Out of all the posts and discussions on “SEO Profiling” through the years and with all sorts of opinions as well as speculation on what Google possibly wants or doesn’t want to know about someone’s SEO efforts, I believe there are finally some answers available for the taking as GOOG’s latest patent is sure to clear the air on some or all of these theories and misconceptions from both sides of the fence.
A new Patent Application dated August 14, 2012 called “Ranking documents” Number 8,244,722 filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office has popped up on the radar of Google Enthusiasts like myself. Keeping in mind that in my opinion, I feel it is possible that performing positive changes to a web site through normal search optimization practices could be categorized incorrectly as a Spammer. As a case in point, in the event Google isn’t sure about the genuine purpose of changes, a document is categorized not as spam, but as “suspicious”. “These changes may be the result of legitimate modifications or rank-modifying spamming.”
Below are a few amazing but quick take away items from the latest patent application
1) The idea that Google tries to decipher whether or not someone is actively performing Search Engine Optimization to a page is now accurate and documented. Google calls this “Rank-modifying spamming techniques”. “The systems and methods may also observe spammers’ reactions to rank changes caused by the rank transition function to identify documents that are actively being manipulated. Unexpected results are bound to elicit a response from a spammer, particularly if their client is upset with the results. In response to negative results, the spammer may remove the changes and, thereby render the long-term impact on the document’s rank zero. This assists in the identification of rank-modifying spammers.
2) The idea that Google pulls out a pieces of the algorithm puzzle here and there so things don’t make clear sense is now accurate and documented. I used to call this “Pulling out a piece of the puzzle”. Now it’s better defined by Google as: “Creating an unexpected result” or “Injecting Noise”. “The rank transition function provides confusing indications of the impact on rank in response to rank-modifying spamming activities”. For example, the initial response to the spammer’s changes may cause the document’s rank to be negatively influenced rather than positively influenced. Additionally, it may take an unknown (possibly variable) amount of time to see positive (or expected) results in response to the spammer’s changes. In response to delayed results, the spammer may perform additional changes in an attempt to positively (or more positively) influence the document’s rank. In either event, these further spammer-initiated changes may assist in identifying signs of rank-modifying spamming.
3) The idea that despite site improvements things could get worse before they get better is also now accurate and documented. Google calls this : “time-delayed-response” “The rank of a document may initially decrease in response to a positive change in its link-based information. After a period of time, the document’s rank might rise to its new steady state (target) value. In other words, the document’s rank may decrease for a period of approximately 20 days before settling in on its new steady state (target) value in approximately 70 days after a positive change in its link-based information. This noise might cause random, variable, and/or undesirable changes in the document’s rank in an attempt to get the spammer to take corrective action. This corrective action may assist in identifying the document as being subjected to rank-modifying spamming. If the document is determined to be subjected to rank-modifying spamming, then the document, site, domain, and/or contributing links may be designated as spam. This spam can either be investigated, ignored, or used as contra-indications of quality (e.g., to degrade the rank of the spam or make the rank of the spam negative).”
The term “Rank-Modifying Spamming is defined by various techniques such as:
- Keyword stuffing
- Invisible text
- Tiny text
- Page redirects
- META tags stuffing
- Link-based manipulation