A Google patent granted this week describes how Google might try to understand Entities that appear on Web pages, and how that awareness might influence the search results that the search engine shows off in search results.
An Entity is a specifically named person, place, or thing (including ideas and objects) that could be connected to other entities based upon relationships between them. Some pages may make certain Entities to be the main Subject of a page, while other may include additional information about entities that are related in some manner to those first entities. When some entities appear on pages, they may be presented in an ambiguous manner that doesn’t make them the main topic for the page they appear upon.
Entities are said to exist in a graph that connects them to other entities based upon relationships between them. For instance, Google and Bing are both Search Engines, both internet domains, both employers of many search engineers, and have CEOs, Vice Presidents, Marketing staff, headquarters, data centers, Web indexes. There are a lot of related entities that might show up on Web pages about both.
This view of Entities being related to each other, and belonging to an “Entity Graph” is very similar to what the Microsoft Patent I wrote about recently in How Bing May Expand Queries Based upon Finding Entities Within them. A number of the ideas behind how that patent works and this one are similar in that some knowledge about an entity might cause a search engine to display information about related entities.
Below is a creative commons Image from Flickr. In the Caption to the photo is the kind of attribution that a Creative Commons Attribution License calls for when using an image like this from Flickr:
When you choose to use a photo or data available under a Creative Commons’ License, you’re giving other people information about their rights to use your copyrighted materials. This means that you should understand what the different licenses mean
Notice that the infomation on these sites provides Open Data available through licenses that allow people to create something new or useful
I’ve shared links to and information about the Open licenses that data there has been published under below, so that the information can be shared and it can help encourage others to create using Linked Data, and to share data under Open data licenses like the ones described..
If you’ve been doing SEO for a while, one of the papers that you may have read describes how Google was attempting to index content found on the Web that might be difficult for their crawlers to access, such as financial statements from the SEC. The search engine would have to try to access this information by filling out a form and guessing good queries, because that was the only way to access the information – they couldn’t crawl it without querying it first. This paper describes efforts that Google undertook to access that information:
“Examples of entity graphs include Microsoft Corporation’s Satori and Google’s Knowledge Graph, or Facebook’s semantic graph.”
A Microsoft patent application was published at the World Intellectual Property Organization this week on Semantic Search issues that describe how Microsoft’s Understanding of Entities may influence the search results you might see at Bing.
When someone performs a search at one of the major search engines, the search engine focuses upon returning as quick and helpful an answer as possible. Part of that can involve looking the query up in a “trending topics” database to see if there’s some recent news that should be reported to the searcher. This is how the search engines are increasingly becoming a real time monitor of world events.
A recently granted patent at Yahoo (Bing has taken over crawling of web pages for Yahoo, but the deal between the two companies allows Yahoo to massage the data they receive and show off the results they want to) describes how they might “identify… and recommend… queries related to trending topics based on a query received from a user of an information retrieval system.”
The patent describes its focus and the challenges it intends to overcome as follows:
Google has started showing Direct answers to questions related to SEO. That has made me wonder how much someone could learn about SEO at Google with those direct answers, and I wanted to see what terms Google was showing results from and which sources. I expect there to possibly be a log of churn in the answers Google shows results from.
I started off by asking about SEO itself:
I then wanted to look at some topics that might have questionable answers and advice, and asked about the next three topics to see if SEO myths were being promoted by Google Direct Answer. It seemed like they are given the following three answers about Reciprocal links, Keyword Density, and LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing):
In the Google patent “Providing Knowledge Panels With Search Results” is a reference to an earlier Google patent filing describing Knowledge Cards in depth. The patent provision is titled, “Apparatus and Method for Supplying Search Results with a knowledge Card”, and it is identified as being Patent Application No. 61/515,305, filed on Aug. 4, 2011.
This provisional patent is not linkable from the Web, otherwise I would provide a link to it.
It is supposedly “incorporated fully” into that later patent filing, but a lot of details about what a knowledge card is have been left out of the later patent filing. I wrote about that later patent in a post titled, How Google Decides What to Know in Knowledge Graph Results, but the patent specifically about knowledge cards contains information not in the later patent.
Knowledge Panel results are part of Google’s Semantic Web search results which include a mix of result types such as Direct Answers, Structured Snippets, Rich Snippets and are part of an evolution of search results happening at Google and Bing and Microsoft that go much beyond yesterday’s 10-Blue links. I’ll be following this post with one about the rich search results that show up in response to queries at Bing.