As a marketer, you understand that SEO is an important aspect of the growth and visibility of your brand. You also know that there are constantly new changes, techniques, and best practices that come with SEO.
As new developments are made in technology and search engine algorithms, marketers need to be agile enough to update their practices.
Entity SEO, or SEO that focuses on entities, is the new rising star in the SEO world.
It can be a little tricky to understand and add to your SEO strategies, so in this article, we’ll help you understand what entities are and why they matter to SEO.
We’ll also discuss some of the benefits of entity SEO and how you can take advantage of entities to up your SEO game and improve your rankings.
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What is an Entity in SEO?
While for many years the focus of ranking for SEO has been keywords, there is a new type of factor that is playing into Google rankings. That is an entity.
But what is an entity? Google defines an entity as anything that is “singular, unique, well-defined, and distinguishable”.
However, that still leaves plenty of room for interpretation. An entity doesn’t need to be a physical object or a specific word or phrase like a keyword is.
Instead, an entity stands on its own and can be found with a number of different search terms.
Examples of entities might include:
Put another way, entity SEO uses context to create an entity that can be found through many different searches, rather than just being a specific query.
An entity is anything that can be uniquely defined, so it uses broader clues rather than narrow terms to discover what the search query is intending to discover.
Entity vs Keywords
Entities are taking the place of keywords as the primary focus behind a Google search.
But why is this shift taking place? And are keywords no longer relevant at all?
Google is moving away from keywords for a few reasons. The first is that keywords are ambiguous.
Think about the word “apple”. When you type “apple” into a search engine, are you looking for information about the fruit, or the brand?
This can lead to confusion and irritation among searchers who aren’t finding what they are looking for.
Keywords are also usually very specific to a certain language, which can make it difficult to distinguish between them when there are multiple translations from different languages for a single term.
It’s also hard to build contextual connections with keywords.
Think about the early days of Google when a page could only rank for a single term because there was no way of telling when different keywords were related.
Why Keywords Still Matter
Keywords still hold a place in SEO, but instead of being the main driving point behind a search, keywords are now more like contextual indicators of what entity a user is searching for.
Keywords help match you to the entity that you have in mind, and they then link content together to help the Google algorithm get a better picture of what the entity is.
Why Do Entities Matter for SEO?
There are a few reasons why the focus of Google SEO is moving towards entities.
In addition, there are also a few major benefits that can occur when entities are used in searches.
Better Search Results
The number one reason behind the switch from keywords to entities is to provide searchers with more relevant search results. Things like mobile search and voice search through digital assistants are much easier with entity SEO.
Entities in search engines also make it easier for things like translations between different languages, based on user search settings. It also improves searches with synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms.
Improved Rich Snippets
Using something called the Google Knowledge Graph, rich snippets are also improving with entity searches. When a rich snippet is more useful to users, the search results are better and the user experience improves as the algorithm continues to learn.
How Does Google Use Entities?
As mentioned in the previous section, the Google Knowledge Graph plays an important role in entity SEO.
The knowledge graph refers to the connections that are made between different entities. Everyone has access to the Google Knowledge Graph API, so it can be used to help perform entity searches for any developer.
The knowledge graph pulls together different key entity metrics based on four factors:
The Google algorithm will examine these factors and use them to help create a web of connections between different entities to help make searching more effective for the user.
Each entity is given a unique ID number and then is turned into code and data to help map them into the knowledge graph.
From there, it’s all about building out the context behind the entity and making it easier to find.
How to Take Advantage of Entity SEO
Now that you have a better grasp on what entity SEO is, let’s take a look at some strategies you can implement in your brand’s SEO that target the new ways the Google algorithm works.
These will help your organization become more entity-focused and start to move away from strictly keyword-based SEO.
1. List Your Business on Directories
The Google Knowledge Graph uses different directories as databases for their entity searches.
Making sure that your business is listed in relevant directories like Google My Business or Yelp can help ensure that you show up higher in entity rankings.
2. Prioritize Building Your Brand
Because the entity you create for your business will be focused around your brand, it’s important that you start prioritizing brand building.
This will help you manage your reputation and create a unique and well-defined identity that is recognizable for your brand.
3. Build Relevant Links
The Google Knowledge Graph is dependent on creating contextual links between different entities.
Having a relevant linking structure on your website and in your content helps to strengthen those contextual connections and support your brand entity.
4. Create Broader Content
Another thing you need to examine is the content you create. Rather than focusing your content on products and services, you should approach topics more broadly and explore deeper ideas.
This will help you build associations with the entities you want to rank for.
5. Complete an Entity Audit
An entity audit can help you find out what entities your brand is known for and examine that against your competition.
You can see where there might be gaps in your entity connections and you can then start targeting those gaps in your content creation.
6. Improve Technical SEO
Alongside your content creation, you also need to work on expanding your technical SEO skills.
When you can work on technical SEO alongside content, you can create a better foundation that will support entity SEO in the future. It will also help you build those important connections between keywords and entities.
7. Focus on Personalization and User Experience
Entity SEO is really all about the searcher’s intention.
Rather than trying to trick search engine algorithms and find ways to rank high without putting in the work, you should really focus on creating personalized, relevant content that adds value to your users.
8. Continually Update Content
As with all SEO, there is no option to “set and forget” with entity SEO.
It’s important for you to continually update your content and continue to monitor updates in the algorithm in order to achieve your SEO goals and rank high on search engine results pages.
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As SEO continues to grow and develop, there are new changes that marketers need to adapt to in order to get the best results for their sites and pages.
Focusing on entities rather than just keywords is the best way to approach the new updates to the Google algorithm and create better strategies that help you avoid penalties and rank higher.
While entity SEO is one way to improve your site rankings, there are other methods that you can employ to help you accomplish similar goals.
One of those things is a SEO split test. SEO split testing can help you understand more about your rankings and what can be done to improve them.
To learn more, click on the link to visit our blog on SEO split testing to rank.
In the article, you’ll learn what SEO split testing is, how to run these experiments, and how you can use the results to optimize in Google!