Law Firms On The Map

Branded SERPS for Attorneys with Jason Barnard

October 13, 2023 Jason Barnard Season 2 Episode 1
Law Firms On The Map
Branded SERPS for Attorneys with Jason Barnard
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers
In this episode of Law Firms On The Map, Kristaps Brencans, the CEO at On The Map Marketing chats with Jason Barnard, an expert in online identity, personal branding, and optimizing online presence. With  over ten years' experience in branded search management, Jason specializes in helping individuals and businesses master their search engine results and build credibility in the digital realm.

Here are some exciting takeaways you can expect from this episode:

  1. Online Identity and Brand SERPs: Jason emphasizes the importance of managing your online identity, particularly through your Brand SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
  2. Differentiating Company and Personal Brand: Jason discusses the distinction between a company's online presence and a person's personal brand and highlights why separating the two is important.
  3. The Future of SEO and Search Marketing: Jason alludes to the evolving landscape of search marketing, highlighting the shift toward understanding, reasoning, and judgment in search results. How does AI play into all this?


If you enjoyed the show please leave a review on Apple. If you have any questions you can find me (Kristaps Brencans, the CEO at On The Map Marketing on Twitter).

Thank you for listening :)

00:00:00:13 - 00:00:44:10
Kristaps Brencans

Hello, everyone. Welcome to Law Firms On The Map, the go-to digital marketing show for attorneys serious about their growth. I'm your host, Kristaps Franken's CEO is on the map. Marketing. Our agency has helped thousands of attorneys crush their SEO and digital marketing goals over the last decade. Today, I'm sitting down with brand search results specialist, Jason Barnard. 

Jason specializes in making your branded search results look like you're a superstar. He's done branded search management for over ten years and has been an SEO world for over 25. Currently, he's CEO and founder of Branded Search Management and SaaS company Kalicube. What a pleasure to have you here, Jason. Thank you for coming on.

00:00:45:05 - 00:01:03:00
Jason Barnard

Absolutely brilliant, Chris. I'm delighted to be here. I love talking about Brand on Search and I love talking about personal brand on Search. And I think it's going to be a huge topic, not just for lawyers, but for everybody in the five or six years to come. So we're about to have a great discussion.

00:01:03:05 - 00:01:20:24
Kristaps Brencans

It's so timely and that's exact reason why I wanted to have you on. Well, to kick things off, maybe you could give our listeners a little intro on yourself. And how did you fall into the branded search management aspect of SEO?

00:01:21:08 - 00:02:18:07
Jason Barnard

Right. Lovely question. I used to be a cartoon Blue Dog. So I was a Blue Dog in a cartoon series. And the cartoon series was relatively successful. And if you search my name on Google in 2012, it said at the top, Jason Barnard is a cartoon black dog called Boo. And then I realized that when I was having meetings with my prospects, I gave them my physical business card and they just put it in the drawer, put it in the pen, and they Google my name and they didn't sign because I didn't seem credible. And authoritative.

So then I set about making my brand SERP, the search engine results page from my own name, my digital business card. So when you search it and if you search it now, Jason Barnard J-A-S-O-N B-A-R-N-A-R-D, I look like a superstar.

00:02:18:11 - 00:02:22:16
Kristaps Brencans

I love it. Okay. So then you decided made that your profession?

00:02:22:20 - 00:02:38:10
Jason Barnard

Yeah, I think everybody needs it, but nobody really realizes they need it. Unless you've got a problem. Most people won't think about the Google search result for their own name. And when you've got a problem, it's probably too late.

00:02:38:12 - 00:02:58:06
Kristaps Brencans

That's.. Yeah. You don't want that to happen. Well, okay. So we're kind of already segmenting into today's topic of the day, which is branded search result optimization. So, you know, being the specialist you are. Maybe tell us in layman's terms what it is and how to think about it.

00:02:58:17 - 00:04:10:19
Jason Barnard

That's a lovely way of asking. And for me, I mean, I'll take myself as an example to start with, and then we can move into the world of lawyers as I understand it. And I'm not an expert, but I am an expert in how to make anybody appear like a superstar on Google. Now I have a company called Kalicube.

If you search for Kalicube, K-A-L-I-C-U-B-E, it will show you a result. That is the company. If you search my name, Jason Barnard, it will show you a result for the person. And those results are positive, accurate and convincing to the people who are thinking about doing business with myself or my company. And that's hugely important.

What I found with the switch from the cartoon Blue Dog to the real person who is an authority on digital marketing and SEO and Google in general, is that that changed my business. It transformed my conversion rate because the people who were checking on me before signing the contract suddenly saw a superstar in digital marketing instead of a superstar cartoon, Blue Dog.

00:04:11:06 - 00:04:25:02
Kristaps Brencans

Whenever people are making decisions, there is a certain level of research that happens. So search results is your… I think you use this metaphor as the online business card. But go ahead, finish your point about attorneys. 

00:04:25:23 - 00:05:17:18
Jason Barnard

Well, the specifics of an attorney is that often the company is named the same as the attorney, but with LLC at the end. So you have, as far as I've understood within the lawyer community - the attorney community - the lawyer, the company which often has the same name as the person who founded it. And then you have associates and you need to optimize them all.

And we'll see in a moment with the example of how different Google can represent different attorneys, depending on how well it's understood. And the point here is, if it doesn't understand who you are, they can't represent you accurately. And it's up to you to educate Google to make sure it fully understands who you are. A lot of people think Google will just figure it out and that's very foolish.

00:05:18:04 - 00:05:26:13
Kristaps Brencans

What are these elements Google is analyzing to understand one as persona in their database?

00:05:27:00 - 00:05:59:07
Jason Barnard

Right. Lovely question. The point here is that Google will look at your website. So a lot of attorneys will have a company website, but no personal website. And they think that's enough. But you have to remember that your company is not you and you are not your company. It's two different things. And a lot of us lose sight of the fact that we're not the company. 

And if we take Boowa, the blue dog, Boowa, the blue dog is one thing and I am another. And yet Google couldn't figure out the difference.

00:05:59:13 - 00:06:26:21
Kristaps Brencans

So personal website. Interesting. So that's something we're going to talk more about today. So maybe let's shift into some visuals because this is a pretty high level topic and it's going to be pretty good to actually take a look at what do we see in the search engine result pages and what are some good examples? What are some average examples and what are examples where a lot of work needs to be put in right?

00:06:26:22 - 00:07:48:15
Jason Barnard

I think it's hugely important to point out, number one, that none of these people are our clients. They're not my clients. They're not your clients, the people we've picked completely at random. And the purpose of this is to demonstrate the difference between somebody who looks like a superstar and somebody who doesn't. And there is no judgment on the quality of the attorneys we're going to show.

It's a question of how does Google perceive them and how does it understand them and how does it represent them? I think it's probably more helpful to start with the superstar, this lawyer, Lissette Crescimone, if you can see my screen looks like an absolute superstar and I have no idea who she is, what she does, or whether she is in fact a superstar. 

And you can see here that we have the knowledge panel card we've got sorry. We've got four photos, three photos here. This one bottom, right, probably not very professional. That might not help her when somebody is Googling her name. Then we have this information here, which we call knowledge panel cards, which is the information that Google thinks that her audience will want to see to research her before doing business with her.

00:07:48:21 - 00:08:01:23
Kristaps Brencans

Quick sidestep, Jason. Sorry, you mentioned knowledge panel, and that's something you and I, in our conversations, you always bring up. Can you give our audience little introduction on what is this? What are the knowledge panels?

00:08:02:07 - 00:09:00:03
Jason Barnard

Yeah, you're brilliant. Because I had completely forgotten that most people don't know what knowledge panel is. When we look at a Google SERP and this is the search engine results page, for Lissette Crescimone - and I hope I say it right -  on the right-hand side here. Generally speaking, we talk about the left-hand side, the right-hand side in search engine geek terms. 

This is the right rail and this is the left rail. And this is generative AI, which has just come out of Google, which is Google creating an artificial intelligence representation of this person. And there's no need to worry because this top part, the generative AI, is simply a combination of this right-hand rail, which is Google's understanding of the facts about this person and this left-hand rail, which is Google's recommendations about this person.

00:09:00:06 - 00:09:43:00
Kristaps Brencans

Okay. So I have a question for you, and it seems like everyone will get some kind of search results. The left, the left rail will happen just naturally because there is generally information indexed about us. But then that that knowledge panel, that seems to be very important aspect in the branded search results. Can we double click on the knowledge panel a little bit? 

And you give us kind of general idea how to think about these knowledge panels and where are they coming from? Because I think in some of your other examples that we'll look at attorneys who don't have the knowledge panels and what could possibly be the reasons why they're not coming up.

00:09:43:08 - 00:11:17:01
Jason Barnard

I'll come back a small step to what you said at the beginning, which is that left-hand side is recommendations. And you're saying that's natural. But you can control them because those recommendations are what Google thinks your audience is going to find helpful, valuable and interesting. But you can disagree and you can promote different content. For example, here, if you look at just here, which ranks pretty well, I would immediately say to Lissette, get some more reviews on there you’re 10/10, that doesn't look honest.

You need 15, 20 reviews and you need to be 9/10. For example, people don't trust perfect scores. So the first thing she would need to do is start looking at this and say, “Well, what do I want here and what don't I want? We've got two results from just you. That's not good. That shows that Google doesn't have the breadth of information that it needs because it's showing twice the same website and it doesn't generally like doing that.

So Lissette has a problem here with the breadth of information, the breadth of helpful information that Google feels it can provide in the left-hand side as a recommended piece of content about her. First thing I would say is that if you're listening and I hope you are, create a personal website. You are not the same thing as your company.

The day you leave your company, you need to keep control of your own identity, your ‘entity’ identity, your personal branding. And you can only do that through a fully owned website, and that's a website in your own name that you control. 

00:11:17:07 - 00:11:48:03
Kristaps Brencans

That's a very interesting tip. So to control and influence the information search results, to build the knowledge panel, which we will talk more about, we need to develop a personal website where you collect the information about oneself. So Jason, you mentioned you have developed quite deeply your own personal search results and your brand's personal search results. Does it mean you also developed the personal website for yourself?

00:11:48:20 - 00:13:04:24
Jason Barnard

Yeah, I have a jasonbarnard.com website. It's quite big, but that's just because I experiment a lot. But I can feed Google anything I want about myself and it will repeat it like a parrot. So for example, I used to play in a rock band 30 years ago and we did a version of ‘The Ace of Spades’, the Motörhead song.

And at one point if you searched ‘who played the bass on the Ace of Spades?’ The answer is, of course, Lemmy, who is the Motörhead lead singer and one of my great heroes from my punk years when I was a child, it actually said, ‘Who played the persona based on the ace of Spades?’ It said ‘Jason Barnard’, because it understood me better than it understood the reality and the truth, which is Lemmy. 

I did actually play bass on a version of ‘The Ace of Spades’, but not the original version. And that's a really interesting point, is it didn't have confidence in its understanding of Lemmy Motorhead and that version of The Ace of Spades. It had more confidence in my version that nobody cares about. And my website was what allowed me to, let's say, manipulate Google to say what I wanted it to say and not the truth.

00:13:05:07 - 00:13:39:17
Kristaps Brencans

So you're kind of starting to uncover some of the strategies that people should be thinking about, which is having a personal website. So let's shift into the other examples. Obviously, we started with this one. That's really a good one. Do you have an answer or idea behind the knowledge panels coming up for Lissette? I see that on the right side, that would be her knowledge panel which is being fed to us and it looks nice. It, you know, gives a rich information and overall her brand… branded results are really nice.

00:13:40:00 - 00:14:41:08
Jason Barnard

Right. What I've highlighted here is Google's understanding of the facts. Her LinkedIn profile, a description that it takes from her LinkedIn profile and the people that Google associates her with in its brain. So it's a bit like a child. It has associations. So it says, well, this person reminds me of these other four people. It makes me think of these other four people.

So if you look at the right-hand side, this is the fact. And just really quickly back to this here. This is a summary of the content from the facts here and the representation of the recommendations here. The Google feels makes the most sense and it puts it at the top here. So as a user, I can just look at that and I immediately understand who we're talking about.

This is Google's stamp of approval, this whole chunk here. If it's great, you've got Google's stamp of approval. And if it's not, people will think that you're not reliable.

00:14:41:08 - 00:16:07:23
Kristaps Brencans

I just want to take a little sidestep and share a story of how I learned about you. I was interviewing someone for a high-level SEO role, and they were talking about the correlation between branded search results and the website rankings. And it kind of dawned on me because this person was saying, well, you need to have the knowledge panel. 

If attorney doesn't have a knowledge panel, the likelihood of them ranking as well as they could is being hindered because Google doesn't recognize them as really authoritative persona. And that made me think about, wow, okay, that's interesting. So then I started reading more of your materials and just thinking about that aspect of an SEO strategy, which makes a lot of sense, especially with E-A-T rolling out, search generative experience, where Google is just analyzing every possible entity out there on the web about you as this person behind a business.

So developing these branded search results is even more important right now because Google is associating that as a ranking factor. So that's why I want to have you on - to learn more about how to manipulate these results. I just want to share that story and ask you a question. Have you noticed ability to rank sites better when the brand search results are more developed?

00:16:09:00 - 00:17:25:02
Jason Barnard

Yes, very strangely, I've noticed that with Kalicube itself. We have what we call the Kalicube process, which is a digital marketing strategy based on, once again, here on the right, knowledge and recommendations. And what we do with the Kalicube process is we build out knowledge and recommendations to get them perfect. And what then happens is we've developed a great digital marketing strategy, so we're going to focus on just the maybe LinkedIn, maybe Facebook, our own website, the company website.

 And we we've all worked together into a story that Google can understand and a narrative that makes sense to our audience. So year one, when we implemented the Kalicube process for Kalicube, we built a digital marketing strategy and we saw 25% revenue growth and lead growth in year one with no SEO. It was simply that we were standing where our audience were looking and we could solve the problem that they had and we could demonstrate that we could solve that problem and how they could engage with us to solve that problem. 

No Google.

00:17:25:13 - 00:17:46:05
Kristaps Brencans

So instead of just optimizing your website, you were optimizing all the existing other profiles, citations so to say or just other online web properties were Kalicube would appear you would really go deep on developing those this way your presence within those third party websites was more apparent.

00:17:46:17 - 00:20:57:18
Jason Barnard

100%. We call it Cleaning Your Digital Ecosystem. Alisa, who's the Kalicube team lead, calls it a digital spring clean. And it just means making everything logical, making everything fit together, making a puzzle that Google can easily understand and recreate, and building a digital marketing strategy that corresponds to what your audience is looking for. And a friend of mine said, “You need to stand where your audience is looking.” Which can be Google, but it can also be Facebook, it can be LinkedIn. 

And LinkedIn for a lawyer would be great. It can be your own website. It can be somebody else's website. It can be just here. You need to stand where they're looking and make sure that they understand what you offer and why you're such a great solution. And if you think about it, Google's crawling these pages. It's looking at these pages.

And if you're presenting yourself to your audience in a way that makes them understand what you offer them, and  why they should choose you, you're also doing that for Google. Google then understands what you can offer to whom and why it should recommend you because Google is a recommendation engine. 

Coming back to the knowledge when a couple of things I need to explain.

Number one is this. The result comes from LinkedIn, the description comes from LinkedIn. That seems very good, but Lissette doesn't own LinkedIn and LinkedIn could delete her account at any moment. Your own personal website description coming from there, you control it and if your description is coming from your website, then you are absolutely sure that Google trusts you as a source of information about yourself, and it seems obvious that Google will only trust you if you've got all of this corroboration absolutely solid, and then it will trust you.

And then you can, for example, Lissette could probably convince Google that she played the bass on the ‘Ace Of Spades’. Number two is this. Claim this knowledge panel. You claim the knowledge panel. If it has recognized your website, you can then go through and claim it just using search console. It's really simple. If it hasn't recognized your website, you have to fill in a whole form and I've got so many people saying it, they don't accept it.

They don't see my ID as being the same as the name of the person because it's a manual check on who you are. And can you claim the knowledge panel? Is it really you? It's hugely complicated, very boring, takes a lot of time. But if you've got a dedicated personal website and it’s recognized that, claiming the knowledge panel takes literally 20 seconds, instead of taking 2 hours and probably many backwards and forwards and expanding over a month.

So you need to claim the knowledge panel because she could, for example, then edit the knowledge panel not directly, but request edits from Google and say, “I would like to have my date of birth. I would like to add the company I founded.” And then you can fill in a form and give the feedback. You can see the feedback here. 

Anybody can give feedback, but if you own the knowledge panel, you go right to the front of the queue and your suggestion is  considered and implemented within a few days. Whereas if you just give the feedback here, you've almost no chance of it being implemented.

00:20:58:08 - 00:21:05:18
Kristaps Brencans

So let's look at some of the examples that might not be as great and we can dissect what might be going on there. 

00:21:05:19 - 00:21:13:10
Jason Barnard

Well, here we have Brian Foley and we have ‘Hymn Writer’.

00:21:13:17 - 00:21:19:23
Kristaps Brencans

Do you have your search set in US or.. you're somewhere in Europe, right? 

00:21:19:23 - 00:21:50:22
Jason Barnard

I actually realize now I just did the screenshot now I was… what I do is I fake - excuse me - my geolocation. I've just found the result that you're probably seeing and this is a huge point is that Google results geographically are very, very, very different. So this is actually a lucky break that we just got. Is that here you can see results in New York, but Brian Foley still has the same problem. 

Here, we've got a ‘business management consultant’ and not the lawyer. 

00:21:51:04 - 00:21:54:11
Kristaps Brencans

You know, and in Miami, I'm getting completely different results. 

00:21:54:21 - 00:22:27:03
Jason Barnard

Oh, right. Okay. Oh, wow. So and that's a huge point is because we share names the results in different areas are going to focus on the person who lives or works in that area. So where you are, you get one result in New York, you get a business management consultant in the UK, I got ‘Hymn writer’. And you can see that this is already a huge problem, but it's going to become an even huger problem in the years to come as Google starts to understand more and more people.

00:22:27:07 - 00:22:32:19
Kristaps Brencans

Yeah. Now I'm curious, where is the attorney, Brian Foley, actually located?

00:22:32:19 - 00:22:47:07
Jason Barnard

Yeah, that's a very interesting question. And there is a question of you can dominate worldwide. If you put enough effort into it, you can make yourself appear to be much more important and famous than you truly are.

00:22:47:11 - 00:22:57:12
Kristaps Brencans

I think Brian Foley could just start his own personal website. Oh, no. Oh, interesting. His law firm domain is brianfoleylaw.com.

00:22:58:08 - 00:23:52:22
Jason Barnard

Right. Well, here you see what I've done which is created a superstar persona for myself in Google's mind, that wherever you are in the world, this is, as you can see here, New York. If I move that to Liverpool, where I went to college, you will see something very similar if I move to… there's a footballer in South Africa, in Cape Town, who's quite famous in Cape Town, but even there I'm still dominating with this and the footballer barely gets a look in.

Oh, here he is down at the bottom. The poor guy. So what I've done here is dominate with pure confidence. I've created a persona in Google's mind where it thinks I'm more famous than I truly am, and it's so confident in the information, it just shows it.

00:23:52:22 - 00:23:55:14
Kristaps Brencans

Wow. And it pulls from your Jason Bernard personal site.

00:23:55:14 - 00:23:59:06
Jason Barnard

Yeah, 100%. And that's hugely important. That's where I get the control.

00:23:59:14 - 00:24:26:24
Kristaps Brencans

So could we build like a dynamic… Because if you think about attorneys, they might be solopreneurs as and their brand is their personal practice. Could they keep, for instance, Brian Foley. Could he keep his brianfoleylaw.com and then turn that website into also the knowledge panel grasp or not really? 

00:24:26:24 - 00:25:24:19
Jason Barnard

No. You're confusing two entities sorry I'm looking for the one that we’ve..  Here we go. The entity you're talking about here, which is Chelsi R. Hall. Chelsi R. Hall, attorney at law, is a business location. So what you see here when you get the map, it isn't a company and it isn't a person. It's a location of an office of a company.

So Chelsi R. Hall, would have a knowledge panel for herself as a person, she would have a knowledge panel for her company - Chelsi R. Hall LLC perhaps - and a Google Maps entry for her head office. So that's three different entities that she needs to deal with. The head office of the company, the company itself and her own name, her as a person. 

So it's much more complicated than you initially think. You think “I'm just one entity, just me.” But you're not. 

00:25:25:02 - 00:25:47:11
Kristaps Brencans

It's very interesting, actually. You're inspiring me to launch my personal website, which I haven't done. But if you type in ‘Chris Brencans’ or ‘Kristaps Brencans’, I'm not getting the knowledge panel. But with what you told me today, I think I'll be able to change that because I can pull all that information on my personal website and then feed it to the knowledge panel. 

00:25:47:17 - 00:26:11:02
Jason Barnard

That's exactly what you need to do. And you need to remember that something like this, she hasn't got a personal website, but she can control it better if she does. But the reason she has this is a mixture of consistency across all these different platforms, the uniqueness of her name and a certain level of notability or perceived notability.
 
00:26:11:11 - 00:26:13:12
Kristaps Brencans

How do you influence the notability?

00:26:13:23 - 00:26:25:01
Jason Barnard

Well I published a book, for example. That isn't how I got the knowledge panel, but I published a book. That's immediately considered by Google to be a sign of notability.

 0:26:25:03 - 00:26:29:23
Kristaps Brencans

Because it sees that it's on Amazon? Or how how does Google connect to that?

00:26:57:08 - 00:27:13:03
Jason Barnard

Well, publishing a book on Amazon is already brilliantly. It makes you seem more notable than perhaps you truly are. It also helps you with your business because people perceive book writers, authors as more authoritative. But also because it's in Google Books. And Google Books feeds obviously directly into Google. So it makes it very easy for Google to present facts that it has in Google Books and be confident those facts are correct.

And that's the trick with the knowledge panel here, is that Google will show here what it's understood to be the facts, but it needs to be hugely confident about those facts. And an entry in Google Books is something that Google has great confidence in, simply because it controls it.

00:28:08:21 - 00:28:08:16
Kristaps Brencans

I like to play a little role play game with  my guests. Usually the guests are either law firm owners, operators or law firm marketers. You sort of fall into the ‘law firm marketer’ bucket coming more from a place of law firm almost digital PR firm individual consultant. So if you were to start a law firm - let's say you decided to partner off with a personal injury lawyer somewhere - and you're going to run their marketing.

How would you approach brand SERPs from day one? Like what is the method you take this law firm through to ensure their online brand is immaculate. The research results are just complete superstars. How do you go from zero to building that out? 

00:28:20:16 - 00:30:31:20
Jason Barnard

It’s maybe a year process. I would first separate the company from the person and say, we need to build a knowledge panel for the company. We need to optimize the Google business profile for the company. So that's on one side. Then I would say the person who shares the name with the company or runs the company or who is a lawyer at the company needs to optimize their personal branding.

So what that means is for each partner in the law firm who wants to appear incredibly impressive when somebody Googles their name before choosing the lawyer, which I've done before, I Google the name and I think, ‘does this person look authoritative? Can I trust them?’ And the answer is, if Google says I can trust them, I do tend to trust them.

 I use Google because I trust Google's judgment. So as a person, I need to make sure that Google is representing me in the most positive, accurate and convincing manner possible. And for the company, I need to do the same thing because the person is likely also to research the company and the Google business profile is great, but it doesn't represent fundamental understanding.

 And as you said, without that fundamental understanding, over time, you'll find it difficult to rank for any search term. And I like to say as we move forwards and Google moves more towards an approach of basing the search results on its understanding of the facts and the credibility you mentioned, E-E-A-T, which is experience, expertise and the authoritativeness innocent trustworthiness. I would add an ‘N’ to that notability experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. 

 And if you can convince Google of N.E.E.A.T, it's going to recommend you above and beyond everybody else. But if it doesn't understand who you are in its knowledge graph, which is represented by the knowledge panel we've been looking at, it will forget you. And over time it won't be able to present you as a solution to the problem of its users because it simply will not remember who you are.

 And that's frightening. Unless you've got a knowledge panel like I do and my friend Lissette has.

 00:31:10:10 - 00:32:06:07
Kristaps Brencans

Well she can still improve hers. But what it sounds to me like we really need to focus not only on just general link building the way we think about link building, which is building as many authoritative sources referencing us as a firm. But also we need to work on these online sources being heavily built out, which could be third party websites like directories could be also other profiles, I imagine on different websites, social media profiles. 

Then we take all that information and we publish it on our personal website. This way, Google can build the knowledge graph, right? Am I using the terminology right? So the knowledge graph comes back now from our personal website and if the firm has, let's say, five partners or the main attorneys, why not do that for all five of them? 

And we're investing in the online presence. And they all become a lot more authoritative which continues sending Google the signals that this law firm is highly authoritative because the attorneys are highly knowledgeable and they appear in different places. I guess even guest post appearances could play a big factor too. Just finding ways how to be a real persona in real life, communicating about different online aspects.

 00:32:06:11 - 00:32:57:09
Jason Barnard

Which is a beautiful way of putting it, is that after years and years of counting words and counting links, we're actually coming back to the real world where I have to build my own place in my own universe, in my own market, and prove that I'm a notable expert, experienced, authoritative and trustworthy, N.E.E.A.T. Let's call that credibility. 

And if I can do that at each individual level of the people who work for my company and the company itself, the company feeds its N.E.E.A.T to the people in the company, the people in the company feed, their N.E.E.A.T back to the company itself. And it's a really wonderful cycle of credibility building. The more you have credibility at every level, the more that credibility is amplified. 

00:32:57:18 - 00:33:01:22
Kristaps Brencans

Some real knowledge nuggets here today. I love it.

 00:33:02:12 - 00:33:34:06
Jason Barnard

I have a, you said, game. Everybody listening to this podcast or watching the video, Google your name right now. What did you expect to see? What do you see and what do you want to see? And you can have exactly what you want to see if you work at it. And we at Kalicube specialize in that. 

And I think you will also specialize in that, Chris, in the near future. 

00:33:35:01 - 00:33:45:00
Kristaps Brencans

Falls really well into my last question, which I like to ask guests here. Where do you see search marketing in three years?

00:33:45:12 - 00:34:58:17
Jason Barnard

I love that question. With generative AI, Google Search Generative Experience, and Bing and ChatGPT  working together to create basically what comes down to a summary of what they have understood about the person or the company. It means that we're moving into a world of understanding, reasoning and judgment, and you need to make sure that Google and Bing understand you with immense confidence. That they see that you're credible, i.e. the judgment side of things, and that they understand what it is you can offer and to whom within the subset of their users who are truly your audience. 

And what's going to be happening over the coming years is if you're not feeding Google with the knowledge it needs and you're not building the confidence in your credibility, your N.E.E.A.T, you're going to get lost. You're going to get forgotten. And once you've got left behind, catching up is going to be a hugely difficult problem. Because like children, these machines learn. And once they've learned, changing their minds is very, very, very, very, very difficult.

00:34:58:17 - 00:36:00:18
Kristaps Brencans

We got it. It was very difficult. But I loved the notion you left us on because search engine optimization and processes, itself, ranking website is difficult enough, as is. Now we're looking at the second layer, which is your online identity needs to be developed on a deep level, and that means being active on third party websites. It means having your brand, well, your personal brand website that collects the information, and then populating as much, I imagine other information that's possible. 

Like today's podcast episode, will have an entire page on ‘On the Map’ website: ‘Branded Search Management for Attorneys by Jason Barnard’. And now you just sent Google another authoritative  point that you're an expert on this. Now, you talked about attorneys managing their personal brands.

00:36:00:18 - 00:36:26:10
Jason Barnard

And that's interesting point because this podcast episode demonstrates to Google that I can help attorneys. So if an attorney is looking for a solution to their personal brand or their brand identity, then Google is more likely to recommend me. But additionally, your credibility within this space will help Google to understand that I am actually a credible solution because you are vouching for me. 

00:36:27:00 - 00:37:05:07
Kristaps Brencans

I really appreciate your time and I think it's just eminent that well-performing websites and I think to your law homework you gave there's part two of this homework. Now go find your top competitor and look who's the main attorney or founder of that law firm and then type their name into the search results. And let's see how they're name appears compared to yours.

And the correlation is going to be clear. They’re number one on Google for their firm and their personal brand is really prominent, and it's clear that they are true authorities in the space. 

00:37:05:16 - 00:38:10:06
Jason Barnard

And you'll find that somebody who has a wonderful brand SERPS, the search engine results page for their personal name or their company name will tend to perform better in SEO, as the person you were talking to was suggesting. And number two is at Kalicube, we've got a platform. It's a SaaS platform called Kalicube Pro. And what we do is analyze all of this automatically using our internal proprietary algorithms to figure out exactly what Google understands and how it's understanding it. 

And then the really neat trick is we inject 50 to 1OO entity equivalents, which is the same entity type of person, for example, in the same geo-region, in the same industry. And then what you said is, rather than checking them by hand, we check them in their totality and we can build a template of exactly what Google thinks, what it's looking at, and exactly how to build out your digital presence, your digital identity so that you fit right into the middle of that cohort.

And that is hugely powerful. 

00:38:10:08 - 00:38:45:02
Kristaps Brencans

I'm excited Jason. We’ll be building that out for some of our clients. So it's a completely new… I guess it's not a new thing for SEO world, but just a new way of thinking about online presence. And I keep going back to link building because to me it is, you know, the citations that reference back to your website. 

But now we need to think about it more just as your online entities and what are the ones you're missing to look at and perform as the top competitors you have in your vertical? 

00:38:45:08 - 00:39:29:22
Jason Barnard

No, I get the idea of the link building aspect, but you're forgetting the huge aspect which is marketing. Is Google needs to see that you're reaching out to the right audience and that that audience are engaging with you. You are standing where they're looking, they are listening to you and they are following you on the journey that you're offering to them to solve the problems that they have. 

So that's marketing and it's traditional and that's the beauty of this whole thing. Is that it's all based on good old fashioned marketing, packaging that for Google and that makes for incredibly solid business, but doesn't depend on Google. Google is a natural addition to what you're already doing naturally for marketing if you're a solid, sensible, intelligent business. 

00:39:30:05 - 00:39:32:09
Kristaps Brencans

Well, Jason, you just completely flipped the script.

00:39:33:08 - 00:39:40:06
Jason Barnard

Yeah. And as you said, there's nothing incredibly new here. It's just a different way, a new way of putting the puzzle together. 

00:39:41:00 - 00:40:09:10

Kristaps Brencans

We just get caught up in searching things. And then you have to take a step back and say, “okay, maybe I need to focus on just the fundamentals and develop those really well, and then things will start falling in place.” Well, Jason, thank you so much for your time, your energy and just..  you're a true thought leader on this.

So I appreciate your time and the tips you gave us. Where can our listeners find you if they want to learn more about you or your company or anything you want to share?

00:40:09:17 - 00:40:45:15
Jason Barnard

Number one tip: Search my name Jason Barnard, J-A-S-O-N B-A-R-N-A-R-D, and you choose how you want to engage with me on my website, on my company website or my Twitter profile or my LinkedIn profile. Or listen to one of the songs that I wrote back in the day. And that's the beauty of the brand SERP. Is that Google is giving my audience, anybody searching my name the opportunity to choose how they engage with me. 

And it's up to me to make sure that it's giving them the most relevant, helpful and valuable methods of engaging with me.

00:40:45:21 - 00:40:53:19
Kristaps Brencans

Well, thank you so much, Jason. I appreciate your time and I look forward to optimizing the brand SERPS together with you.

00:40:54:02 - 00:41:04:01
Jason Barnard

Brilliant. Absolutely delight. Looking forward to it.

Introduction
Branded Search Result Optimization
Improving Branded Search Results
Effect of Branded Search Result Optimization on Website Rankings
Controlling Your Online Identity
Understanding Google's Geographical Search Results
Personal Branding and Influence on Knowledge Panels
Building Personal Brands for Attorneys
Influence of Notability and Credibility
The Future of Search Marketing
Branding and Credibility in Online Presence
The Power of Online Marketing and Brand Optimization
Outro