Moderated by Search Engine Watch editor, Chris Sherman
Kortikar gave a great analogy in which to understand the value of dissecting search engine patents. He described the suspension of disbelief adults engage in when a child shows an imaginative toy. In other words, to take the suggestions that come out of search engine patent analysis with a grain of salt. That said, there is a lot of value in understanding the features as they may very well be implemented.
He described possibile future changes and considerations in analyzing search engine patents in the form of a “Search Quality Pyramid”.
Base – Discerning whether the site owner has administrative control and editorial discretion over content. Considering ip addresses (same or different class C), host names, link sources, content similarities.
Middle – Understanding useage patterns, trends, cache and bookmark data. Toolbars and other client side software allows search engines to capture usage data.
Top middle – Search experience – Google can generate http links to that document that has none based on the content and percieved value of the document.
Top – Understanding intent of the searcher: “mustang” car or horse? “apple” company or fruit?
What does this mean for search engine optimization?
Full of metaphors and analogies, Kortikar gave example using the classic tale of the tortise and the hare: Think like a hare, act like a tortoise
No surprises, in terms of link growth, content growth, structure changes and think twice before making major changes.
He also listed Google and Yahoo patents of note:
Ranking by re-ranking
Improving search quality
Affinity analysis – all
Extracting prices from HTML
Determine sales revenue by search weight
Coookies to database
Content – conversation
Text to seooch
Multi case media transmission
For best natural search engine results,
1. Be sure to employ deliberate and methodical planning.
2. Provide multiple information streams: text, audio, video.
3. Focus on visitor retention analysis and planning – encourage visitor time on site and return visits.
4. Watch backlinks avoid spam
Last up was Jon Glick of Become.com. I recognized Jon from when he worked with Yahoo.
Glick asked, “Can we trust what’s in the patent?”
He reminded everyone that a site doesn’t need to acutally use what’s in the patent and they do not need to disclose all information related to patent, so what’s being analyzed may not be a complete picture.
1. Measurinig the click through rate (CTR) on your pages in search engine results as a way to determine quality is easy to distort. The application for this may be more effective for demoting pages that have a high ranking but low CTR.
2. Measuring time spent on a site is used to flag sites where users hit back buttom immediately. According to Glick, getting users to spend more time on your site is a good thing for usability, but not to help your ranking (in contrast to what Ani from Netramind)
2. Rate of change in links – most search engines do limit how quickly a site can gain connectivity (link popularity) through sandboxing or link aging. A sudden jump in links can draw scruitiny.
3. Search engines do keep a history of a site’s: registration date, discovery date, recent crawl date and last time content changed. This measurement affects how often a site is crawled, not ranking.
4. Site owners should keep in mind that when a site moves an ip address, it is often re-evaluated by search engines.
Bottom line is, all search engines use use similar ranking and quality tactics. However, the core of ranking is great content, and connectivity (links).
Audience: what is an ideal rate of link acquisition?
Answer: Search engines are never going to give specific info. Search engines are most concerned with mass spam tactics, not individual sites.
Mikkel deMib Svendson, a long time grey/black hat SEO from Denmark asked about why search engines do not appear to pay attention to small population language sites and that he’s been able to get away with blatant manipulations that are more difficult on english language sites.
Jon Glick: Sounds like you should start a search engine
Mikkel: What? I’m a spammer I don’t have time.
Audience and panel respond with laughter.
So, unless you operate a web site in Denmark, Singapore or another smaller population country, your best option for understanding and implementing insights from search engine patents appears to be implementing content and linking in a measured and thematic format. Be organized, persistent and diversified in your link sources.