What is an Entity?
We know that an entity is defined by Google as:
“A thing or concept that is singular, unique, well-defined and distinguishable.”
The thing does not need to be a physical object, it can also be a colour, a date, an idea, etc. An entity is anything that is:
Content is the connection of entities. In the statement, “dogs are cool” there is the entity “dogs”, there is the entity “cool” and there is the relationship that one connects to the other and the direction of the said relationship.
How Does This Affect SEO?
Humans understand everything around us in the context of entities and their relationships. We just tend not to think of it that way.
Without machine learning and BERT, Google couldn’t understand queries well enough to interpret pages in it’s index and their entity relationships.
With entities there is the ability to:
- Calculate the probability of meeting the user’s likely intent with far greater accuracy.
- Understand from language and tone, whether a result will be positive or negative.
- Dramatically reduce reliance on links.
Links will remain as a signal of trust and authority for Google, but they will become simply one mechanism among many. They are no longer the one-true signal.
What Can We Do?
We need to change the way we think about our sites and how we market.
If we want to rank for a specific term, we need to consider that Google can now or will soon understand the various entities related to them. They will also discern the order in which the searcher’s intent will most likely be met on SERPs.
We need to now consider which entities we need on a site and how they need to be connected to each other as well as externally so that we can maximise the probability of Google understanding that our websites are more likely to meet the variety of possible intents than a competitor.