SEO is difficult work and it just may have gotten a little harder. Google has recently filed a new patent for technology related to jumbling search engine results. Let’s not beat around the bush, at this time let’s take a look at the patent filing directly.
This is the abstract filed with the United States patent office.
Google Patent Abstract
A system determines a first rank associated with a document and determines a second rank associated with the document, where the second rank is different from the first rank. The system also changes, during a transition period that occurs during a transition from the first rank to the second rank, a transition rank associated with the document based on a rank transition function that varies the transition rank over time without any change in ranking factors associated with the document.
What does this Mean for Search Results?
So what doe this mean? This means that Google first determines a ranking for a URL/keyword. However, it then modifies the ranking over a period of time even though the ranking factors and ranking influencers do not change.
Now this is not necessarily new news. Any search engine optimization has seen rankings fluctuate for no good reason. Anyone who watches rankings for a large keyword daily has experienced this rollercoaster of emotion. Furthermore, Bing has come out and addressed this in past, stating that they alter rankings for testing purposes. The real news here is that Google has just made this chain of events for any web ranking very public.
Insight from the Web
SEO Book comments on this further…
During the transition from the old rank to the target rank, the transition rank might cause:
- a time-based delay response,
- a negative response
- a random response, and/or
- an unexpected response
So, Google may shift the rankings of your site, in what appears to be a random manner, before Google settles on a target rank.
Let’s say that you’re building links to a site, and the site moves up in the rankings. You would assume that the link building has had a positive effect. Not so if the patent code is active, as your site may have already been flagged.
Are Search Engine Optimization Experts Spammers Now?
Another important point to focus on is how Google defines a spammer. Look at this quote from the patent filing.
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. This assists in the identification of rank-modifying spammers.
It is interesting because this language seems to identify someone who is trying to get better rankings as a spammer. So are all search engine optimization experts spammers now? I am going with no for the moment. But it sure feels like Google is chipping away at the black hat SEO world. Good thing we are all white hat here at SEO Inc.
What does this Mean for the Future
When it all comes down to it this fluctuation in rankings by Google is not necessarily a bad thing. We can still look at traffic numbers and conversions to see how search is performing for us. We can also evaluate our average ranking positions. Furthermore, the change in rankings will allow for a little more “sharing of the wealth” as far as Google search traffic is concerned.
Ultimately, this is just another thing for SEO’s to keep in mind during optimization. Really good SEO experts will know what works based off of experience/testing and will not be intimidated by Google playing with the rankings.