Search engines consider an entity to be a concept that is singular, unique, and distinguishable. An entity could be a person, place, item, idea, or a combination of these.
You may have noticed the Knowledge Graph that appears in Google's search results. The Knowledge Graph includes panels that include relevant information about an entity, and this information is collected from various sources around the internet.
How are entities changing the way that search engines deliver results?
The information that the Knowledge Graph gathers about an entity has changed the way that Google returns search results. For instance, if you typed "find a Starbucks near me" into a search query today, Google would pull from a wide variety of sources to deliver results, including the Starbucks store locator, Yelp, and the Target store locator (because some Starbucks locations are in Target stores). Prior to Google's focus on entities, the search engine would have looked at a much smaller set of pages to compile the search results.
Why are search engines focusing on entities?
Search engines are choosing to focus on entities when delivering search results for a few reasons. First of all, with the increasing number of internet searches being performed on mobile devices, search engines need to provide a single accurate answer to search queries. Mobile users don't have the time to scroll through search results that may not be relevant to what they typed into the search query.
Also, with more searches being performed using voice technology, search engines need to be able to cast a wider net to produce results for more specific searches.
How can you enhance your search engine optimization strategy to account for Google's emphasis on entities?
If you want to increase your search ranking, you must take entities into consideration with your search engine optimization strategy. Your goal needs to be optimizing for the entire entity associated with your business. Here are several best practices for enhancing your search engine optimization strategy with Google's emphasis on entities:
1. Make sure all of your location data is accurate.
Taking advantage of a listing distribution service will help to ensure that your business is accurately represented in a wide variety of business directories.
2. Ensure that your location data is complete.
Providing complete information about your business, including identities and attributes, will help search engines better understand your business and entity.
3. Think beyond optimizing a Google My Business page for a single location.
Too many businesses focus on optimizing a single location for search engines. To appear in Google's map pack rankings, your business needs to be included in all of the places that Google associates with your entity.
In short, to get a competitive edge with your search engine optimization strategy, take the time to understand how search engines like Google are using entities to deliver more relevant search results. Finding ways to optimize your website for your entity will give you a boost in local search.