41] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I did 10 interviews in a day. And I went back home and I said, here are the 10 illustrations, who do you pick? And I was looking and I was going, I know exactly which one I’m going to pick. And she went, nope, nope, nope. She threw out all the ones I was going to pick. And she said, this is the one we want. And I was going, but it’s rubbish, it’s absolutely awful. It doesn’t look like the character he was supposed to be drawing. And she said, but it’s got soul.
[00:32:04] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And I employed him, and he turned out to be the single best thing in animation that I could possibly have imagined. He worked with me for 8 years, 9 years, a long time. He knew me incredibly well. And I was the blue dog, and I was the boss. And he actually managed to not treat me like a blue dog, which is quite an achievement on his part, I think. And one day, he did an animation. I looked at it and I thought, this is astonishingly so realistic, so happy, and it communicates so much character and soul. And I went to him and I said, how did you do this? How did you manage to do this animation?
Jason Barnard on Using Macromedia Flash for Their Hand-Drawn Animations of Boowa and Kwala
[00:32:37] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Interesting. He was really invoking your personality. And was this digital animation or hand drawn?
[00:32:43] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): It was hand drawn in Flash. If you remember Flash, which was Macromedia and Adobe, one of the leaders in the world in terms of both animation. Unfortunately, it got killed off. I thought it was an astonishingly powerful tool that really changed a great deal of what we expect from the web.
All About Jason Barnard’s Company, Kalicube: The Services They Offer and the Ways People Can Work With Them
[00:32:59] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Jason, tell us a little bit about your company and the services that you provide and ways people can work with you.
[00:33:04] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I’m The Brand SERP Guy. Basically, if you want to make sure that what appears when somebody googles your brand name or your personal name is positive, accurate, and convincing, that’s what I specialise in. I built a platform called Kalicube Pro that is very powerful. If you want a Knowledge Panel, we can work towards getting a Knowledge Panel. Knowledge Panels are the thing on the right in Google results when you search for a film star. Everybody can have one.
More About Knowledge Panels and Educating Google to Influence These Knowledge Panels
[00:33:28] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Is that something you can actually design to happen this Knowledge Panel? I probably sound like an idiot asking you this question.
[00:33:35] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): No. Most people think that it’s something you can have no influence on at all. And in fact, that’s completely false. The Knowledge Panel, people think, oh, you have to be a star, a film star, or a football star or the queen of England or whatever it might be, you need to be famous. And in fact, you need to be famous to be in Wikipedia. That’s one thing. That’s people looking at an encyclopedia. So, you need to be notable. It’s what they call it in Wikipedia.
[00:33:57] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): But Google doesn’t have that judgment. It doesn’t care if you’re notable. It just wants to understand. And if it’s understood, it will show. So, it’s up to us to educate Google. Google does understand quite well on its own. But if you want to have any level of control of what people see when they search your name or your brand name, you need to start educating Google.
A Case Where Someone Managed to Create a Knowledge Panel About Himself Even Though He Is Not Famous
[00:34:17] Heather Zeitzwolfe: I have to look into this whole Knowledge Panel, see if anything comes up for me. I think it’s just my office or something. I guess people that write books, that seems like that might show up. Is that kind of a way they do it?
[00:34:27] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Sure. A hundred percent. If you’re a music star or you’ve written a book. I’ve got a friend. He wanted a Knowledge Panel. He just set out to create a Knowledge Panel for himself, and he isn’t famous at all. And he ended up after a year, not only did he have a Knowledge Panel that said his name, his photo, all the information about him, his family, his mother, his father, he managed to get his shoe size in a Knowledge Panel. His shoe size is 9 in English.
[00:34:52] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): There’s nothing extraordinary or interesting about that, but it really is a case of if Google has understood it and it’s confident it has understood, it will show it. And it doesn’t matter if it’s interesting or not. I love that guy, simply because he was so determined to do it. He spent a year building that understanding, educating Google step by step by step, and having the patience to stick with it. And after a year, he got his shoe size shown when you search his name.
Kalicube Pro Could Be Used to Trigger a Knowledge Panel and Would Potentially Offer Courses About Them
[00:35:21] Heather Zeitzwolfe: That’s very cool. Some of the courses that you have, are any of them geared towards this Knowledge Panel?
[00:35:26] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. I started doing a course for that, which is currently on hold because I’ve built the platform. What the platform actually does the Kalicube Pro platform, is instead of me telling you generally what you might want to do, depending on whether you’re a musician or an author or whatever it might be, it takes your specific case. It analyses Google, looks at what Google thinks is important, and tells you where you can push the right buttons to make Google understand what you want it to understand.
[00:35:53] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And then you can also inject into Kalicube Pro the equivalent. I’m not saying competitors, and I’m careful not to say competitors. In a business, it would be competitors. For a person, it’s equivalents. You give me a list of 50 equivalents, and I can tell you exactly where Google is looking for information about those equivalents. So, you can then place the information in those places, and get Google to understand you better, get that Knowledge Panel.
[00:36:18] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And at the end of the day, if you have a Knowledge Panel, you can control what Google shows when somebody searches your brand name or your personal name. It’s that powerful, and it’s that important. Everybody should be doing it. So, I have 6 billion people, 50 billion companies, 100 billion products as potential clients.
Thanking the Guest, Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy), for His Insights About Brand SERPs and Knowledge Panels
[00:36:38] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Wow. That is brilliant. I think everybody’s got some homework to do this, out in the audience, get those Knowledge Panels working. Wow. Well, Jason, this has been so fascinating. Thank you so much for being on the show.
[00:36:51] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Thank you. Yeah. It was absolutely delightful, lovely conversation. I do love the fact that your hair on the top of your head, if anybody wonders where hair is, is the same colour as my shirt, which is on my back, if anyone was wondering where you wear a shirt.
Where Can People Find and Connect With Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)?
[00:37:04] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Yeah. It matches. Thank you so much, Jason. And I’ll have all kinds of links for you in the show notes. If people wanted to just get in touch with you, besides your website, where are you most active? Are you on LinkedIn, Instagram? Where do people find you?
[00:37:17] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): If you search my name, Jason Barnard, you will immediately see who I am, what I do, what my history is. The whole thing is basically my life story represented in Google, which is something I’ve greatly enjoyed. It’s taken me seven years to do, and I hope Kalicube Pro would enable you to do that in a year, let’s say. So, obviously, all my experience of doing it all wrong, I can then tell you how not to do it wrong and get it right. But you will notice that the second in the list is going to be Twitter. I love Twitter. I think Twitter is really good fun, simply because it’s easy, fast, and it’s a great mixture of fun and intelligent, which I don’t get from Facebook or LinkedIn.
[00:37:56] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Awesome. Thank you so much, Jason.
[00:37:58] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Thank you very much. That was absolutely delightful, Heather.
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[00:38:04] Heather Zeitzwolfe: Hey, this is Heather. Thanks so much for listening to the podcast. If you found value in the show, I’d really appreciate it if you gave me a rating on iTunes or just simply tell a friend about it. And if you’re interested in learning more about my profit advising and coaching, please set up a discovery call by using the link in the show notes. All right. Thanks so much and see you next time.
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