From Quest For Questions podcast | Jason Barnard | The Reality of Gig Economy, How To Learn Anything Fast, and No-Fluff Guide to SEO | Jason Barnard
After our conversation I’d call him the first professional double-bass player who had no idea how to play it, the first digital nomad with an official home address “between sea and post office, Mauritius”, and the only person who can make SEO and Brand SERP an exciting conversation topic even for people outside digital marketing.
Here are some of the things you are going to learn today:
- Jason’s secret sauce to learning anything quickly and how you can apply it, too
- why talent X perseverance + a tiny bit of luck were the keys to his successes & yours too
- Why you should care about your Brand SERP, #1 most important aspect of any SEO strategy and how to spot an SEO bullshitter
If you stick long enough, you’ll even learn a french word that better describes someone with drive.
Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) on How Google Works as a Machine and the Role of Human Beings in This Process
[00:00:00] Konrad Yerba Addict: A lot of people, I think, when you now mention the name SEO, people think, oh, it’s this thing that’s super complex on one hand. Two, the rules of the game change a lot, so it’s very much like you’re not in control. And then it’s not sexy, and it takes a lot of time. So, these are the objections that I hear from people now. So, what would you say to those things?
[00:00:34] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I would say all of that was true 3 years ago, not anymore. The thing is Google’s algorithms are no longer written by human beings. They’re written by machines. What the human beings do is they say to the machines, this is all machine learning. It’s basically a machine trying to understand how to achieve a goal that a human being has set it. So, what the human being says is I want the perfect SERP. I want this SERP to serve this purpose. There you go. You’ve got to get to there, machine.
[00:01:08] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): They give the machine examples of what they consider to be good results. Then they give the machine all the data and they say, figure it out for everything else. So, that means that those rules you were talking about no longer exist as such, because nobody in the world knows what they are. Only the machine knows what they are, because the human being is simply telling the machine, get to that result.
The Role of Human Beings in Google Includes Rating the Quality of the SERPs Based on User Feedback and Interactions
[00:01:32] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And then when the machine has been working on it for a bit and it started producing these results, it’s going, hey, now, what do you think? I’m being a machine here. What do you think of my results? And then the human being, Google will then say, okay, this is right, that’s wrong, that’s right, that’s right, that’s wrong, that’s right, that’s almost right, that’s good, that’s bad, blah, blah, blah.
[00:01:53] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And they do that by using human beings to rate the quality of the results of Google. They use feedback from users on Google, and they use data from the SERPs themselves, i.e. how users interact with the SERPs, the results pages. So, they then tell the machine, this work, this didn’t, this work, this didn’t. And then the machine goes back and tries to do it again with that new information about what was good and what was bad about what it had done. So, every single thing that it takes into consideration is something the machine decides about and not the human being, not every single, pretty much everything.
Human Beings at Google Identifies a Good Result if It Brings the Best Solution to the User Efficiently and Quickly
[00:02:33] Konrad Yerba Addict: And why that makes it better?
[00:02:36] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Because then you can’t say to anybody, oh, I need more links, oh, I need more structured data, oh, I need more text, oh, I need more of this or more of that. Because nobody knows what the real answer is. But what you can do is say, Google will keep feeding this machine mistake, mistake, mistake, mistake as long as the results don’t satisfy its users.
[00:02:56] Konrad Yerba Addict: Ah, I see.
[00:02:57] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And it will keep feeding that machine great, great, great, patting it on the head, saying what a great machine you are, every time it does satisfy the user. So, what they’re doing is Google people are saying, this is a good result because it brings the solution to the user efficiently and quickly, the best result, the best solution.
Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) on How to Make Your Brand SERP on Google Look Credible
[00:03:16] Konrad Yerba Addict: So, the main idea is to focus on the user then.
[00:03:19] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And that’s what Google is saying. People are getting really frustrated with them and saying, oh, yeah, you just tell us how many links we need. Because that’s what we’re used to in the SEO community. And Google is saying, but you just have to satisfy the user. And they’re not doing it because they’re horrible people. They’re doing it because that’s what they’re telling the machine. So, they don’t know what you need to do on a detail by detail basis.
[00:03:37] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And every single result page is going to be different. So, they can’t tell you what you need to do for your particular case. So, at the end of the day, you need to make sure that this machine that’s judging you. Basically, what Google is saying is we have our users who are expressing a problem or asking a question, and we want to bring them the best solution or the best answer as quickly and as efficiently as we possibly can. That’s their aim. That’s it.
Google Needs to Understand Who You Are, What You Do, and Who Your Audience Is for It to Put You as the Best Result for Their Users
[00:04:04] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So, the number one result, the one that they put in front of the user has to be the best result with the most efficient and qualitatively great satisfying solution for their user. If you start with that, you’re going okay. That’s what they’re aiming to do. Now they’re saying to the machine, you need to get us that result. And that machine needs to understand what it is you’re offering, it needs to understand exactly what solution you are offering to whom. So, it needs to understand who you are, what you do, and who your audience is.
[00:04:36] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Then if it’s understood you and your competitor, it’s saying, well, which one do I put first, because I’ve got two that are pretty much the same? Then you say, okay. Now you need to convince it that you are the most credible out of those two solutions, so that can be reviews, inbound links, user generator content on your page, i.e. interaction with users who actually find your content interesting and useful. And it creates a discussion or influences linking to you, all these things that make your content look credible.
[00:05:09] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I use the word credible. Google uses the words expertise, authority, and trust. Just think credible. It needs to look credible, more credible than my competition. So, you’ve got it to understand what you’re offering. You’ve got it to understand that you are a more credible solution to its user’s problem or a better answer to their question than your competitors.
Making Sure Your Content Is in the Correct Format and Convincing Google That You Can Delivery That Content Accurately
[00:05:30] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Then you need to just make sure that the content you’re giving Google is in the correct format. It can deliver that content or it believes you can deliver that content. So, in the case where it’s showing the answer on the SERP, which would be the case of featured snippets or perhaps a video that they sometimes now embed, it needs to be able to deliver that content correctly.
[00:05:49] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And that means you just need the right player for the video in your page. It just needs to be a player that Google can pick up and put in the SERP. It’s very simple. YouTube, you put your embed link in, and you’re away. It’s not complicated. Or when the user comes to your site, if Google sends the users through to your site, Google has to be convinced that you can deliver that content correctly.
The Google Game Is Not Very Technical; It Is Now a Very Different Game That Is Focused on the Users
[00:06:11] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And that just means having a decent site that isn’t really slow and that you can use on a mobile device. That’s the minimum you would want for your user anyway. Google is asking you for the minimum you would want for your user anyway.
[00:06:25] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So if you can get it to understand that you provide a relevant solution to the specific questions that’s just been asked, remember, there are billions of questions asked every day, and you can convince it that yours is the most credible solution, and you can demonstrate to it that you can deliver that solution, you’ve won the game. And it really isn’t difficult. It’s not that technical game we were playing before. It’s a very different game, and it is focused on the user.
If You Don’t See the Content You Want on Your Brand SERP, Then You Need to Start Building a Proper Content Strategy
[00:06:52] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And the thing about Brand SERPs, and this wraps it up really nicely, is if you don’t have video boxes on your Brand SERP, when somebody searches your brand name, if there aren’t video boxes, then your video strategy is awful. It’s not valuable to your users. Google can’t see the value. It’s never going to show your videos in the wider world.
[00:07:11] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So if you sort that out, then you sort out your Twitter boxes. Because you want the Twitter boxes, you need a decent Twitter strategy for that. Then you’re starting to build a proper content strategy.
[00:07:21] Konrad Yerba Addict: Yeah.
[00:07:21] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So if you start with your Brand SERP, you are immediately building a better content strategy, which will then feed into your SEO without you even doing anything extra.