Can patents be said to have family histories? If so, this post is going to introduce a barely known ancestor to one of the most written about search related patents on the Web, as well as a brand new grandchild to the patent.
The patent is Google’s Information retrieval based on historical data, which was filed in 2003, and granted in 2008. When it was published as a pending patent application in 2005, it created a pretty big stir amongst the forums and blogs of the search community.
The patent has two focuses which both take advantage of recording changes to a site over time. One is to help identify web spam, and the other is to help avoid stale documents being returned in response to a query. It raised questions between SEOs such as how important are the ages of domains and of links, as well as:
- Does Google favor fresher sites over older sites, or older sites over fresher sites?
- Even more, how does Google weigh the age of a website?
- Are the search engines looking at whois data to see who owns websites, and if there has been a change of ownership?
- If the content of a site changes, and the anchor text pointing to it remains the same even though it’s no longer relevant, will it still rank for the terms in the anchor text?
- If you buy a website and make changes to it, will the PageRank for that site start to evaporate or expire?