An authoritative user is a user of one or more computer-implemented services (e.g., a social networking service) that has been determined to be authoritative (e.g., an expert) on one or more topics that can be associated with one or more queries
I read the patent Tuesday, and thought to revisit it after reading a post this morning by Mark Traphagen at Moz, titled Will Google Bring Back Google Authorship? It’s a good question and Mark brings up a fair amount of evidence to support the idea that they might bring back the concept of author authority in search results, even if they don’t bring back or rely upon authorship markup (adding a rel=”author” to a link to your Google+ profile from a page you write at, or linking to pages you contribute to from your Google+ profile). As Mark notes:
A Google patent granted earlier this month looks at how content might be ranked by Google based upon social interactions. It discusses ranking that content based upon social interactions within the context of Google+ and the social circles you may have been placed within by someone who added you to Google+.
The patent looks at digital content that might be shown on Google+ Stream pages to members of the social networking service, and determines, based upon “close-ties” scores for that digital content, what to display to members of the network looking at content on Streams pages.
Can Google use social media, like Google+ to improve the quality of reviews it shows for products and services? Google does like to show reviews to searchers, possibly because many searchers ask for reviews.
A Google patent application published in June explores and discusses analyzing reviews, and creating quality scores for reviews from social media content and other review generated content.
Imagine leaving a review of a business or a product at Google, and it asking you if it could used any related social media content about that product or service that you may leave at a place such as Google+ (it does mention Google+ specifically) to augment your review. That’s the focus of this patent application.
Sometimes, I run across a patent that provides details on things that Google might do, but only hints at whether or not it might actually be implemented. A few years back in 2007, I wrote about a Google patent for Agent Rank, which described reputation scores for authors (to be used as an alternative to PageRank), and looked like an important part of Google’s social network, Google+. It was referred to in the patent as “Agent Rank” and people commenting upon it started referring to it as “Author Rank”.
It seemed like it was a good description of how some people whom you may have connected with in Google+ were showing up in response to queries they had some expertise within. There may have been issues with Google’s version of Agent Rank that the search engine wanted a second bite at. Google has since removed the Photos that were showing up for authors whom you might be connected to, who may have been highly ranked, seemingly based upon a reputation score, for a topic related to a query that you might perform.
There were people who wrote that while this authorship markup was removed, and author photos associated with it, the author rank scoring system that came with it was still around, like this Search Engine Land article: Google Authorship May Be Dead, But Author Rank Is Not.
The patent described in that post seemed like a good match for Google+, but Google + has gone through some changes since then, recently being identified as consisting of two parts – Photos and Streams. A Marketing Land article described the streams part in more detail recently, in the article The Web Of Streams
Recently, Google announced that they would be ranking pages higher in search results when those pages use a secure protocol of https. The Google Webmaster Central blog told us so through Google Webmaster Trends Analysts Zineb Ait Bahajji and Gary Illyes, in HTTPS as a ranking signal. The use of https doesn’t necessarily make a page more relevant or more important for a search, but it could help lead to a more secure web.
Google was just granted a patent for assigning some searched sites to be deemed authoritative for a query that someone they are socially connected performed a search for. This isn’t for all queries, but rather just some queries that Google might determine are “trigger queries,” or queries that are presently popular.
And it’s not for all searchers, but only searchers that are connected to each other.
At Google and Bing, both search engines have been experimenting with relevance and search. Both have shown profile photographs of people whom you may be connected to at places such as Google+ (for Google) and at Facebook (For Bing) in search results that include them. Both may have changed rankings for those pages as well.
Google was showing authorship photos in search results for some authors who had set up authorship markup on their Google profiles and their web pages. Google also showed profile pictures in search results for some pages authored by some people that didn’t actually contain any authorship markup as long as those pages or domains were linked to by the author’s Google profile page as “contributors to”.
The author profiles would sometimes appear in front of articles appearing in search results for content written by specific authors from those “linked to” sources.