Entities are search engine-relevant data points about a subject.
They can be individuals, places, events, or objects. Examples: [Beth] is an entity; [Samsung] is an entity; [Taiwan earthquake] is an entity; [From Russia with love] is an entity.
Entities are important to SEO for a number of reasons, and search engines may use them in a number of ways – including:
Query Subject Representation
Search engines use entities to represent the subject of a query in search results. So, if Google were trying to match a query for [“Samsung Galaxy S9”] it would use the data about Samsung and the Samsung Galaxy S9 to show them along with any ads, etc.
Search Experience Enrichment
Search engines use entities to enrich your search experience: If you type [Samsung] into Google, you will not only see links and ads related to the company but also other entities that are associated with it such as its social accounts, history, news stories, and so on. This is one of Google’s best features for users. [Search engines like Google and Bing want their users to be happy. Happy users click more ads. That is why they are constantly trying to improve their relevance algorithms.]
Search engines will use the text that websites have about entities to show them in the search results. So, when a user searches [Samsung], Google will try to show them information from web pages that mention it. If there are web pages that talk about Samsung but don’t mention it by name then Google has no way of showing them in search results.
This can happen if you have an article that talks about electronics but doesn’t name specific companies. It’s why we always recommend our clients get as much text on their website as possible related to their business and make sure they mention their business name on every page.
Search engines will use entities in search results to display knowledge graph data and other information. Knowledge graph data are like mini-articles that Google shows in search results for entities, like people or movies or places. A user can click on those articles and get more information. Google is trying to show you the most relevant and useful information so they will gather that from sources such as Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook, and news sites.
The best way to get your entity displayed in knowledge graph data is to have other websites link to yours. If you write a blog post on [Samsung], and other people link to it from their own blogs, then Google will add that text to its own index and use it when people search for [Samsung]
Search engines may use entities in their algorithms for ranking pages (and websites/domains). In theory, if your topic (entity) tends to generate a lot of links then search engines prefer those pages over ones that don’t have as much authority.