It is not every day that Google releases information related to how its algorithm views SEO factors, so when they do it is important that webmasters and agencies take note and understand what this means for how they are servicing accounts and their own websites.
The patent that was released last week was actually filled in 2004 so it is safe to assume that much of the theory here has already been implemented. This patent therefore is more like a checklist for how we view the current algorithm rather than an insight into imminent changes.
So what are the key takeaways from this new Google patent?
If you have had the time to read through the 9000+ words of content you will probably agree that there is a lot of geeky Google jargon here that is hard to decipher at first. There are however some key takeaways regarding the way they talk about search;
Topical Clusters related to links
What this indicates is that keyword anchor text does not necessarily have to be present for Google to assign contextual relevance to the link.
Link value is independent of document type
This is likely to mean that links from non HTML documents will carry weight, how much is not fully known but this highlights the fact that links from PDF or other doc types should not be discounted.
Behaviour and Interaction
“Repository 430 may also store user behavior data associated with documents. The user behavior data may include, for example, information concerning users who accessed the documents, such as navigational actions (e.g., what links the users selected, addresses entered by the users, forms completed by the users, etc.), the language of the users, interests of the users, query terms entered by the users, etc. In an alternate implementation, the user behavior data may be stored external to repository 430 and provided as an input to model generating unit 410.”
The Google patent stipulates that behaviour and action of links within a page may be used to help decide the importance of the linked to page. Apparently though this may not be the case with every page on which links exist. Really this makes sense, if a link is actually not engaged with then it shows the link is not as relevant to the content, so giving it less weight and influence upon rankings is logical. What this means for off-site strategies is that sourcing out those places where brands hold relevance is likely to deliver the most significant impact.
All interesting stuff, no doubt we will do a follow up post on this when we have done some more digging.