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.
On Tuesday, March 17, 2015 we held a Lotico San Diego Semantic Web on the topic of SEO meets Semantic Web. It was a free meetup and we had a number of people who have signed up to attend the lectures and network. We had Green Pizza (Pesto and Spinach varieties), and green snacks and green drink in honor of St. Patrick’s day.
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
The patent’s description begins by telling us how this wearable device would work:
A wearable device can automatically modify or destroy one or more targets in the blood that have an adverse health effect by transmitting energy into subsurface vasculature proximate to the wearable device. The targets could be any substances or objects that, when present in the blood, or present at a particular concentration or range of concentrations, may affect a medical condition or the health of the person wearing the device. For example, the targets could include enzymes, hormones, proteins, cells or other molecules. Modifying or destroying the targets could include causing any physical or chemical change in the targets such that the ability of the targets to cause the adverse health effect is reduced or eliminated.
In one of those posts, I write about a paper (pdf) that the inventors of that patent co-authored which describes ways that Google was finding and extracting facts from pages to include in a repository of facts.
Google published a foreign patent at WIPO today that has an interesting perspective to it. When someone performs a search that involves a specific entity, their search may be influenced by the search engine’s knowledge of their past interactions with content involving that entity.
For example, someone searches for “Justin Timberlake” and the search system may have collected information about the searcher’s past consumption of content related to that entity, like having attended a concert featuring him, or a movie that he was in:
In some applications, the server-based system additionally receives and stores information describing the user’s consumption of the content. For example, the system can determine that the user viewed the movie “The Social Network” featuring “Justin Timberlake” on a particular date and at a particular location. The system can store the information at the media consumption history that identifies the particular date and the particular location where the user viewed the movie “The Social Network,” and can subsequently receive a request that identifies the user and “Justin Timberlake.” The system can provide a response to the request that includes information about “Justin Timberlake” and can also indicate that the user viewed the movie “The Social Network” that features “Justin Timberlake” on the particular date and at the particular location.
When someone searches the web, and asks a question such as “what is the capital of Poland” or “what is the birth date of George Washington” a web search engine such as Google may not be very helpful in providing an answer if it provides a list of web pages that might answer that query instead of an actual answer. People in the SEO community have been referring to such answers as “direct answers.”
A patent granted to Google this week describes how Google indexes data across the web, and may look to a large collection of facts (in a fact repository such as a knowledge graph) to check upon and verify such answers, so that it can deliver them with more confidence and certainty, like in the answer to the question about George Washington’s birthday shown above.
The patent tells us that some efforts to build a search engine that can “provide quick answers to factual questions have their own shortcomings.” One of these is that the answers may come from a single source, such as “a particular encyclopedia.” Why this is perceived as a shortcoming is that it is: