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8 steps to a successful entity-first strategy for SEO and content

In: Search Optimization

entity search can be a huge competitive advantage. But you must first build your business-based strategy.

In this article, you’ll learn how to develop a robust entity-first strategy to support our content and SEO efforts.

The most common challenges for search and content marketers

Relevant, up-to-date content, discovery based on client intent, remains the number one challenge we face as search marketers.

In my opinion, content relevance means that the content is personalised, has to tell a story, should be scannable and readable, provide images and the layout can be consumed on any device.

Here are five outcomes we aim to achieve with content:

  • Discovery: Ensure content is discoverable and available across different customer touchpoints.
  • relevance: Make sure the content meets all the needs of the searcher and includes all topics and subtopics that interest a searcher, is easy to read and understand, and tells a story.
  • Measurability: The content is aligned with the overall SEO strategy and is scalable and measurable.
  • Experience: The content offers a great user experience and is scannable.
  • Engagement: Drives engagement and drives visitors to desired destinations – signups, purchases, form fills, calls, etc.

The most common struggle we all face is deciding what type of content to create or add.

Comparison of strategies with search engines

Search engines are evolving and content marketing strategies need to align across all industries, from popularity and quality to the intent behind the search query and the overall site experience.

Search engine priorities, results, algorithms, and needs have evolved over time.

Evolution of search engines and implications

As users search on screenless devices and spoken searches increase, search engines use artificial intelligence and machine learning to try to replicate how people think, act, and react.

Search engines need to decode a sentence (or paragraph) long query and return results that best match it. This is where entities come into play.

Entities are things that search engines can understand without ambiguity, regardless of language. Even when a website contains a wealth of content, search engines need to understand the context behind it, identify the entities within the content, make connections between them, and match them to the searcher’s query.

Providing schemas and tagging the entities in your content gives search engines context and helps them better understand your content.

A convergence of technology and content

Content where entities are not tagged with schemas tends to underperform.

Likewise, providing schemas for content that does not contain all relevant entities or does not provide all information also does not have maximum impact.

Entity optimization uses advanced nested schemas provided for content that matches searcher needs and includes all relevant topics and entities.

Let’s use a live project as an example and show what we achieved for one of our clients.

8 steps to developing an entity-first strategy

We implemented the eight steps below as an entity-first strategy for one of our healthcare clients to help them achieve the best topical reporting and visibility. We started by identifying the most relevant schema in their industry, followed by identifying the gaps in their content for schema and entities.

Eight steps for an entity-first strategy

1. Identified schema vocabulary

We have made a list of all applicable schemes in the healthcare industry.

2. Determination of schema gaps

We identified the schema gaps by comparing the current page content to the applicable schemas.

3. Mapping scheme

After identifying the schema gaps, we identified the most relevant pages to deploy the unused schemas.

4. Market opportunity and potential sizing

We conducted thorough keyword research and analysis of current content performance.

Map content based on information, navigation and transaction content.

It’s important to see how your current branded and unbranded content is performing and where to focus based on business goals.

Market opportunity and potential sizing

We’ve identified the pages where topic, entity, and schema optimization could have the greatest impact and potential.

5. Assign topic gaps

After identifying the best potential pages, we compared gaps in content by analyzing the topics and units covered by other ranking websites.

6. Identify content opportunities

We’ve improved the site architecture by adding relevant content elements like images, headings, and lists.

Page layout with schema and content options

Topic/entity gaps covered:

  • care plan
  • treatment
  • treatment center
  • ABA Services
  • behavioral engineer
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • BCBA
  • ABA Therapist
  • ABA Services

Schema gaps closed:

  • Medical organization
  • SiteNavigationElement
  • hospital
  • available service
  • hasmap
  • FAQ
  • item list

7. Improving Content

Optimizing the content by including missing topics and entities

8. Build a better than the best website page

We then created the perfect in-depth page, rich in relevant topics that the target audience is searching for.

Measuring the impact of corporate strategy

When we measured the impact of adding entities and schemas to our strategy for this healthcare company, we saw a 66% increase in visibility and inclusion in rich search results.

Overall effect of the new page.

While the image above is just an example of the impact that entities and schemas can have, below you can see how many different industries benefit from providing schema and entity coverage.

Impact of schemas in different industries.

The central theses

Creating content is more than just writing. It is robust when you add all the elements from design, development, coverage of current entities and schemas. All of these elements must be coordinated to achieve optimal results.

Think about organization, group pages with relevant content and connect them with pillar pages to ensure you take advantage of linking opportunities.

Treat each page as a main category page with multiple linked relevant pages. Adding shortcuts helps with discoverability and relevance.

Once you have an entity-first content strategy, you need to think about how to scale the process:

  • Understand the essence.
  • tagging scheme.
  • Trim broken links or errors as soon as they occur.
  • Keep adding more meaningful content.
Entity optimization frameworks for large enterprise websites

In my next article, we’ll explore how to deploy, measure and report performance, improve where necessary, and scale your entity-first strategy.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily those of Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

New in search engine land

About the author

Benu Aggarwal, Founder and President of Milestone Inc., is a highly recognized expert in digital marketing solutions, voice search, SEO and local. Benu oversees the company’s product development, customer service, technology and strategic vision. Under her leadership, the company thrived as it launched a suite of SEO-first software products and thousands of websites, dozens of which have won design and technology awards. With her technical marketing experience, entrepreneurial spirit and motivational attitude, Benu is able to turn technical ideas into tangible practice that drive results for clients.

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