Does Having Entities on a Page Beat Variation Repetition


Andrew Steven
June 16, 2020


Entities are one of the most powerful concepts in SEO. Google defines them as “A thing or concept that is singular, unique, well-defined and distinguishable.”

They are basically nouns or like house, plumber, or electrician, or names like Barack Obama, that Google recognizes. You can think of them like LSI terms. From an SEO perspective content is the connection between entities by relationships.

The great thing about entities is that they largely come from open source databases like Wikipedia or Freebase. The key to using them is to make sure that your categories, titles, urls, meta data, schema, content, and keywords etc. all use relevant entities.

Many believe that entities will or already have surpassed content and links in their strength to lift rankings. It's clear that you still need a main keyword for every page, but how important are entities in relation to keyword variations? Which of the two concepts is more important for SEO? We were keen to find out!

We set up the test like this..

Two pages were set up using a business keyword and local suburb. For example “marketing” and “Perth” (a suburb in Western Australia). The keywords were then run through Cora, which has an entities report that gives back entities ordered by strength of correlation to the main keyword.

On the first page we added 13 sentences that included each of the entities from the entities report. On the second page we added 13 sentences of a similar length that included keyword variations and no entities at all. 

The variations and entities used on each page are summarized below:

Distrubution Variations and Entities

Here is what we discovered

Immediately after being indexed on the 26th of April the two pages were ranking. Interestingly, the page that used the entities was ranking in position 1 and the page that used more variations but no entities was ranking in position 2. On the 3rd of May both failed to return search results. After checking Search Console, we verified that both pages were indexed. We also made sure the pages were not triggering the duplicate content filter. To us it seemed like the results were being suppressed.

Google results page

Final Takeaway

We knew entities were important but we didn't know how their strength compared to other on page factors or how they were being considered for ranking. Based on this limited test, it appears that entities are likely to be a ranking factor, and even more, it seems that they are more important than keyword variations. However, since the pages were suppressed after a week, further tests need to be done to confirm the results.

About the author 

Andrew Steven

Andrew has been building and managing SEO teams since 2008 where he led the largest SEO firm in Australia. Since meeting Kyle and partnering to form High Voltage SEO Andrew has been Kyle Roof’s man behind the scenes and together with Maria Dubretic have since co-founded the SEO tool PageOptimizer Pro. Andrew wishes he could stop dreaming about digital marketing in his sleep and would love to hear from anyone who has a cure for this.

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