Entity SEO: How to Know the Right Entities to Target for Your Website

Have you ever searched for a recipe online, only to be met with a confusing list of ingredients like “2 cups flour,” “1 tsp baking powder,” or “pinch of salt”? Without instructions, these elements are meaningless, leaving you clueless about creating a delicious dish.

This scenario is similar to how search engines encounter websites lacking entities—building blocks that enable search engines to grasp your content’s true meaning and context.

Just as a detailed recipe with ingredient descriptions and step-by-step instructions guides you toward a delicious dish, entities guide search engines (like Google) towards the information they need to deliver relevant results to users. They act as the bridge between the abstract keywords users type and the concrete concepts your content addresses.

Whether it’s identifying historical figures like “Albert Einstein” and their contributions or understanding the relationship between concepts like “the theory of relativity” and “space-time,” entities empower search engines to connect users with the information they truly seek.

This post will explore the importance of entities and how to effectively target them to optimize existing content and achieve success with new websites, leveraging the powerful InLinks tool.

What are Entities?

Entities are distinct, identifiable objects, people, places, or concepts that search engines can recognize and understand. Think of them as the building blocks of meaning, encompassing individuals like Barack Obama, organizations like NASA, locations like Mount Everest, events like the World Cup, and even abstract concepts like “love” or “democracy.”

While most entities have dedicated Wikipedia pages, their existence isn’t solely defined by that platform. The world is full of important entities that may not have a dedicated page but still hold significant meaning.

Unlike simple keywords, which are merely language-specific strings of letters, entities carry intrinsic meaning. They are independent of language and synonymous terms and often possess unique characteristics and intricate relationships with other entities. For instance, search engines understand that the entity “Albert Einstein” isn’t just a name but a renowned physicist born in 1879, known for his work on relativity. 

Search Engine Result Page (SERP) for the entity “Albert Einstein”

This deep understanding of entities is powered by knowledge graphs and vast databases maintained by search engines. These intricate networks map the connections between different entities, forming a web of knowledge that influences search results and featured snippets.

Why are Entities important? 

Incorporating entities is vital because they empower search engines to grasp the true meaning and context of your content, leading to several significant benefits:

1. Improved Search Engine Understanding

Search engines are like detectives, constantly analyzing your content to grasp its meaning and context. Keywords provide basic clues, but entities paint the complete picture. By associating your web pages with relevant entities like people, places, things, and events, you offer search algorithms a richer understanding of your content. This process translates to more accurate indexing and higher rankings in relevant search results.

Think of it this way:

Say you run a travel blog and associate your articles with entities like “Paris,” “Eiffel Tower,” and “The Louvre Museum.” Search engines now grasp the essence of your content – it’s about travel destinations, landmarks, or cultural experiences in Paris. This comprehensive understanding leads to more accurate indexing and higher rankings in relevant searches. When users search for travel guides to Paris, your articles on Parisian attractions are more likely to appear.

2. Enhanced User Experience 

When search engines understand the entities within your content, they can deliver results that align with user intent. Suppose you manage an ecommerce store specializing in athletic footwear. By associating your product pages with entities like “running shoes,” “sneakers,” and “trail running,” you align your content with user intent. When a customer searches for “best sneakers for trail running,” search engines can prominently deliver your product pages in the results. This boosts your visibility and improves user experience by presenting shoppers with precisely the type of footwear they seek, leading to higher engagement and conversion rates.

3. Stronger Content Structure

Incorporating entities into your content strategy is akin to giving search engines a detailed website map. It empowers search engines to understand your content better and deliver more relevant results to users. This, in turn, leads to increased visibility, improved user experience, and stronger website performance.

Let’s assume you run a website that offers information and reviews on various types of cameras. Without incorporating entities into your content strategy, your website might have generic pillar pages like “Best Cameras.” While this page might contain relevant keywords, its schema markup might lack the specificity and context for search engines to fully understand its content, leading to missed opportunities.

However, you could turn this around by identifying relevant entities with tools like InLinks or manual research. These entities could include specific camera brands (e.g., Canon, Nikon, Sony), camera types (e.g., DSLR, mirrorless, point-and-shoot), photography techniques (e.g., long exposure, portrait photography), and related concepts (e.g., image stabilization, aperture).

For each page on your website, you strategically associate relevant entities. For example, you could associate the “Best Cameras” page with entities like “Canon EOS R,” or “Sony A7III.” By doing this, you’re providing a detailed map of your website’s content to search engines. They can now understand the specific topics covered on each page, the relationships between different concepts, and the overall focus of your website. This enhanced understanding allows search engines to deliver more relevant results to users searching for specific camera brands or related information.

How to Know the Right Entities to Focus On

While understanding entities and their role in SEO is crucial, effectively leveraging them requires careful selection. This selection process hinges on two key factors:

1. Understanding Your Business

  • Brand Focus: What products or services do you provide? What unique value proposition sets you apart from competitors? What message do you want to convey to the world? By grasping your brand’s essence, you can identify the entities that best represent your core identity and resonate with your target audience.
  • Content Pillars: What are the overarching themes and topics your website focuses on? Choosing entities that align with these pillars ensures your content remains cohesive and relevant to your brand’s expertise.

2. Understanding Your Users’ Needs

  1. Target Audience: Who are you trying to reach with your content? Understanding their demographics, interests, and search patterns helps identify entities relevant to their queries and search intent.
  2. Users’ Pain Points: What challenges or questions do your target users face? Identifying these pain points lets you choose entities that address their needs and provide valuable solutions through your content.

However, identifying and implementing relevant entities can be time-consuming. This is where InLinks comes in.

InLinks automates entity analysis and targeting with its Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithm. The tool analyzes pages of website content to extract the named entities within them and then build a knowledge graph from your pages. Looking through the list of suggested entities and taking the time to associate all your important pages with their corresponding entities is key to getting your SEO right. 

How Knowledge Graph and InLinks’ NLP Analyzer facilitates page entities

Keep reading to learn how to target the right entities with InLinks. 

In this section, we’ll walk you through how to target the right entities with InLinks. We provide a step-by-step breakdown for the following:

  • A website with existing content 
  • A new website

Let’s dive in!  

For a Website with Existing Content:

Step 1: Log in and Create a Project

Log into your InLinks account or sign up here if you’re not already a customer.

Once logged in, select “Create a Project,” then enter the URL of your website and bring in your content pages. For this demonstration, we’ll use Float.com, a resource management tool. We’ll also select the US as our target market. 

InLinks will analyze the web pages using its Natural Language Processing API. The NLP API reads and breaks down your content, identifying “Entities” (often called “Topics” in Google’s documentation).

Step 2: Explore and Choose Entities

Once the analysis is complete, navigate to the Topics tab on the left side of the dashboard. Here, you’ll find a list of entities extracted from your pages. 

In Float’s case, InLinks uncovered 500+ entities.

You can visualize these entities within InLinks by clicking “Display Topic Wheel”:

Or export them to a CSV file for further analysis.

Step 3. Target Entities to Pages:

Now, let’s target the generated entities. To do this, you have two options: 

  • Use the “Topics” Tab, or 
  • Use the “Website Pages” Tab

Using the Topics Tab

Visit the Topics Tab and review each suggested entity to assess how well it aligns with the core concepts of your web pages (e.g., pillar pages, product pages). This is where a deep understanding of your business, along with the criteria below, comes in. 

  • Relevance to your content: Does the entity accurately represent the information on your webpage?
  • Target audience: Does the entity resonate with the interests and needs of your target audience?
  • Search intent: Does the entity align with the potential search queries users might have related to your content?

Based on these criteria, targeting entities like “project management,” “team,” “management,” “project,” “resource,” “planning,” and “schedule (workplace)” would be relevant to Float.com.

Clicking on a relevant entity, like “project management,” generates a list of pages on your website that can be targeted. 

Afterwards, select the page most relevant to the chosen entity. In this case, “Introduction to Remote Project Management” appears to be the most suitable.

If you don’t find a page you’d like to target, search for it manually or create one from scratch. 

Using the Website Pages Tab

Alternatively, you can associate entities with their appropriate pages by visiting the Website Pages Tab on the left side of the dashboard. 

Click Target beside a page to view all the entities InLinks has identified for it and then associate it with the one that most accurately represents your content. 

If the recommended entities don’t perfectly align with your needs, click “advanced options” and input the Wikipedia URL of your desired entity.

For instance, if we decide to target the entity “waterfall model” instead of the recommended entities, we’ll simply look up the term on Wikipedia and copy its URL:

Next, paste the Wikipedia page URL in InLinks and save it, making “waterfall model” the target entity. 

Step 4: Refine and Optimize

Once you’ve successfully associated your target pages with the most relevant entities, you can use InLinks to further enhance and optimize them for search engines. This optimization is achieved through two key methods:

1. Contextual Internal Linking

InLinks helps you identify missing internal links that can significantly improve your target page’s performance. These internal links act like bridges, connecting entities to relevant pages on your website. By strategically placing internal links, you:

  • Create a user-friendly website, making it easier for users to find the information they seek.
  • Subtly tell search engines which pages are most important on your website, influencing their understanding of your content hierarchy.

To identify potential internal linking opportunities within InLinks, click “Links & Schema” and select “Incoming and Outgoing Links” in the dropdown menu. This will reveal suggestions for relevant internal links you can incorporate within your target page, further strengthening its context. 

2. Schema Markup Generation

InLinks automatically generates Webpage Schema Markup once you do your topic associations. This Markup provides structured information about your content to search engines, further enhancing the clarity and context of your content. To access it, click “Links & Schema” and select “Schema” in the dropdown menu. 

Here’s a breakdown of the generated Web page Schema for the targeted page on “Waterfall Model.”

  • Schema.org/about: This section identifies the primary topic of your webpage (in this case, Waterfall Model) using the chosen entity you previously targeted.
  • Schema.org/mentions: This section highlights secondary topics (e.g., Agile Software Development) mentioned within the targeted page, enriching the context and providing search engines with a deeper understanding of the content.

For a New Website:

Building a new website presents unique challenges, including identifying relevant entities for your content strategy. While the traditional method of extracting entities from your pages isn’t yet feasible, here are strategies to get you started:

Step 1: Identify Established Competitors

Dive into your niche and use a tool like SEMRush’s Organic Research Tool to find the top 100 pages ranking for your target keywords or website concept. These pages are like gold mines, potentially holding valuable content insights.

For example, imagine you’re launching a new procurement automation platform called Barrel. Using SEMRush, you discover top competitors for the term “procurement automaton,” including Ziphq, Coupa, and Ariba.

Step 2: Analyze Competitor Content

Input the competitor’s URLs into your InLinks project to analyze their content and extract their key entities. These entities represent the “who, what, where, and why” behind their content, acting as valuable building blocks for your strategy. 

Continuing the example: With Barrel, we’d create a new project in InLinks and add the URL of one of the identified competitors, Ziphq, for analysis.

Step 3: Extract and Refine Entities

Once InLinks extracts your competitor’s entities, export them to a CSV file for easy review. Filter out entities that don’t align with your specific brand or target audience. Now, you have a list of relevant entities to guide your content strategy.

Step 4: Build Your Content Strategy

Repeat steps 2 and 3 for additional competitors, adding their refined entities to your master list. Use this combined list as a roadmap for your content creation, helping you reach a wider audience and establish yourself as an authority within your industry.

Step 5: Streamline Content Creation

Develop engaging content that targets the scrapped entities effectively. You can streamline this content creation process with InLinks’ built-in AI writing tool. Simply choose your desired entity cluster and topic, and InLinks will generate a draft outline tailored to your specific needs. This kickstarts your content creation process, saving you time and effort. Watch this video to learn more about InLinks’ AI writing assistant.

3 Common Pitfalls to Avoid When Targeting Entities

While entity targeting holds immense potential for your SEO performance, navigating the process can be tricky. Here are three common pitfalls to steer clear of to ensure your entity targeting efforts deliver the best results:

1. Focusing on Keywords Instead of Entities

While keywords can be a starting point, relying solely on them for entity targeting limits your optimization potential. Unlike keywords, entities offer richer context and allow search engines to understand your content on a deeper level. This leads to a greater ability to vary anchor text in internal links and enrich your website with schema markup, ultimately contributing to stronger SEO performance.

2. Targeting Overly Broad Entities

Associating a page with a highly generic entity, like “Blog,” for a blog homepage, provides minimal value. Aim for specific and relevant entities that accurately reflect the content’s core themes. This improves the tool’s understanding and allows it to better align your page with relevant search queries.

3. Unrelated Entity Associations

While InLinks allows targeting multiple entities, we recommend targeting only one entity. And if you must target two entities, ensure they are thematically related and complement each other. Avoid associating a page with entities from completely different areas, as this can confuse search engines and hinder optimization efforts.

Wrapping Up

When you strategically incorporate entities into your content strategy, you empower search engines to grasp the core concepts of your web pages, leading to improved search engine ranking, enhanced user experience, and, ultimately, stronger website performance. 

An entity SEO tool like InLinks can help you effectively identify and target relevant entities, optimizing your existing content and laying the groundwork for success with new websites. 

Next, read How to Audit Your Content for Entities on InLinks

This post was researched and drafted by Juliet John and reviewed and edited by Dixon Jones.

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