Whether you have decided that your strategy is to be the entity, be an authority on the entity or play on the edge, your next step is to start marshalling or making your digital assets. Here the thought process is rather different to the old school idea of “content marketing” where you just carry on writing content about a subject and hope it generates organic traffic. The best way to understand this is to return to Google and look more closely at how many different ways digital assets affect something. Let’s choose a very different theme this time… something that might be seen as a bit of a free-for-all “entity”. I’m feeling hungry, so let’s do food:
As with so many entities, Google chooses to have a snippet from Wikipedia in the knowledge box here. There is a very interesting section in the book reference earlier called “Entity-Orientated Search” on the structure of a Wikipedia page. Wikipedia is surprisingly exact and consistent, making it extremely easy for a knowledge base to create structure out of the content in Wikipedia. There are also many other RDFs (Resource Description Frameworks) based on the Wikimedia organisation. We’ll talk a little about RDFs in general and Wikimedia properties in particular separately.
The point I wanted to make here is that there are many other digital assets on this page other than just recipes for Coronation Chicken. There are Youtube videos, for example. Youtube is an extremely large structured data source, so why would you not try to have a video on how to make Coronation Chicken if you wanted to influence this page? Putting your brand of Mayonnaise in the video is part of the optimisation.
Then there are multiple images on the knowledge box. These can come from anywhere on the web, including your website. Do you see that one for “Curry Ketchup”? Now THAT is finding a niche J. My point is that you cannot optimise for Entity search unless you create all the digital assets that Google is choosing to represent on the page. Images are important. There is a renowned case of one brand taking this too far, by changing all the images on Wikipedia for ones that had their brand on. Unfortunately, Wikipedia did not see the funny side and now the case study makes up the majority of their brand page. Ask someone on Twitter if you want to find the case study.
We now also see ratings on the search results. Ratings are another form of structured data, helping Google to assess the quality of the coronation chicken recipes that it might choose from.
Lastly – I notice that Wikipedia thinks coronation chicken was invented by Constance Spry and Rosemary Hume and links TO their entries, which in turn link back. Look at how Wikipedia continually cross-references these facts through internal links (inlinks):
Once Google has associated an entity with its Twitter profile, a direct search hit on the entity will also return live Twitter posts in the search results! It is therefore important that IF you use Twitter, you properly link to it through structured mark-up and website (and complete the loop by linking back from your profile). On top of this, it is important to make sure the Twitter “tone of voice” is consistent with the rest of your brand story.
Whilst posting your own videos on Youtube is a great idea, it is very possible that videos are created by other people that talk about you, your product or entity. For example, if your staff talk at events. These are also powerful assets and you can harness these by including these in your video channel if they are on YouTube or embedding them in your blog content. In doing so, you help to connect the dots for the knowledge graph.