Personalizing Search Results at Google

document sets at Google

One thing most SEOs are aware of is that search results at Google are sometimes personalized for searchers; but it’s not something that I’ve seen too much written about. So when I came across a patent that is about personalizing search results, I wanted to dig in, and see if it could give us more insights.

The patent was an updated continuation patent, and I love to look at those, because it is possible to compare changes to claims from an older version, to see if they can provide some details of how processes described in those patents have changed. Sometimes changes are spelled out in great detail, and sometimes they focus upon different concepts that might be in the original version of the patent, but weren’t necessarily focused upon so much.

One of the last continuation patents I looked at was one from Navneet Panda, in the post, Click a Panda: High Quality Search Results based on Repeat Clicks and Visit Duration In that one, we saw a shift in focus to involve more user behavior data such as repeat clicks by the same user on a site, and the duration of a visit to a site.

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Authoritative Search Results in Google Searches?

A NASA Android that Voyaged to Space
A NASA Android that Voyaged to Space

authoritative search results

If you’ve done any SEO for a site, you may recognize some of the steps involved in working towards making a website authoritative:

  1. Conduct keyword research to find appropriate terms and phrases for your industry and audience
  2. Review the use of keywords on the pages of your site to make sure it includes those in prominent places on those pages
  3. Map out pages on a site to place keywords in meaningful places
  4. The meaningful places on your pages are determined by information retrieval scores for HTML elements such as Titles and Headings and Lists
  5. The placement of keywords in prominent and important places on your pages can make your pages more relevant for those keywords
  6. Research the topics your pages are about, and make sure they answer questions that your audience may have about those topics in trustworthy and meaningful ways

Surfacing Authoritative Search Results for Queries Above a Threshold

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Events Finder at Google Search

Events Finder at Google

This week Google rolled out an event finder on its mobile search app. You can read about it on:

Google Search will now help you find nearby events

The techcrunch article tells us that Google is working on suggestions for developers to have their events listed in search results – so we should be keeping an eye out for those as they get published.

I wrote about a patent here, in a post in November that talked about Ranking Events in Google Search Results, which focused upon a Google patent that had been granted August 23, 2016 titled Ranking events.

This Events Finder is available in the United States starting today; but the Techcrunch article tells us that there are no plans for international expansion.

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How Google May Rank Websites Based Upon Their Databases Answering Queries

NASA Computer

Databases Answering Queries

Imagine that some sites might be ranked by Google based upon how their databases answer queries. A patent from Google refers to this approach as one that looks at database service requirements to rank large sites such as sites that cover products, jobs, travel, recipes and movies. Such sites might include some static pages that provide examples of the capabilities of their databases, such as being able to provide answers to queries such as: “Brand X Cameras for less than $300.00”.

The patent provides some examples of the types of sites that are covered by this patent:

Many websites for which data available in resources store the data in large databases of structured information. For example, job search websites may have respective job databases, and respective resources (web pages) that include forms to search the databases. Likewise, recipe websites have respective databases for recipes, and movie websites have respective databases for movies. Requesting information for a certain recipe or movie causes the website to query its respective database and generate a webpage that presents the information in a structured format.

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Google Search Query Refinements Patent Updated


Query Refinements have changed since the earlier days of Google

In 2006, I wrote a post A Look at Google Midpage Query Refinements (Go ahead and read it; this post will make more sense if you visit the past and bring it in). The patent I wrote then was just granted again as a continuation patent, with new claims, reflecting a change in the process involving how it is being used by the Google. The new version of the patent is now at:

System and method for providing search query refinements
Inventors: Paul Haahr and Steven D. Baker
Assignee: Google Inc.
United States Patent 9,552,388
Granted: January 24, 2017
Filed: January 31, 2014


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Google and Spoken Queries: Understanding Stressed Pronouns

Spoken Queries and Stressed Pronouns

The future of searches on the Web will likely involve searches by voice, as more and more people are connecting to the web with phones and Google has added voice search interfaces to its search on desktop computers.

I thought it was interesting when I ran across a patent that focused on a problem that might arise with spoken searches, and thought it was worth writing about because it’s something that we will need to become acquainted with as it becomes more commonplace.

When Amit Singhal showed off Google’s hummingbird update, he gave a presentation that showed Google handling searches involving pronouns. It’s worth watching for the information about Hummingbird, but also about how Google is becoming more conversational, and can handle things like stressed pronouns. The video is at:

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