Latest blog entries Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:42:13 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb This week in Search S1 E7

Welcome back to another week and all the latest search and SEO news from the week past. This week we talked about Google AMP implementation; Silicon Valley Google posts search results; Google adwords expanded headlines now live; improve internal linking calculate internal pagerank; copyright bully getty images complains eu Google forced image search; best practices for 301s in large htaccess file; Google brings back in-depth articles to search results 17 day outage; AMP survey; Googles reasonable surfer patent updated and more!

Here's the video version (podcast is below that);

And here's the download and the streaming Audio:



iTunes and the Dojo Radio iPhone App!

Read More]]> (Terry Van Horne) Uncategorized Tue, 03 May 2016 17:36:18 +0000
Search Geeks Speak: RankBrain Discussion Panel Search geeks Speak

Welcome back to another episode of Search Geeks Speak. In this episode Terry and Dave are interviewing their smartest SEO friends a href="" target="_blank">Eric Enge, Ammon Johns, Bill Slawski and Doc Sheldon about RankBrain!


Terry and David went over a number of topics ranging from how the AI and machine learning is used. They also discussed how to optimize your site to take advantage of it, how it works to re-rank pages and more.

RankBrain Panel Discussion:

Download the Podcast to listen to it later or stream it below:

Blog Posts on RankBrain



  • HummingBird post on the DOjo
  • Bill on Hummingbird
  • Other Reading


    iTunes and the Dojo Radio iPhone App!

    Read More]]> (Terry Van Horne) General SEO Wed, 27 Apr 2016 21:35:03 +0000
    This week in Search S1 E6

    Welcome back to another week and all the latest search and SEO news from the week past. This week we discussed the ultimate SEO quiz; consumers feel Google search; how to get Google calendar events in the search results; is rank tracking useful in modern SEO; Google's last penguin update?; Google says don't worry too much about page speed; Google expands amp into news; New Google manual action algorithm penalty; Google ranking algorithm hits and Google on footer boilerplate content!

    Here's the video version (podcast is below that);

    And here's the download and the streaming Audio:



    iTunes and the Dojo Radio iPhone App!

    Read More]]> (Terry Van Horne) Industry News Tue, 26 Apr 2016 14:47:51 +0000
    Google RankBrain SEO doesn't exist: here's why Given the amount of apparent confusion around how it will affect your marketing efforts, we felt it was time to dive into what it means to you.


    Connecting the dots

    What I do think is important is that we're seeing a definitive moment in where search is probably going in the future. Give we have a Google Hangout on this topic today, I felt one more post was in order.

    Again, I get the sense that these are early days for the associated elements that seem to be part of this current chain in the evolution of how Google works. We know that they are using the machine learning parts in other areas such as spam detection already. So that part of this puzzle, isn't limited to just RankBrain.

    Read More]]> (David Harry) General SEO Thu, 14 Apr 2016 12:07:46 +0000
    If Google was a guy – the series Ok, because we all need a laugh.. right?

    I was updating the SEO Dojo YouTube account today and realized I hadn't put the most recent “If Google was a guy” videos from CollegeHumor, into the “Humour” playlist we have...

    After watching them all again.. I decided it wouldn't hurt to share here, for those that haven't seen them. They're a blast and should keep any self respecting search geek in stitches, for at least an hour or so... it did for me.

    Anyway, enjoy these if you haven't before.

    Part 1

    Read More]]> (David Harry) Rants and Ramblings Tue, 12 Apr 2016 17:04:40 +0000
    This week in Search S1 E4

    Welcome back to another week and all the latest search and SEO news from the week past. This week we're getting into how Google processes different algos to determine sites ranking; Google Paul Haahr on patents and SEO; Google local ranking signals; how does Google determine my local ranking; Google testing the new penguin algorithm; what is Google rankbrain; when fake good reviews are bad for business and more!

    Here's the video version (podcast is below that);

    And here's the download and the streaming Audio:



    iTunes and the Dojo Radio iPhone App!

    Read More]]> (Terry Van Horne) Industry News Mon, 11 Apr 2016 19:18:19 +0000
    This week in Search S1 E2

    Welcome back to another week and all the latest search and SEO news from the week past. This week we're getting into the Google Q&A, 302s passing PageRank, Google's RankBrain and much more.

    Here's the video version (podcast is below that);

    And here's the download and the streaming Audio:

    You can stream the audio below or download it!



    iTunes and the Dojo Radio iPhone App!

    Read More]]> (Terry Van Horne) Industry News Mon, 28 Mar 2016 22:24:52 +0000
    Does Google use click data to rank pages? Yesterday week I was watching a Hangout with (among others) Andrey Lipattsev, Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google. At one point Rand, Eric and Ammon were talking to him about some experiences they'd tested with click data, and asked if indeed Google was using it in some form.


    Long story short, Andrey couldn't really confirm nor deny the specific instances the boys mentioned, without more information. He did however imply that in some instances (shorter temporal ones) there could indeed be some ranking benefits from said signals.

    That of course is interesting as Googlers have generally distanced themselves from that as being too noisy and spam-able. I myself have had that reply in the past when talking with former web spam team head, Matt Cutts.

    Read More]]> (David Harry) Industry News Thu, 24 Mar 2016 13:43:10 +0000
    This week in Search S1 E1 You can stream the audio below or download it!



    On Manual actions;

    Google on Blogger Product reviews

    Rank Brain

    Read More]]> (Terry Van Horne) Industry News Mon, 21 Mar 2016 21:07:10 +0000
    Technical SEO - What is it? So, what exactly is “technical” SEO? That's something we discussed in the first part of our Friday SEO Chat last week and methinks it's a great topic to get into. While the value of it, to those of us in the know, is obvious, we also noted that there are still a lot of SEOs out there that still don't really seem to “get it”.



    Some other related reading that might help you get into the swing;

    Read More]]> (David Harry) Technical SEO Tue, 11 Aug 2015 15:52:17 +0000
    Search Geeks Speak; content production and promotion In the 2nd part of a two part series on content programs and strategy, we're going to be looking at content development and promotion (on-site and off-site). 

    Search Geeks Speak

    Obviously we're all long heard the mantra of "content is King" over the years, but very little on how to best approach that. In the first part of the journey we looked at content audits and content strategy, (you can find that here). Now we're going to be looking at strategies geared towards the development and promotion elements.

    Our guests will include;

    It should be a great session... be sure to join us by going to the event page HERE or watching it live here on the site.
    Read More]]> (David Harry) Industry News Mon, 26 Jan 2015 12:38:51 +0000
    The Great Google Disavow Debate of 2015 For those of you that have been living under the proverbial rock, (or don't care) a recent Moz Whiteboard Friday by Josh Bachynski stirred up a whole bunch of controversy. It surrounded not only the efficacy of using the disavow (as a stand-alone for Penguin issues) as well as how one should conduct themselves in public forums.


    Me? I have always maintained that there's probably some form of trust scoring that is associated with them and they are indeed, worth doing (with Penguin or a manual penalty for "unnatural links").

    Here's the session, and a few reactions to it;

    I tend to think of it as such;

    • Google identifies 1000 bad links (and dampens scoring 1.0)
    • You disavow 500
    • Google gives you a 0.5 reduction in scoring dampener.

    Join The SEO Training Dojo

    Anyway, we got the gang together last Friday and hased out various opinions from the experts. Below is a set of clips from that session so that you can make up your own mind.

    Participants Included;

    Josh Bachynski Speaks

    Along the way Josh also dropped in on the session to further state and clarify his case since it hit the fan. Again, you have to think for yourself and make up your own mind. This second video are some highlights from that part of the session.

    At the end of the day, I wouldn't be too quick to disregard the Google disavow file for manual or Penguin actions.

    • If you'd like to watch the entire session (2hrs long) the video is here.
    • If you'd like to join us for this week's chat (on authority and influence), go here.


    Read More]]> (David Harry) Forensic SEO Sun, 18 Jan 2015 15:17:51 +0000
    Third Party Search Data; not all is as it seems These days we see a lot of folks in the SEO industry trying to analyze websites after penalties or as part of a competitor analysis process. Which is cool. The problem lies in the fact that these tools are actually reporting on what they call “visibility” not actual traffic.

    Let's consider one of the more cited resources, SearchMetrics. They're visibility metrics are certainly much different than actual search referrer traffic. I would know, I wrote an article for them about it.

    Don't jump to conclusions.

    Does SEM Rush and SearchMetrics data tell the story?

    The reason this came to mind is that one of the members and I were talking about a site I am working on at the moment. He pulled up some of this kinda data and surmised that things weren't going so well. To which I answered, “Oh, so you have access to their analytics too?”... (of course, he didn't).

    Here's what SEM Rush showed for the site in question;


    And here's what SearchMetrics had;


    Wow... these guys must be getting stomped right? That's some crazy looking graphs fer sure. Funny thing with that though. I have access to the data that matters. The analytics. So let's take a peek.

    This is all search traffic;


    And this one is for the Google referrer data


    Duh. Sure, there is some decline... but it's actually a seasonal market. When spring hits and the weather gets better, people don't use it as much. This is steady in YOY data as well. But that's not really the point I am trying to make.

    There's a better tool out there

    It's the one between yer bloody ears. It's great to have these tools for insight. I use them from time to time myself (heck, they're both Dojo sponsors in fact). But never trust anything. If anything this further highlights the risks in doing so-called “deep dives” of penalty analysis like SOME people seem to do in this industry. You know who you are.

    Those of us that do a lot of forensic SEO work know that it is completely irresponsible to start making assumptions about any site, without having all the relative information required to do so. At least without some form of qualifier for the reader. If you're using these kinds of tools for client work, again.. please read my article on SearchMetrics, to understand the differences.

    As you were....

    Read More]]> (David Harry) General SEO Fri, 06 Jun 2014 13:59:41 +0000
    Google Ranking Factor #201 Around here at the SEO Training Dojo we have what we like to call a 'fight club' mentality. Essentially, what's said behind closed doors, stays there. All to often SEOs like to write about their latest tactics. For which, I am sure Google is appreciative.

    But on this occasion, we just can't keep our silence. Good friend of mine (and the Dojo) Bill Slawski shared some incredible ranking factor advice that just had to be shared. And as you all know, when Bill talks, people listen.

    Domain registration timing ranking factor

    Did you know that the time of year that you register a domain is indeed a ranking factor? Check this thread on Google Plus out.


    Ok calm down... we were just messing with ya. But it was one of the funniest threads I've seen in a while. On a more serious note, when a post such as the one we were talking about in that thread gets as much attention (tweets, likes, plusses and over on Inbound) as this one did... it's a sad fckn statement of our industry.

    Anyway, Bill and I also did a Google Hangout with the Stone Temple boys this week. There's FAR more interesting tibits in there... I suggest you watch that instead.


    Read More]]> (David Harry) Industry News Thu, 05 Jun 2014 10:51:24 +0000
    SEO Training Dojo - A new chapter When it comes to tools, there's lots of great ones already out there, like our friends at Majestic, Raven and of course, the Moz community. And when it comes to learning the craft through structured formats, our friends at SEO Book have it covered. So, we really didn't want to go down that road. So what's left for a search community to do?

    Easy; foster community engagement and the evolution of the SEO industry.


    Over the years we came to realize a few things;

    • That members interacting was the core of our website.
    • There is an ever-growing need for a private setting for people to engage and network.
    • That members interact on different platforms, not just here on the site.


    So, we've listened and we've learned.



    What's New At The SEO Training Dojo?

    The Approach. That's what.

    More than a website – some of our members like to drop by the site. Some prefer to hangout on Facebook, others on Google Plus, LinkedIn or on Skype. Some folks, a combination of those. When you join the SEO Training Dojo community you now also have access to our private groups on all of the above social networks. We are where you are.


    Quality over quantity – we've also culled the membership here as well as in our various private groups around the web. You can no longer just sign-up to the SEO Dojo by giving us money. You need to be sponsored or pass a short interview process. We're not being elitist, we just want to encourage a higher level of information flow. Learn More here.


    Connected community – regardless of how you use the network, we'll keep you connected. Each week members will receive an update with all the top industry news as well as the hot topics being discussed across our private channels. We know how important it is to stay on top of things and that time is precious. We'll keep you informed.


    High powered networking – another thing that we've seen over the years are the members working together and outsourcing to each other. We've enable more ways to do this and combined with the member quality control, you'll be able to find the right person for the job or contracting opportunity.


    We want to be your power networking platform that's intelligent, private and affordable. After nearly 5 years of community building we've learned what you want, what is needed out there, and how we can best help evolve the SEO industry.




    New Look. New Approach. New Technology

    Existing and past members have probably noticed by now that things have changed here lately. Believe me it's been a ton of work. From updating the systems to the design and usability, to trying to create an offering that is needed and effective. It's been a long haul. But we made it.

    Yes, much of the website will still be familiar, so that's not a problem. We've simply tweaked some interfaces, updated software, added a few new features and tried to make the experience more comfortable than ever.

    You can learn more about what makes up the SEO Dojo over here on this page.




    Why The Changes?

    I'll be honest. I do a LOT of forensic and recovery work as a consultant over the last few years. One thing that has been a bond of contention for me us the sheer amount of crap-hat SEO still going on out there. Just when it was looking like it was time for me to pack it in, the second wind kicked in.

    Instead of complaining about the business owners that keep getting caught in the cross fire between Google and the less reputable providers. Sometimes you just have to strap on your warrior wear and go out and try and make a difference. So I shall try it again.

    Another lesson learned as a community builder the last few years was that one has to be a bit more careful setting the bar to entry and dealing with internal drama. To be effective in change, as strong group is going to be paramount.

    I will be writing a bit more about what we're doing over the next week, so do drop by again. If you're a past member, or thinking about joining us, I look forward to seeing you soon.

    Interested in becoming an SEO Dojo warrior? Start your journey here.

    Read More]]> (David Harry) Industry News Thu, 15 May 2014 04:10:31 +0000
    Penguin 3.0 is coming; place your bets So, the gang here at the Dojo have been taking shots at when the next Google Penguin update is going to be. They tend to roll every 6 months or so... which means we'due.

    When do you think it will be? Let me know in the comments... oh and here's a little movie poster we came up with just for fun...

    Penguin  3.0

    Read More]]> (David Harry) Forensic SEO Mon, 28 Apr 2014 12:52:06 +0000
    The SEO Training Dojo turns 4! Well folks... it's that time of year once more. The humble land that is the SEO Training Dojo community is celebrating it's 4th birthday, and we couldn't be more excited.

    It's been a long road for the SEO world and we've dealt with a seemingly never-ending slew of changes with the search world and an ongoing evolution that's made it more complicated than ever to work in this thing of ours. SEO is far from dead, it's become more tactical than ever. Which is great news for us I guess, since it takes a strong community of professionals to stay on top of things.


    As past of our birthday celebrations we're offering a whopping 25% discount on all of our membership packages. That means it's a great time to join up and see what you've been missing. Just use the code; DOJObday

    Live and Interactive

    Of the many changes and additions over the last year, one of the core elements of the community remains our live and interactive elements. From the SEO Dojo chat room on Skype to our more recent habit of holding Friday Chats via Google hangouts, crowdsourcing is the name of the game.

    To get an idea of the awesomeness that is our interactive world, just check out a few of the sessions we've had over the last while;

    Google Hummingbird and the land of semantic search

    SEO Tools and Actionable Data

    We keep a full repository of these within the community and the list of guests we've had is impressive, including;

    • Bill Slawski
    • Ammon Johns
    • John Henshaw
    • Dr Pete Myers
    • Eric Wu
    • Dom Hodgson
    • Alan Bleiweiss
    • Loren Baker
    • ... and many more

    Tool Discounts on the grow

    Another exiting part of this year's celebrations is the addition of our newest sponsor; Cognitive SEO. Many of the members had told us they really loved the tool set, so we decided to bring them in as part of the growing list of discounts we give to our members.



    If you haven't tried out the SEO Training Dojo before, now is the time to get in and see what all the excitement is about!! Sign up using the code DOJObday and get 25% off!

    See you there!

    Read More]]> (David Harry) Industry News Tue, 29 Oct 2013 15:40:08 +0000
    Google Knowlege Graph Expands to Suggest Can't say that I've seen this before, nor can I seem to reproduce it with any kind of consistency. But it is something 'new', no? Friend of the Dojo, Mike Wilton, shared the discovery today after noticing it while searching for the term [tarantula]. Here's a screen to explain..


    The two listings there in the Google suggest drop down seem to be entity expansions based on the knowledge graph updates and leads to query refinements like so;

    [tarantula spider]



    And [tarantula 1955]



    And richer-snippet suggest too!

    The other one I managed to find, was for the query [them] which for me, produced this;



    Which leads to;



    Mike's looked like;


    We do know that (along with the Hummingbrid update) that Google also mentioned at the 15th birthday affair that they have made some expansions to the Knowledge graph elements of the engine. I don't recall really ever seeing these before, so do forgive me if it's not actually new. I really haven't been able to reproduce it on other queries, so if you have further examples, please do let me know.


    More we found after the fact;

    Here's a few more screens, as they roll in from folks we know mucking about...

    [players club]





    You get the idea. Anyway, it seems this is a new feature related to the expanded knowledge graph elements from last week. Have you seen any interesting ones out in the wild?


    ADDED - more you can try;

    • [Young Guns] - 1988 film and band
    • [misfits] delivers one as well, band vs tv show
    • [turkey] - country and critter
    • [Kansas] - state and band
    • [Oklahoma] - state and musical

    Read More]]> (David Harry) Industry News Tue, 01 Oct 2013 16:58:57 +0000
    A Search Geek's Thoughts on Google Hummingbird

    Yea, I'm going there. Normally I don't jump on the bang wagon that is the flailing of the SEO industry each time Google rolls over in the night. The reasoning lies in that we generally don't know much early on and it takes time to digest things. Today, I am breaking that rule.

    While I don't really have any hard insights into Google's new Hummingbird algorithm change, we have been talking amongst ourselves about some things over the last month, that are now making some more sense.



    Changing how they deal with queries

    A while back Terry and I were looking at some query spaces we were intimate with and noticed that something was indeed changing in how Google was doing their query classification. Of note, there seemed to be a different mix of transactional and informational results in spaces that had previously been transactional heavy. Something was afoot...

    From what we do know so far, one of the elements of the Hummingbird is trying to deal with the myriad of ways that a user might go about a search task, (chain of queries to accomplish a goal).

    Over the last 10 years we've seen how shorter queries have given way to longer ones. I have on occasion take my laptop to the local pub and asked people to find something (on Google). Everyone goes about it in different ways as far as the queries they use to get there. We also see that people have evolved with search and tend to use more words and be far more specific in how they query Google.

    This can be a problem for a search engine that relies on keywords. Some of the elements we are seeing with the latest update do indeed seem to be dealing with query analysis. I have been talking about it in terms of 'synonymous queries'. Meaning; that while the words used in a query might differ, the goal is the same. Google might be looking at treating different queries as being the same as far as the goal of the task.

    Consider queries like;

    • [where to get blue widgets]
    • [where can I find blue widgets]
    • [where to buy blue widgets]
    • [where can I buy blue widgets]

    You get the idea. In the past, the subtle differences in the wording might actually produce different results. From what I am seeing so far, treating these kinds of queries the same, or as being more closely related, could be part of what has changed with Hummingbird.


    The Conversational Search Connection

    This I think is one of the more important elements as far as where Google seems to be headed. Obviously the foray into Android and eventual purchase of Motorola was the writing on the wall as far as Google's interest in the world of mobile.

    The obvious evolution there of course is voice search. Who wants to sit there typing queries into Google on that small screen? I know I don't. So it makes sense. Now, let's also consider the recent work they did with conversational search, including voice abilities. With this they really highlight how connecting natural language and search tasks are being taken to a new level.

    As an example, you can try (via Chrome);

    • [how old is Barack Obama?] - which returns a knowledge card with age and birthday
    • [who is his wife?] - returns knowledge card for Michelle Obama
    • [where was she born?] - returns a knowledge card for Chicago




    Originally this was just pulling from the knowledge graph bits, but is now apparently available for the entire search core.

    With this we can see how the previous search was extended into the new queries in the search task chain. And the obvious implications of natural language processing in the voice elements. People simply don't speak in keywords. Which will be key in dealing with voice/mobile search in the years to come.

    As noted in this Forbes article;

    “After the event, Scott Huffman, a key engineering director at Google currently working on natural language, told me that part of the impetus for the change was that as more people speak searches into phones, they’re doing so in a more natural way than they type in queries–which is to say more complicated. So Google’s search formulas needed to be able to respond to them. “


    The Nuts and Bolts; Things not strings

    If there's one thing we've been talking about here in the Dojo for the last while.... it's about keywords. Or, more succinctly, the end of them.

    Over the years search has become less and less about keywords and more about concepts. The days of keyword stuffing are long gone. Using synonyms, is not what 'semantic search' is all about. Modern search engines seek to try and understand the concepts and relations of the content on a page. This post from 2010, shows how long I've been rambling about it...sigh...

    Anyway, don't wanna pull a muscle trying to pat myself on the back, so let's move along shall we?

    It's not a huge leap for us to start to see this manifesting more with Hummingbird. Through a combination of natural language processing, query data and semantic analysis, there is a far more implicit behavioural element that is becoming part of the natural evolution.

    Bill had a great post the other day about one patent that might be part of this evolution. It deals with some elements (via query analysis) that can surface content that satisfies the user, although they maybe used different approaches (queries and query reformatting) to reach the same end result. The old Google would, for the most part, see the words in the query, not really trying to establish the implicit elements of the search task being performed. This does seem to be changing.

    Again, this all plays back to the concepts, not keywords, approach to how they're understanding pages as well as the queries users are implementing. To extend this, we need look no further than the knowledge graph


    The Knowledge Graph Connection

    While I am not entirely sold that Hummingbird is really about the ol' KG, (which was also apparently updated recently as well) it is probably is worth looking at. One thing we do know is that this is another more recent commitment from Google in the evolution of the results. And indeed we can see the knowledge base 'cards' showing up in conversational search, a stated goal for the Hummingbird implementation.

    Google has become a destination, not just a search engine. One such example we've seen recently include queries such as;

    [madonna albums]


    [madonna songs]


    As you click around these results they produce further refinements and plenty of knowledge graph elements. Next let's look at a bunch of examples Stephen Watts shared, using Google conversational search;




    Again, while I don't believe there's a direct connection with Hummingbird, it does further highlight the concepts and named entity aspects of the evolution. Not to mention the madness happening in the display changes.


    What does it mean for SEO?

    That's the the big question right? That one's hard to answer. We really don't know enough at this point to really make any assumptions. For those that have already been evolving, getting past keywords, then I doubt a whole lot would need to be changed. On the other hand, if the loss of keyword data recently was a crushing blow, you might have already been behind the times.

    Start thinking of things in the form of concepts and semantic baskets, not keywords. In the past you may have created multiple pages to target multiple terms... you know, the ol eHow approach;

    • [how to fix a vacuum cleaner]
    • [how to repair a vacuum cleaner]
    • [how do I fix my vacuum cleaner]

    In the past, we might actually target a page to each of those terms. Due to the fact Google was so keyword centric, this type of approach was often quite successful. Given that we could start seeing more implicit predictive results towards potentially synonymous queries, that might not be the case in the near future.


    When we're creating content for pages we need to get beyond simplified keyword centric approaches. Google sure is. My instinct is that there will be less meat on the bone for overly targeted pages focused on a given term. Changes in query analysis means that your content should be strong on the concepts and related concepts (as well as citations etc) contained on them.

    I would also venture to say that those involved in markets that are heavy in mobile, that you will have to also consider how the queries will be formatted, compared to reg desktop style searching. If you read this post (for mobile) that looks at geo-location and behavioural elements, you can start to see where something like Google's Hummingbird, could play a prominent role.

    Beyond that, I am not entirely sure how it will affect things beyond targeting and page mapping. It's far too early for that. Many of the same signals used in rankings are still in play. In fact, probably most of them. It is more about the query analysis and by extension, the results returned as far as I can tell so far. I would imagine that semantic mark-up will be more prominent, but I am not convinced that has anything to do with Hummingbird itself.

    Early days. As I get more time to think and play with things, I shall post some more. Feel free to drop your own theories in the comments, all are welcomed.


    And as you go, it bears reading this post from Google on it, there's a TON of mobile phone pics... Coincidence? He he...

    Read More]]> (David Harry) Industry News Sat, 28 Sep 2013 15:33:33 +0000
    Google takes personalization and behavioural to a new level When you read a lot of patents and papers there is a lot of new layers on the search onion. But every now and then... you come across something that makes you really stop and think. Today is one of those days. We never know when they'll happen, but they inevitably will. Pathetic as it is, I sort of pine for 'em.

    We all know that mobile search continues to grow, including geo-localization. Most of us also have seen the rise of personalization over the years. The relationship of temporal elements, if it is adapting older content or preying upon the QDF (query deserves freshness) is also fairly common knowledge. That's what makes today's journey fun, it covers all three!



    First off, the patent;

    Providing Digital Content Based On Expected User Behavior

    Filed; September 14 2012 - Awarded; January 10 2013

    (This application is a continuation application of, and claims priority to, pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/277,432, filed on Nov. 25, 2008. )


    “In a computing system, information regarding a plurality of events that use a computing device is obtained, and a time-dependant increase in activity for each of at least some of the events is identified. An observed interest by a user in an event is correlated with an identified increase in activity for the event. Information about the activity at a time related to the event is provided for review by the user.”


    How Google might look for predictive behaviour

    The core concept of the patent looks at “providing digital content based on predictive determinations that are made in response to observations of user behavior”. Digital content can be many things, including search results, but the obvious connection for Google is of course; ad serving. Some of the examples they gave include;

    • advertisements,
    • promotion information,
    • news,
    • event information,
    • recommendations,
    • reviews, directions, and the like.

    What they're looking at here are various behavioural signals that might show a time-dependant increase in activity for certain events. When there is an increase in activity for an event they could analyze the search requests related to the event. They can also look at a location as well as a transaction (potentially made via smart phone).

    From there they might look at the increase of activity as an explicit action combined with observed interest surrounding activities related to the event, the obvious one being search queries etc.

    “The method may further include identifying a lack of correlation between the observed interest of the user and second non-user-specific events, and identifying the information based on a combination of the correlation and the lack of correlation.

    • identifying a time-dependant increase in activity for each of at least some of the events.
    • Identifying the time-dependant increase in activity for each of the events may include analyzing search requests related to the event. Identifying the one or more time-dependant increases in activity for each of the events may include identifying a location associated with each of the events.
    • the information may include promotional information for the non-user-specific activity, or promotional information for an entity in a geographic vicinity of the non-user-specific activity. “

    Human beings are habitual. We live fairly structured lives. We often perform recurring or semi-recurring actions. The temporal elements of these traits that Google talks about looking at include;

    • within a minute,
    • within an hour,
    • over several hours,
    • during the course of a day,
    • over a few days,
    • a week,
    • a month,
    • a year, or over multiple years, etc.

    If we consider this as well as the proliferation of mobile devices, you can see how this might come in handy for a search engine. So let's have a look how...


    How geographic and behavioural data could influence search results

    This is where it starts to get pretty interesting... here's a few snippets from the offering that best explain the thinking... (bold is my emphasis)

    “For example, a user may generally drive from home to work each weekday and may return home from work in the afternoon. Though occasionally the user may depart from this routine, such as by carpooling, taking a vacation or sick day, riding the bus, etc., in general, the user may typically follow the daily routine of driving to and from work.

    In other examples, a user may tend to golf, cycle, or go boating each weekend, attend a club meeting the first Tuesday of each month, or wash the car almost every Saturday morning.

    Some activities may recur at particular intervals, such as each weekend or on one or more particular days of the week or month, but may additionally be correlated to another time interval, such as a season. “


    Are you starting to see where this is headed? Ok, let's make sure....

    “For example, a golfer may tend to play golf at a local golf course (or one of several local courses, e.g.) each weekend (or many or most weekends) during the spring, summer, and fall seasons, but may tend to practice instead at an indoor driving range on weekends during the winter.

    In another example, a user may engage in activities that recur on an annual basis, bi-annual basis, or some other long-term recurring schedule. For example, the user may travel to visit family during Thanksgiving each year. In another example, a group of six couples may enjoy a tradition of getting together once every six months for dinner, drinks, and fellowship, and may alternate hosting the event such that each couple hosts an event once every three years. “

    Catching on? This approach would use the user tendencies to anticipate future actions and provide content tailored to suit over the mobile device. It could be search results, ads or both. This could be provided at the time of an anticipated event, or even a relative period prior to it. Let's imagine that it predicatively knew you'd be in Chicago this weekend. Not only might it add content related to the city, but even tailor it to a degree for a given region of the city.

    Further examples of events could include;

    • the dates and times that the television program "Law & Order" is broadcast,
    • a basketball team's published schedule,
    • the schedule of nights that a local dance bar will feature line dancing

    Are you curious about that first one? Let's say you use you Android to control your TV or tend to search topics related to that show around the time of broadcast each week. Again, even being at home can have a behavioural geo-location predictive model.


    Adapting to the patterns

    One thing I found interesting are the elements that look for increased or decreased interest in a given activity, (or inquiries or communications regarding the activities or events). In a few instances they classified these as patterns of “ regular, semi-regular, or occasional user behaviour”. By looking at the day-to-day interactions with your mobile phone, or computing device. Presumably a tablet.

    Part of the reasoning for the intuitive nature of the predictive nature of it is that it avoids the more explicit indicators such as listing preferences such as, “ activities, events, causes, associations, characteristics, habits, tendencies, settings and the like”. They also talk of using those types of explicit actions that could be offered in refinement interface elements.

    What it means to me

    And yes, for those that like to just scan and then roll on to the end of these posts, there is a lesson to be learned. The world keeps evolving, marketing must too. HA! Take that. No, seriously, read the entire post and then try to envision such concepts against how you're doing things now.

    For me, I can see an interesting approach as far as combining not only traditional behavioural activities, but adding another layer via geographic tracking via mobile computing devices. As a marketer, imaging a combination of Google Local, street view, indoor maps with ad serving is an interesting twist and could offer far more tailored campaigns. As an SEO, I start to think about how well I not only target a client geographically, but also understanding the demographic better.

    As always, a patent is just a patent. One of many. It's more about a cumulative instinct toward the mindset of a search engineer. Google ones in this instance. Future proof SEO is about seeing into the future. It helps one better understand the search world around them. For me, this was a damned interesting ride.

    Until next time, play safe.


    More Snippets;

    The Coffee Drinker

    “Using observed or determined patterns, the system can determine appropriate information for presentation to the user at a relevant time. For example, the system may use the observed information that the user enjoys a morning coffee before work, and may present a coupon from Coffee Shop 1, or from another coffee shop (e.g., "Coffee Shop 2") located along the route 103a usually travelled by the user to work on a weekday morning. In an example, the system may present the information to the user shortly before the user typically departs from home for work, for example. The user may appreciate this information, because it may be tailored to a preference of the user (e.g., the user's enjoyment of coffee on weekday mornings), and because it may be delivered or presented in a time-opportunistic fashion (i.e., near the time when the user often purchases coffee). As such, the user may save money or time with little or no additional effort expended in obtaining the promotion information.

    In some implementations, the system can use information indicative of a first user pattern and information from an external signal to present the user with information at a time outside of a time associated with the pattern. For example, suppose the user in the example above is driving about town on a Saturday morning at 9:00 A.M. The system may use the observed information pertaining to the user's weekday coffee purchases (that is, associated with a pattern of activity occurring on weekday mornings), and may use the external signal that the user is presently driving in the morning (albeit on a Saturday) to present content associated with a coffee shop, such as a coupon for a free bagel with the purchase of a medium or large mocha. One or more additional external signals, such as the user's present location, calendar information, mobile device communications or requests, etc., may further be used to tailor content for presentation to the user, including for example presenting a coupon for a nearby coffee shop. “


    The Sports Fan

    “In certain implementations, the information-providing system can also present time-related user information based on a combination of global information and an observed pattern. As an illustrative example, the system can observe that the user traveled to the stadium the evenings of Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday based on events 108a-c. In one example, the system can determine that baseball games are held in the stadium at a time near the occurrence of the events 108a-c by accessing global information, such as the baseball team's schedule, which may be stored in a server and available on a web page, for example. For example, the system may determine that the team plays home games at the stadium and may access the team's schedule from a team or league web site. In various implementations, the system can request that the user upload a game schedule for the baseball team, or send a query to a search engine to search for results relating to the team and its schedule, or access the baseball team's website to obtain the schedule. The system can use the user-related information (traveling to the stadium on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday), combined with the global information or external signal (that a baseball game was played at the stadium each of those nights), to determine that the user likely attended baseball games at the stadium each of Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights.

    Such a determination might indicate any of several meanings. For example, it may indicate that the user is a full or partial season ticket holder for the baseball team, and that the user may be likely to attend many future games at the stadium. Such an indication may be bolstered if the user continues to attend baseball games at the stadium on a regular or semi-regular basis, or if external signals are observed that indicate an interest in the local baseball team (e.g., using one's mobile device to check league standings or read articles on the team). Alternatively, if each of the games that the user attended were against a common opponent, it may instead indicate that the user is a fan of the opponent, rather than the local team, and may portend that the user is likely to attend future games at the stadium when the opponent visits, but may be less indicative that the user will attend games when other opponents come to town. Such an indication may be bolstered if the user never or rarely attends baseball games involving other opponents, attends future games involving the same opponent, or exhibits observable behavior indicating an interest in the opponent baseball team. “


    The Movie Watcher

    “For example, the system may observe that the event 110, visiting a movie theater on Friday evening, occurred even though a baseball game was concurrently being played in the stadium. This may indicate, for example, that the user prefers seeing a movie on Friday nights to attending a baseball game, even if the user may have previously purchased tickets for the baseball game (e.g., if the user is a season ticket holder). In certain implementations, the system can determine that the user prefers to go to the movie theater rather than watch baseball on Friday nights. This may distinguish Friday evenings, for example, because the user selected baseball over movies during the other days (e.g., Mon., Tues., Wed., as described above) where both choices were available. Based on the user preference, the system may provide movie-related information instead of baseball-related information on Friday evenings when both activities are scheduled, even though another user-observed pattern (associated with events 108) may have indicated that the user attends many or most baseball games played at the stadium.

    For example, the system can present movie schedule information, movie trailers, advance-ticket-purchase information, 2-for-1 buttered popcorn promotions, and the like, at 6:00 P.M. on Friday evening, in anticipation that the user will again choose to attend a movie on Friday evening over a baseball game. Similarly, the system may present information on events similar to movies (e.g., a musical play) that may be occurring in a nearby venue (e.g., in a student-run theatre near the movie theater) for user review on Friday evening. In some cases, the system may present information related to the baseball game and information related to movies on Friday evening, given the user tendencies described above.”

    Day to Day Life

    “the system can observe that a significant portion of users tend to shop for groceries and refill their vehicles with gas during weekends. In some implementations, the system may present the user with information related to grocery stores or gas stations (e.g., advertisements, coupons, promotions, locations or directions) near the user's home, as shown in the map 102d, during weekend periods. Such global information can be combined with observed user tendencies in various implementations, or may be used independently to predict user behavior and provide appropriate content accordingly. “


    There's a ton of other examples in this patent, if you read only one patent this week (lol), make it this one. Even my post here doesn't fully do it justice.




    Read More]]> (David Harry) Patents and Papers Sun, 22 Sep 2013 21:39:09 +0000