Dominant Entity in SEO: What You Need To Know

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What is a Dominant Entity in SEO?

A Dominant Entity is the entity that Google prioritises on a Google search for a Named Entity with an ambiguous name. When multiple Entities share a name and each has a Knowledge Panel, Google will only show one Knowledge Panel in the Right Rail on the Brand SERP. That Entity is the Dominant Entity, and obviously you want to be the Dominant Entity. 

Google determines which is the Dominant Entity using algorithmic analysis. There are three factors that Google’s algorithms takes into consideration to identify the Dominant Entity:

  1. Probability
  2. Confidence
  3. Information

The primary factor in Entity Dominance is the likelihood (probability) that the user is searching for that specific entity. This will depend on popularity, geo region of the user and named entity and also analysis of user interaction with that SERP and cohort analysis of Equivalent Entity SERPs.

The secondary consideration is Google’s confidence in its understanding of each of the namesake entities: the more Google is confident in its understanding of a specific Entity, the more likely that names Entity will dominate. In some cases pure confidence can override the probabilistic aspect of its decision. 

Thirdly, Google will take into account the amount of information in the Knowledge Panel. This is arguably simple a tie-breaker. All other things being equal, a more information-rich Knowledge Panel will dominate.

Secondary Entities

The other entities are not necessarily absent from the Right Rail. When Google has sufficient confidence and information about a Secondary Entity, it will show See Results About. Here it can potentially show multiple Secondary Entities.

Example of a dominant entity and secondary entity
Example of a dominant entity and secondary entity

Dominant Entity by Geo Region

The Dominant Entity (and indeed Secondary Entities) will often vary by geo region. This is where probability is most obvious. Google calculates that the probability someone in the UK is looking for the actress or sculptor is higher, so in the SERP it replaces the US-centric Entities with UK-centric entities of the same name.  

Dominant Entity by geo region
Example of a Dominant Entity by geo region

Strategies for Entity Dominance (Confidence is often the best bet)

Gaining dominance depends on the three factors:

  1.  Probability will often work in a single geo region. Increasing the volume of searches on the name will always be hugely successful when trying to dominate ambiguity, especially in a geo-sensitive sensitive. But that isn’t always possible. 
  2. Google’s confidence in its understanding is an effective strategy for any Entity that allows Entities that are not ”famous” to punch above their weight. 
  3. Information-rich dominance is certainly worth working on, but remains a tie-breaker that is rarely used.

In short, dominance through confidence is often the most advisable strategy. Basically, that means making the most of limited press coverage to dominate against bigger competitors. This is a strategy we have mastered at Kalicube. 

Example: Entity Dominance Through Confidence

Take the example of Jason Barnard. There are about 300 Jason Barnards in the world. If you search “Jason Barnard” you will see me dominate the Right Rail in every country around the world at the expense of the other Jason Barnards who have Knowledge Panels. Why? Google’s confidence in its understanding about me is significantly higher than its confidence in its understanding of them.

Entity Dominance through confidence
Example of Entity Dominance through confidence

For example, in the UK, there is a famous music podcaster named Jason Barnard who has interviewed many of the major names in music from the last 60 years. But if you search for “Jason Barnard” in the UK, his Knowledge Panel does not appear: I am the Dominant Entity, even though I am not the most logical: 

Although in the UK the probability that someone is looking for my namesake is higher, I still dominate. Why? Because Google has so much confidence in the information it has about me, and less confidence in the information it has about him – I have reached Entity Maturity and he has not. That makes me the Dominant Entity, despite a probabilistic disadvantage.

How Does A Dominant Entity Fit Into Brand SERP Optimisation and Knowledge Panel Management?

A Dominant Entity is always an important concept in the context of Brand SERP Optimisation and Knowledge Panel management, and is absolutely key when dealing with an ambiguous name.

For people, because many people share the same name, entity dominance is arguably the most important question. Becoming the Dominant Entity can be seen as “the only game in town”. 

For companies, due to trademark laws, the problem tends to be lesser than for people. Fewer companies within a geo-regoin will share a name, so the ambiguity is lessened and dominance is less of an issue. Exceptions would be companies with names that are, by nature, ambiguous – “Yellow Door”, “Windy”, “Flip” are all good examples of companies that will have huge problems becoming the Dominant Entity. 

Dominant Entity, Brand SERPs and Knowledge Panels

One of the primary aims of Brand SERP Optimisation is to control as much of the Search Engine Results Page as possible. Since the Knowledge Panel is a huge chunk of SERP Real Estate, that “land-grab” is hugely important for any Entity. 

It can be absolute. In some cases, a Knowledge Panel can cover 100% of the SERP Real Estate above the fold, at which point being the Dominant Entity is indeed the only game in town. 

Here is an example:

Jason Barnard as a Dominant Entity
Example of a Dominant Entity shown through a Knowledge Panel

But even without 100% above the fold dominance, becoming the Dominant Entity and triggering the Knowledge Panel will occupy a good chunk of SERP Real Estate:

Scott Duffy as a Dominant entity
Becoming the Dominant Entity and triggering the Knowledge Panel

And becomes even more important when you consider that, as a Dominant Entity, you will have your Knowledge Panel showing rather than the other named entity with the same name as is the case for Scott Duffy.

Another great example is the SEO expert Dixon Jones who shares his name with a famous architectural firm, Dixon Jones Architecture. Until 2022, the architecture firm was the Dominant Entity.

Dominant entity
An architecture firm is a dominant entity shown through a Knowledge Panel

So, what happened to Dixon Jones? 

A professional SEO for more than 20 years who knows every tip and trick in the book sought help from Kalicube. By adapting his strategy to the Kalicube Process for Knowledge Panels, he became the Dominant Entity within a few months.

Dixon Jones as a Dominant Entity
Dixon Jones as a Dominant Entity

Do you want to build your Knowledge Panel using The Kalicube Process?

Knowledge Panel Checklist
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