Entities just might be the single most important concept to understand in SEO right now.
An entity is anything that is:
In general, an entity refers to that which has a distinct existence as an individual unit, well-defined thing or concept which can be linked to a knowledge graph.
An entity, as opposed to a keyword, which is ultimately just a collection of letters specific to a language, carries meaning and is unaffected by the language or the synonym keywords that identify it.
Entities matter for SEO because, at their core, they are the world. We ourselves understand everything around us in the context of entities and their relationships.
We just tend not to think of it that way.
A big part of the reason we’re just starting to talk about this now is that it takes machine learning to make use of the concept from a search level.
Without machine learning, Google couldn’t understand language well enough to interpret pages and entity relationships. With entities come: The ability to calculate the probability of meeting the user’s likely intent with far greater accuracy.
The ability to understand from language and tone, whether a result will be positive or negative.
A dramatically reduced reliance on links.
Links will remain as a signal I’m sure, but they will become simply one mechanism among many for establishing entity values.
One thought to take away is to consider every logical connection, regardless of the type of SEO you’re doing. If you’re writing content, think of the other entities that should exist on the page or site and make sure they are.
Look at the top 10 sites and determine which other entities are on those pages. And when you’re doing link building, think of the entities you’re most interested in associating yourself with and get links on those sites, knowing even if links diminish in value, you’re still OK.