Entity SEO

Are you up to speed with entities? 

Keeping our clients up to date with the latest industry advancements is at the top of our list of priorities. So, we’ve kept our fingers firmly on the pulse when it comes to entity SEO. Use this page to keep up to date with the latest entity advancements and learn about our entities service offering.

Entity SEO services 

Sleeping Giant Media is very excited to be offering entity SEO to our clients. While entities are not ‘new’ (they’ve been around for over a decade, in fact), they’ve recently gained traction as Google has been increasingly testing the integration of AI features into its search engine.

As such, it is becoming increasingly important for brands and businesses to:

a) Understand what entities are, and
b) Optimise their site accordingly

With this in mind, our team of passionate SEO experts have been hard at work developing our entity SEO approach, comprising the perfect blend of innovation and testing. Take a look for yourself below.

Brand entity research & analysis

The cornerstone of entity SEO is entity research and analysis — and this takes the form of two unique phases.

Brand entity audit

Brand is the heart of all entity SEO. If your company or brand is not itself a single, strong entity, it is going to be extremely difficult for Google to find and categorise you. It’s also essential that your brand only shows up as one unique entity, rather than several entities such as:
– Your legal name
– Old names that have since been updated
– Other iterations of your brand name

So, our team would first look to perform an analysis of your brand’s online presence to decipher how it is understood and referred to by Google. From here, we will have a series of optimisation suggestions for your site. Most often starting with the ‘About Us’ page (also known as the ‘entity home’ to search engines), these recommendations can be actioned by our team to content and structured data alike. This will allow Google to better consolidate all of the E-E-A-T (Expertise, Experience, Authority, and Trust) signals to only your brand.

Core entity analysis

The second crucial stage is core entity analysis. Acting as a foundation for any optimisation strategy, it is vital that brands must first understand what entities currently exist within their content.

So, undergoing a process known as entity research, we can use a combination of mapping techniques and tools to create an entity list, identifying the entities on your site and related entities you should be talking about.

This is sometimes referred to as an entity audit and involves an assembly of the top search queries for your site, extracting the entities which occur the most frequently (using tools), clustering them into specific topics, and making suggestions on content optimisation/creation that can be used to strengthen those topics.

This process involves determining all products, events, and people associated with your brand as well as assessing any Google Business profiles, review sites, and media mentions to gauge brand sentiment.

Content auditing

Once the entities have been formally identified, we recommend conducting a complete audit of your site — to get a feel for the quality of the content before entity-based optimisation begins. During a content audit, our Creative Team will assess the content clusters on your site, taking into consideration performance and looking at both functional and blog pages to determine the value of your content, identify any gaps, and indicate where quick wins or larger-scale reviews can happen.

Auditing is an excellent opportunity to flag any issues pertaining to content duplication, keyword cannibalisation, or thin content too.

Content optimisation

After auditing, we can take a list of the pages that require optimisation and work through them in priority order, making strategic changes to the core elements on the page in line with entity SEO best practices.

Bespoke entity SEO structured data

Another crucial part of working around entities involves making informed changes to structured data. Why? Because it can help to strengthen the entities on a webpage and the relationships between them, forging connections that Google wouldn’t necessarily recognise on its own.

But entity-based structured data is fiddly and requires expertise to make sure that Google is able to understand the content we are classifying for it. It is also different for every business and every website — but essential.

Kelly Sheppard Senior SEO manager

Kelly Sheppard, Senior SEO Lead, explains the importance of structured data when it comes to the future of entity SEO:

By writing bespoke entity-based structured data we can “talk” to the Knowledge Graph, which will play an essential role when Search Generative Experience comes into play next year.

So, what can we do? Starting with your homepage and about us page, we can work outwards, mapping out other core pages and making bespoke rewrites to your structured data that provide Google Search with explicit clues about the meaning of the information found on each page.

Custom structured data

If there isn’t any present, our team can also create custom structured data for your entities, far superior to that generated by plug-ins. Read more about the benefits of creating custom structured data in another of our blogs.

Entities FAQs

Entity SEO can be a confusing subject. So, we’ve taken some of the most commonly asked questions about entity SEO from our clients, and created this handy FAQ-style guide for you. Starting off lightly, probably the funniest question we’ve been asked is:

How many entities does it take to change a light bulb?

The answer to this question is 3, (if the person is a competent light bulb changer!):

Let’s move on to the more relevant questions…

1. What are entities in SEO?

An entity is a uniquely identifiable object or thing characterised by its name(s), type(s), attributes, and relationships to other entities.

In SEO, however, an entity is only considered to exist when it exists in an entity catalogue like Wikipedia, Wikidata, dbpedia.com, or Google’s Knowledge Graph. As such, it can be classified as either a person, place, thing, idea, or concept.

2. Why is entity SEO called entity SEO?

Entity SEO is called so because it revolves around optimising your website content for entities — not just keywords. It focuses on creating content and building your website around these entities rather than solely targeting specific keywords.

3. Is entity SEO new?

Entities are not new. While they might be all the rage at the moment, taking online forums by storm in the same way that ChatGPT has done, entities have actually been around for about 10 years.

What’s now known as ‘Entity SEO’ began in May 2012 with the creation of Google’s Knowledge Graph and its ability to help Google understand the meaning and connections behind a keyword. This, in turn, led to the coining of the phrase that all SEOs love: “Things not strings”.

However, the first true use of entities on the internet was in the form of encyclopaedias such as Freebase, which was started in 2005. They gave the “entities” (articles) unique ID’s and tried to connect them all together with relationships between articles. Google bought Freebase 5 years later, and eventually merged it into its Knowledge Graph. This is why some Google entity IDs have /m/ in them, as they are very old Freebase IDs.

4. What was the first entity?

In terms of Wikidata, the first entity is https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q1 which is the Universe. Wikipedia is a different story, as much of its database was lost at some point from when it started in 2001. The oldest page they can find is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nupedia which was edited on 17th January 2001.

Google doesn’t have a singular starting point for its Knowledge Graph, as it integrated Freebase into its database. We also don’t know what the first entry was in Freebase, unfortunately.

5. How can I identify entities on my site?

At the most fundamental level, you can identify entities organically by reading the content of a page on your website and thinking about what it should be focused on.

However, there are also a number of tools such as Google’s Natural Language API — and even AI tools like ChatSonic — that can help with entity identification. The key thing to remember here, though, is that one tool is unable to catch everything completely. You should be strategic and thorough in your application of these tools.

6. How does Google decide what’s an entity and what isn’t?

Google needs enough information about an “entity” to be able to populate the Knowledge Graph with an entry for that entity. It also needs to understand the relationship between that entity and other entities it knows about.

Google always tries to serve users with the most accurate and relevant information, so enhancing your content with entities really helps with that.

So, how does that work?

  • Well, Google analyses the co-occurrence of words and phrases in its massive dataset of text and web content, and then it looks for ones which are often mentioned frequently and co-occur with other relevant entities within the same context.
  • Google then uses “entity-linking” to connect mentions of the same entity across different web pages and sources. It also uses external sources such as Wikipedia and Wikidata to learn more about those entities and make more relationships. There’s a complex algorithm behind all of this, which utilises machine learning and AI.
  • For example, the frequent co-occurrence of “Barack Obama,” “United States,” and “President” would suggest that “Barack Obama” is an entity likely representing a person who was the President of the United States.

Entities & your business

In terms of how that helps your business, you need to appear for both branded and non-branded searches often for Google to understand what your business offers.

Once you are classified as being prominent enough to be classed as an entity in Google’s eyes, you will be assigned what’s called a kgmid, which is your unique ID in Google’s Knowledge Graph. These all have associated Knowledge Panels which come up in Google searches to tell you more about that entity.

7. What is the relationship between entities and keywords?

An entity is basically a “topic” that a keyword lives within. When we are doing keyword research, we will group keywords together into topics or categories, these are essentially the entities. To break it down further:


  • Keywords: Are individual words or phrases people use to search for information online. They are often isolated and don’t necessarily convey the full context of the search intent. Google has to “guess” what the intent is behind your query, and sometimes returns irrelevant information until you expand on what you are searching for by adding more information to your query.
  • Entities: Represent the underlying concepts behind the search queries. They are interconnected and hold meaning within the larger context of your content and Google’s Knowledge Graph.

By focusing on entities, you can create content that is more relevant, informative, and user-friendly, as it caters to the broader search intent and not just specific keyword strings.

If you are using entities, your website will still show up in search results for queries that don’t mention any of the keywords you have on your pages. It also means that Google will understand the intent of your website more easily. For example:

If you are a car dealership and have lots of relevant content about cars on your site, you want Google to understand that you sell cars, rather than that you only have information about cars.

8. Can I pay for entities?

You can’t pay Google or anyone else to create entities for you, you have to earn them. That’s one of the things that makes entity SEO so great, is that it’s a system that can’t be tricked and using black hat SEO techniques are not effective.

9. Is entity SEO just another buzzword?

Depending on the agency, yes it can be just another buzzword. There are very few agencies in the UK offering entity SEO as a service at the moment, as it is a very complex and involved process.

Agencies need to have an SEO team which really understands the intricacies of entities and how they relate to client’s businesses in order to create really great entity SEO strategies. Some agencies use AI to do this, which does not have the context or human understanding needed to find all of the relevant entities and make those connections necessary to improve performance.

Here at Sleeping Giant Media, we have an SEO team who have been specifically trained in entity SEO as well as traditional SEO, so we’ve got the best of both worlds.

10. What makes entity SEO different to standard SEO?

As we use entities, Google is able to determine the topic of a webpage and whether it’s relevant to the user without the need to explicitly contain the exact keyword. For example:

We could talk about the moon without ever mentioning the keyword “moon” on the page by creating the correct context and using other words related to it such as natural satellite, reflected light, lunar orbit, tidal cycle, phases, or eclipse. Google will still understand that we are talking about the moon because it can look for other terms related to the same entity and because it understands the relationship between them.

This is different to traditional SEO in that previously as SEOs we’ve always been focused on keyword research and other things like backlinks.

Entity SEO is a completely new way of working for SEOs who have to direct their thinking to more about connections and relationships. Content plays a major role in entity SEO, and is the core thing that we need to work on for users and for Google. There are lots of things we don’t focus on with entity SEO, such as backlinks, keyword volume, domain authority, what your competitors are doing, cannibalisation, keyword research, keyword mapping, bulk metadata, site speed (unless it’s truly awful) and seasonality mapping.

What we do focus on is your brand entity, optimising and organising your content, internal linking and site structure, adding valuable information about your products and services, structured data and entity analysis for your core pages.

Should I prioritise entity SEO over regular SEO?

This depends on whether regular SEO is working for you. If you’re stagnating and not really getting anywhere, then entity SEO can provide that extra context that Google needs to get your rankings going in the right direction again.

It’s really important that you’ve fixed all of your critical technical SEO issues before prioritising entity SEO. This is why we insist that all of our entity SEO clients have a full technical audit and implement those recommendations before we begin entity SEO.

11. What are the benefits of entity SEO as opposed to regular SEO?

In the olden days, if you stuffed your page with a particular keyword, you would rank #1 in Google for that keyword. Things have changed a lot since then, and keyword stuffing is definitely something we don’t recommend anymore. The core benefit of entity SEO is that there’s less ambiguity than using keywords; you are matching your content to known entities so Google can make associations with your brand, products, and services a lot quicker than trying to figure out from the keywords on the page whether it should show that page in search results.

For example, when you type in a keyword in the search bar like “Apple”, how does Google know whether you are looking for an apple fruit or Apple the company? Well, it uses disambiguation algorithms to differentiate between entities with the same name but different meanings. Disambiguation helps Google understand the specific entity being referred to in each context.

There are so many keywords and ways that people search for the same thing, that it can be really hard to rank well in Google with traditional SEO. You’ve also got lots of different platforms to search on nowadays, such as voice search, image search, and text searches. Optimising for entities can help you show up for all of these search methods. We look to organise and optimise content on your site so that it fits into entity topics.

12. If I don’t pay any attention to entity SEO and choose not to implement anything, what am I missing out on?

If you choose to stick with traditional SEO, as it’s working well for your business, then that’s fine and you should continue. If you are looking for a new approach or you’re not doing as well as you want to in search results, then entity SEO is something that you should explore. You’re missing out on increasing your brand entity, increased click-through rates (CTR) for your main pages, and the increased revenue that comes along with that.

13. How do you implement entity SEO?

Most of the entity SEO work that we do revolves around your content, site structure, internal linking, and the implementation of structured data. Therefore you will likely need a developer to help you implement all of these things, particularly if we are writing structured data that is to be automated, for example, for e-commerce websites.

What do I need to do first before I focus on entity SEO?

You need to make sure that your company has good reviews, that you have fixed all of the critical technical issues with your website, and also that you have enough traffic to warrant starting entity-based SEO.

14. Is entity SEO only for large sites?

Entity-based SEO can be excellent for websites with extensive content that might appear disconnected or challenging for Google to grasp the connections between. For smaller sites, we recommend focusing on the brand entity more than the core entities, as it’s important to get your brand “out there” and known to potential customers and Google.

Your site needs to get a reasonable amount of traffic to start with and build on that, so it’s not suitable for new businesses or small local businesses that only get a few visits a week.

15. Are there cases where entity SEO doesn’t work?

While entity SEO can be very effective, it doesn’t work if…

  • You have a negative brand sentiment, as Google will show your website less than your competitors who have better reviews than you.
  • Your content is not considered to be particularly helpful to users or if there isn’t enough content to support the entities across the site.

Some pages on the sites work better than others in terms of optimising for entities. Sometimes it’s hard to understand from content on business websites what they actually do. This is where we would recommend a content audit and optimisation of that before starting entity-based SEO.

16. How long does entity SEO take to show results? Is it quicker than regular SEO?

Entity SEO can show results in just a few days to weeks once everything is implemented. It can sometimes mean that your entity visibility and relevancy score goes down rather than up for the first few months. This is because all of the confusion is being sorted out in the background.

It can take around 12 months to see the best results from entity SEO, for example:

☑ An improved Knowledge Panel

☑ Increased share of voice

☑ Increases in traffic.

As with traditional SEO, it’s also normal to see seasonal fluctuations, as well as increases and decreases in traffic over time, depending on search trends. Entity SEO also doesn’t make you immune from Google’s algorithm updates, but it definitely helps Google to fully understand what your business is offering and who you are in your industry.

17. How do I know if the entity SEO is working, how is this measured?

Measuring the success of entity SEO and structured data is completely different to measuring normal SEO metrics. Unfortunately, there aren’t any tools out there on the market at the moment that can measure entity SEO success. However, we can measure:

  • Clicks to increase and impressions to decrease. We want impressions to decrease as it shows the traffic is more relevant!
  • Click through rate to increase
  • Ranking position to increase
  • Your brand gets an entry in Google’s Knowledge Graph (if it hasn’t already got one)
  • Your brand relevancy score increases in Google’s Knowledge Graph (takes up to 12 months)
  • Brand dominance. Does the brand dominate the top 10 results in search engine results?
  • Does the brand rank highly in the SERPs for its core entity?
  • Branded vs non-branded traffic
  • Branded homepage clicks
  • Knowledge Graph entity results – the brand should only have one entity
  • What level your Knowledge Panel is at
  • Share of voice
  • Overall rankings
  • Overall traffic
  • SERP features
  • Decrease in cannibalisation across the site.

Bear in mind that it is normal for things to decrease before they increase, as all of the changes need time to take effect, and for Google to update its Knowledge Graph.

18. How do you determine which entities are the best to target?

Entities have different “relevancy scores” in Google’s Knowledge Graph. We can query this Knowledge Graph and see which entities are the best ones to mention within your content.

We don’t need to use things like keyword volume, as zero-volume entities are still really important to target if they are related to your brand or products and services.

We also conduct entity analysis so that we can see which entities are already mentioned within your content and then look for other opportunities to expand on this or create new useful content.

Does it matter if the entity spelling is Americanised?

Entities are still the same entity whatever language they are in, as entity SEO has no language barriers. So a cat is still a cat, whether it’s known as a katze, la gata, kedi, or gatto. Entities are all written in Google’s Knowledge Graph as American spellings, with other names they are also known by as relationships, e.g. feline, tom, housecat, pussy-cat, or kitty cat.

We use the American spellings in our structured data, as that’s what they are known as in Schema.org. However, you don’t need to use American spellings within your content, and the content can be in any language.

19. How do I strengthen my brand entity?

Google uses what’s called a “sentiment” to judge whether something is positive or negative. It does the same for brands. If you have a negative sentiment towards your brand, any form of SEO may not work as effectively as it otherwise would. We must improve this before we start on anything else in the process.

1. If your brand does not have an entity at all in the Knowledge Graph, Google has less confidence in the ‘facts’ about that brand, its relevance to the user query and its relationship to other entities. So, we would work on strengthening your brand entity first by conducting a brand entity audit to find all of the alternative names your business might be known by.

2. We then have a special process for improving your brand entity, which consolidates all these alternative names together and strengthens your main brand. We need help from the client to do this, as we don’t necessarily have access to all of your brand profiles.

3. By establishing a ‘web’ of information on ‘all the things’ Google knows about your business, Google will better understand when to show your website in search results. This really helps to improve your brand visibility, click-through rate and ultimately, rankings.

20. Why does it matter if you have different business names?

Your brand entity is one of the most important things about your company. In order to succeed, you need the following:

  • A strong brand reputation
  • To show your credibility
  • To gain trust among customers
  • To have a single point of reference for Google to understand who your business is.
  • To give Google an understanding of what industry you are in and how that relates to your products and services.

If you have lots of different names your business is known by, then this confuses Google (and customers!) as they don’t know which brand name is the “real” brand. Customers expect to see a Knowledge Panel show up in search results when they search for your main brand name, and if you have multiple brand names, then this panel may not show up at all.

How does strengthening entities work if you’re part of an umbrella company / bigger set of brands?

It is likely that your umbrella company or bigger set of brands has a lot more brand visibility and authority than the smaller brands. A good example of this is Fanta. They are owned by Coca-Cola, who have a much bigger brand entity. That doesn’t mean that Fanta isn’t a brand in its own right, as Coca-Cola has worked really hard to build that brand, along with all the other brands it owns.

We would still work to optimise the smaller brand, but we’d need to also do some work to make sure that the umbrella company is all in order.

21. How do you remove an entity?

If the entity is a business name, then we can use various techniques to help Google understand that these are the same business. Google then consolidates these into one business in their Knowledge Graph, alleviating any uncertainty.

If the entity is a person, then it can be harder to remove that entity from search results. For example:

If you have an ex-employee who is an entity related to your business that you need to disassociate your business from, then severing any internal and external links to that person, as well as removing any content about them and your business is the best way forward. This “breaks” the relationship between the entities in Google’s eyes, and means that, eventually, they won’t show up in the same context anymore.

22. What do entities mean for the future of SEO?

It’s safe to say that lots of SEO best practices for content and keywords alike may change dramatically during the advent of SGE, and as a result of the increased importance of entities.

Link building is likely to become less important as Google can add all mentions of your brand to its Knowledge Graph, whether linked or not! Similarly, it will likely be far more helpful to gain brand mentions on pages with a strong relationship with your entities than with a high domain authority.

Finally, internal linking is likely to become more important than ever to connect your entities together — as will structured data.

Still thinking about entities?

If you’re still brimming with questions about entity SEO and what it could mean for your site, get in touch with us and chat with our experts today.

Further reading

Why not do a bit of further reading with our extensive blog library? Choose which subtopic best suits you from the range of titles below.

entities and search generative experience are you up to speed?
a deep dive into entity based seo
how to optimise for entities

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