Thumbnail: Kalicube Tuesdays with Rand Fishkin and Jason Barnard: The Knowledge Graph without Wikipedia

Many marketers rely on using Wikipedia to get into Google’s Knowledge Graph. This approach has multiple issues

it is not appreciated by Wikipedia editors
it isn’t helpful to Wikipedia users
it truly is an all-or-nothing tactic
it fails if the article is never published, or is quickly deleted
it is an unstable ‘one trick pony’ strategy
it hands control of ‘facts’ about your brand (or personal brand) to Wikipedians
… and then it isn’t the only way to get into the Knowledge Graph. There are many, many other routes you can take that are more stable, more reliable and where you have control.

Mostly, we discuss removing Wikipedia from the equation in our Knowledge Graph strategies… but we talk around the topic – taking control of information about you online, Brand SERPs, the future of Brand in digital marketing, the power of the tech giants… and rather a lot more !

Welcoming the Guest, Rand Fishkin, and Remembering His Topic at YoastCon About the Four Horsemen

[00:00:00] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Hi, everybody, and welcome. Rand Fishkin is here. Lovely to welcome you here. You get the song again. I actually listened to our last episode. And you were terribly, I don’t know if the word is impressed or surprised by the song. 

[00:00:18] Rand Fishkin: I think it’s amazing to add music to a little conversation like this. And yeah, thank you for having me, Jason. 

[00:00:25] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Brilliant. A quick hello and we’re good to go. Welcome to the show, Rand Fishkin.

[00:00:33] Rand Fishkin: Bravo, bravo.

[00:00:36] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Oh, thank you. That sounds very Italian. Wonderful, which is appropriate because our partners in this whole scheme is WordLift, who are an Italian company who deal with internal Knowledge Graph, Schema Markup, and pushing all this into the Knowledge Graph, which is my current obsession. When we last met, it was a year and a half at YoastCon. My obsession was much more marketing. And your Four Horsemen, I was going to say discourse, but I think that’s French, incredibly interesting, really, really cool. 

[00:01:11] Rand Fishkin: Yeah. It feels apocryphal now to be talking about these Four Horsemen. And here we are in an era, at least in the United States, I don’t know about where you are, but in the United States where there’s definitely a sense that our pandemic response has been coloured by how the tech giants have led us down roads of disinformation and problematic.

How Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Ended Up Living in France

[00:01:42] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Oh, maybe we should change the topic for today because that would be an interesting topic. From my point of view, I’m sitting here in France. I went around the world. I went from Paris to Australia to America and back here. And I landed back here, and then they shut the whole thing down literally within a week.

[00:02:00] Rand Fishkin: Good timing.

[00:02:01] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. No. I was lucky. I was really lucky. And I ended up living with my daughter in eight meters squared, which is very small.

[00:02:08] Rand Fishkin: Ooh.

[00:02:09] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah, exactly. She said, oh, you can come and stay with me, daddy, because I didn’t have a home. And France has actually come out quite well. Paris, what they’ve done is they’ve closed the streets, got rid of all the parking spaces. All the terraces, all the restaurants have turned into terraces on the street. And it’s been absolutely lovely.

Comparing the Effect of the Pandemic in France and in the US 

[00:02:27] Rand Fishkin: My god, that sounds so stunningly beautiful. I think that’s one of the things that the United States really doesn’t know what it’s missing is that when you have a little bit more collectivism, and you have a little bit more of a sense of national unity, and that your pride isn’t an individual responsibility but in collective responsibility, the beautiful outcomes for individuals happen.

[00:02:58] Rand Fishkin: And I don’t think Americans unfortunately don’t connect up the fact that those two things can work in symbiosis. And as a result, we get what we get, which is my wife and I are going into month seven of lockdown.

[00:03:14] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Really?

[00:03:15] Rand Fishkin: Where we leave our house basically once a week to get groceries with a mask on. And even then, it’s pretty sketchy and that’s just awful.

[00:03:28] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): We had maybe two months of lockdown, a little bit more perhaps. And I’m now back in Paris, and it’s got a quite left wing local authority. And they’ve just said, right, okay. And they’ve been cooing around with these guys, who have been burning off the parking spaces and just replacing it with wooden boards where restaurants and cafes can put their terraces. So, the whole thing is just feels Paris is converted into one big cafe terrace.

The Difference Between the Cultural Mindset of European Countries and the United States 

[00:03:59] Rand Fishkin: Yeah, yeah. I think the French have always had a cultural and national mindset of, and this is not just true of France. I think this is generally true of many European countries and lots of places outside of Europe as well, that the goal is to maximise happiness and opportunity for the largest number of people. And if that restricts the opportunities available to the wealthiest and most powerful individuals, that’s a good thing. And the United States has been the opposite, where if we inflict a lot of suffering on many people, that is okay, as long as we don’t infringe on the rights of a few rich and powerful people.

[00:04:42] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. We do get the people in their big Jaguar cars, driving around, honking, and getting really annoyed, but general opinion seems to be, yeah, alright, I will. 

[00:04:52] Rand Fishkin: I think the right response is you have made the correct decision. You have prioritised the right people, right?

[00:04:59] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah.

[00:04:59] Rand Fishkin: People who want to go outside and eat in cafes and can’t afford a car, awesome, wonderful. We want to prioritise them. People who want to park their Jaguar in the middle of Paris, sorry, friend, you got to walk.

The Situation in France, Where People Are Out and About, and in America, Where People Are Living in Fear 

[00:05:11] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah, no. Just one last thing because I really want to say it, and this all sounds really self-satisfied about Paris and France. I’m actually English to start with. I just got French nationality. So, I’m adopted. So, I’m going, oh, isn’t this cool? But actually, I’ve got nothing to do with it. I didn’t vote for any of these people. The French people did. Now I’m French, I can vote and I will vote.

[00:05:32] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): But they’ve got the cradle’s end, the side of the river, and they close it down during the summer, during the month of August every year. And they’ve closed it down. We thought they weren’t going to do it. And they’ve settled beaches in the middle of Paris. And they had dance clubs. These, what would you call them, throw up bars, where they put the bars up, throw up in the sense of we put them up, not we drink and then throw up, which would be rather disgusting. And it’s been brilliant.

[00:06:05] Rand Fishkin: You’re going to make me cry, Jason, just imagining that places in the world. I guess it is very heartening to know that not everywhere is like the United States, where people are just living in fear, some combination of fear and such hatred and disdain for their neighbors or their political rivals that they’re willing to sacrifice themselves. Yeah, it’s just been really, it’s been so bad here.

[00:06:39] Rand Fishkin: I look at the deaths around the world. I think the United States is responsible for or is the place where I think somewhere between a quarter and a third of the deaths from COVID have happened, despite the fact that we have something like 7% or 6% of the world’s population. So, just terrifying.

The Dangerous Idea of Nationalism and the Fact That People Should Learn From History

[00:06:59] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): It’s absolutely bonkers. From our point of view, I’m saying from the European point of view, the English point view, I’m looking at the UK with Brexit and Boris Johnson and then the US with Trump and just thinking, oh god, this is a good place to be right now. And I hope it stays that way. I really do. Anyway, sorry, go on. 

[00:07:19] Rand Fishkin: Nationalism is very dangerous, right? Directly dangerous to your health and the health of your parents and grandparents and children and loved ones. It’s very dangerous. So, I don’t know. Hopefully, this will be a good reminder for future generations to look back on and reflect on the fact that nationalism wasn’t a good idea in the 30s and 40s. And it’s not a good idea now. 

[00:07:40] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. And I would love that to be true, but then you look back to the Spanish flu pandemic from over a century ago. And what I’ve been reading is none of us have really learned our lesson from that.

Is the Viral Spread of Misinformation Caused by the Field of Technology and Web Marketing? 

[00:07:53] Rand Fishkin: No. Well, I don’t know. It looks like there’s a lot of places in the world, France included, that have taken some pretty substantial measures and have had some serious success. But going back to our internet marketing world, I look at many of the problems that are occurring. And I don’t know if you feel this way at all, but I sometimes feel that what our field, both start-ups and technology and web marketing and messaging and spreading content on the internet, that I don’t know if we’re directly to blame, but that our field bears a great deal of responsibility for the misinformation and the disinformation for enabling the viral spread of bad ideas.

[00:08:44] Rand Fishkin: And it’s very hard to reconcile the sort of little L, liberalism concept of freedom of speech, that we should be able to speak our minds, that ideas shouldn’t be restricted. And also, keep in mind how dangerous and how rapidly and how easily accepted bad information is. There was a great piece yesterday. I can’t remember where it was, but it was called something like the truth is paywalled, but the lies are free.

[00:09:20] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Oh, that’s a really good title.

[00:09:22] Rand Fishkin: Great title.

As digital marketers, we have a certain amount of responsibility.

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[00:09:23] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And sorry, but that does come to the fact that as digital marketers, we have a certain amount of responsibility.

[00:09:30] Rand Fishkin: Absolutely.

[00:09:31] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): But I think a lot of it is put to one side thinking, okay, it doesn’t really matter, I’m doing it. And one of those things is my obsession is Knowledge Graph, Knowledge Panels. And I’ve obviously been looking at yours and researching. I’ve been tracking it, which is a bit creepy. And I’m really sorry, but it’s part and parcel of the deal, I’m afraid.

[00:09:49] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And I just got all my pages, all the articles about me, my rock group, and my cartoon characters, cartoon characters that were watched by millions of children, literally. A hundred million children might have seen that. I’m exaggerating, but obviously we get a bit enthusiastic about what we’ve created, but it was a million kids a month.

[00:10:11] Rand Fishkin: Wow.

[00:10:11] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And it got deleted. And you’re saying, okay, yeah, I interfered too much, which is fine, but that isn’t fair. And Wikipedia is a whole new problem, and talking about Knowledge Graphs and Knowledge Panels, as far as I’m aware.

Briefly Looking at Rand Fishkin’s Brand SERP and the Story of How He Petitioned to Have His Wikipedia Page Be Deleted

[00:10:28] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Here I’m showing your Knowledge Panel, which I love, the top of your Brand SERP. I’m a Brand SERP obsessive. You have your Twitter boxes. You’ve got your SparkToro. You’ve managed to put them to the top very quickly, pushing Moz down just below the fold there, which is wonderful. I’m sorry to hide your face. On the right hand side, you’ve got the facts, in inverted commas, about Rand Fishkin, which is the books, the description, the photos, and the people that you’re associated with. Google’s really got a good grip on you. And there’s no need for a Wikipedia page for that, which I love. 

[00:11:03] Rand Fishkin: So, several years ago, this is probably a decade ago, I petitioned Wikipedia to delete my Wikipedia page.

[00:11:11] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Brilliant. I love you.

[00:11:13] Rand Fishkin: Yeah. There’s a process that individuals can go through, where if editors have created a page about you, you can submit. And if you can prove that you’re not noteworthy enough, which is an odd thing, I have to.

[00:11:28] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Which we all do. They’re absolutely opposite. Brilliant.

[00:11:30] Rand Fishkin: There’s millions of people like me. If you’re going to include me, you’re going to have to include millions more. And I don’t have the notoriety to have a Wikipedia page. Please delete this. They will consider the request. And they’re obviously a group of individual editors. But they did. They ended up deleting it, which worked out great.

Because Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Experimented Too Much With His Wikipedia Page, It Then Got Deleted

[00:11:52] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Right. Because I’ve been looking at this and saying, okay, Wikipedia isn’t the be-all and end-all. We can actually function and get into the Google’s Knowledge Graph without it. And that’s what we need to be doing. And what happened is I experimented so much on my own Wikipedia page, my band from the 90s, and my cartoon characters from the year 2000. The band sold 40,000 records, so it is notable. And they still deleted it because I interfered too much. The cartoon series, it was shown in 15 countries. They still deleted it, produced by ITV Studios.

[00:12:22] Rand Fishkin: Wait, Jason, maybe you stumbled inadvertently on an excellent technique. By interfering and looking like you were trying to promote yourself, you inadvertently were able to do SEO by removing Wikipedia, which is probably a great thing.

Realising That Wikipedia No Longer Controls Jason’s Image After It Got Deleted

[00:12:37] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah, but that’s only for you and your mother and a couple of other people who actually want to delete the Wikipedia pages. Everyone else wants to keep them. But what it has made me realise and what’s happened is my entire universe, in inverted commas, my Knowledge Graph and Brand SERP universe has gone a bit AWOL over the last couple of weeks. And it’s been very interesting because what it does mean is that Wikipedia no longer controls my image. And that’s what you saw however many years ago.

[00:13:04] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And I suddenly bow to you yet again, Rand. Oh, sorry. What I was going to say is I actually had a shave. I did this because I thought you looked so chic. And I thought I would do a challenge, but it hasn’t really worked. 

[00:13:16] Rand Fishkin: Yeah. I see that we’re both sporting a good bit of gray coming in. Just the last bit’s of dark hanging on down here and up here.

[00:13:25] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. You still have some. I don’t have any. 

[00:13:28] Rand Fishkin: It happens to us all, my friend. No, I think…

Moz’s Wikipedia Still Currently Has Incorrect Information, Proving Rand Fishkin’s Point That It Can’t Be Trusted 

[00:13:32] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Sorry. Can you expand on that idea of saying I don’t know how many years ago it was of saying I don’t want to be in Wikipedia and why you did it? Because I think that’s phenomenally interesting. Because I’ve only just realised it because I got deleted, rather than something I had intelligently thought about. And you’ve obviously come up with that here.

[00:13:49] Rand Fishkin: Yeah. It’s basically about brand control, right? Being able to control your image and also being able to accurately tell your story and share information. So, I’ll give you a great example. Moz’s Wikipedia page to this day has incorrect information about its founders, incorrect information about its funding.

[00:14:10] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Oh, I saw that.

[00:14:11] Rand Fishkin: Yeah. The funding amount is wrong. They’ve got that wrong. They got wrong who funded it. They have incorrect information about when certain events happened. So, I went into the talk page. This is probably five or six years ago. And I was like, look, I’ve complained about this before here, but here are all these facts, here are the citations. I encourage you editors to change it. And the response was, this is a self-interested founder. This is Rand Fishkin’s account. We should not listen to him. Please delete any comments he leaves.

[00:14:43] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Really?

[00:14:44] Rand Fishkin: Awesome. Wonderful. They have proven, Wikipedia’s editors have proven my point that you can go to those pages. And if it look, if it’s about what happened in Star Trek episode 81, it’s probably very trustworthy.

[00:14:57] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah.

[00:14:58] Rand Fishkin: But if it’s about literally anything else, I wouldn’t trust Wikipedia further than I could throw the servers that’s house John.

The Less Information Wikipedia Has, the Less Power It Has and the Less Influential It Is 

[00:15:05] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Brilliant. No, no. And so, that’s the point is that I went in there with my own name. Jason M Barnard is my Wikipedia username. And they were going, oh, you’ve been interfering. I was going, but I wasn’t trying to hide it. I was simply saying I want this to be correct. And they said, ah, but you’re interfering. Therefore we will delete it. And you’re saying, that’s not actually very fair.

[00:15:26] Rand Fishkin: That’s what you want. You want them to delete it because you want, I think the less information Wikipedia has, the less power it has and the less influential it is. And over time, I think that the mentality and mindset of the, they’re not Machiavellian, but they are very sort of power hungry and believe in their own righteousness.

[00:15:51] Rand Fishkin: And because of that, because there’s these sort of folks who believe themselves to be extremely important and all this kind of thing, it is really great when they get information wrong, refuse to correct it, refuse to update things, delete important pages, don’t include other people, because that reduces the overall trust and value of Wikipedia. And that I think is a very good thing, right? My strong preference is not to have anonymous communities of power-hungry editors, controlling how information is spread on the web, but instead sourced information, right?

Having a Place in the Knowledge Graph Through Kalicube Tuesdays Without Having a Wikipedia Page

[00:16:31] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Sorry. Rand, I like you just a little bit more all of a sudden than I did before. That’s wonderful. No, because I’ve been working with WordLift on this entity based content model. And one of the reasons we’ve been doing it is to say, how can we build this presence up? And Kalicube Tuesdays, which is the event I created to house all of this, has got three places in the Knowledge Graph without any Wikipedia, no Wikidata.

[00:16:56] Rand Fishkin: Yeah.

[00:16:56] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Unfortunately, you didn’t get one. And now I’m very curious, because you are in the Knowledge Graph. Jes Scholz isn’t, Chase Reiner isn’t, Neal Schaffer wasn’t, and Ted Rubin wasn’t or isn’t. And the only episodes that have got a place in the Knowledge Graph have been the ones with people who are not yet in the Knowledge Graph, which is very intriguing.

[00:17:19] Rand Fishkin: Oh, fascinating. I wonder if that’s, is that correlation or causation? It would be fascinating to know. 

[00:17:25] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): The thing is it’s such a small data set that I’m pushing this out that I expected, honestly, that this episode would get in the Knowledge Graph and that I would then be able to barnacle on you for a bit of fame for myself. It didn’t work out. So, I’m now barnacling off Jes Scholz, who lovely and wonderful and intelligent and brilliant though she is, doesn’t help me with the Knowledge Graph because she isn’t in there. And Ted Rubin, surprisingly…

The Interesting Situation of People Who Got in the Knowledge Graph But Doesn’t Have a Knowledge Panel

[00:17:52] Rand Fishkin: Have they claimed their Knowledge Panels? 

[00:17:55] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): They don’t have them. None of the people associated with this, who got in the Knowledge Graph through Kalicube Tuesdays, have a Knowledge Graph presence in the API at all. And none of them have Knowledge Panels even indirectly. 

[00:18:09] Rand Fishkin: Got it, got it. Yeah. Interesting.

[00:18:11] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): It’s nuts.

[00:18:11] Rand Fishkin: Part of this is, well, you know what, Jason, I shouldn’t speculate. I’m a few years out from SEO, right? I left a number of years ago.

[00:18:21] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. Good point. Sorry.

[00:18:22] Rand Fishkin: So, Knowledge Graph, Knowledge Panel stuff is I have leftover knowledge from my previous career, but I have not been paying much attention the last two and a half, three years.

Finding a Web Page That Has a Knowledge Graph Entry and a Knowledge Panel Through a Relationship Between Two People

[00:18:33] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Right. Okay. Can we just go through? I did a little bit of research because I love this and then we can move on to your current thing. I’ll try and do it in order. Because I found you, that was you. And then I found this, which is a web page that has a Knowledge Graph entry and a Knowledge Panel. And you’re going, how did that happen?

[00:18:53] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And then I looked it up and this is how it happened. It goes, obviously not from you, but you and Geraldine are linked together. And she won the James Beard Award for Personal Essay, Long Form. That’s got its Knowledge Panel and that. And it’s all this barnacling off stuff.

[00:19:09] Rand Fishkin: Yeah.

[00:19:09] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): But none of this, as far as I can see, has anything to do with Wikipedia, which is absolutely glorious.

Google Extracts Free Labor Because They Are the Only Traffic Source and They Managed to Become a Monopoly 

[00:19:16] Rand Fishkin: It is. It is glorious. You know what frustrates me a lot about that though is obviously I’m extremely proud of Geraldine. I think she’s done wonderful work. I really do worry that the more structured data we give Google and the more that they are able to build off of it, the less they need the rest of the internet. And I think it’s basically, Google builds algorithms to extract the free labor that many human beings, yourself and myself included and millions of content creators for the web included.

[00:19:48] Rand Fishkin: They basically use that free labor in the same way that an Uber doesn’t pay its drivers for its cars and doesn’t really cover their costs effectively. And Google’s essentially building up its value on the backs of free labor using the prisoner’s dilemma. We are all trapped in the prison, and either we create content or somebody else does. And we have to give it to Google because they’re the only traffic source. They’ve managed to become a monopoly.

The Interrogation of Big Tax CEOs From Google by the United States Congress

[00:20:20] Rand Fishkin: So, this concerns me a lot. This is why I was really interested. I’m sure you saw the other day that the United States Congress was interrogating the big tax CEOs. And they released a data dump of documents, private emails from inside Google between folks like Larry and Sergey and Bill Brougher, which is Matt Katz’s old boss from the search quality team years ago, and Amit Singhal, all these folks. And you can see very clearly these borderline abusive, anti-competitive, very on the border of sketchy. I don’t know if it’s illegal, but it is certainly hard to say it’s anything but unethical. And this is during the same time that Google’s mantra was do no evil and yeah.

[00:21:19] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. That was the thing. I read an article the other day. And they were basically, somebody was pontificating. I don’t know if that’s the right word. But it was when Google Ads turned up, AdSense turned up. And Google Ads in 2003, was it? That mantra suddenly took a backseat and slowly got pushed backwards. And that’s commercial. We need to make money. And, oh, that comes back to your zebras and unicorns thing.

Google Has Too Much Power, Like When They Take Away Traffic Opportunities and Push Ads Above Brand Names

[00:21:48] Rand Fishkin: Yeah. I think this all goes back to exactly the same thing. The idea that Google has too much power over the rest of us, the idea that the United States prioritises billionaires over everyone else, the idea that the web prioritises giving information to Google and helping them with our free labor and building up their information graph so that they can show people instant answers, while we do the work on the back end and get nothing for it, not even a visit.

[00:22:19] Rand Fishkin: This is how I think, this is the push and pull of what a lot of folks call late stage capitalism, right? And you can see it in little ways and big ways. And I think that for those of us in the microsphere, microcosm of internet marketing, web marketing, SEO, content, all of that stuff, we can feel it very painfully and very personally when Google takes away traffic opportunities from us, when they push four ads above our brand name, when obviously our name is the thing that people are looking for, right?

[00:22:54] Rand Fishkin: When they take content from our websites that we have paid our hosts to let them crawl. They crawl it every day. We are paying maybe a few dollars a year, maybe a few dozen dollars a year, maybe a few hundred or a thousand. Moz probably pays a thousand dollars a year to have Google crawl it and extract data from it. And then when it shows that information to people, the ideas that we get traffic back in return.

[00:23:22] Rand Fishkin: And when that bargain is broken. It’s broken in so many ways. It was broken when they took away keyword. When they went to keyword not provided for organic search, they took away a lot of the value of attribution and our ability to improve our content and all those kinds of things. When they started taking the James Beard award example, when they took the James Beard Foundation’s traffic away, and they put that data right in the box.

The Reality That Google Does Not Have a Competitor; Bing Is a Reasonable Substitute But Not a Competitor

[00:23:50] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): That’s a good point because I’ve seen the James Beard award, because I went through, and I’ll show it again, this four point process of figuring out how a web page got to become an entity in the Knowledge Graph. That may well be the future. And the future is fairly scary when you’re saying if every word page is an entity in the Knowledge Graph, there is no traffic. 

[00:24:13] Rand Fishkin: Yeah. The internet is just a locked Google vault. And if you want to break in, you have to be owned by Alphabet. And this is why some of the research that I’ve been doing over the last few years is trying to show how Google has essentially increased the number of searches that end without a click on any result and increased the number of searches that end with a click back to another Google property. And I think that the unfortunate reality is Google does not have a competitor. Bing is a reasonable substitute, but they’re not a competitor. They are 4% market share to Google’s 96% market share.

[00:24:55] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. I had a conversation with Brad Geddes about why Bing will never close, and there are two reasons in his mind. One is Microsoft will never let go of that because they don’t want Google to lose focus on that, because they will then start looking at Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides. And Microsoft’s bread and butter is really there. So, they’re going to keep Bing going, even if it’s lost lead just to stop Google going there. And the other thing is Google don’t want it to disappear, because otherwise they get into loads of trouble, and they can never argue there is a competitor. Is that fair comment?

The Reason Google Does Not Have a Decent Competitor Is Stated in the Internal Emails Released Publicly 

[00:25:27] Rand Fishkin: I think those are both accurate points, right? I think that Microsoft has its moats in enterprise software and business software, office software. Microsoft has made huge inroads in Cloud, right? Google has been relatively unsuccessful in Cloud compared to Amazon and Microsoft. But the reality is I think that one of the biggest reasons you cannot build a decent competitor to Google is because, and this is in the documents.

[00:25:57] Rand Fishkin: So, in those emails, let me see if I can pull that up, because the documents that were released. So, you can go to whatever it is, And you can look at this trove of emails, internal emails that folks sent inside of Google. So, I had this thread a couple days ago on Twitter. Let me see if I can, can I put that in the comments? Maybe I can put it in.

[00:26:26] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. Oh, I’m sorry. You probably can’t share your screen. Part of me doesn’t want to know this because I don’t want, but you know what I mean. You’re thinking I don’t want to know this because it will ruin everything I’m doing. And I think you’ve had the courage to say, actually, yeah, it does ruin a lot of the stuff I’ve been doing. Maybe I need to accept that. I’m going to put it as a banner.

[00:26:49] Rand Fishkin: Yeah. So, they…

[00:26:50] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): There you go. Is that it? 

[00:26:54] Rand Fishkin: Yes. That’s the URL.

[00:26:56] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I pity the person who tries to copy-paste that. Oh, sorry, who tries to copy that. You actually write it all out with the numbers.

Google Is Using Their Competitive Advantage So No One Can Build a Search Engine That Can Compete With Them 

[00:27:01] Rand Fishkin: Yeah. 12889805. One of the documents in there states, basically, we should use the fact that more users search us to build up our competitive advantage so that no one can ever build a search engine to compete with us.

[00:27:20] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Seriously?

[00:27:21] Rand Fishkin: Yeah. It’s right in the documents. One of the emails basically says, hey, let’s double down on this because by using user data, things like clicks, what people click on, and what they don’t, we can basically build systems that are far more advanced, far better, far more relevant than what our competitors would ever be able to build. And that’s pretty frustrating, right?

[00:27:45] Rand Fishkin: The idea of a capitalist economy and a regulated capitalist economy is that you want a government that is willing to step in when someone creates barriers to entry, barriers to competition, because a healthy economy is one that’s driven by competition. And anytime you get one entity, one business sort of dominating, that can be extremely problematic, right? It can contribute to wealth inequality, contribute to people not being able to put their best skills to work, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But Google so far has avoided that.

The Dangerous Reality of Governments Being Afraid of the Big Tech Companies 

[00:28:24] Rand Fishkin: And I think frankly, obviously I think if anyone was listening to our conversation earlier, they could tell I’m probably not a fan of the existing American administration.

[00:28:33] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): No.

[00:28:34] Rand Fishkin: But I will say this, the prior administration, Barack Obama’s administration. I have great fondness for Obama as a president. I think he did a lot of wonderful things, but I have a lot of criticism for how he handled his relationship’s administration with big tech companies. He and Google were very friendly.

[00:28:55] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. But governments are all scared of the big tech companies. You’ve got Ireland who are saying, oh, we’re not going to tax you because at least that way you’re here and we’ve got the employment. Which is a terribly big problem when governments are scared. Sorry, go ahead. 

[00:29:07] Rand Fishkin: Yeah, no, you don’t want that. You do not want governments to be afraid of corporations. That is a dangerous path to go down. I don’t think there’s anyone on the left wing of the spectrum, on the right wing of the political spectrum who thinks that’s a good thing, right? Our governments should not be afraid of Mark Zuckerberg and Larry and Sergey and Sundar. That’s a dangerous world to live in.

The Positive Effect of Satya Nadella as CEO of Microsoft Which Helped the Company’s Current Success

[00:29:37] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And then moving that a step forward. This is one question I keep asking myself is since when did Microsoft become the good guy? 

[00:29:45] Rand Fishkin: I think it started a few years ago. I think there was a time when Steve Ballmer recognised that he and the board and Bill Gates recognised that they were not the right people for this. And I can tell you living in Seattle right in the backyard shadow of Microsoft, the perception of Satya Nadella is that he is humble, charismatic, thoughtful. 

[00:30:18] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): That’s a good trick to pull off, humble and charismatic. That’s a nice, you pull it off pretty well.

[00:30:23] Rand Fishkin: Well, I don’t know about that.

[00:30:24] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): If I may say so. Sorry, I’m throwing you flowers, as we say in France. 

[00:30:28] Rand Fishkin: You are far too kind and generous to me, Jason. I would very much like to go to Paris and sit in the streets and get a coffee with you.

[00:30:35] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): We could dance on the side of the sand in the beach. 

[00:30:39] Rand Fishkin: Oh god, stop. You’re going to make my heart hurt. But I think Satya Nadella has brought a culture with him into Microsoft from the top level down. And I think it shows the importance of the CEO role, I think, better than almost any CEO change I can think of in the last couple decades. Where Microsoft’s stock value has turned around, their public perception has turned around. They have gotten out of a lot of the business of, what do I want to say, interfering with the rest of the web or the rest of the economy. They’ve focused on building great products for their customers. They’ve found their niches. And they have more revenue than Google, right?

A Series of Interviews by Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) With the Team Leads of Bing 

[00:31:23] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Good point. Yeah. And we forget that. We forget that because Google is so incredibly resonant. I did a series of interviews. I was in Seattle just before the lockdown. And I did a series of interviews with Bing team leads for the Q&A, featured snippet, for the videos with Fabrice Canel, who does Bingbot, who’s an incredibly interesting guy and talks a lot about the annotation layers, which I’m incredibly curious about. And everybody, all the other team leads said, if he didn’t do the annotation layers, we couldn’t pull this information out and our algorithm simply would not function.

[00:31:58] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So, that annotation layer becomes fundamentally important to everything. You’re saying, if it can annotate because your HTML is good, it can extract the information, which brings two things. One is the other algorithms can function correctly. But the other, as you rightly said, is you’re giving them power because they can extract it and annotate it so easily.

[00:32:18] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And the last one, just to finish, is Nathan Chalmers, who’s the whole page algorithm. And you’re going, I didn’t even begin to imagine there was a whole page algorithm. And there is. They just say, okay, all of these candidate sets come in and they put their bid in and they’ve all got their place by right. But actually, we’re going to throw some out because they’re not actually very useful. And I think Bing have got a really good grasp. I appreciate the way they present it, the way they work, and the fact that they talk to me and they explained to me. Because then you just come back and say, actually, everyone, we just need to do marketing.

The Change of Culture in Moz That Rand Fishkin Felt When a New CEO Came In

[00:32:53] Rand Fishkin: That feels like the humility and culture and thoughtfulness flowing down right from Satya into the team layers. And you can feel it inside the organisation. I think that’s absolutely the case. I certainly felt, and Moz was a tiny company compared to Microsoft, 200 employees, something like that. But I remember feeling that difference of, oh, this company has inherited these sorts of traits from me, and I can feel myself in the organisation, all the way throughout it. And then when I stepped down as CEO and a new CEO came in, I could feel that change happening over time. Over the next few years, it was a different sort of culture that flowed from the top. 

[00:33:43] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And a culture that you ended up not being comfortable with. 

[00:33:47] Rand Fishkin: Yeah. Just not a match for me. And I think, I wish I had left before I did. I think I… 

[00:33:56] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I thought you were going to say something else, but we won’t go into that. 

[00:34:00] Rand Fishkin: It would’ve been wise of me to probably throw in the towel a little earlier. I don’t know if you have this, Jason, with your band.

Jason Barnard’s Experience of Losing His Company and Being Shocked When It Completely Changed 

[00:34:07] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Can I ask the question actually about that? Because I’m curious simply because you are obviously so very attached to Moz. I had a similar experience, and it wouldn’t be the same, but I was actually a blue cartoon dog, who ran a company with 14 employees. And we had 5 million kids a month coming. We had a hundred million page views a month. We were competing with PBS and the BBC. And that all moves on to the Wikipedia story that I’m now, I was crying yesterday, to be honest. But it’s weak of me. It shouldn’t hurt me, but it does. 

[00:34:43] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And sorry, what I meant is the day I left the company, the whole aspect of it completely changed and I was deeply shocked. And I look back at you saying it was being run by a blue dog, a blue cartoon dog. And I look, you’re obviously not a blue cartoon dog, but you were running the company in your image. And your image is incredibly important. And Microsoft comes back to that.

[00:35:08] Rand Fishkin: Yeah. And I think you can…

[00:35:11] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Sorry. I just thought a weak background. I’m sorry.

Feeling the Loss of One’s Company Personally Because It’s a Creative Endeavour and Not Just a Business

[00:35:13] Rand Fishkin: No, you’re absolutely right. This is the same thing I was right. You took the words out of my mouth, because I was going to ask with your experiences in animation, your experiences in the music world. I’m sure that you saw exactly the same principle. And you feel that loss very personally.

[00:35:31] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah.

[00:35:31] Rand Fishkin: The sort of organisational shift becomes very personal because it’s a creative endeavour. Moz was, I’m not actually an artist, right? You’re an artist, but I am not an artist. I still feel that same sort of connection that many artists I know talk about in relation to the company that I built. And I think that maybe means that I’m not a great CEO. That I’m not a great CEO of a large organisation, because I need to be able to disconnect myself from it and think of it less as an art and more as a business. But I don’t want to.

[00:36:06] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): No, exactly. Oh, sorry. You just actually said the exact thing I was about to say, which is I should, but I won’t because I don’t want to, because I couldn’t function any other way. And from my point of view, my business partner was very business. He said, okay, you are out. I’m going to now run it how I want. This is all business. Why are you getting so upset? And the answer is because I created it.

[00:36:28] Rand Fishkin: Why are you getting upset about something that you poured your life into and that you put your…

[00:36:34] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Because they don’t.

[00:36:36] Rand Fishkin: Emotional self into, right?

[00:36:38] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah.

There Is a Big Difference Between Putting an Emotional Self and Putting a Profit Centric Self Into One’s Business

[00:36:38] Rand Fishkin: And there’s a big difference between putting an emotional self and putting whatever profit centric, growth centric, business self into. One is a job. The other is a passion. And I don’t want to separate them. So, SparkToro, the reason that I started SparkToro the way I did, the reason I funded it the way I did, the reason that our docs are the way that they are, the way our investors are.

[00:37:03] Rand Fishkin: Everything is because I don’t want to ever give up that creative control, give up that ability to put my personal, emotional self into the business and be able to grow it the way I want. I don’t aspire to be Google or Microsoft or Facebook or Tesla or any of these types of companies. I don’t need it to be big. I don’t want it to be big. I would like it to be successful.

The Unicorn and Zebra Mentality in Running a Business 

[00:37:30] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Your zebra and unicorn thingy. I read it. And it really stuck in my mind that the unicorn is let’s be the biggest in the market. We’re going to crush everybody else. And that’s the end of it because we are boss. And the zebras, we’re just going to make enough to keep going and we don’t need to dominate, as long as we’re making our place and everybody’s happy.

[00:37:50] Rand Fishkin: Yeah. And I think it’s a philosophy that many folks are shifting their minds toward, but it’s still a struggle. I think there’s a lot of people, especially in tech world and start-up world, who believe that the best and only and right path is that unicorn mentality. And the idea of a zebra, the idea of a company that exists, an organisation that exists to benefit a combination of its employees, its customers, the world around it, it’s founders, and then shareholders. And generally in that order, instead of shareholders… 

[00:38:32] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Oh, you had an order there, sorry. Can you say it again in the right order?

[00:38:35] Rand Fishkin: So, unicorn ordering is shareholders, customers, founders, employees, community, and world.

[00:38:48] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Brilliant. Okay.

The Zebra Mentality Is the Inverse Where Shareholders Are at the Bottom Instead of at the Top

[00:38:49] Rand Fishkin: Community and world comes last. If we’re Google, we can extract value from everybody else on the internet and take that all away. If we’re Uber or WeWork or whoever, we build off of everything else and give back very little, but we take a lot of value from that. The inverse, the zebra mentality is, generally speaking, you want to go something on the order of customers, community, and founders, and then employees, shareholders. Shareholders are at the bottom of the stack instead of the top.

[00:39:29] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Right. Okay. Yeah. Employees can, I would presume they were in there. 

[00:39:33] Rand Fishkin: So, those first four get some level of balance up near the top. We want to balance the interest of our employees and customers. 

[00:39:40] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I can’t think of any of them I would want to exclude. You’re saying the employees, the community, and the users.

[00:39:47] Rand Fishkin: Right. Employees, community, users, founders, shareholders.

[00:39:51] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Brilliant. Lovely.

[00:39:53] Rand Fishkin: And so, the shareholders, the people who have money, are meant to serve the rest, right?

[00:39:59] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Oh, yes.

[00:39:59] Rand Fishkin: As opposed to everyone serves the people who already have money.

Using SparkToro to See What Is Trending When Connected Twitter Accounts of Web Marketers Share Pages From Your Website

[00:40:04] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Lovely. Absolutely lovely. And sorry, now we actually didn’t talk about what we were supposed to be talking about at all, which is from my point of view, absolutely delightful. But I prepared that because we are talking about SparkToro. By the way, the logo looks more unicorn than zebra. So, maybe you should have black and white stripes there. But I actually managed to trend twice on SparkToro since April, and I’m terribly proud. But I couldn’t find why I spiked, why that happened. Can you just tell us really quickly what’s…

[00:40:36] Rand Fishkin: So, I think that’s the trending page, right? 

[00:40:39] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. That’s my site and when SparkToro sends me the most traffic. 

[00:40:44] Rand Fishkin: Right. So, that is this page, this And it’s basically an aggregator, much like Hacker News or Reddit or something like that, and just uses a bunch of web marketers who’ve connected their Twitter accounts.

[00:40:59] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yep.

[00:40:59] Rand Fishkin: And so if many people, many web marketers who connected their Twitter accounts to SparkToro are sharing pages from your website, they will show up in SparkToro trending. And so, yeah, you can…

The Goal of SparkToro Is to Help Web Marketers See What’s Being Talked About and Shared That Day 

[00:41:14] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And that breaks down by industry. Basically, it’s me and my mates start tweeting, and I will spike as it were. But in any other industry, I wouldn’t get a look in because it’s broken down by industry, which I love. And what you are saying is when people are talking about you, you become, in inverted commas, important, interesting. Which one would it be?

[00:41:36] Rand Fishkin: Yeah. I think it’s here’s trending is designed to be a here’s what’s hot in web marketing right now. So, it doesn’t necessarily indicate importance. It probably indicates interest, at least interest at that time. And the goal of it really is just to help web marketers see what’s being talked about and shared that day. So, you can go there and get the news of the web marketing world in a quick scroll instead of going through Twitter and LinkedIn and Facebook and trying to figure out what’s hot. 

[00:42:18] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. I love that. It’s saying let’s look at an aggregate picture of what’s happening. And in this case, I’d like to come back to it because I think a lot of us are digital marketers. And we say, oh, I’m trending, so that’s great. But in fact, it could be nails. Nail manufacturers are trending.

[00:42:35] Rand Fishkin: Sure.

How Does the Use of SparkToro Apply to Market Research?

[00:42:35] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And that brings us to the last question, which actually should be the first question, is how does this apply to market research?

[00:42:43] Rand Fishkin: So, are you talking about SparkToro’s trending tool specifically?

[00:42:48] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. We might as well keep it really specific. Let’s just finish off with market research. How do you do market research using SparkToro? 

[00:42:56] Rand Fishkin: Oh, so the actual SparkToro tool, our paid audience intelligence tool.

[00:43:01] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah.

[00:43:01] Rand Fishkin: Yeah. So trending, to be clear, that was a free tool we launched a few years ago as a promotional vehicle to show off, get people connecting their accounts and checking us out. I like it a lot. I bookmarked it. I visit it almost every day. It’s a very useful free aggregator, but it is not the product that SparkToro makes.

SparkToro Is an Audience Intelligence Tool Where You Can Discover What Any Audience Reads, Watches, Listens to, Follows, or Pays Attention to

[00:43:27] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Right. Okay. Which is what I had never understood. What does SparkToro offer? Because I was just looking at the trending tool. This is fun. Why would I need it?

[00:43:35] Rand Fishkin: So if you go to the SparkToro homepage or the product page or any of those things, you will see. So, what we make is, to your point, a market research and audience intelligence tool. And the idea is that you can instantly discover what any audience, any describable audience reads, watches, listens to, follows, pays attention to.

[00:43:59] Rand Fishkin: So if you were to say, oh, I want to know what people who are passionate about children’s cartoons are paying attention to, or I’m interested in an audience of fiction writers from New York, or I want to know what electrical engineers in the UK think, or I want to know what people who are into heavy machinery in Germany are reading and listening to, SparkToro can tell you that.

[00:44:28] Rand Fishkin: You plug in the audience. We have a few different ways you can search based on what they talk about or what’s in their bio or profile or job title, what hashtags they use, what sources of information they follow. And then we can tell you here are the social accounts that they engage with, here are the YouTube channels they subscribe to, here are the podcasts they listen to, here are the websites they visit.

Using SparkToro and Comparing It to Looking at Brand SERPs Where You Can See Your Business Card, Content Strategy, and Digital Ecosystem  

[00:44:51] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. It’s much, much wider than I initially gave it credit for. And I do apologise. 

[00:44:56] Rand Fishkin: No. That’s no problem. You can go and sign up for a free account, Jason, and run some searches.

[00:45:01] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I already did actually, Rand, when I was researching you. I signed up for the free account and got a bit obsessed by the trending tool, I must admit. And I think that’s perhaps a mistake we should avoid making is get obsessed by the bells and whistles and actually look at what the details of it is. And I love that approach is saying, let’s look at it globally.

[00:45:20] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And what I do with Brand SERPs, and that’s my big obsession, is say look at Brand SERPs. You’re looking at Google’s opinion of the world’s opinion of you. Rather than paying for boatloads of tools other than SparkToro, which of course I would pay for, you can just look at Google. And it’s looking at everything or as much as human beings can imagine. And that reflection is actually very good as to your digital ecosystem, your content strategy. If your videos aren’t ranking, your content strategy around your videos is rubbish. And so, you can immediately see a) it’s your business card, b) it’s your content strategy, c) it’s your digital ecosystem.

Rather Than Gathering Intelligence About Yourself and Your Brand, SparkToro Is Trying to Better Understand an Audience

[00:45:59] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And SparkToro, what you are doing is saying, well, let’s bring market research into who’s talking about you and how much and how well. Is that correct?

[00:46:07] Rand Fishkin: So, that would be more social listening. We don’t really do that, but there are lots of good tools that do the social listening stuff. I think a good way to think about SparkToro is rather than gathering intelligence about yourself, your own brand, you are trying to better understand an audience.

[00:46:27] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Right. Absolutely brilliant.

Rand Fishkin on Helping a Company Gather Intelligence About an Audience Interested in Going to Business Schools by Using SparkToro

[00:46:29] Rand Fishkin: A group of people that you want to reach or that you’re trying to help your customer reach, if you’re an agency, that is really what SparkToro is for. So, for example, yesterday I was helping a company that makes college prep for business schools. And so, the marketer there, she was trying to figure out, how can I gather intelligence about an audience that’s going to go to business school or that’s interested in going to business school? Can you help me find those groups of people and then figure out where we can go do our marketing for our particular company to reach them and influence them and let them know about what we offer for that group?

[00:47:18] Rand Fishkin: And I was like, yeah, I can definitely help with that. So, I ran a bunch of searches around people who follow certain business school prep websites and social accounts, people who use the hashtag, I think the hashtag was b-school. B-school is the hashtag.

[00:47:39] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Which you wouldn’t get off the top of your head, would you?

[00:47:41] Rand Fishkin: Yeah, I didn’t know that. What I did is I looked at people who followed certain business school accounts. And then I looked at the audience insights tab on them. And it said, frequently used hashtags. B-school was one of those hashtags. When I click that, I went, boom, this is their audience, this is exactly who they want to reach. And we have some 10,000 profiles of people who’ve used the hashtag b-school three or more times in the last 120 days on one or more platforms, like Facebook or Instagram or LinkedIn or YouTube.

SparkToro Takes a Reasonable Sample of the Whole Audience, Which Means That Chances Are Good With Their Data  

[00:48:13] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And then you come into this idea of quality not quantity of saying, if I can find 10,000 people who are actually using this hashtag or working around this idea, that’s plenty enough for most of us to be getting on with for the next month, maybe year. 

[00:48:28] Rand Fishkin: Yeah. It’s like election polling, right? So, you pull a group of people, a thousand people in a community of a million. And you get a general sense of, okay, the election is probably going to be going this way and here’s the margin of error. And SparkToro works the same way. It’s taking a sample of the whole audience, obviously the 10,000 people that we know about who’ve used this hashtag. That probably means there’s a hundred thousand or a million people who have done it as a whole.

[00:49:00] Rand Fishkin: But our sample size is reasonable enough that you can take the data we give you and say, hey, chances are good that SparkToro says 20% of the people who use the hashtag b-school have engaged with this podcast. That probably means that podcast is very popular with people thinking about business school. Let’s go do some advertising or marketing on that podcast. 

[00:49:24] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Absolutely brilliant. I think I’m going to go sign up for SparkToro right now. No, sorry, pay for SparkToro because I’m already signed up for the free account. And you did offer me the opportunity to win a hundred dollar Amazon coupon, which I failed to take. I do apologise.

[00:49:38] Rand Fishkin: No, that’s fine. That’s fine.

One of the Big Goals of SparkToro Is to Help People Think Beyond Google and Facebook, Because They Are Not the Only Places Where Your Audience Is

[00:49:39] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): But I love that conclusion. SparkToro, I’m really keen on what you’re talking about and the way you’re going with that. And that idea of sampling, looking at the audience, and stopping wasting our time chasing audiences for no reason at all, because they’re not actually interesting would be a wonderfully positive thing for us all, because we’re wasting time. 

[00:50:04] Rand Fishkin: It goes back to the thing we’ve been talking about throughout this conversation, Jason, which is one of my big goals, and Casey’s as well, my co-founder, one of our big goals is to help people think beyond Google and Facebook. Google and Facebook dominates so much of online advertising and online marketing, but they are not the only places that your audience is paying attention to.

[00:50:27] Rand Fishkin: Your audience is following other people on social media. They are visiting other websites. They are listening to other podcasts. They are watching other videos. They are going to conferences and events. They’re in the world, and they’re reachable through channels that are not the duopoly of Google and Facebook.

[00:50:44] Rand Fishkin: And if you can figure out what those are, you can go do marketing in those places, either in addition to or instead of. And oftentimes, you can get a lot more bang for your buck. Going and doing marketing in the places where your audience pays attention might be vastly higher return on investment than a big, long term SEO project to try and rank for a handful of keywords that don’t get searched for all that often. 

[00:51:09] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Brilliant. That’s a wonderful conclusion to a conversation that was absolutely not what it was supposed to be. Thank you very much.

[00:51:16] Rand Fishkin: I can say honestly, I really enjoyed talking to you, Jason. It was such a pleasure. Thank you so much.

[00:51:22] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): It was wonderful. A quick goodbye to end the show. Thank you, Rand.

Video and Published by: Kalicube. Guest: Rand Fishkin. Host: Jason Barnard. August 5, 2020.

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