If Google kept its search algorithm a complete secret, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) would not exist. Fortunately, Google shares some intelligence about how its search works through developer documentation as well as patents. Google’s patents are a trove of valuable information for anyone serious about SEO.
This highly quoted patent on Document Scoring Based On Query Analysis, for instance, has shed light on how a part of Google’s algorithm works. Reading such patents is like a behind-the-scenes tour of Google’s ranking system. In our article we will unpack several key insights from this patent, giving you some insights without the need to spend too much time reading into the original document.
What’s the Patent About?
The patent in question focuses on scoring and ranking web pages based on a number of ranking factors. Think of it as Google’s secret recipe for creating the perfect search results.
This patent reveals that Google doesn’t just look at keywords or how attractive your website is. It goes deeper, considering various factors like the age of your content, how often it’s updated, and even the quality of links pointing to your site. And here’s the scoop: Google’s algorithm also uses historical data to make these decisions.
In other words, the patent tells us that Google uses a multi-layered approach to decide who gets to the top of organic search results.
We have read through the document and identified several highlights that every site owner or content creator engaging in SEO practices might find useful. This article also helped get deeper into the details of the patent.
Fresh Content Matters
Content freshness is first up on our list of Google’s ranking factors. If your website’s content hasn’t been updated in a while, Google might just push you down the rankings.
So, how do you keep your content fresh and appealing? Regular updates are key. Here are some paths for you and your team to explore to send freshness signals to Google.
A simple start is revisiting your top-performing articles and giving them a little update. Maybe there’s new data to include or a recent event that adds a fresh angle. Small tweaks can breathe new life into your content.
Repurposing old content may also do the trick. Turn a blog post into a lister, video, or an infographic, for example. This not only keeps your content fresh but also caters to different audience preferences.
In one word, whether it’s adding new blog posts, updating old articles with current information, or even tweaking your homepage, small changes to your site can make a big difference.
Spam is next on the list of factors. The patent reveals that Google has specific techniques to sniff out spammy behavior, like mismatching search queries. Imagine someone searching for “best smartphones” and clicking on an article about gardening. That’s a red flag for Google.
The game plan here is to avoid setting off Google’s spam alarm. Site owners should steer clear of any tactics that artificially inflate your page’s relevance. That means no keyword stuffing or using clickbait that doesn’t match your content. (I hope the title of this article is not too click-baity?)
The only thing that works here is to keep it real. Authentic, high-quality content that matches search intent is your best bet for staying in Google’s good books.
Trends matter! Just like fashion or pop culture, Google is all about what’s hot right now. The patent reveals that Google keeps tabs on trending search queries and document topics. So if you’re writing about what people are actively searching for, you’re more likely to catch Google’s eye.
How can you use this to your advantage? Use tools like Google Trends to identify what people are searching for in your industry. Once you know what’s trending, create content that taps into those topics.
Timing is everything here. Being quick to publish content on a trending topic can give you a significant competitive edge.
Speed of Ranking Growth
Does Google like sites getting high in rankings super fast? It looks like faster ranking isn’t always better. According to the patent, a sudden spike in your website’s ranking can raise eyebrows. It’s like an unknown athlete beating the world record. We all love Cinderella stories, but people usually start asking questions.
So, what’s the best approach? Slow and steady wins the race. Prepare yourself for a marathon. Focus on building your website’s reputation organically. Consistently produce high-quality content, engage with your audience, and work on getting reputable backlinks.
Based on the patent, it looks like Google values authenticity and quality over speedy ingestions of thin content and hacks.
History Is Important
The patent also reveals that Google keeps a record of your website’s past behavior. Think of it as a memory bank, where Google stores data like how often you update your content or the quality of links you’ve earned over time.
Long-term strategies are your best friend here. Publishing quality content on a regular basis and earning reputable backlinks will not only boost your current ranking but also build a strong historical profile. It’s like having a good credit score!
More Ranking Factors
Google’s brain uses over 200 factors to assign scores to websites. Think of it all like a talent show: each candidate’s act – singing, dancing, speaking – is weighted out and the winner is selected. The ranking components do exactly that.
The key is to tailor your SEO strategy to what Google values. This means focusing on a mix of factors like content quality and its freshness, internal linking, reputation of those sites that link back to your site. Here is it all about excelling in all these areas.
Aside the factors we already mentioned (content freshness, high quality content, links from reputable sites, internal linking, history), here are more factors to consider and excel in:
- Keyword Relevance: How well the content matches the keywords searched.
- Mobile-Friendliness: How well a site performs on mobile devices.
- Page Speed: How quickly a page loads, especially on mobile.
- User Experience: Metrics like click-through rate and time spent on the page.
- Domain Authority: The overall credibility and expertise of a website.
- Local SEO: Proximity and relevance for local search queries.
- Social Signals: Engagement on social media platforms.
- HTTPS: Secure and encrypted website connections.
- User Behavior: How users interact with the search results and your website.
- On-Page SEO: Proper use of headings, meta descriptions, and alt text.
- Technical SEO: Site architecture, sitemaps, and crawlability.
9 Actionable Takeaways
Let’s keep it all down to 9 actionable tips that you can takeaway from reading this piece.
- Keep it fresh: Regularly update your content to avoid falling into the stale zone.
- Don’t spam: Steer clear of keyword stuffing. Keep your content authentic.
- Ride the trend: Find hot topics and create content around them.
- Slow and steady: Don’t aim for quick ranking boosts. Focus on the long-term success.
- Build your history: Build a strong historical profile by delivering quality content and earning good backlinks.
- Be an all-rounder: Audit your site to stay in line with the best practices for the multiple ranking factors. Let us help you – see our SEO process here.
- Revive old content: Update top-performing articles with new data or a fresh angle.
- Repurpose wisely: Turn old blog posts into new formats like listers, video tutorials, or infographics.
- Use a content calendar: Plan your updates and new posts to keep your content strategy on track.
With the insights from the patent, we are kind of getting a backstage pass, with which we can see how the search engine really ticks. For the everyday user, this means a better grasp of why certain websites make it to the top of your search.
As for the SEO community and content creators, such information is a goldmine. Here we’re dealing with a multi-layered approach that considers everything from content freshness to user behavior.