Bill Slawski, director of SEO research for Go Fish Digital, has published his list of the top 10 search engine patents to know from 2019. The list of patents touches on various sectors of search, including Google News, local search knowledge graphs and more, and gives us a peek at the technology that Google is, or may one day be, using to generate search results.
Knowledge-based patents. The majority of the list pertains to what Slawski categorizes as knowledge-based patents.
One interesting example is a patent on user-specific knowledge graphs to support queries and predictions. Last year, Google said that “there is very little search personalization” happening within its search result rankings. Although the original patent was filed in 2013, a recent whitepaper from Google on personal knowledge graphs touches on many of the same points.
Local search-based patents. Google’s patent on using quality visit scores from in-person trips to local businesses to influence local search rankings was filed in 2015 but granted in July 2019.
The use of such quality visit scores was mentioned in one of Google’s ads and analytics support pages, and it mentioned that the company may award digital and physical badges to the most visited businesses, designating them as local favorites, Slawski said.
Search-based patents. Slawski also highlighted Google’s automatic query pattern generation patent, which evaluates query patterns in an attempt to extract more information about the intent of a search beyond whether it’s informational, navigational or transactional in nature.
“That Google is combining the use of query log information with knowledge graph information to learn about what people might search for, and anticipate such questions,” Slawski wrote in his post, “shows us how they may combine information like they do with augmentation queries, and answering questions using knowledge graphs.”
Why we care. Of course, just because a company possesses a patent doesn’t mean it is now, or ever will be, implemented. But keeping an eye on Google patents can offer an interesting perspective on where the company is steering search and how it’s thinking about evolution of search.
For the full list of search engine patents to know from 2019, head to Slawski’s original post on SEO by the Sea.