About the show:
The Agency Spark Podcast, hosted by Sara Nay, is a collection of short-form interviews from thought leaders in the marketing consultancy and agency space. Each episode focuses on a single topic with actionable insights you can apply today.
About this episode:
In this episode of the Agency Spark Podcast, Sara talks with Jason Barnard on how Google is a child and we need to learn to educate it.
Jason Barnard is an author and digital marketing consultant. He specializes in Brand SERPs (what appears when your audience Googles your Brand name) and knowledge panels (what Google understands about who you are and what you do).
His backstory – from playing the Cavern Club in Liverpool to touring Europe playing double bass in a punk-folk group to playing the role of a cartoon blue dog in a TV series to remote working from a tropical island in the Indian Ocean.
- How to educate Google to understand who you are, what you do, and who your audience is
- How to think about SEO and where things are headed
- How Kalicube Pro helps you signal expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness to search engines
More from Jason Barnard:
Sara Nay (00:00): Welcome to the agency spark podcast. This is your host, Sarah nay. And today I'm Jason Bernard, an author and digital marketing consultant. He specializes in brand SES. What appears when your audience Googles your brand name and knowledge panels? What Google understands about who you are and what you do. His backstory ranges from playing, playing the cavern club in Liverpool to touring Europe, playing double bass and a punk folk group to playing a role of a cartoon blue dog and a TV series to working remotely from a tropical island in the Indian ocean. So welcome to the show, Jason.
Jason Barnard (01:05): Yeah. Thank you for that wonderful introduction, Sarah
Sara Nay (01:08):
Jason Barnard (01:30): Yeah. I've been working on this for maybe 10 years now and what the thing I like about the analogy Google as a child, it immediately takes away the fear of Google. We're looking at it as a child and we need to learn to educate it. And the idea for that comes from the knowledge graph. Now the knowledge graph is basically Google's understanding of the world and it's like a massive encyclopedia for the machine. So what Google is doing is building understanding through an encyclopedia that the algorithms can use to understand the world. And because still at the beginning, it's still a child. So it's a child who wants to learn. It wants to understand. And if we look at Wikipedia, which is an encyclopedia human beings, there's 50 million articles in Wikipedia. In Google's knowledge graph. This child already has 1,500 billion facts. So it's an incredible piece of understanding.
Jason Barnard (02:26): It's incredible source of knowledge, but that's nothing compared to what it needs to understand. And what we often tend to do is think Google understands Google gets it, but Google has a massive mess on the web to try to sort through. And however we think we develop our sites, they're all different. They're all messy there's problems with our own logic in our own brains, we all think differently. Humans are chaotic by nature and we can't expect Google the child to understand on its own. We need to help it to understand we need to educate it. And that's where I'm coming from. We need to educate it about who we are, what we do and who our audience is.
Sara Nay (03:08): Yeah, I think it's great. As you mentioned, I've worked with a lot of small businesses over the years, and I think of Google as like Google runs the world. It's intimidating. Like we don't know what to do when it comes to that whole world. And so I think it's a really great point. As you said, think of it as a child and give it the information it needs to educate and grow and it completely takes the intimidation factor away. So I think that's great.
Jason Barnard (03:29): And like a child it's progressing week by week, month by month, year by year building on that understanding, building on its capacity to use that understanding in terms of what it's trying to do, which is provide solutions to its users. Because when a user searches on Google, they're asking a question or expressing a problem to which they're looking for a solution or an answer. So all Google's trying to do is match their problem to your solution. And if it understands who you are, what you're doing, who your audience is, that becomes incredibly easy for Google. It wants to get its user to the best solution to their problem as, as efficiently as possible.
Sara Nay (04:08): Yeah.
Jason Barnard (04:09): And so from that, oh, sorry.
Sara Nay (04:11): No, go ahead. Go ahead. Finish your thought. Hello.
Jason Barnard (04:13): From that perspective, I was talking to a marketing branding kind of person who was saying actually what we are doing at
Sara Nay (04:52): Yeah. That's great. And I know you've built, you mentioned earlier, before we started recording that you've built a tool that helps people accomplish this in a much more simplified way. And so I'd love to hear more about that tool.
Jason Barnard (05:05):
Sara Nay (05:45): Yeah.
Jason Barnard (05:45): So I would wor a company would say, I wanna rank for by light bulbs or whatever it might be. Whereas I'm saying, I want to control and manage what appears when you search my name or my brand name. So I built the entire machine myself from scratch because it's such a boring job, co all that data, getting it all together, figuring out where Google is looking for information about your brand, where it's getting that information, how well it's understood and what you need to do to improve its understanding or improve its the confidence it has in its understanding. Now. So what oo pro, which is a SAS platform does is basically the work that used to take me three days now takes me five minutes. I click on a button and the machine just goes out and it says, Google, where are you getting information? What does all this look like? What do you think of this brand? What do you think of that brand and how you presenting it? And then it just produces this long list of things that we need to correct in order to get Google, to understand correctly and or build its confidence.
Sara Nay (06:47): That's great. And once you go through, I love that it saved you three days worth of effort.
Jason Barnard (06:54): Don't tell my clients.
Sara Nay (06:56): Yeah. I won't tell your clients
Jason Barnard (07:23): Yeah, no, that's a great question because most people just think, well, I'll do it once. And that's job done, which it kind of is what you would tend to do for what I always do is a spring clean. I would say it's a spring clean. It takes about three months. Yeah. And you go through the spring clean and you do all the difficult stuff, all the heavy stuff and you get all those sources, you sort down the brand. So what you, what the audience sees when they Google the brand name, you get that knowledge panel in place. You get some information in it. You start building up the confidence there. We've got understanding of who you are, what you do and who your audience is. And we've got you in the knowledge graph in Google's literal brain it's encyclopedic brain. And from there you can just say, okay, that's good.
Jason Barnard (08:03): But you can also say actually now what I want to do is build up its confidence. So you keep iterating that every month for a couple of years, it takes a couple of years. And what you're then doing is saying this childhood is Google has understood who I am, what I do and who my audience is now. I want it instead of to be, instead of being 50% confident in what it's understood, I want it to be a hundred percent confident. Yeah. And that analogy of the child really works because if the child is 50% confident, when it goes to the playground at school, it, it will sit in the corner. It won't say anything because we frighten that. It's gonna say something that everyone will laugh at the poor child, but if it's a hundred percent confident, it shouts it all out. And it's running around the playground, telling everybody all about this stuff that it knows.
Jason Barnard (08:49): And that's the point at which you have that insurance. You need to have that safety harness. And that's the point that you control your brand message on Google. So I would say, yeah, you can just do the spring. Clean. It'll sort everything out and everything will look hunky Dory and you'll be happy. But if you really want this child running down the street and around the playgrounds, shouting your name out to its friends and users in Google's case, you really need to build that confidence and you would do well to do it for a couple of years. It took me a couple of years to really build up my own situation in Google. And if you look at my name, Jason Barnard, or CA cube, you will see a great result and you will see a deep understanding and Google representing me and my company and our brand message and the way that we intended, not the way that Google is guessing.
Sara Nay (09:40): Yeah. That's great. The confident child running around the playground sounds like my two year old. She's very confident and loud. So
Jason Barnard (09:51): Yeah. That, that particular part, the analogy maybe doesn't work quite so well, but no it's but maybe if we're looking at a 12 year old child who would be worried about looking, looking foolish, if they said something inaccurate or putting the hand up in class, maybe that's a better analogy. You've got a child who's putting its hand up in class every single time the teacher asks a question, as opposed to the child who's sitting at the back, hoping nobody notices them.
Sara Nay (10:14): Yeah, no, I love these examples. I think they're really great. And also the whole idea of, it's not a one and done it's a spring cleaning, but then continuing to build the confidence over time. That's a lot about how we talk about SEO in general, not just this component of it. It's, it's something that as you continue to do on a regular basis, it's not like you can SEO your website. I put air quotes up and then be done with it. Right. It's it's a work in progress that takes time and commitment over the years. And so I think that aligns absolutely what you're saying. Yeah.
Jason Barnard (10:42): Yeah. Sorry. Talking SEO. We talk a lot about EIT expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. And that's the kind of buzzword of the moment. It used to be all links and now links is just one part of authority. So we now have this three part idea of saying Google has to see our credibility. I use the word cred credibility, which makes more sense to me. But credibility for me is just expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. Now, if you think about it, if this child understands explicitly who you are, it can apply all of the signals it has for your expertise, your credibility, your authoritativeness in your trustworthiness. If it, I, so if you're in its encyclopedia in its knowledge graph, but if you are not explicitly under the understood by the child, it's guessing who you are and therefore any E a T signals it has and necessarily dampened by the fact that it's guessing.
Jason Barnard (11:38): Yeah. So you have that idea is what we do at
Sara Nay (12:31): Fascinating stuff. If people wanna learn more online, where can they check out the machine that you've ultimately built?
Jason Barnard (12:38): You can visit cate.pro. If you're an agency, please do contact me. I'm really interested in getting agencies on board who want to use this approach, which is semantic, which is entity based, all the kind of buzz words we've got around at the moment. And this machine, as far as I know, is the only one that does it. If you are interested in the concept and how we actually do it, we've got loads of case studies and free resources on chu.com. And we don't hide what we're trying to do in the sense that what we're trying to do is really simple. I'll give you in the last three minutes, two minutes. So really quick explanation. How do you get Google to understand who you are, what you're doing, who your audience is? You identify the entity home, which is the place the company lives, or the person lives in Google's mind online.
Jason Barnard (13:22): So it's one page on one website that represents the entity written by the entity. Google uses that they call it the point of reconciliation. And it uses that as a reference to compare all the information it finds out about you on the web. So what you then have is this reference, the charm looks at that and says, okay, you've explained that to me. Now I'm gonna go and check if it's true around the rest of the web. And so you then need to simply correct everything around the web, and then you need to take your entity home, the page on the web that represents your company or yourself and signposts to all of the corroboration. That proves what you're saying. Once you've done that the child builds this understanding by repetition and anything you want to know about that and how we do it is on ue.com. And if you actually want to use the platform, it's call cube.pro. And if you want a done for you service, we do that too. We've got a small team here and all my love and knowledge goes into Cate pro it's strange. It's a mad machine, but I love it.
Sara Nay (14:23):
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This episode of the Agency Spark Podcast is brought to you by Monday.com, a powerful project management platform. Monday.com helps teams easily build, run, and scale their dream workflows on one platform. I personally am a user and big fan of Monday.com – I start my workday pulling up the platform and spend my day working within it for everything from task management to running client engagements. Learn more about Monday.com at ducttape.me/monday.