Google's New Patent Translated
Copyright © 2006 Kim Roach, All Rights Reserved
There is always great interest within the search engine
marketing community whenever a search engine files for a patent.
This is especially true for Google, which just recently released
a new patent application - System and method for supporting
editorial opinion in the ranking of search results
However, we must keep in mind that just because a patent has
been applied for or granted, the search engines may or may not
implement the patent within their primary search results.
Nevertheless, these patents often do give us clues about what
the search engines are looking for in a website.
Some of Google's patents have given us insight into the
influence of anchor text, fresh content, themes, data history,
link popularity, user behavior, and domain-related information.
However, Google's most recent patent application shows a shift
from focusing on algorithm-based changes to the integration of a
human editorial process.
Ultimately, Google is striving to create the best possible
search results for their visitors. This patent proposes one
possible method for doing that.
For the most part, search engine algorithms have reached their
peak. We've known for quite some time now that an algorithm-based
search engine can never permanently deliver excellent results.
Why, you might ask. Simply because there will always be people
out there trying to reverse-engineer the system.
Therefore, a cat and mouse game is created.
Out of this problem, a number of solutions have evolved. One
of these is social search engines, which rank their results
based on the wisdom of crowds. Another solution to arise from
this problem is a human editorial process.
And now, Google has proposed in their patent application a
hybrid mechanism which combines algorithmic search with a human
based editorial process. By integrating editorial opinion, they
are looking to enhance the quality of their search results.
The patent describes the process of identifying favored and
non-favored sources in order to improve search results.
Favored Sources: Websites that are identified as being useful
or containing authoritative content on the desired topic.
Non-Favored Sources: Websites that are identified as sources
of misinformation or over-promotion on that particular topic.
Basically, Google is trying to patent a system for identifying
good sites and bad sites in order to rank them accordingly in
They have proposed a semi-automatic system for determining
favored and non-favored sources.
"In an implementation consistent with the present invention, the
set of favored and non-favored sources may be automatically
determined. To accomplish this, exemplary queries in the query
theme may be classified into a set of topics (e.g., an online
topic hierarchy, such as Yahoo!, Open Directory, or Google) using
the approach for classification described above. Web hosts that
appear in the URLs associated with the best matching topics to
the query theme may be taken to be favored sources. For example,
if the query theme is "sites that help in finding accommodation,"
then web hosts listed under the Open Directory category
"http://dmoz.org/Recreation/Travel/Lodging" can be taken as
favored sources. "
In addition, they have also combined with this a new system of
relevancy and theme-based queries to improve their results.
"For example, for the query theme "sites that provide free
downloads," web sites that actually provide free software
downloads would be considered "favored sources" and web sites
that mislead search engines with words such as "free" and
"download" (popularly known as "spam techniques"), but do not
in fact provide access to free downloads, would be considered
The patent application infers that "resource" sites have a
brighter future in the search engines, especially Google.
Therefore, don't be afraid to link out to other sites. The more
value you provide to your visitor, the more you will be rewarded
in the end. Your ultimate goal is to become an authority in your
As an online marketer, you should also put more thought into the
quality of the pages your site delivers as a whole. This is one
of the very few patents that refers to a site as a whole rather
than individual pages.
For the smart SEO, this should not change your methods. As
always, quality content is the key. If you are providing
your visitors with relevant, quality content, then the search
engines will reward you.
A number of interesting ideas were brought up in this patent. It
appears that relevancy and quality content play a major role.
However, there is still the question of which factors will be
considered in determining favored sites. Will inclusion in DMOZ
or Yahoo! be a requirement? If so, many webmasters may take a
dim view of this approach.
Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how Google changes
over the next few years. Algorithm based search results will
continue to be problematic because there will always be those
who try to beat the system. Implementing some sort of human
editorial opinion into the ranking process seems inevitable.
In the end, this is true for all of the major search engines.
Yahoo, Google, MSN, and AskJeeves must all provide quality
search results to compete within this industry. To be truly
successful, they will have to go beyond algorithm-based results
to deliver the most value for their visitors.
Kim Roach is a staff writer and editor for the SiteProNews
(www.sitepronews.com) & SEO-News (www.seo-news.com)
newsletters. You can also find additional tips and news on
webmaster and SEO topics by Kim at the SiteProNews blog
(blog.sitepronews.com/). Kim's email is:
kim @ seo-news.com