On January 1, 2009, a patent application published on a Yahoo! Inc. invention related to Search Engine Optimization. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO as it is typically referred to, refers to actions by a web site to improve its presence and positioning for relevant search queries. With the amount of information available online being so large engaging in SEO activities to make it more likely that a search engine will highly rank your website or web page is vital. The search results from a search engine are often ranked based on relevancy, and the pages listed first are generally deemed to be the most relevant. Therefore, it is desirable for a web page operator to have his/her web page appear near the top of the list of search results. For example, a website for a patent law firm might like to be at or near the top of a search for “patent application.” Many times my Patent Application page will appear on Google as the top result, even ahead of the USPTO website. Achieving this takes a lot of time and energy, but being online since 1999 certainly has helped IPWatchdog.com’s search engine ranking for this and hundreds of other terms and phrases.
No one knows for sure what the algorithms are that are used by search engines because their actual algorithms are safely guarded trade secrets. The reason for cautiously guarding the specific algorithms is that the search engines want to deliver the most relevant information to those searching any particular search terms or phrases, and if the algorithm was known to everyone then websites could play games to move up higher in the rankings even if their site is not as relevant as other sites given a particular inquiry. Nevertheless, SEO needs to be a big part of any strategy to deliver traffic to a website, so tried and true methods are employed by those serious about obtaining more traffic. Such tried and true methods include creating original content that relates to popular search terms and phrases, getting links from other websites that have related content and getting links from websites that themselves are popular. So the best strategy to move up in the free rankings of a search engine is to have quality, reliable, original content and to get your content directly linked from popular, reliable, related websites.
Every so often, however, one of the major search engine companies will apply for a patent and when the application is published you can get a glimpse of what they are thinking. SEO can never be static, but rather it must evolve with industry practices. The search engines are always tweaking, modifying and changing their algorithms to stay ahead of those who seek to drive traffic to sites that are not directly related to search inquiries. The reason for this should be obvious. If you use a search engine that does not deliver good information that is related to your inquiry then you will stop using that search engine and start using another search engine. With the search engine market being extremely competitive and very lucrative due to sponsored advertising, search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN must constantly stay one step ahead of those who seek to engage in manipulating the system through black-hat SEO activities.
This latest Yahoo patent application does not really provide many, if any, new insights into the algorithms that are used at Yahoo, but it does describe an interesting approach to Search Engine Optimization, and one that seems like it could be used to manipulate the free search engine rankings to benefit those websites that do truly have unique, original information.
This Yahoo patent specifically relates to a a system and method for search engine optimization that enables SEO efforts by utilizing search query logs, which may be stored in a search log database to determine popular concepts or units which may then be utilized to optimize a site or page. In particular, the search log database may provide a frequency list reflecting the popularity of various search terms. Popularity is based upon the frequency with which a particular search term or phrase is searched for, so the more searches that are performed for a particular term or phrase the more popular the term or phrase is considered. The more popular terms and phrases that are related to the content of the page are then automatically injected into the page, thus making the page seem even more relevant for those search terms and phrases in the future. The frequency list is then compared with the existing search terms and phrases so that the more popular terms and phrases within the page may be emphasized.
What this seems to envision is that web pages will become dynamic and automatically update based on the search terms or search phrases used by individuals to actually find the page. For example, those using this system and method would be able to have a page dynamically altered based upon how individuals find the page. So if you were to find a particular website using the phrase “how do I patent an idea” the page would automatically update itself so that the next time that someone searched for the same phrase the page would appear all the more relevant to the search engine.
This seems to be an excellent way to allow individual users to have greater participation in determining what particular websites and web pages are most relevant given a particular search inquiry. It would also seem to make search engine optimization much easier as well, and perhaps get some of the bad actors in that space out of the business.
SEO will be easier because those with original and reliable content can focus on writing quality content and not have to worry nearly as much about keyword density. Have you ever noticed how on websites the language sometimes seems a bit contrived? Have you noticed how similar, but different, terms are used to convey the point? All of this relates to search engine optimization and you probably never even knew that, right? For example, take a look at this article. Notice how I keep going back and forth between SEO and “search engine optimization”? Notice how sometimes I refer to “websites” and other times to “web sites”? These are subtle examples of search engine optimization. You might be surprised that the free search engine rankings are not the same for “provisional patent application” and “provisional patent applications”, for example. So a lot of writing on the Web, or Internet or World Wide Web is to make sure you use all the right terms to make people be able to find you on the Web, or Internet or World Wide Web.
OK… OK… I will stop now. Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself. I don’t know for sure that using all these varying terms really works, but I know that IPWatchdog.com ranking for various search terms does vary with very subtle differences in the term searched, so I am trying my own hand at SEO. So far with almost 10 years under my belt and top 10 free ranking for hundreds of terms and phrases, I must be doing something right.
About the Author
|Eugene R. Quinn, Jr.
President & Founder of IPWatchdog, Inc.
US Patent Attorney (Reg. No. 44,294)
B.S. in Electrical Engineering, Rutgers University
Gene is a US Patent Attorney, Law Professor and the founder of IPWatchdog.com. He teaches patent bar review courses and is a member of the Board of Directors of the United Inventors Association. Gene has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the LA Times, CNN Money and various other newspapers and magazines worldwide