The wider acceptance of entity SEO in search engines is something that brings with it monumental creative and logistical challenges. However, you shouldn’t be scared of this because, really, it’s the most human part of SEO to date! This blog post is going to delineate how prominent psychological theories are being used to help google really understand what you’re talking about with much more nuance than it has ever attempted before.
What is an Entity?
Follow your gut on this one. An entity is really just a ‘thing’. Something that exists in the real or metaphorical world that gives itself to being talked about or described. An example could be an Orange, which can be described as a fruit with a rind that grows on trees and tastes sweet. Or, something less tangible such as Philosophy, which can be studied through books on thought, religion, and history.
See how I’ve made the key points of both of those entities bold?
- Grows on Trees
- Tastes Sweet
With bulked-out expression through relevant language, we can start to see entities as something bigger than just the initial word we were first faced with. ‘Orange’ has different connotations in different contexts, and by following natural language we are able to find the meaning of it and feed our brain with the information it needs to make a deduction about what on earth is going on. Of course, if I say the word Orange and do not give you any context, you already have a pretty good idea of what I might be talking about without using this list because your brain is immediately offering you possible connections to rationalize this word. But how are you doing this and, more importantly, how can we get google to do this?!
What you are doing here is creating schema or schemata (plural) for the different things you experience every day. Its where the basis of all knowledge comes from and is a well-studied theory in linguistics. This theory is accredited to Piaget, a swiss psychologist, who used it to explain how we organize ideas and experiences to create a view of the world.
Let’s break it down using an example I found on https://www.verywellmind.com.
For example, a young child may first develop a schema for a horse. She knows that a horse is large, has hair, four legs, and a tail.
When the little girl encounters a cow for the first time, she might initially call it a horse.
After all, it fits in with her schema for the characteristics of a horse; it is a large animal that has hair, four legs, and a tail. Once she is told that this is a different animal called a cow, she will modify her existing schema for a horse and create a new schema for a cow.
Now, let’s imagine that this girl encounters a miniature horse for the first time and mistakenly identifies it as a dog.
Her parents explain to her that the animal is actually a very small type of horse, so the little girl must at this time modify her existing schema for horses. She now realizes that while some horses are very large animals, others can be very small. Through her new experiences, her existing schemas are modified and new information is learned.https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-a-schema-2795873
The theory looks at learning and understanding through the connections we make to different entities to turn them into information-rich concepts. And THAT my friends, is the basis for Entity SEO. We are basically trying to teach this child called Google to create correct and ever-adapting schemata for every single different entity it is faced with. May that be “the top 10 best restaurants in London” or queries such as “how long will my COVID last?”, we need google to be acting with the same psychological processes as humans for it to really, and I mean reeeeaaally, understand the nuance of what your page is about.
How does schema translate to SEO?
Great question, me. How can something as human as comprehension really be replicated in search engine optimization? Well, let’s head on over to Inlinks, a tool using Piaget’s theory to help you write content using entities that are not only semantically relevant to one another but also proven to be understood as such by search engines.
To continue my earlier example, I made a content brief for the entity of Philosophy. The black dots saying ‘missing’ are only there as I have not yet written anything, and will update to ‘included’ once I add my text into Inlinks’ editor.
What I love about this is that it is not just providing us with a singular connection such as philosophy is semantically related to happiness/belief/human nature. It is actually categorizing these relations into ‘psychology’ before that. Every categorization is Inlinks creating a new schema for you to follow and it’s utterly brilliant. This is a map of comprehension based on philosophies from the early 1900s.
How does Inlinks schemata help my SEO strategy?
Well, from the content brief for ‘philosophy’, we can see that Google would love it if you talked about introspection/preference/sense and so on if your page is trying to convey a psychological perspective of Philosophy. Therefore, if some (admittedly very deep person) were to type in the query ‘What’s the psychology of philosophy?’ you would be privy to the semantically related topics needed to give search engines the essence of your page. Much like the lists I created earlier. Or maybe someone would like to know “What’s the use of Philosophy in today’s society”, and you could include the topics categorized under the ‘society’ branch to give meaningful context to the broad idea of what philosophy may actually mean.
I suppose what I’m trying to get at here is if someone in real life were to ask you for an orange and you had no point of reference, no built schema, and no experience of what that word meant, you would not be able to give that person an orange. Just like if someone asked google to return “orange” and every page had higgledy-piggledy language with topics that are not semantically relevant to one another, it would not return what you were really looking for.
Semantic/entity SEO is far more human than you may have been led to believe by those trying to complicate it but really, it’s just human nature!