So, one of the big questions in SEO these days is why some queries end up triggering Answer Boxes in search results, and others don’t.
A Recent Bloomberg article explores how Google might use machine learning to answer questions, titled, Google’s New AI Can Answer Dumb IT Questions or Tell You the Meaning of Life. I came across the article after having read a patent application at Google that covered similar ground.The point behind the patent was to identify sources of answers to queries, that are in the shape of Answer Boxes, as seen in this search result:
As this patent application tells us, sometimes searchers are looking for answers to their queries, rather than a list of URLs:
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:
A couple of interesting patent applications surfaced at Google recently, involving the use of photography in Local Search, to identify whether or not businesses actually exist, or might be closed, or might be Web Spam.
The first of these looks at Street Views images, and is:
For as long as SEOs have known, Google has had one person in charge of leading their fight against Webspam. His name was Matt Cutts, and his position had evolved over the years into that of being a mouthpiece for Google, speaking on actions that Google might take to fight web spam, and low quality content. Matt Cutts is presently on an extended leave of absence from Google.
News came out a few days ago, that Google would be replacing Matt Cutts as Google’s Head of Spam, but that news tells us that the new person in charge of WebSpam at Google wouldn’t be as vocal as Matt Cutts had been, nor reveal his or her identity.
I wondered how many patents Lycos might have, and what they covered, so I looked them up. Lycos hasn’t been around as a search engine for a few years, and yet it’s possible that there’s some value left in these patents. Some look very interesting, like the one about collections (Google just came out with a couple of patents on collections.) Here they are: