So far in this series, we’ve covered; metadata and heading tags, content optimisation and auditing website speed. In this article, we’re going to talk about something known as an ‘entity’; this is essentially your brand. How you are mentioned and linked to on other websites, and what you can do to improve your entity.
Your brand entity should be consistent whenever and wherever it is mentioned. Let’s take Window Experts, our imaginary window fitting company in Portsmouth; they have their brand name and office address listed on their website, they also have a Checkatrade profile with the same name & address, they also have numerous local business directory listings such as Google My Business all the same. When Search Engines come across this information, they build up an idea that you are a real and trustworthy business entity – thus standing a better chance at ranking.
However, their local newspaper has just published an article about them. Instead of using their desired entity information, the newspaper has referenced their address wrong and their location wrong. The paper said they are based in Winchester and listed their business address there too. The owner of Window Experts gets into contact with them and asks them to fix the wrong information and requests that they provide a link to the Window Experts website when they mention their brand name.
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This brings us to ‘NoFollow’ and ‘DoFollow’ link types, and the newly added ‘UGC’ (User Generated Content) and ‘Sponsored’ link types.
Each type of link has a purpose, and its purpose is essential to know. Especially as many SEOs are still focused on ‘DoFollow’ links and their importance.
A ‘NoFollow’ links’ primary purpose is to say to a Search Engine “please don’t follow this link.” It is a way of optimising how many pages the crawler will crawl on a website. Let’s say your website has 500 pages, and a Search Engine crawls 100 per day. You want to make sure that the Search Engine crawls as many pages of your website as possible per day, if you put 100 external links on every page, you’re essentially taking the Search Engine away from your site every time.
A ‘DoFollow’ link is simply a link that doesn’t have the ‘NoFollow’ attribute. This is saying “hey, Search Engine, feel free to go to this website and crawl it!” Many years ago, this type of link was abused to improve Search Engine Rankings (SERPs) and is still an important factor in the trust and authority of your site.
A Sponsored line is when somebody has paid to have the link placed within the article. Say you pay a local newspaper to write an article about you for their website, and they place a link to your business within the article. They would add the ‘sponsored’ tag to the link to let Search Engines know it was a paid-for article.
UGC links are simply attached to links when a User has posted them; this is more for blog post comments sections, forums etc.
The anchor text within a link, is arguably the most important, regardless of the link attribute (NoFollow, UGC or Sponsored) because that is the bit telling the Search Engine what the link is pointing to. We discussed links in our first post, <a href=”https://www.example.com”>website</a>. In this link, the word ‘website’ is the anchor text of that link, and it’s very common for that exact thing to happen. You’ll often see sentences like “visit their website here”. As part of your entity, you want that anchor text to be your brand name, or descriptive about the page the link leads to.
One of Window Experts manufacturers has a link to the Window Experts Dual Aspect Double Glazing product page. This is how the content currently looks.
In Hampshire, our favourite window installer is Window Experts, and they fit the beautiful dual aspect double glazing windows, perfect for any home. Visit their website here
The owner of Window Experts gets in touch with the manufacturer and asks them if they can change the content to improve his SEO. They slightly tweak the content to the following;
They now have two very valuable links telling Search Engines that they have a reputable manufacturer who supplies their windows, building Window Experts brand authority, and they include the focus keyword for the Dual Aspect Double Glazing windows product page. The Search Engine knows precisely what the page will be about from the anchor text.
That covers our blog post on brand entities, how to optimise for them, and why it’s crucial. Our fifth and final blog will be about conversion rate optimisation.