Entity SEO: what is entity-based SEO, introduction to semantics

Entity SEO

What is Entity SEO

Entity SEO is a strategic approach to search engine optimization that focuses on the identification, optimization, and interlinking of relevant entities in content, along with their specific attributes.

Entities that are identified in Knowledge Graphs enable search engines to disambiguate and rank webpages by recognizing the relationships between different concepts, objects, and their associated properties.

Entity SEO implementation improves rankings definitely. I’ve tested this on this very website multiple times. It drives more targeted organic traffic. And! It is essential for coming Web3.0 era. That is it’s future-proof!

Basically it’s leveraging content knowledge graphs (I’ll create another post about them and will be making a workshop on this topic in Chiang Mai in November). Entity-based method transcends traditional keyword targeting, leveraging semantic search and machine learning to deliver a richer and more comprehensive understanding of the content landscape, while taking into account the multifaceted nature of entities, their interconnectedness, and characteristics, which are often referred to as attributes.

What is Entity in SEO

An Entity is a distinct and identifiable concept, object, or item with a unique identification in digital world that usually also exists in the real world. It is language agnostic (e.g. doesn’t depend on the language), enabling digital naming of anything in the real world, which can then be processed by machines and used in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and knowledge graphs.

The word Entity with its phonetic transcription "en-tuh-tee" to illustrate the concept of Entity SEO

Named Entities

Named Entities are specific instances of entities that have proper names, such as people, organizations, or geographical locations. These entities can be easily recognized and distinguished from other entities by their unique identifiers.

Other Entities

Other entities refer to those that do not necessarily have proper names but still represent concepts or objects in the real world. These entities can include common nouns, ideas, or abstract concepts, and they play a crucial role in understanding the context and relationships within a body of text.

Types of Entities

Entity Types are categories or classifications used to group similar entities together. These types serve as both entities themselves and a means to organize particular instances of entities. For example, the entity type “People” groups individual persons together, while “Organization” groups various companies and institutions.

Entity types help search engines and knowledge graphs better understand and process the relationships between different entities, contributing to a more comprehensive and interconnected understanding of the content landscape.

Knowledge Graph and Entity Relationships

A Knowledge Graph is a structured representation of interconnected entities and their relationships in a visual and easily understandable format. In the context of Entity SEO, Knowledge Graphs play a pivotal role in organizing and presenting information by connecting related entities and their attributes, thus facilitating a better understanding of the content landscape.

By mapping entities and their relationships within a knowledge graph, search engines can process and deliver more relevant and accurate search results. This also allows for improved user experience, as users can easily navigate and explore the interconnected concepts and objects that make up the web of information.

Google Knowledge Graph

The Google Knowledge Graph, launched in 2012, is a large-scale database that stores information on entities, their attributes, and interconnections. It shifted the focus from keyword-based results to understanding real-world entities and their relationships, emphasizing “things, not strings.”

The Google Knowledge Graph incorporates a topic layer. Google’s algorithm is based on a scoring system, where entities form a distinct cluster. This organization allows the search engine to process the context and relevance of content more effectively, yielding accurate and meaningful search results.

Through rich snippets and knowledge panels, users can access pertinent information about searched entities swiftly. The interconnected network of entities within the Knowledge Graph enables Google to address complex queries and generate personalized suggestions.

For SEO, the Google Knowledge Graph is essential. By optimizing content around relevant entities and understanding their relationships, websites can enhance their visibility and search result rankings. This strategy not only improves search engine performance but also delivers a more informative and engaging user experience.

Bing Knowledge Graph vs. Google Knowledge Graph

The Bing Knowledge Graph, like Google’s, is a large-scale database storing information on entities and their relationships. Key differences between the two include:

  1. Data Sources: Bing and Google prioritize different sources and techniques for gathering and processing data, leading to variations in their knowledge graphs.
  2. Presentation of Information: Bing’s Snapshot feature presents entity-related information in a box, while Google’s Knowledge Panel provides a more comprehensive view.
  3. Degree of Personalization: Google is known for more advanced personalization features compared to Bing’s more generalized approach.
  4. Integration with Other Services: Both integrate their knowledge graphs with other services, but the extent and manner of integration may vary, affecting the user experience.

These differences shape the unique user experiences offered by Bing and Google Knowledge Graphs, despite their common goal of improving search results through understanding entities and their relationships.

SEO Goals for Entity-Based Optimization

  1. Ranking in Search Results Among Blue Links: Enhancing a website’s ranking among the traditional blue links in search results, ensuring better visibility and attracting more organic traffic.
  2. Inclusion in Various Search Features:
    • Intensive. That’s when they highlight particular characteristics of an entity or some of its properties. For example, if it’s about a car, they may tell about the dimensions, acceleration, number of doors, driveline, etc. If it’s about some sport team, the Top Stories involving the team will be brought. That is, everything associated with an entity. As well as related questions and features of a particular entity.
    • Extensive. When entities can be grouped by type and shown as a part of the collection for some specific query. The query may involve “best”, “top” and similar words.
    • Questions Answering. Optimizing content to provide direct and concise answers to users’ questions.

How to Perform Entity-Based Optimization of My Content

How Search Engine Bots Recognize Entities

Before we dive into the methodology of Entity-based SEO, it would be better to understand how the system works from the bots side.
Search engine bots extract entities using various methods:

  1. Data Structures: Bots analyze content and identify entities within data structures, such as tables and lists and others. Tables were wonderfully described by Bill Slawski.
  2. DOM Tree: Bots examine the Document Object Model (DOM) tree to extract entities from HTML elements.
  3. Free Text: Bots process natural language text to recognize and extract entities.
  4. Structured Data: Bots utilize structured data in ontologies that Google understands, enabling more accurate entity extraction.

Entity-Based SEO Process Example:

  1. Select an Entity: Identify a relevant and high-value entity that aligns with your target audience’s interests and your website’s content. This entity should be central to your content’s theme and focus. It’s beneficial if you can identify it in Wikipedia or Wikidata and map to it in your structured data. Screenshot of Wikidata page with the Universe entity
  2. Establish Relationships: Research and determine connections between the chosen entity and other related entities. This step helps provide context and enhances the overall understanding of the content. Emphasize these relationships by interlinking content and using appropriate anchor text, make it entity-based.
  3. Determine Context: Analyze the semantic context surrounding the entity and add necessary words or phrases that Google expects to see. This process helps improve the content’s relevance and ensures a comprehensive understanding of the topic. Build your sentences in a way that machines understand correctly. You can verify with Google’s Natural Language API.
  4. Group Entities by Type: Organize entities based on their classification or category. Some SEOs call it clusterization. This step allows search engines to better understand the relationships between different entities, and where they belong to, and improves content organization.
  5. Group Entities by Topic: Cluster entities together based on their shared theme or subject, making it easier for search engines to understand the content’s relevance to specific topics or search queries.
  6. Entity Characteristics: Clearly define and emphasize the unique attributes, properties, or features of the chosen entity. This information helps search engines and users gain a better understanding of the entity and its significance within the content.
  7. Position in Google’s Favorite Hubs: Place your content strategically on well-regarded platforms, websites, or locations favored by Google. This tactic can improve your content’s visibility and ranking in search results, ultimately increasing traffic and user engagement.

And the most important would be what Jason Barnard always recommends. It can be used as a simplified cheklist. It’s the same for any entity you are optimizing: what it is, what it does, who the audience is.

Effective Techniques

  1. Analyze Top Competitors: Parse content from high-performing competitors to identify the entities and strategies they employ for successful optimization.
  2. Leverage Wikipedia Data: Utilize data from Wikipedia to gather information about relevant entities, their attributes, and relationships.
  3. Use Wikidata Information: Access data from Wikidata, an extensive repository of structured information, to enhance your content with well-defined entities and relationships.
  4. Adopt an Ontology Framework: Utilize ontology frameworks such as Web Ontology Language (OWL) or Financial Industry Business Ontology (FIBO) to structure your content and define entities. I’ll be expanding on this topic in my Workshop in Chiang Mai SEO Conference.
  5. Explore Google’s Advertising Classifier: In extreme cases, use Google’s advertising classifier, which includes attributes, to improve your entity-based content optimization.
  6. Image Search Tab: Examine the images tab in search results to identify relevant entities and visual elements associated with your topic.
  7. Search Engine Results Page (SERP) Analysis: Analyze the search engine results page to identify trends and patterns in entity usage, allowing you to optimize your content accordingly.

Tools for Entity SEO:

  1. Wikipedia and Wikidata API: Utilize the APIs of Wikipedia and Wikidata to access structured information about entities, their attributes, and relationships. If you need some guidance here, try researching the Colab from Google’s John Mueller. It will give you an idea of what and how you can work with those APIs easily.
  2. Spacy in Python: Employ the Spacy library for Python to perform natural language processing tasks, including entity recognition and extraction.
  3. Google’s Natural Language API: Use Google’s Natural Language API for entity analysis, sentiment analysis, and syntax analysis to better understand and optimize your content.
  4. Custom Code with AI Assistance: Write custom code using AI-powered tools, such as ChatGPT or Bing Chat, to develop tailored solutions for entity-based optimization.

By leveraging these tools and focusing on datasets and action verbs, you can create engaging, informative, and well-structured content that effectively optimizes for entities.

Pitfalls to Avoid

  1. Incorrect Entity: Ensure that the chosen entity is relevant and accurate for the context of your content.
  2. Incorrect Context: Avoid providing misleading or inappropriate context surrounding the entity.
  3. Incorrect Entity Type: Make sure to correctly classify entities according to their respective types or categories.
  4. Over-Marking: Do not excessively mark up content; focus on highlighting the most relevant and valuable entities.
  5. Unnecessary Markup: Avoid using markup when it is not needed or does not contribute to a better understanding of the content.
  6. Too Narrow Markup: Steer clear of overly specific markup that limits the scope of understanding or relevance.
  7. Unfocused Content: Refrain from creating content that lacks a clear focus or fails to convey a coherent message.
  8. Forcing Entities Everywhere: Do not excessively insert entities into content where they are not relevant or do not contribute to the topic.

Conclusion: Embracing Entity SEO

In summary, entity-based content optimization is a crucial aspect of modern SEO that focuses on understanding and leveraging the relationships between real-world entities. By utilizing the right tools and techniques, avoiding common pitfalls, and effectively optimizing content around entities, you can improve your website’s search engine performance and enhance user engagement.

For a deeper understanding of the role of semantics in SEO, be sure to check out our upcoming post on Semantic SEO. Additionally, to further expand your knowledge on entity-based SEO, explore our recommended list of external resources here.

By staying informed and adapting to the ever-evolving landscape of SEO, you can ensure that your website remains competitive and continues to achieve its goals in an increasingly interconnected digital world.

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