The first days of summer, and the mercury in my thermometer raced for triple digits yesterday afternoon. This is my first blog post on the Webimax blog, and I'm excited at the chance to share this space with some people who are very enthusiastic and excited about search and SEO, and the growing social and semantic Web.
Almost seven years ago today, I started my blog at SEO by the Sea, and while a lot of things have changed since then, SEO isn't one of them. It's still an ever growing, ever evolving discipline aimed at helping site owners and searchers find each other through the medium of the Web. Search engines are starting to look at some new signals to rank and display pages and meet the situational and informational needs of searchers.
Some of those signals involve search engines looking at a more social Web, and how real people, real authors, and real content creators interact with other people on the Web on topics of interest and expertise. Our search results aren't just being populated with results determined by algorithms, but also by pages written or shared by people we might connect with personally.
Some of those signals involve search engines understanding when specific people and places and things, referred to as entities, appear in search queries. Search engines might use references to those entities in knowledge bases like Wikipedia and Freebase, as well as in search engine query logs to determine what to show searchers on search results pages.
By looking at search query logs and encyclopedia-like resources, search results can be more suited to meet the intents of searchers and anticipate what their nest queries might be.
At SEO by the Sea, I've written a lot of posts about search patents and white papers, and I'm going to be doing that here as well. Some of those posts may be in-depth looks at specific patents or papers, while others might be more overviews of some of the new technologyies and approaches that might be hinted at in those sources from the search engines.
In 2005, in the first week of summer, a search for new patent applications that included the phrase "search engine," returned 26 results. A search for all the pending patents published that week that included the word "google" brought back 6 results. Those numbers were pretty typical and representative of the amount of patents on those topics being published at the time.
Search Engines and Google have gotten a lot hotter since then. This week, a search for new patent applications including the term "search engine," numbered 132. There were 84 patents published this week using the word "google."
So what kinds of patents did I see this week that I thought were interesting?
A Facebook patent application titled Comment Plug-In for Third Party System, gives us some hints at how Facebook's off site commenting system works, and ties into how those comments are also shared on the social network itself.
Microsoft has published a patent application titled Social Marketing Manager, which describes how the search engine might create and monitor social networking campaigns, and "facilitate" social interactions online. If Microsoft pursues the opportunities described in this patent, Will it be a service that competes with social media marketers or collaborates with them? Is there a potential conflict of interest in them helping to promote social media and use it to rank social results at Bing?
Google takes a second bite at an apple with a new pending version of a granted patent on ranking news articles
Like many others, I've been wondering if Google will start showing advertisements a Google Plus, and a new patent filing from Google titled Providing Advertisements on a Social Network provides some tantalizing hints at the possibility.
Another Google patent application gives us a look at a possible new approach by the search engine to allow people to search through reviews for a product.
One of the really fun parts of digging through patents like these is the chance to gain a perspective of the Web through the eyes of search engineers, and gain some insight into the assumptions they make about the Web, about searchers, and about search. Sometimes the inventions described in patents actually make it off paper and onto the Web, like the Facebook commenting system above.
Sometimes they don't, but they tell us about some of the research done at Google or Microsoft, and possibilities that might become something more. Will Microsoft offer social marketing services? Will Google show ads at Google Plus?
I'll be providing a look at pending and granted patents here, and we'll be looking at those closely and working on how we can use what we learn to provide the best services to our clients that we can, and to help the industry grow.
Yesterday's SEO is dead, but tomorrow's is pretty exciting.