Entities are hot digital marketing trend at the moment.

But they aren’t really a trend – and they aren’t going anywhere.

Beginning in the late 2000’s, links became the gold standard in SEO. Flash forward to 2020 and they’re still king. But they’re now fueled by more advanced technology than before.

Google is now using entities in order to better judge the relationships between links.

Not only links, but they’re also using entities to better judge our content. 

What’s this mean? We better know and understand entities. Oh, and it means you can’t keyword stuff your page about puppies and get links from sites about weather and expect to rank.

What Are Entities?

Put really simply, entities are just things. They can be a person, place, thing, concept, or idea. Entities do wonders for search engines like Google in understanding the relationship between things. 

For instance, when you search for “who is the president,” you get served a featured snipped of Donald Trump.

How does Google know? Entities.

They recognize “Trump” as an entity and “president” as an entity. 

Because these two entities are often found within the same text all across the web, Google can say with confidence that they’re strongly related. 

It’s pretty easy to see the SEO implications of entities. If you want to rank for “president,” of course you need to write good content and get relevant links. But even moreso, you need to be sure that search engines recognize the relationship between your post and other entities closely related to “president.” 

Where Do We See Entities?

Image Search. This is a great place to see what entities Google associates with a topic:

Knowledge Panels. Everything that lives in a knowledge panel is itself an entity.

How to Optimize for Entities

Let me be clear: there hasn’t been a ton of testing on this (that I’m aware of). However, there are some things we can know

  • Google leans on entities for rankings
  • Google uses entity relationships to better understand links

So we know that we can optimize for entities to a degree. A few ways:

  • Use Google’s Natural Language API to dig up insights about high ranking posts on topics we too want to rank for
  • Look for links surrounded by text relevant and related to the entity we want to be associated with

As myself and others experiment with entities, there will be more to come…

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