What is an entity? An entity is something or a concept that is singular, that is unique, that is well defined and that stands out. Today the Internet is truly a semantic network of linked data. It also allows users to search for information faster and easier. Entities are extremely important because they allow us to make sense of documents in such a way that a machine can understand them. Watch the video below to find out more!
The question we are asking ourselves today is what is an entity? It is a definition of Google themselves. « An entity is something or a concept that is singular, that is unique, that is well defined and that stands out. »
Entities are extremely important. And when we talk about the world of the semantic web, it’s the world we live in today. Although a lot of people don’t know it or understand it, the web we use today is the Semantic Web and big companies really started exploiting this because of what the Semantic Web provides them.
These are data. When we look at the semantic web, we can see it as a web of linked data. What this allows us to do is make sense of documents so that a machine can understand them. When a machine looks at a website page it may not infer the same understanding as a human, as we can read text, we can browse the document, and we can understand what that document says. A machine has a little more difficulty doing this because it is a machine. Advances in structured data, the use of common data languages and vocabularies, such as schema.org, have made our content machine readable.
Let’s look at this from an analogy. When you look at this text, my name is Ryan and I work at SMA Marketing. There are several things going on here. We have two separate entities, Ryan, I myself existed. I am unique and I am definable, right? And then we have SMA Marketing, which is another type of entity, but that would be my organization. The English language, like many languages, has rules, and those rules are instituted so that we can formulate sentences and really share and communicate meaning.
Because I understand the English language and understand the syntax of a sentence, I can deduce from the sentence that Ryan works at SMA Marketing. This Ryan is a person’s name. And that SMA Marketing is a place where that person works. I just read this sentence and my brain knows it because it understands the English language and the rules that clarify that meaning.
Now, structured data is also a set of rules. And it allows machines to do the exact same thing that I just did with my own brain. How do entities play a role? As we have just said, entities are things or concepts. They are singular, unique, indistinguishable, well defined. There are a number of types of entities that we can look at. An entity can be a person. It can be a place. It could be an organization. It can be just one thing, like a cup. And it can be a lot of different elements. As long as it meets this description above.
We have to understand these concepts, as I said, because they are essential today in the SEO world, and they will continue to play a role in the future. It is important to note that entities are not the same as a keyword. We don’t just market to people, but also machines today.
Keywords always play an important role, but they are not the same as an entity. The entities are themselves machine readable. It is something that is designed and created to be machine readable, and is linked to the data attached to it, so that there is no ambiguity as to the meaning of this entity.
Keywords don’t have this. Keywords are common terms and terms that we maybe use in our lexicon as human beings that we also use in our text. Now, yes, search engines can understand and infer meaning, but again, as marketers, we want to control messaging. We want to control the meaning of things. That’s why it’s important to use entities to set these expectations and control messaging. This is really why entities are important. In our previous video, we talked once again about the background. Context is the key.
And like I also said, SEOs and marketers, we’re communicating the meaning of our posts and entities are helping us do just that. Let’s take a look at some of these examples directly in Google search. Some of the entities and why defining them is so important and why really understanding the meaning behind them is important for our message to be clear. Let’s say you are doing a piece of content on George Washington. And one of your keywords would obviously be Washington, his last name, right? But as you can see here, when we type the term Washington into the search engine, we see several things.
First off, Google deduces that the most likely thing I’m looking for is Washington state. It gives me a URL here for the state of Washington, but I’m not quite sure what I’m looking for as just below I see the Washington Post, which is a newspaper based in Washington, DC. And then below we see the Wikipedia link for Washington state. And then in people asking too, we see information based on Washington State, as well as Washington, DC. Google is not sure what the intent is because this query is too broad.
If I wanted to talk about President Washington, I don’t even get any information about it. These search engines don’t have a clear understanding of plain text, but let’s say I meant President George Washington. I would actually mark this term, Washington as a person and not as a state. Type in President Washington, we see he’s the first president of the United States, a lot of other great information here. We have other related information such as the portrait, drawings of him, his inauguration cabinet and more.
When you create content around Person, Washington, you’re going to use person and entity markup for a person so that search engines will know, in fact, that I’m talking about a person, not a state or a person. a town. As you can see, this helps to dispel the ambiguity of the terms you are talking about and to be very clear in the things you are trying to come up with to the search engine, as well as the user. As you can see, it’s connected right here to the Knowledge Graph, which is a giant, linked open database of meanings and connections of different entities based on their meaning and how they fit together. other.
If we look at another search query, like marketing, we get a dictionary definition. We have other things that could be related to marketing. Some other concepts. We have a link to Wikipedia. If we scroll down, we also see digital marketing. Digital marketing is different from marketing. If we are talking about marketing in a broad sense, we would like to mark the marketing thing. But if we are talking specifically about digital marketing, we would like to mark something more specific to digital. The entity changes, because the intention and meaning of the term we use changes.
One more based on location. Let’s say you are doing local business. I live in a city called Melbourne. Melbourne is in Florida. Now if I go ahead and type Melbourne in the search bar I get Melbourne Australia. It is on the other side of the world that I am targeting. If we scroll down you see things here on Australia, but now you also see Melbourne, Florida. Google search knows, hey, they’re two different cities. Maybe that person could search for a place in Florida or search for a place in Australia.
The location should be marked. It plays a huge role in local search, finding local businesses. If I want to talk about Melbourne, Florida, I can tag the entity, Melbourne, Florida, which is a city. And I can define this city and have the attributes of this city. Once again, I have clarified my content. Entities play an extremely important role in today’s research as we move more and more towards the Semantic Web, and you don’t have to be one of these big companies to figure it out and take advantage of it. There are tools like we talked about on this channel, there is a tool called WordLift that we use a lot to help us tag features and inject that kind of structured data into our site.
The most important thing to understand is that entities are driving research today, and they’re not just driving research, they are running major social platforms, a lot of other major business platforms, because the web is increasingly interconnected using linked data. . And for this reason, we want to make sure that when we talk about concepts, we have the sense that we intend to attach to our site so that we can then get the most correct exposure to the people we are trying with. to speak.
If you found this useful, please comment below and contact us. And I also want to offer you a chance to check out our course. We have a structured data-based course that helps you tag your site and leverage structured data much more fully. If you are interested, you can check it out. It is simplifiedsearch.net. Make sure to use the YouTube code and you will get a generous discount on this course to help you get the most out of your digital marketing activities. Structured data plays a huge role. Entities are at the heart of this, and we need to start leveraging them more and more so that we can increase our visibility online. Again, if you have any questions, please comment below. We would love to continue this conversation with you. And until next time, Happy Marketing.