Category Archives: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization tips and strategies and information, from SEO by the Sea, to help make web sites easier to find.

Stanford’s New PageRank Patent

Calculating PageRank takes a lot of time and computing power. If there was a way to speed up the process, it might make a significant difference to the amount of time that it takes to assign PageRank values to pages.

The original patents involving PageRank, Method for node ranking in a linked database (updated) and Method for scoring documents in a linked database, have been joined by a newly granted patent that explores a faster method of calculating ranks for pages.

On the Web, most links between pages are between pages in the same domain. That’s an observation that the process in this new patent uses to its advantage.

Methods for ranking nodes in large directed graphs
Invented by Sepandar D. Kamvar, Taher H. Haveliwala, Glen Jeh, and Gene Golub
Assigned to Board of Trustees of the LeLand Stanford Junior University
US Patent 7,216,123
Granted May 8, 2007
Filed: August 22, 2003

Continue reading Stanford’s New PageRank Patent

Google Reviews: Reputation + Quality + Snippets + Clustering

You’ve likely seen reviews of businesses in Google Maps, and Seller Ratings in Froogle for merchants. For a few products listed in Google Reviews, such as MP3 players, you will also see product reviews.

I’ve written previously about the Growing power of online reviews, and wrote a detailed breakdown of a Google patent application on how they may find and aggregate online reviews.

That patent application left a lot of questions unanswered about topics such as how reviews are ranked and valued. Google has had five new patent applications published which look like they might answer some of those questions, with some interesting insights.

Tagging Content On Webpages, Print, and Television, with Yahoo’s Y!Q

A recent advertising campaign from Pontiac told viewers that if they wanted to learn more about what Pontiac had to offer them, that they should go to Google and search for Pontiac.

For the first time that I’ve seen, a patent application has done the same thing:

For additional information on “Y!Q” elements, the reader is encouraged to submit “Y!Q” as a query term to a search engine

So, what’s the big deal about this, and why is it relevant to the discussion of a couple of patent applications from Yahoo? It’s a hint at what Yahoo has planned for the way that people can find more information online for sources that they see offline.

Imagine seeing commercials on TV or in print with a Yahoo Y!Q icon on them, with a keyword or two listed along side of it. Advertisers can “rent” those keywords to have them appear in a Yahoo Y!Q search.

Continue reading Tagging Content On Webpages, Print, and Television, with Yahoo’s Y!Q

Baseball, SEO, and Redirects: Throwing the Gyroball

The baseball season is almost upon us, and I’m really looking forward to the cry of “Playball” from the umpires. I also want to see Daisuke Matsuzaka, who joined the Red Sox this year, and his mythical gyroball. I’m also rooting for Josh Hamilton to turn his life around with the Cincinnati Reds.

A little over a year ago, Matt Cutts used a baseball example to talk about how search engines might handle something known as a 302 redirect.

When someone types in into their browser address bar, they are taken to that page, and then redirected to another page with a much uglier address:

That happens because the server that you visit, when you type in the page, has an instruction in it to redirect visitors to the different address. There are a couple of different kinds of redirects – a temporary one, and a permanent one. The temporary one, which uses a server code of 302, is supposed to be an indication that the new address is only temporary. The permanent one uses a server code of 301.

Continue reading Baseball, SEO, and Redirects: Throwing the Gyroball

Yahoo Research Looks at Templates and Search Engine Indexing

There has been a tremendous amount of growth, over the past few years, of web sites that use content management systems, such as blogs, ecommerce shopping sites, wikis, and others. How might that affect how search engines index the pages of those sites?

A new Yahoo Research paper, Page-level Template Detection via Isotonic Smoothing (pdf), discusses some of the problems that exist with so many sites using templates, and a method to use to try to understand if a page is using a template. Here’s a snippet from the paper:

The increased use of content-management systems to generate webpages has significantly enriched the browsing experience of end users; the multitude of site navigation links, sidebars, copyright notices, and timestamps provide easy to access and often useful information to the users.

From an objective standpoint, however, these “template” structures pollute the content by digressing from the main topic of discourse of the webpage.

Continue reading Yahoo Research Looks at Templates and Search Engine Indexing

Is Microsoft Removing Web Results When the Same Page Also Appears in Paid Results?

This is a discussion of a Microsoft patent granted today that may not have been implemented, and may never be. It’s unclearly written, but worth discussing…

When you perform a search at a search engine, the page that shows the results of your query is often referred to as a search results page. search result page showing a paid result and a Web search result.

Search engines don’t like to show a link to the same page more than once in their search results pages – at least in the unpaid Web search part of their pages. But, most search engines also show advertisements on many search results pages, which look similar to the Web search results.

It’s also possible that a search query using multiple terms, each of which an advertiser may be bidding upon, may cause a page to show up in paid results more than once.

Continue reading Is Microsoft Removing Web Results When the Same Page Also Appears in Paid Results? Patent on Optimizing Search Results Pages Based Upon User Activity

As a web site owner or online advertiser, it often makes good sense to look over statistics involving how people use your web site or your ads to see if pages might be changed to make them more user friendly, and increase the amount of sales or conversions that you make.

You might test different landing pages when you used paid advertising, or move different elements around on your site’s pages to see how people react to those changes.

Search engines often do the same type of thing, not only with the layout of their pages, but also with the results that they may present to searchers.

A new patent assigned to IAC Search and Media, Inc. (owners of describes how user data might be analyzed to help improve the look and feel of results pages, and the rankings of results, shown to users of a search engine.

Continue reading Patent on Optimizing Search Results Pages Based Upon User Activity

Google Patent on Extended Search Indexes

If you like taking a peek under the hood of a search engine, and seeing how it might work, a new patent granted to Google provides some interesting insights.

It describes how a search query might start at a standard index, and if there aren’t enough results within that index, look for more in an extended index to return to a searcher.

System and method for searching an extended database
Invented by Kourosh Gharachorloo, Fay Wen Chang, Deborah Anne Wallach, Sanjay Ghemawat, and Jeffrey Dean
Assigned to Google
US Patent 7,174,346
Granted February 6, 2007
Filed September 30, 2003


Once a search query is received from a user, a standard index is searched based on the search query. The standard index forms part of a set of replicated standard indexes having multiple instances of the standard index. A signal is then determined based on the search of the standard index. When the received signal meets predefined criteria, an extended index is searched. The extended index forms part of a set of extended indexes having at least one instance of the extended index. There are fewer instances of the extended index than instances of the standard index. Extended search results are then obtained from the extended index and at least a portion of the extended search results is transmitted towards a user.

Continue reading Google Patent on Extended Search Indexes