On May 1st, Google’s Head of Webspam Matt Cutts published a video in his series of Google Webmaster Help videos, answering the question, “What’s the latest SEO misconception that you would like to put to rest?”
For some reason, Matt decided to focus upon patents, with a video about people possibly placing too much faith in what is uncovered in patents related to search engines. To a degree, I agree with his response, but I was reached out to by a number of people who saw the video as something aimed specifically at me, since I write about search related patents so often. I felt that I had no choice but to respond. Here’s the video from Matt:
A transformation was triggered at Google with their announcement of the Knowledge Graph in the Official Google Blog post, Introducing the Knowledge Graph: things, not strings. That transformation was one less concerned with matching keywords, and more concerned with matching concepts, understanding entities, and bringing knowledge about entities to searchers in knowledge panels next to search results.
Google published a patent application last week that describes the knowledge panels that appear next to search results as part of the new knowledge graph. Here’s the video that accompanied the post (note the reference to a “panel” in the presentation):
Google acquired the company Wavii for a little more than $ 30 Million in April. There was some speculation that Wavii was an effort to match Yahoo’s purchase of Summly, which summarizes news from the Web.
A Wavii app did do just that – acquired and summarized news from the Web. When Wavii emerged from stealth mode, it was touted as a personalized news aggregator based upon topics rather than keywords. The app closed down with Google’s acquisition of the company, and instead of providing news aggregation services, it appears that the technology will help fuel Google Now, Google’s Knowledge Base, and Google Glass, according to the TechCrunch article linked above.
One of the more interesting discussions about Google Glass I’ve seen recently was in a forum where one of the participants was describing his own homemade version of Google Glass, which he named “Flass” (if someone at Google happens to be reading this, you should send him a pair of Google Glass, just because.) What was really interesting was that he was using a MyVu display in his clone.
I call it interesting because Google seems to have acquired a number of the patents from The MicroOptical Corporation, which was the predecessor to MyVu. MyVu no longer appears to be in business, and according to LinkedIn, the Founder and CEO and CTO of MyVue is now the Director of Operations at Google X. Here’s a view of one of the pairs of glasses created by MyVue (MicroOptical):
In an ideal world, your site architecture should be set up so that search engine crawlers are only able to visit each page of your site at one web address, and no more. You may be laughing, but when Google sends you the “I give up, your site has too many URLs” message in Google Webmaster Tools, you won’t be then. Seriously.
Keep Colors and Sizes Together
If you create multiple product pages where the only thing different is offering the product in red or green or blue, or small or medium or large, you are creating too many pages. True when you decide to let “email a friend” pages get indexed, and “Add to my wishlist,” and “Compare Products” and other pages that Google doesn’t want in its index either.
That phone in your pocket is filled with applications, with sensors to measure movement and the world around us, with communications tools that put us in touch with work, home, family, friends, service providers and strangers.
That phone in your pocket is poised to teach itself how to work better, based upon how you use it, which applications you run, and how you use it to communicate with others.
A patent granted to Google last week explores different ways that parts and pieces of your phone can communicate with each other to remember settings in different contexts, to re-rank information based upon location and time and place, under a mobile machine learning system.
Imagine, for instance, landing at San Francisco International Airport to visit your brother. As you step off the plane, your phone resets its location and displays time and weather information on its home page for San Francisco. You open your phone, and the number for your limo appears at the top, with your hotel next, and then your brother’s home number (it would show his work number if it were earlier in the day).
Earlier this week, I was fortunate enough to be invited to participate in a panel presentation on the future of SEO, in Raleigh, North Carolina. The event was the first Digital Marketing for Business Conference (and it was filled with some great sessions). The presentation wasn’t a PowerPoint and pitter-patter type talk.
Instead, I was joined by Russ Jones (The Google Cache) and Jenny Halasz (Archology) in somewhat of a free-for-all where we each exhibited our (biased) thoughts about where SEO would take us tomorrow. Conference Host and Q&A Moderator for the session, Phil Buckley had purposefully constructed a presentation where he asked questions and had each of us take turns answering, and responding to the other panelist responses as well. There were disagreements on some simple topics, and disagreement on some more complex topics, and oddly a lot of agreement as well.
Advice on the Future of SEO
In our final take-aways, as Phil asked for them, we had the chance to impart advice on one thing that people should pay careful attention to, and one thing that our audience members should absolutely do. I had the chance to start, and recommended that when people create content for their pages and research keywords that they carefully pay attention to the audience for their sites and the objectives of the sites themselves.
Might a twang or a drawl influence the search results you see at Google? If you’re prone to calling an elevator a lift, and tend to speak the Queen’s English in an accent similar to hers, you might see different search results than if you grew up in the Bronx or in New Orleans. If you sport a Polish accent, or a Spanish one, and you perform voice searches on your phone, would receiving results in Polish or in Spanish because of your accent be a problem or a benefit? If your accent is Australian, and you search for “football” while in the US, would it surprise you to see some Australian Rules Football results returned to you?
Search engines have been using something called an Automated Search Recognition (“ASR”) engine to try to eliminate or reduce accents in voice searches by treating those as if they were noise. But the value of that noise might also be recognized as another signal that might improve search results.
A new patent was granted to Google yesterday that explores the topic in more depth. For instance, it provides this example of how a search engine might use such accent information: