Google Search Engine Algorithm Patents

I want to learn seo patents about Keyword Link User Behavior Mobile Friendly Geo Location Freshness Score Website Age Formatting Google Cache

Keyword

Ranking based on keyword usage in websites as well as keywords used when creating a search query.

Detecting synonym from word usage in a document

Patent Name: Document-based synonym generation

Publication Number: US8161041 B1

Assignee: Google Inc

Publication: Apr 2012

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Use consistent long tail keyword.
  • Use more LSI keywords.
  • This will help google generate accurate synonyms to your keyword and your content can be used to answer similar meaning, but differently worded queries.
And Here's Why

Ranking websites solely by matching a singular keyword to a query can be inaccurate as a single keyword not accompanied with a context can mean a lot of different things (eg. apple can mean a fruit or a tech product). This patent describes how Google overcame this by identifying a pair or strings of words often used together in close proximity. By doing this Google can generate long tail keywords and based on that, Google can generate synonyms of those words and use the results to answer queries using keywords not exactly matching but which carry the same meaning as the generated long tail keywords.

What can be done is to use consistent long tail keyword and LSI keywords in order to make it easier for Google to decipher the context of your contents so that they can be used to accurately answer synonymous queries.

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Method to extract information to be displayed as snippet

Patent Name: Generation of document snippets based on queries and search results

Publication Number: US8145617 B1

Assignee: Google Inc

Publication: Mar 2012

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Target important keyword in important parts such as the beginning or the end of your content.
  • Don’t overuse your keywords everywhere.
  • This is so that google can pick up important part of your content to be used to generate snippets displayed on your search result. Snippets that answers search intent accurately will increase click-through rate.
And Here's Why

This patent describes how Google generates snippets from a content to best answer the user query. Mainly, Google chooses which part of the content to be used as a snippet based on the parts that include the query keyword, and then score them based on:

  1. Length of the paragraph.
  2. Distance of the paragraph from a location in the document (eg. the beginning of the document).
A different kind of scoring is used for different type of queries. For example, a query about a conclusion might score a paragraph that is located at the end of the content instead of at the beginning.

What can be done is by using your target keywords properly in the most important part of your content, instead of including them everywhere, to ensure that the snippet generated will be useful to the user.

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Using LSI keyword to determine ranking for different kinds of queries

Patent Name: Document ranking using word relationships

Publication Number: US7996379 B1

Assignee: Google Inc

Publication: Aug 2011

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Research and use correct LSI keywords.
  • Your main keyword can mean different things depending on the context. LSI keywords give Google what they need to rank your site to relevant queries.
And Here's Why

The patent describes how Google determines the relevance of a website to a certain query based on determining the context from the use of other relevant keywords accompanying the main keyword. A website mainly using the keyword “mockingbird”, for example, can be used to answer different queries based on the accompanying keywords – “kill” or “review” might refer to the novel or film “To Kill a Mockingbird” and be used to answer novel or film related queries. Similarly, “eggs” or “feathers” might refer to the actual bird and “lyrics” or “album” can mean the song by Eminem.

In short, properly study and include the right LSI keywords to accompany your main keywords in order to rank in the right queries.

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User Behavior

Ranking based on how the user interacts with results on search result pages.

Determining results to be displayed as search suggestion

Patent Name: Generating a related set of documents for an initial set of documents

Publication Number: US 8447760 B1

Assignee: Google Inc

Publication: May 2013

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Utilize correct LSI keywords to get suggested in queries of your specific niche and intent.
And Here's Why

This patent describes the process of how Google improves its search suggestion. Starting with an initial query, Google will display a list of related queries as suggestions. As the user clicks any of the suggestions, new suggestions are made based on the first query and the chosen suggestion(s). This process is repeated further down to generate more accurate suggestions based on the user intent. This process also takes into consideration how the user interacts with the results displayed from the suggested queries, including strong signals such as viewing, bookmarking or downloading documents.

What can be done to take advantage of this is to properly research and utilize LSI keywords in order to help your website get suggested and ranked for your specific niche and intent.

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Scoring based on user interaction with search results

Patent Name: Document scoring based on query analysis

Publication Number: US 20120209838 A1

Assignee: Google Inc

Publication: Aug 2012

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Improve your ranking through improving user interactions on your search results.
  • Things that affects ranking includes click-through rate in search page, dwell time upon accessing and movement within the search results itself (uptrend or downtrend).
And Here's Why

This patent is related to how Google scores search results based on Query Analysis. Query Analysis scores results on their behaviour when they are included in a set of search results such as:

  1. Click through rate – Higher CTR might improve scoring.
  2. Dwell time – The longer the user views the results, the better.
  3. How they move within the search results rankings – Uptrend might improve the score and vice-versa.
  4. The rate at which the ranking changes overtime.

Query Analysis is also done to determine the intent of a query by looking at whether fresh results or stale results are preferred by the user. Another use of Query Analysis is to detect results that don’t really fit in the query and then demote them.

What can be concluded from this patent is that even when your website is ranked in a search result, the work doesn’t end there. There is still a lot that can be done, most notable being trying to improve CTR and dwell time to improve the ranking. Improvements in ranking will further snowball to raise your website even higher all the way to the top of the search page.

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Mobile Friendly

Mobile Friendly deals with the aspect of ranking and displaying results on mobile devices differently than on desktops to give mobile users more accurate results and better search experience.

Mixing mobile and desktop search results

Patent Name: Blending Mobile Search Results

Publication Number: US 20130238613 A1

Assignee: Google Inc

Publication: Sep 2013

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Optimize your website design according to your target platform (mobile or desktop).
  • Balanced websites can cover more grounds, but specialized websites might get higher priority.
  • It’s okay not to optimize your website for mobile if mobile search is not your target.
And Here's Why

This patent describes how Google scores results differently for normal and mobile queries. Mobile queries prioritize documents that are user friendly for mobile viewing by detecting traits such as:

  1. Use of Wireless Markup Language
  2. Containing downloadable content for mobile device
  3. Use of mobile URL
Sometimes, there is a need to present mobile friendly results for a normal PC/Laptop, and also normal results for mobile users. Google will detect the need based on criteria such as:

  1. Whether the query is a “mobile query”
  2. Whether the search results exceed the threshold score
  3. The number of mobile search results
  4. The properties of the mobile resources found in the search
  5. The properties of the generic resources found in the search
Based on its findings, Google might blend both normal and mobile results to be displayed in various ratios depending on the need. Based on this patent we can conclude that you can adjust the mobile-friendliness of your website to suit different query needs. While it’s good to have a balance and optimize for both normal and mobile queries, Google sometimes scores “pure” websites, such as those that are only optimized just for mobile or those that are only optimized just for normal queries, better. So depending on your target platform, in certain cases it might be beneficial to have a specialization.

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Snippet generation for mobile results

Patent Name: Identifying relevant portions of a document

Publication Number: US8005825 B1

Assignee: Google Inc

Publication: Aug 2011

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Don’t solely rely on titles as in certain cases Google will remove them in search results
  • Don’t overuse your target keyword
  • Only include keywords in important parts so that the snippet generated from the keyword will be useful in the absence of a title
And Here's Why

This patent tells us that for some mobile search results, given the limitation in screen size of mobile devices, there could be a need to maximize use of space by omitting less important parts of a search result. For example, a title might be less important to a user who wants to know directly whether the content of the search result answers their query, so Google will not display the title and, instead, show the snippet of the content that contains the query keyword.

What can be done is that if you are targeting for mobile platforms, don’t overuse your target keywords, and only include them in important parts of your content to ensure that when Google generates snippets based on your keyword, it will display the part that most accurately answers the query of the user.

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Ranking mobile results based on desktop version

Patent Name: Mobile to non-mobile document correlation

Publication Number: US 8996514 B1

Assignee: Google Inc

Publication: Mar 2015

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Don’t oversimplify the mobile version of your website
  • This is to avoid your website from lacking in ranking criteria that might affect Google ranking process
And Here's Why

This patent describes that while Google prioritizes mobile results in mobile queries, sometimes they still need to depend on the normal (desktop) version of a mobile website to rank them. This is because some mobile websites are too simplified and lacking in certain criteria that Google needs in order to properly score and rank them. So, even though Google is creating a system to help rank mobile websites using its non-mobile version, try not to oversimplify the mobile version of your website as it might affect the ranking (make things easier for Google).

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Geo Location

Ranking score based on the relation of the location of the search results with the location of the search query.

Determining result ranking based on distance to query location

Patent Name: Scoring local search results based on location prominence

Publication Number: US8046371 B2

Assignee: Google Inc

Publication: Oct 2011

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Include a consistent Name, Address and Phone if you operate a brick-and-mortar business
  • This is because location is a big factor in local search
And Here's Why

The patent reveals that in certain queries where location is an important aspect (e.g. nearest coffee shop) Google will rank the results based on two approaches:

  1. If results are within the immediate area (broad area) of the search query, the results will prioritize “local prominence” – sort of like normal search results but based around that particular area.
  2. If results are outside of the broad area, results will prioritize the nearest result to the search query- distance based.
From this patent it can be said that if you are operating a brick and mortar business, it is important to feature a consistent NAP – Name, Address, and Phone – since local searches are significantly affected by the location you display on your websites and other online assets.

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Freshness Score

Freshness score takes into consideration how relevant a website and its contents are to queries related to the present time. It can be considered as a different search category compared to normal queries where the intent is to get the best result of all time, not just for that particular time. Example of queries that requires Fresh results: Game of Thrones Episode Recap, Barclays Premier League standings.

Scoring freshness based on dwell time comparison

Patent Name: Document ranking based on document classification

Publication Number: US8224827 B2

Assignee: Google Inc

Publication: Jul 2012

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Encourage returning visitors to stay longer on subsequent visits
  • Actively engage users in comments section
  • Create more Big Contents that is updated regularly
  • Offer incentives (Discounts, free gifts etc) for returning visitors
  • Google consider websites with improved dwell time overtime as fresh
And Here's Why

What can be concluded in this patent is that Google considers a website Fresh if returning visitors spend more or around the same amount of time (not less) compared to their previous visits. So in order to gain Freshness score, we need to encourage returning visitors to stay longer.

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Scoring freshness based on document content update

Patent Name: Document scoring based on document content update

Publication Number: US8112426 B2

Assignee: Google Inc

Publication: Feb 2012

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Keep your websites updated regularly
  • Create smaller, more frequent updates rather than bigger, less frequent ones
And Here's Why

What can be understood by this patent is, whether a website is considered fresh or stale depends a lot on the rate of how the content of the website is updated. The rate of update itself is divided into a few categories:

  1. How frequently a website content is updated in general
  2. How frequently a website content is updated for a specific time period
  3. The update rate of a specific topic/section of a website
  4. The trend change in update rate overtime (increasing or decreasing)
  5. The update rate compared to other similar websites
  6. The rate of the number of backlinks the website receives overtime
In general, what can be done is to keep your website updated regularly. And if you are posting about any recent topics, it is a good idea to update the content in smaller, more frequent chunks rather than waiting to pile them up into fewer bigger blocks, as the update rate is what matters more in Fresh contents.

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Scoring freshness based on a website’s own score as well as those linking to it

Patent Name: Systems and methods for determining document freshness

Publication Number: US8082244 B2

Assignee: Google Inc

Publication: Dec 2011

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Get links from Fresh sources instead of Stale ones
  • Fewer links from Fresh sources matters more than more links from Stale sources in Freshness score
And Here's Why

This patent reveals that Freshness score not only take into account a website’s own Freshness score, but also the Freshness score of other websites linking to that website. It’s sort of like an “Off-page” aspect of the Freshness score.

Incoming links are scored based on the time the link was created (presumably the more recent, the better) and whether the linking website is updated within a certain period relative to the current time. The websites providing the links will then be grouped based on whether it is Fresh or not. If most of the incoming link comes from Fresh sources the “bonus” Freshness score granted to the receiving website will be more compared to if the links were to mostly come from Stale sources.

In conclusion, it can be said that all incoming links will help increase your Freshness score. But Fresh links from Fresh sources carry more weight, so if possible, focus on quality by earning links from Fresh websites instead of on focusing on quantity (might even be considered as linkspam) but include only Stale sources.

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Scoring freshness based on the rate a website receives backlinks over time

Patent Name: Document scoring based on link-based criteria

Publication Number: US20110022605 A1

Assignee: Google Inc

Publication: Jan 2011

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Get increased backlinks overtime instead of a bulk initially and decreasing overtime
  • Get links from authoritative sites that is less likely to shut down
And Here's Why

This patent reveals that Freshness is also influenced by the rate of how a website receives backlinks overtime. There are several aspects to this criteria:

  1. A website is considered Stale if it receives decreasing backlinks overtime.
  2. A website is considered Stale if existing backlinks starts to disappear (linker website is closed/link removed etc).
  3. Even among websites that have increasing backlinks overtime, a higher score will be granted to websites that have an increment rate exceeding a certain threshold.
  4. The system also takes into consideration the distribution rate of the backlinks (spiking numbers or slow distribution etc) in scoring Freshness. This criteria is also used to detect link spamming – an alarming rate of increase in backlinks might mean that link spamming is in place or the topic might actually be viral, in which case will most probably result in Google going for further (could be manual) evaluation.
Among the actions that can be taken in order to rank higher in Fresh results is that you can strategize your link earning in an increasing, steady rate, instead of in bulk initially (might also trigger spam detection) but which decreases overtime. It will also help to partner up and earn links from authoritative (educational or governmental) websites to avoid disappearing links from closed websites.

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Website Age

Takes into consideration the inception date of a website. Factors includes the first time a website is crawled and the first time a link to the website is discovered.

Scoring based on website age

Patent Name: Document scoring based on document inception date

Publication Number: US20070094254 A1

Assignee: Google Inc

Publication: Apr 2007

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Both old and new websites can be useful in answering different kind of intent
  • Newer websites with less backlinks might be ranked better than older websites with more backlinks if it have a better growth rate compared to it’s age
And Here's Why

This patent tells us that Google might take into consideration the inception date of a website in ranking them. Inception date can be determined based on 2 factors:

  1. The first time a website is indexed.
  2. The first time a link to the website is discovered.
Google may adjust the ranking based on the inception date and the intent of a query. A query that requires a Fresh answer might favor newer websites while another query that requires more solid information such as FAQs might favor older websites. The inception date can also be used to even up older and newer websites by using the rate of the backlink growth rate from its inception date instead of just a total sum of all backlinks.

Based on this patent we can conclude that inception date matters for ranking, but doing it correctly means knowing your intent firsthand. There are some intents that favor older websites while some favor newer ones, so it’s important to adjust accordingly. This patent also lets us know that it is possible to compete with older websites with more backlinks since there are other factors involved such as backlink growth over time based on inception date.

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Formatting

Related to how formatting is used when representing information such as use of headers, bolded text or lists.

Determining relationship of information if they are featured in the same list

Patent Name: Document ranking based on semantic distance between terms in a document

Publication Number: US8060501 B1

Assignee: Google Inc

Publication: Nov 2011

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Use more text formatting like lists to present information to both make it easier for reader and Google to understand your content
And Here's Why

This patent describes how Google understands the context of a website based on how the information is presented. Google can determine that a group of information is related or belonging to the same category if they are discovered as being presented in the same list (based on the HTML). While understandable to a human reader, it might be harder for Google to understand if the information is explained in plain sentences instead. For example, presenting a list of Saturn Facts in a list will enable Google to pick up all the entries of the list to answer a query, whereas if the list of Saturn facts aren’t presented in a list format, Google might only pick up the first line of the facts and miss the others.

So in conclusion, using text formatting to structure your content not only helps your (human) reader easily read through your it, it also helps search engines to better understand your content and to pick up important points to help them answer queries.

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Google Cache

Google takes a snapshot of each page it examines and caches (stores) that version as a back-up. The cached version is what Google uses to judge if a page is a good match for your query.

Keyword search in a compressed representation of websites

Patent Name: Document compression scheme that supports searching and partial decompression

Publication Number: US7319994 B1

Assignee: Google Inc

Publication: Jan 2008

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Always request a recrawl/reindex after important update
  • This is so that Google can rank the latest version of your website
And Here's Why

The patent explains that Google does not rank websites in a real time format, but instead ranks websites through the use of a stored representation of the website in its cache. This means that your website representation that is stored by Google might not be the latest version of your website and hence, not ranked accurately based on the present version. What can be done is to get Google to recrawl/index your site after a big update in order to get Google to search the latest representation of your website.

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