68 | Entity Search Basics for Content Creation with Dan Taylor

Content creation is so much more than just researching keywords. This episode discusses sub topics and intent in greater depth, specifically covering entity search.

Dan Taylor is Head of Research and Development at Salt agency. He primarily works with SAS companies and companies in US and is currently testing our hypothesis on a regular basis. He tends to work with travel clients, those who have highly competitive searches.

Dan saw clients churning out content and saw in a lot of sectors that there’s only a number of ways you can write the content before they were rewriting the content. Dan saw a correlation between the intent behind certain elements and experience forecasting. This is where the content on the page needs to enable the user to better forecast the experience they’ll have with the product or service. Then, the other part of that is actually fulfilling that service. 

So, how entity search came into this is when Google added a filtering system to image search. This is when you go onto the image tab on Google and where you type in a phrase, which then gives you filters (which you perhaps didn’t even ask for.) 

Dan saw that travel queries brought back random things, for example mediterranean Italy meant it will also want to show you white walls and beaches, basically everything associated with it. Image entity tags are great because it’s not just keywords but topics related to your topic that you can use. Dan tested this out by changing header/image alt tags that directly reflected these filtering terms and these were ranking well.

It’s not just about writing the content using keywords on the page but making it plain and simple so that Google knows there are entities there so that there’s a differentiation of your content; using the topics your users want.  

95% of what the world is trying to sell is the same, there’s only so many ways you can say it so by introducing obscure and wider angles (with entity search) it adds a differentiation factor.  

When writing content, Dan recommends that you write around all the things that are associated with it also. He shares an example of how to use internal linking to make this connection. Machine learning, he states, learns from the persuasions we offer it, so by using links you’re offering the systems a way to understand your content in a particular way that makes it easier for them to put it together and thus surface it to the users (and give you better rankings.)  

Entity search isn’t just about 1 topic but it’s about recognising multiple parts of it. Where schema mark-up has a composition, entity search too has this and that’s via clusters that make it what it is. Look at it as ‘ingredients’ of a content topic by creating other content related to it. 

Recommended article about Granola bars mentioned in the episode: https://moz.com/blog/google-may-analyze-evaluate-quality-content-whiteboard-friday 

Don’t just know the entity but match it with intent to bring people to that page. Structure the use of entity and sub topics to provide users with adequate information. Dan describes this via a metaphor; we reverse engineer what Google is doing like ‘The Cave’. You’re ever looking at the shadow and not the object itself so you’re making plenty of assumptions based on the object. Core web vitals and user experience stuff too as only due to seeing tests and correlations do we suppose they make a difference. You don’t know 100% so there’s a cautious element around it, questioning whether this is actually true.

Tips to Create Content using Entity Search

Go back to basics. Do you keyword research and find topic relevance. Then, go directly in for intent, looking at commercial vs non-commercial intent as well as quick information vs invest info. Then, plan content around that experience and not just the keywords you want to rank for.

Take a look at your ‘solution’ and ask, what could be all the possible questions that can drive someone to that? Call it a user funnel or marketing persona, as long as you get into the mind of what your user wants and their thought process before they get to the service or product that you’re pushing.

Finally, physically look at SERPs. I mention this time and time again and Dan says this now – it’s not straight forward 1 to 10 to rank for anything these days. There are multiple interpretations, e.g for ‘laser eye surgery’ you will see paid ads, a map pack as it’s a local service, people also ask box, the results will then be commercial, private sellers, news and so on. Google seems to be altering in blocks says Dan. Basically, Google gives users as much diversification as possible so SERPs can change hourly too and not just for the news industry. Your job is to keep an eye on the SERPs.

Find Dan Taylor on Twitter | Website: dantaylor.online

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Music credit: I Dunno (Grapes of Wrath Mix) by spinningmerkaba (c) copyright 2017 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/jlbrock44/56346 Ft: Jlang, 4nsic, grapes.