There are many advertising services on the Web that offer contextual search link services, which identify terms on a site and embed links within them pointing to advertisers’ pages. A Google patent granted earlier this week describes a way that web site publishers could identify parts of their pages that they would allow links on from Google, which would point to Google search results pages.
This system could be set up so that if someone clicks on one of those links, and chooses an advertisement, the owner of the page the link appears upon might receive compensation based upon the visitor’s click.
The patent is:
Method and system for dynamically generating search links embedded in content
Invented by Jeffrey Kenn Eddings, John Fu, and Grace Kwak
Assigned to Google Inc.
US Patent 7,788,245
Granted August 31, 2010
Filed: June 16, 2005
A search-engine link provider receives the content of a document from a remote computer. Topics for the content are identified and search terms are generated based on the topics. Search engine links are generated based on the search terms.
The search engine links are embedded into the content for matches within the content to the search terms. Selection of a search engine link by a user initiates a search for the search term associated with the search engine link.
The page owner might mark certain parts of a page as available for receiving embedded search-engine links. On a page that includes a text article, navigation bars, sidebars, and a footer section, for instance, those tags might be set up only to mark the article as the section that should have search-engine links embedded within it. Or the page could be marked so that links could be placed in the whole document.
Alternatively, tags could be used to negatively designate certain parts of a page that links shouldn’t show up in, such as an author description or a copyright notice
There may also be a way for a site owner to tell the search engine not to embed links that cover certain topics or terms, such as particular sensitive or negative topics, or terms that might be related to the page’s competitors. This might be set up either on the page or in a separate file which would be referenced in the document.
The patent says that pages that allow embedding of search engine links might be identified by Google when it crawls the Web, but I think it’s more likely that anyone who wants to participate in this would signup for it like they would to participate in Google’s Adsense.
If Google finds a page that allows such embedding, it might analyze the content of the page to identify terms on the page that are appropriate for embedded links, using techniques such as keyword extraction and frequency analysis. It might look at the text on a page, as well as images, audio, and video. For example, if the text on a page is about a pet show, and mentions dogs and cats, and has many images of dogs and cats, the links generated for the page might involve pets, dogs, and cats.
If only a portion of a page has been designated by the page author as being open to having embedded links, the search engine might still look at the other sections of the page to determine which topics and terms are appropriate for those links.
The generated search terms might include terms that appear in the content of the page, and terms that don’t. So, the page about cats and dogs might include search terms related to specific breeds mentioned on the page, and it may include links to things like “dog food,” which may not have been specifically included within the content of the page.
The links would lead to Google search results, which could include advertisements and news items.
Embedded links may include an information box that appears above the link when you hover over it and tells you more information about the link.
This patent was originally filed back in 2005, and I’m a little curious if Google might feel differently about embedded links like this that might be seen as a way for site owners to make money off advertising.
I really can’t see myself including embedded links on my site in a manner like this, unless I could limit the search results that were shown in some way, perhaps tying them to a site search through Google Custom Search.
Like any process described in a patent, Google might decide not to offer this technology.
But if they did, would you let Google embed search-engine links into the content of your pages?