What is an Entity in SEO?
Google describes an entity as a well-defined thing or concept. However, entities by themselves the term is rarely used by Google in its extensive guidelines. Rather entities are referred to as topics which actually makes more sense to content marketers as topics can be linked with each other based on relevancy.
For example, when referring to Georgia, it can be difficult for someone to understand the difference between Georgia (country) or Georgia (US State).
This distinction is however understood when you refer to related topics or entities linked to the article like location, landmarks and other items.
Similarly, Google also uses references to related linked topics and resources in the document to understand the context of a particular entity and differentiate it from other entities.
How to Define Entities in our Website?
From the point of view of technical SEO, perhaps the strongest method of defining entities in your content is through schema markups. Schema markups are enhanced description of specific objects or information on the website which also appears as various features in SERP.
While a schema markup does not label or generate an entity it can be used to link entities to specific identifiers which can help to define it. It can also be used to create semantic relationships between different entities.
When entities are defined, they can be linked to various objects using schema markups to make them part of Google’s knowledge graph.
The search engine knowledge graph defines a web of information for Google which links various information across the web and helps search engines to create the context for the information that it crawls.
Here’s a simple example of a Knowledge graph defining the Entity: Martha van Berkel, CEO of Schema App.
Martha here is the central entity which is linked to several other relevant entities called nodes through identifiers called edges. These nodes define Martha’s properties, thus making her distinct from other Marthas.
Entity Schema and Entity of Page Schema Implementation
Main Entity Schema
It indicates the primary content topic or entity that is defined on the page or for which the page is made. Normally such schemas are implemented as objects with their own properties in the Schema Markup code.
You can learn more about its JSON LD implementation here > https://schema.org/mainEntity
- Need to implement in Home Page in the header section.
Here’s an example for ThatWare Home Page:
“address”: “ThatWare LLP, Arunava Sarani, Sukriti Apartment – G Floor, North Ghosh Para, Bally, Howrah – 711227.”,
As can be understood, the various properties of the Main Entity object like type, url, image, address etc define the Entity ID i.e ThatWare as an Organization. Reference to social media links and other authoritative profiles like Wikipedia can also be shared using “SameAs” tag.
Indicates a page (or other CreativeWork) for which this thing is the main entity being described.
Unlike the Entity Schema which is an object, the mainentityofpage is an attribute that defines the main entity by referring to the main page that is created for the main entity.
The sameAs and url properties are both similar to mainEntityOfPage. But while the URL property should be reserved for referring to more authoritative web pages such as the item’s official website, and the sameAs can be used to link to well-known pages that loosely define the entity, the mainentityofpage clearly defines which of the several entities in a page is most important for it.
mainEntityOfPage can be used for any page, including those not recognized as authoritative for that entity. For example, for a product, sameAs might refer to a page on the manufacturer’s official site with specs for the product, while mainEntityOfPage might be used on pages within various retailers’ sites giving details for the same product.
You can learn more about its JSON LD code and implementation at > https://schema.org/mainEntityOfPage.
Benefits of Entity-Based SEO
- Contextualized Website Content:
Creating and maintaining a content strategy based around Entities helps in creating a well-defined website structure focused on various topics as entities that actually define your business. This will help the search engine crawler create a meaningful context for your business and its services and better optimize your search appearances for various intents in SERPs improving your E-A-T.
- Helps in optimizing for Semantic Search
Gone are the days when ranking in Google came down to keyword optimization and backlinks. Although they are fundamental factors for any SEO strategy, the focus of their execution has shifted to optimising around intent and context to drive quality leads and hence drive conversion.
Semantic search is nothing but an approach to understanding search by Google in a way closer to how humans understand. Google attempts it through various advances in Natural Language Processing, enabling it to generate the most accurate search result satisfying the search intent.
Having an entity-based content marketing approach enables you to create comprehensive and quality resources covering an entire topic thus projecting authority around a particular entity or niche and dominating all relevant searches around that particular entity.