Google’s New Patent on Ranking Blog Posts

Google was granted on February 14, 2012 titled, Providing Blog Posts Relevant to Search Results.In it, there are some rather clear observations on how Google ranks blog posts.

Here’s part of the claim:English: United States Patent Cover from a rea...

“… determining, by a processor associated with the one or more server devices, whether the identified blog post is associated with an out-degree larger than an out-degree threshold, where the out-degree corresponds to a quantity of outgoing links included within the identified blog post; rejecting, by a processor associated with the one or more server devices, the identified blog post if the identified blog post is associated with the out-degree larger than the outgoing threshold; and sending, by at least one of the one or more server devices, the search result and information associated with the identified blog post to the client device, if the identified blog post is not rejected. “

The highlighted part is what’s important, after passing queries through a series of servers. What is says in relation to delivering the user-end result is this:

  • How many outgoing links are there?
  • Are there more than we deem to be a proper number?

The moral is this:  Don’t use too many links in your post, no matter where they’re going. I try to keep it to 2 or 3 max. Sometimes, it doesn’t work that way when I’m writing here, but when I’m doing it for a client, two is my threshold.

But back to the patent, we have:

“The method of claim 1, further comprising: determining whether the identified blog post was created before a first time or after a second time; and rejecting the identified blog post if the identified blog post was created before the first time or after the second time. “

In other words, is it duplicate content? If it is… rejected as a search result.

And so, enough with the legalese. Here’s what else I saw in the patent:

  • Relevancy is highly important. There is a group of human editors that determines relevancy of a search query, too, not just the algo. So, if your post ranks for “dog training education” because you you’re writing about courses on dog training, it makes perfect sense that your page would be included in the blog SERPs. If your post doesn’t have that type of information on it or your blog isn’t even about training dogs, you’re O-U-T.
  • Search intent is huge. So, if a searcher types in a query that indicates he wants to see editorial content on a topic, such as “commentary on Newt Gingrich’s election campaign,” the searcher will be delivered that type of editorial content. If it’s a straight search for “Newt Gingrich,” posts talking about his position in the race, rather than Gingrich the man, probably won’t make it into the results for that query.

OK, a little more boring legal stuff, but want you to see this:

“…the processor is to further execute instructions in the memory to at least one of: reject the identified blog post when the identified blog post includes a particular number of outgoing links; reject the identified blog post when the identified blog post includes a particular number of incoming links; reject the identified blog post when the identified blog post is untitled; reject the identified blog post when the identified blog post includes an outgoing link to a document in a same domain as the identified blog post; reject the identified blog post when the identified blog post includes an outgoing link to electronic media; or reject the identified blog post when the identified blog post was created before a first time or after a second time.”

  • Reject if the post has no title.
  • Reject for too many outgoing links
  • Reject for too few incoming links
  • Reject when the post has a link to another post on the same domain. (These may just be ignored. It’s not clear.)
  • Reject when linked to other electronic content. (We’ll discuss that in just a minute.)
  • Reject when dupe content

The reject when linking to your own content issue is unclear, so watch your rankings. If you lose rank because of internal linking (which makes no sense at all), you may want to disable “Related Posts” or whatever plugin you use to add them to your single post pages. That would suck. Feelings are that those links will simply be ignored. If it means that your internal links will cause your posts to be rejected, make them “no follow,” so you can still encourage engagement and not make the bots kick you out. I really suspect that this is just an “ignore” issue, however.

Other things that will keep your posts out of the SERPS?

  • Post not of a “certain length.” Only Google knows for sure how long this would be, but my guess is that a blog post should be around 450 words these days, but that’s just a guess.
  • The links to electronic media? I’m guessing this means links to objectionable electronic media — porn, spam, spyware, plagiarized content, etc. — will have your post kicked out. It’s not feasible that any links to other electronic media of any kind is what they mean.
  • Your outgoing links should appear within a pre-determined distance. Again, only Google knows what this is. We’ll have to figure that out. Does it mean that they have to be early or later on in the post? SEO Prominence is a factor still, so does this mean that prominence is still highly important or does it mean that prominence is pfft!!! Out the window? Puzzling.
  • Recency of posts. Anything that’s older than a month (or even 2 weeks) might be filtered out.

I’m not a lawyer and most of this stuff can be damned confusing, but I think there are some factors here that can’t be ignored. Now that the patent is approved, I’m guessing that Google will be putting these things into effect.  So, wait, watch, and listen. See how these changes are affecting not only your pages, but those of others.

Still just a patent approval. Just because it’s approved, I’m guessing they can use what they want of it and disregard what they don’t. But then, I’m not a patent lawyer. :)

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