Milestone Delves into Entity Search in Expert Webinar Panel; Learn the Knowledge Graph of Beer to Understand It
This panel brings 78 years of combined SEO experience; Bill Hunt, author and an SEO thought leader and practitioner; Dixon Jones, the CEO of InLinks; Erik Newton, Vice President of Marketing at Milestone; Matthew LaCuesta, the Director of SEO at Milestone, sat down to put together a gangbusters-good webinar on entity search and SEO.
The guests on the panel have authored the following books as well. Bill Hunt authored Search Engine Marketing, Inc. and Dixon Jones recently released Entity Search. You can find both books on Amazon.
They broke down the core of this strategy that websites can use to rank better, optimize smarter, and engage more people online. Here are some of the best highlights from the hour.
To make it even easier to find and consume the webinar, we have separated it into 4 parts, one part for each speaker.
Content today faces an age-old problem
Entity search lies at the forefront of people’s minds because a common problem still plagues countless marketers. As much as 90% of content has no audience. With entity search, marketers can see how Google connects different ideas and concepts together to map them out, understand them, and then return them to customers in relevant moments.
When businesses learn how to capitalize on these strategies and earn those top-ranking spots with their content, they can achieve dramatic results. Erik describes in the webinar how a piece optimized to get into top positions can remain there for years, continually bringing in visitors.
Increasing the discoverability of content is the key to solving this problem. The webinar explores the value of schema, identifying entities on your website, and connecting them in depth so listeners can put these strategies to work.
Here is the intro and opening slides from Erik.
Great quotes to listen for from Erik:
“90% of digital content has no audience and most CMS are built for experience and not discovery so that when you deploy your website it doesn’t intrinsically help you get discovered. The discovery is the work of SEO and content and all understanding what the community is looking for, and particularly the search engines.”
“And what we are thinking; what we’re promoting now, is to go beyond that [basic schema usage and] to understand how the search engines are using natural language, semantic language, semantic search, and how you can organize the entities which are your content, your facts, your images, your rich media, and use schema markup to excel at an entity-first strategy for your success.”
“Google is starting to reward people that are broadening their context to include the conversations that really are going more topically than trying to use just specific keywords and going from tactical to strategic and making the website experience better. That’s what this whole progression [history of algorithm updates] is having relevant content and then organizing the content.”
“We always talk about intent, what the users want. It’s not just like, “What are they saying?” but “What do they want?”
Schema needs to take centerstage in optimization
For businesses to really put optimization to work for them, they need to incorporate schema into their overall strategy. The markup itself has been around for about a decade, but we are only just starting to see growing numbers of sites that employ this technique. Erik estimates that about 20 percent of websites have begun to put the advanced markup to use.
Employing schema makes it easier on Google to grasp your intent and the entities you have in your content. The easier Google finds it to ‘understand’ your content, the less processing power required and the higher you are likely to rank.
However, as the webinar pointed out, schema optimization needs to be done well. You do not just want to paste every possible markup on your website. You need to choose your markup according to what is most relevant for your website. You need to prioritize the entity you want to optimize for on a specific page so that the markup itself doesn’t start to become meaningless.
Here is Bill’s section on intent, entities, schemas, and more.
Great quotes to listen for from Bill:
“Big point of this was is by simply wrapping this simple information in these entity tags is to disambiguate and allowed [the restaurant] to take their place not only in the search but in the local Pack.
This is not about 10 blue links anymore. You know it’s not just having the listing but what should be there: Should it be a brilliant recipe? Should it be a local address pack? Should it be a person? All those things, and then, lastly, is it engaging?”
You know it’s not just having the listing but what should be there. Should it be a brilliant recipe, should it be a local address pack, should it be a person?”
Mastering the user experience
Different types of searches will turn up different types of results. Whether a person enters queries that indicate their interest in recipes, directions, information, or shopping will impact the type of results they see. What the user clicks on next then further narrows down the box category where Google places them. With this huge number of variations in knowledge boxes, websites need to identify their entities that they cover in their content and determine how they will map them on their sites.
Connecting the entities together, making sure they support each other, and marketing your content with schema will all help to map your content. It will keep your entities appearing in relevant searches. When customers find your content relevant, you in turn create the user experience that visitors want to see.
Here is Dixon’s section on intent, content, and the knowledge graph of beer.
Great quotes to listen from Dixon
There’s a much better definition of intent and it’s about the identification and categorization of what a user online intended or wanted. That makes a lot more sense really than just you know, an SEO thinking that a user is only looking for one of four different things.
They’re looking for something very, it’s not about the stuff that’s coming back, it’s not about ‘transactional,’ whether somebody is trying to buy something or whether somebody is trying to investigate, it’s about we talking about horseshoe crabs here or horseshoe lakes or horseshoe pass, or a bar or are we talking about a farrier and that kind of thing. So, the intent here is really, critical to the whole of the rest of the journey.”
How do you make entity optimization work for your website?
If you want to leverage entities, start with a basic framework to organize the inputs and outputs.
Here is Dixon’s famous knowledge graph of beer. Beer is an entity, but it has relationships with the entities of lager and ale and each of the countries that produce their own variation of it: Germany, Belgium, Austria, and Ireland.
Here is Matt’s section on the frameworks for entity SEO, use cases, and examples of the Milestone Experience platform.
Great quotes to listen from Matt:
“There were 800 different types of schema markups and they’re not all going to be relevant. Don’t just build it out, just don’t throw everything at one page, take a really focused look at what’s relevant and then start mapping where that’s going to go on the site.”
Do Entities and Schemas Really Work? Yes, Research Shows It Does
Get more entity search tips
Building entity search optimization into your SEO strategy can help to propel your content towards the top. You need to understand the topic, define a workflow, produce the right content and asset types, and add schema markup where it will help disambiguate the content.
Matt shared a page and explained how entity optimization would help searchers find the right dog-friendly hotel.
Be sure to check out more of this webinar to learn more tips.
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