Google Patent Reveals New ReRanking Algorithm

    April 29, 2004

A recently filed Google patent reveals a possible future change in Google’s algorithm. The algorithm-chasers out there engaging in high-risk seo techniques should pay special attention.

The concept is surprisingly, perhaps deceptively, simple. Upon finding the initial results for a given query, this new process would then scan the set of results and analyze their interconnectivity. Those sites with more links from the results set will receive a higher rank.

If implemented, how do you think the reranking algorithm will affect your SEO techniques?

Analyzing Google's DNA Mutations..
Analyzing Google’s DNA Mutations…

Or, in patent speak, “a re-ranking component in the search engine then refines the initially returned document rankings so that documents that are frequently cited in the initial set of relevant documents are preferred over documents that are less frequently cited within the initial set.”

This sounds like a sort of on-the-fly, trimmed down version of PageRank, which analyzed the interconnectivity of the entire web and ranks accordingly.

Algorithm chasers (algies?) will instantly see that they need to be more aware now of the entire result set for their desired search terms and look for links specifically from sites within those results.

Fathom, one of our SEO professionals from WebProWorld, believes this algorithm could have a positive impact on “qualified SEOs that deploy real strategies based on appreciating client’s industry and markets rather than understanding ‘just keywords.'”

This new twist on Google’s algorithm could promote a more responsible SEO approach that requires the optimizer to pay attention to the market of the client as a whole. As Fathom says, “SEOs get so caught in “links” and “link anchors” because it is thought to be the easier way – SEOs understanding SEOing and not necessarily the industry or markets of the client they are assistintg.”

If Google implements this reranking algorithm then they “can easily eliminate or at minimum mitigate ‘low quality SEO manipulation’ and force SEOs to actually learn that ‘if you are going to be a marketing professional’ – you need to start delving into industry and market research and putting this ‘new found knowledge’ into practice or risk being left out of ‘quality SERPs.'”

For those of you who are all set to start interlinking with those in the result set of your favored keyword searches – wait. This is just a patent, not evidence of the reranking algorithm itself.

I don’t understand why Google would file for a patent though (and I’m not sure of their algorithm patent filing history), but wouldn’t they prefer to keep their algorithm completely secret? Is there concern that employees might walk off with the secret sauce if they don’t file for patents?

In regards to patents Google’s in an interesting position – as they protect their new algorithmic advances from being copied they simultaneously open themselves to exploitation by the high-risk seos.

You can read Google’s patent here.

Fathom offered this suggested reading in regards to the reranking algorithm: The future of Google Search… (and then “play around with”). He also mentioned the Content SEO vs Link Mongers thread as an example of why Google might make this move to the reranking algorithm.

Big thanks to Gary Price at ResourceShelf for the tip.

Garrett French is the editor of iEntry’s eBusiness channel. You can talk to him directly at WebProWorld, the eBusiness Community Forum.