A few years ago, I wrote the following about post about Google’s OneBox Patent Application I was brought back to it, with a new Google patent that looks at answering questions within similar answer boxes, and showing rich content, like in the example below:
A patent filed by Google a couple of years ago and granted today takes another look at Oneboxes, and includes this statement early on:
A search engine provider, Google Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., has developed an “answer box” technology, known as OneBox, that has been available for several years. Using this technology, a set of web search features are offered that provide a quick and easy way for a search engine to provide users with information that is relevant to, or that answers, their search query. For example, a search engine may respond to a search query regarding everyday essential information, reference tools, trip planning information, or other information by returning, as the first search result, information responsive to the search query, instead of providing a link and a snippet for each of a number of relevant web pages that may contain information.
I was excited to see a Google Patent granted this past Thursday, which describes how Google may rank pages in part based upon user feedback (clicks) in response to rankings for those pages. The patent tells us that this kind of identifying of a user’s needs and determining which documents are returned that might be most useful to a searcher can involve “a fair amount of mind-reading—inferring from various clues what the user wants.” But, we’ve been told recently by a Google Spokesperson that such clues can be misleading. I thought it was still worth pointing the patent out.
Some clues may be user specific, the patent authors tell us, and when a searcher searches from a mobile device, and Google know the location of that device, the results returned “can result in much better search results for such a user.” That does make sense.
Barbara and I have been looking at a lot of patents while preparing for the presentation, and one of the topic areas that we were going to discuss was Quality Scores, since one of the patents that mentions adding “Buy Now” buttons to paid search listings in search results, may do so only if the sites being considered to show buy now buttons have a high enough Quality Score associated with them.
While preparing, Barbara pointed out another patent to me that focuses upon low quality scores. It describes how a site might lose traffic if ranking scores for links pointed to it are below a certain threshold.
Added 6-17-2015 – It’s not clear from the new patent filings, but from feedback I received on Twitter from Mathieu Janin, at https://twitter.com/Matt_Refeo, it appears that Google may be showing sitelinks for pages that aren’t just the home pages of a site. As Mathieu tweeted to me:
I performed this query again on the french version of Google, and it is showing sitelinks for an internal page on the site:
This post is about a Google patent from a well-known Google Engineer, that describes ranking search query results at an internet search engine, such as Google.
Google aims at identifying resources, of different types such as web pages, images, text documents, multimedia content, that may be relevant to a searchers situational and information needs and does so in a manner that they hope is as useful as possible to a searcher. They do this while responding to queries submitted by searchers.
One of the inventors from this patent carries one of the most well-known names at Google, the surname, “Panda.” which became well-known because of a Google update that was named after him in February 2011.
A focus of that update was upon improving the quality of sites that it targeted, and Navneet Panda specializes in site quality at Google. When I saw that a patent was granted this week that listed his name as an inventor, I looked forward to reading it, and seeing how it might attempt to define site quality, and how that definition might be used to rank search query results.
Google has started showing Direct answers to questions related to SEO. That has made me wonder how much someone could learn about SEO at Google with those direct answers, and I wanted to see what terms Google was showing results from and which sources. I expect there to possibly be a log of churn in the answers Google shows results from.
I started off by asking about SEO itself:
I then wanted to look at some topics that might have questionable answers and advice, and asked about the next three topics to see if SEO myths were being promoted by Google Direct Answer. It seemed like they are given the following three answers about Reciprocal links, Keyword Density, and LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing):
Representatives from Google announced recently that they would no longer be updating their PageRank toolbar annotations for web pages. Google had been updating those 3-4 times a year for over a decade.
Does this news indicate that Google is no longer using PageRank, or that PageRank has changed in some significant way? (The ranking signal isn’t the toolbar annotation itself, which was too infrequently updated to be an accurate reflection of what PageRank might have been for a page)
Could it be a sign that Google has found something different?