Google have recently applied for, and been granted, a patent that has some interesting implications for SEO.
The patent, titled ‘Related entities’ gives webmasters some great insight into how Google delivers related results for search queries.
Before we dive in, let’s look at an example. If you search ‘Facebook CEO’ you’ll get this:
In the bottom section, you’ll see entities related to Zuckerberg: those are Google’s related entities. If you’d like to try it for yourself, search a general query such a ‘UN secretary general’ or ‘US president’.
Even though the query is general, Google will show a specific result (the ‘answer’), along with entities related to that person or thing.
How does Google decide what makes the entities related? And how does it know exactly what related results display for that search query? That’s exactly what the patent elucidates.
While the full explanation of how Google determines related entities are fairly nuanced, here are the key takeaways that give SEOs the most insight:
This patent gives SEOs and webmasters significant insights into how Google connects related entities and what it’s going to choose to display for searchers.
This means we now have the opportunity to use our powers to strengthen the association of our site or brand with specific terms and entities. By taking heed of the key ways in which Google relates entities (related words and themes, co-existing in the same articles and resources, appearing together on authoritative websites, etc.) we have the opportunity to play up similarities and strengthen links. This is especially significant for content marketers.
So, if you’re smart about it, you can use related entity optimisation in a similar way to your link building and other SEO efforts: to boost your rankings.
Give the patent a read to get started.