Correcting Chinese Characters in Search Queries

I had a chance to spend a little time with Ian McAnerin at the New York SES before his near brush with a Fiery Explosion!, and he briefly mentioned some of the challenges facing search engines in China, including the use of simplified Chinese characters.

Ian is one of the speakers who will appear at the Search Engine Strategies Conference in China later this month. I don’t know if it will come up at the sessions there, but those simplified Chinese characters pose some interesting challenges to the search engines. I posted about a couple of patent applications from Google on Chinese characters last December.

Google has released another patent application involving Chinese characters in search queries: Fault-tolerant romanized input method for non-roman characters

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A whole lot of wikipedia

One of the many excellent presentations that I was able to attend this week was the one on SEM Via Communities, Wikipedia & Tagging. The first speaker, Jeff Watts, talked about the risks and benefits of creating a new entry about your company, and leaving it to the community to create content about the company.

It’s a brave step, and there are companies that probably wouldn’t take it. Jeff mentioned that his company was convinced that the wikipedia community would probably write the article at some point with or without his involvement, and that it was much better to be involved in the conversation than not.

It was also a pleasure to meet Nick Wilson and Andy Hagans, who also gave insightful presentations on tagging.

I wanted to make sure though, that I mentioned the Wikipedia. Earlier today, they published their millionth article. Congratulations wikipedia community.

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Patents and patent application and the New York SES

Been having a great time at the New York SES the last couple of days, with a chance to hang our with some friends I met at last year’s Search Engine Strategies, and an opportunity to meet some new people.

I’ll probably write more about the conference in a few days. I’m in need of some sleep after the past few days of catching up and staying out a little late. I crashed early tonight, only to be awoken by the sound of a fire alarm. A voice over a loudspeaker came on a few minutes later, and informed us all that it was a false alarm.

Since I’m awake, and it may take a few minutes for the adrenalin rush to subside, I decided to post links to a couple of patents that were granted to Yahoo! yesterday, and a patent application from a couple of weeks ago with the name Apostolos Gerasoulis, of Ask (it’s hard to not write “Jeeves”), listed amongst its inventors.

Just a link to the documents and copies of the abstract tonight.

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SEO and Defining Site Objectives

I like digging into some of the patents and papers that come from search engines and academics who study how search works.

But something else I find fascinating is how marketing fits into Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and how important it is to know about both to be successful in getting traffic to a site. Or should I say the right traffic – visits from the people who will find the pages of a web site interesting and engaging to them.

A lot of that crossover is getting an insight into the words that people will both use to find a site, and expect to see upon its pages. That doesn’t come out of doing some research on wordtracker or nichebot or the Overture keyword selection tool (no longer available).

Those can be nice tools to use, but some of the most important steps in finding meaningful words that people will search for come earlier, before you should even be looking at those sites.

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Loren Baker and John Scott visit Google Japan

Some great pictures of Google Japan over at Search Engine Journal from Loren Baker. Loren and John Scott met up at the Tokyo offices of the search giant, and it sounds like they had a pretty informative tour, discussing issues such as search privacy in Japan, the new addition of local search, and more.

Wonder if we’ll start seeing some of those Google vending machines make their way to this side of the world.

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Looking at Google in China

There’s been a lot of discussion on the web, and in the news over the past few weeks about Google’s operations in China.

The Chinese version of their site, Google.cn filters out content that the Chinese government doesn’t want included in search results. As noted in the Stanford Daily (link no longer available), the Chinese language version of Google.com is unfiltered.

An issue recently arose regarding whether or not Google had a business license to even operate Google.cn, though that problem seems to have now been resolved, with a license granted after Google made a deal with Ganji.com to use their license.

One of the more interesting sets of commentary on Google in China are the posts of economics Professor Gary Becker and Federal District Judge Richard Posner, from The Becker-Posner Blog.

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Looking at Google Definitions

Over at Threadwatch, Graywolf started a thread titled Are you Optimizing for Google Definitions? There are some insightful comments in the thread, and I recalled a Google patent application that covered the topic.

I looked around the web to see if there had been any discussion about the patent application, but couldn’t find any. The document is System and method for providing definitions, (US Patent Application 20040236739) invented by Craig Nevill-Manning, filed on June 27, 2003 and published on November 25, 2004.

The abstract for the application is pretty general, but the document is fairly detailed. Here’s the abstract:

A system and method for providing definitions is described. A phrase to be defined is received. One or more documents, which each contain at least one definition, are determined. The phrase is matched to at least one of the definitions. One or more definitions for the phrase are presented.

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Google looks at multi-stage query processing

Determining how a term or phrase may be used in the context of a page can be helpful in deciding how relevant that page is in responding to a query from a searcher.

A patent application from Google was published this week which looks at possible ways of considering the context of those words, and describes a multiple stage process to determine relevancy and find results to a search.

Multi-Stage Query Processing Description Flowchart

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The document is fairly complex, but some possible actions that can be taken during the different stages described are:

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Getting Information about Search and SEO Directly from the Search Engines