Google Entity Stacking
Google Entity Stacking (or authority) stacking can be a way to game Google’s ranking system by linking your sites to many Google-hosted services. Aso, Google holds an effective monopoly over the search market and an oligopoly over the web services market. For this reason, it is necessary to carry Google’s favor to increase website rankings as much as possible.
Entity stacking does this by linking your website to Google services, which Google prioritizes (or at the very least does not penalize) when evaluating websites to prioritize on its search results. By entity stacking, it is possible to gain a slight advantage when curry viewers via search results.
Entity stacking is one of the main tools in the broader SEO field (search engine optimization) and is one of the more marginal or gamier strategies. It directly relies on Google having a conflict of interest between its web services and search engine.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization is the process and method of creating websites that are looked favorably upon by users and web crawlers. Web crawlers are programs which “crawl” through all the web pages they can find and evaluate their content (what kind of search will want to see the webpage) and quality. This presents users with the best possible match to their content.
While it seems strange to consider users part of an SEO operation, it is essential to note that it will be end-users who search for webpages, and therefore getting your webpage to the right users are crucial. Even if served up often by a search engine, Irrelevant web pages are unlikely to be selected.
Types of SEO
There are multiple search engine optimization strategies, ranging from basic web design improvements, URL naming, and thorough web page optimization, as seen by a web crawler. Simple search engine optimizations revolve around making web pages more likely to be searched by humans. For example, someone would be more likely to search for “cats” than its scientific name Felis Catus. Therefore, it would be good practice to use “cats,” at least as a keyword.
More mechanically-inclined forms of SEO revolve around web crawlers and their job as a judge of which websites are the “best.” Google, as well as other search engines, cannot afford to search every page. Instead, they have to rely on heuristics that guess how legitimate a page is using relatively little information. Therefore, it is possible to take advantage of this to create an attractive-looking web page that bots judge favorably.
Impact of SEO
Because search engine optimization is not directly designing the webpage to cater to what users want (instead catering to what automated robots wish to). It does not necessarily increase user interest. Web pages ranked favorably by search engine web crawlers do not directly translate to web pages people want to view.
What is Google Entity Stacking?
Google Entity stacking, specifically, is a form of search engine optimization that relies on Google’s specific implementation of their web crawler, giving trust to their web services. Google offers a wide range of web services, such as their popular Google Docs suite, Google Maps web application, and mail and bulletin board services.
Since Google implicitly trusts their websites to be legitimate (since they own them themselves), Google is more likely to give a web page a favorable or fair ranking. By doing so, entity stacked websites are more likely to be listed on Google search results, which are by far the most common way for Internet users to find new web pages to visit.
Conflict of Interest?
The more legally minded people reading this may find it suspicious that it is a valid strategy to link to Google services to boost its ranking. Indeed, it is a potential conflict of interest wherein Google’s strong market position in the search market forces an anti-competitive preference for an unrelated product in a different part of Google’s product portfolio.
It is worth noting that despite other web companies having online services and browsers, no other platform has a similar entity stacking technique associated with it. In fact, it is theoretically possible for there to be a “Microsoft Entity Stacking” due to that company’s ownership of comparable products as Google. However, their weaker market position precludes such a strategy from making sense.
It is possible that in the future, either in the interest of avoiding the appearance of being antitrust, that Google is forced not to treat their services preferentially. Such a change would completely invalidate the entity stacking method from its core principles. As a result, users should not lean too heavily on the potential benefits of entity stacking to advance their web page’s traffic rankings.
Unsurprisingly, the route of implementation for Entity stacking relies on creating as many Google entities for the web crawler to find as possible. As a result, Google Entity stacking depends on providing as many links to Google properties (e.g., Google Sheets or Google Maps) as possible.
The Google web crawler will identify the website as linking itself to a legitimate website by directly connecting to Google websites. Doing this will accomplish the preferential treatment sought after by any search engine optimization technique.
While it is possible to rely on indirect links (since web crawlers take more than direct links into account), these are in all likelihood far less effective than direct links, which are weighted more heavily. However, remember that web crawlers do consider more than the direct links provided to it.
Compared to other SEO methods
Google Entity stacking, of course, is only particularly effective on Google’s search engine and not on other web search platforms such as Bing or DDG. Additionally, entity stacking is generally less effective than general SEO methods at making the webpage itself more presentable to users. Typical search engine optimization techniques are closer to good design practices than exploiting the web crawlers’ specific biases.
Efficacy- vs. Platform Agnostic
Implementation of a Google-hosted sphere of links is, of course, only especially effective when it is Google looking at your website. This is not a massive concern in services in the United States or Europe, where Google is the most dominant web browser. It does mean that the sizable minority of users who use Bing or another platform will not receive the benefits of Google entity-type SEO methods.
As a quick note, however, it is crucial to recognize that Google does not have an overwhelming majority, or even a significant market share, in all markets. Most important to this discussion is China, where Google is not even the second most common web browser:
As the chart indicates, Google holds a mere 5% control over the search market for China. Naturally, if one targets a website for the Chinese market, it will be ineffective to attempt Google entity stacking. While China is an extreme case due to its nationalization of web browsing, it is important to note specific regional trends when making these types of decisions.
– vs. Black Hat
It is probably fairest to consider Google Entity stacking a “gray hat” technique– neither a method officially endorsed by Google nor a specifically discouraged technique considered baldly exploitative of the web crawler algorithm. Google is unlikely to approve entity stacking for legal reasons, but it is not adverse to extra traffic to its properties. As a result, entity stacking is more likely to work as a long-term technique than “black hat” techniques actively being combated by search engine providers.
Implementation – Making it Organic.
It is essential to ensure that in implementing search engine optimization via Google entity stacking, a prospective web developer does not make it too obvious that they include links to Google properties merely for corporate favor. To do this, one can try to incorporate Google links in the most organic, natural way possible. Good examples of places that can be naturally linked without looking improper are spreadsheets (clumsy to inline) and map links (as most websites won’t bother to embed their maps). Additionally, it may be feasible to add Google links in footnotes or out-of-the-way locations that do not scream their name out to users.
Keeping it Professional
In line with attempting to avoid making it appear that the Google links are forced into the webpage for reasons arbitrary to the user, it is also important to keep links reserved in proportion to how professional the website needs to be. Many users will want to make sure their website’s front page is as professional as possible, and linking to, say, a text document might be seen as unprofessional.
Entity stacking services
Like any other service in any industry, Google entity stacking is available as a paid service for those who do not want to do it themselves. While it is not the purpose of this article to make value judgments, it is at least possible to get a glimpse of what a typical entity stack looks like:
Looking at this, we can see that a whole range of methods is used to achieve Google linking:
- Web 2.0 posts,
- Google Cloud posts,
- Google Articles,
- Google Images,
- Slides, and Google Maps.
For good measure, presumably, a couple of other primary services are linked as well. This may not make Google’s crawler suspicious that only Google is being linked to.
By linking to so many different services, we can see that the typical Google entity stack relies on piling on credibility by simply having many links, even if they don’t necessarily make sense. This is possible, of course, because Google’s web crawler isn’t very smart. It can’t be because it has to be very quick for each page.
Google Entity stacking does not make the website more appealing to users visiting the webpage. Therefore it is not adequate to rely on entity stacking alone to drive traffic. An already well-designed website trying to squeeze a little more traffic out of its domain can benefit from entity stacking.
In contrast, however, a slight boost in Google rankings will do little to nothing to aid a website owner when its design itself lacks. General, Google entity stacking should be viewed as a marginal change that attempts to squeeze as much as possible out of a website when other attempts to drive increased traffic are insufficient.
However, it is not a standalone solution to create a popular web page, so various online marketing strategies are required.