What is Entity Optimisation?

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As the Hummingbird update rolled out, Google indicated that it was one of the most important updates it has made to its algorithm in years. While Penguin and Panda had a tremendous effect on a small number of sites, Hummingbird is different. It, essentially, affects all sites. It represents a fundamental shift in the SEO/search/content world. One of the terms that has come into play with the update is “entity optimisation.” What is this, and what does it have to do with the update – and, more importantly, what does it have to do with you?

Entities are just that: people, businesses, things. What Google is doing is moving ahead towards semantic search, or entity search. Instead of focusing on the keyword for meaning, it wants to analyse the users’ intent when they enter in a query. Websites need to create structured data by labeling each piece of information as an entity. Google can then better understand the context and the relationship between the various entities. What this means, practically, is that the search engine can return better, more accurate results.

In the future (and really, the future is now!), we won’t be concerned with keywords. Instead, we will have to think about creating machine-readable entities using structured data. We do this when we markup text using Schema.org, or the common semantic language of Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

In the move from “search engines” to “answer engines,” it will be important that we structure data so Google can discover these relationships and understand context. Next time, we’ll talk about using Schema.org to implement semantic markup on your website.


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