What are Cornerstone Entities in SEO?
When working on Entity Optimisation, you will have one Focus Entity which is the main basis of your work: a person, a company, a music group, a product… Cornerstone Entities are the foundational entities within the ecosystem of the primary entity.
The concept is similar to cornerstone content in search engine optimization (SEO): you can build on top of these and they will support your work on peripheral entities.
For a company like Kalicube, which is the Focus Entity, the Cornerstone Entities are Kalicube (the company itself), Jason Barnard (the CEO and founder), Kalicube Pro (the SaaS), Kalicube Academy, Kalicube Tuesdays (the Livestream Event Series), and a few key people within the company.
For a person like myself Jason Barnard, the Cornerstone Entities would include Jason Barnard, Boowa and Kwala (because my wife and I created them and they became popular), Kalicube (the company I founded), The Barking Dogs (my music group from the 1990s), “With Jason Barnard” (my podcast), and The Fundamentals of Brand SERPs for Business (my book).
In these examples, you will notice that Cornerstone Entities are those that have the closest, strongest, and longest relationships with the focus entity. Building Google’s confidence in its understanding of the relationship with these Cornerstone Entities will cement Google’s understanding of who you are and what you do.
So, leverage the relationships between your focus entity and its Cornerstone Entities to build Google’s understanding. It’s a virtuous cycle: If I can improve Google’s understanding of them, I will improve Google’s understanding of me. And if I can improve Google’s understanding of me, I will inevitably improve Google’s understanding of them.
How Do Cornerstone Entities Fit Into Knowledge Panel Management?
In the context of Knowledge Panel management, Cornerstone Entities are absolutely key to a clear and accurate Knowledge Panel. Google is a child and it understands and learns in a manner that is very similar to a child. It can only learn something new if it can understand a relationship to something it already understands: the closer, stronger and longer, the better.
If we can communicate clearly to the child multiple close, strong and long-term relationships with entities it already understands well, Google the child is MUCH more likely to understand and be confident in this new information.
“If I can improve Google’s understanding of the Cornerstone Entities, I will improve Google’s understanding of the Focus Entity. And if I can improve Google’s understanding of the Focus Entity, I will inevitably improve Google’s understanding of the Cornerstone Entities.”
These Cornerstone Entities are also often the best candidates to be included in a Knowledge Panel and so, working to improve its understanding of those, you will enrich the Knowledge Panel of the Focus Entity…. And probably add the Focus Entity to the Cornerstone Entities’ Knowledge Panel too. Beautiful.
A well-managed Knowledge Panel on a Brand SERP is a must for any company – it conveys a positive, professional image to your audience and shows that Google knows who you are, what you do, and what audience you serve.