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Best SEO Post of 2010: Bill Slawski on Google's Reasonable Surfer
Sunday, June 20, 2010
The first six months of 2010 have been an exciting time in the Search space, specifically with Google.  Google continues to move at "Internet Speed" and continues to be the dominant player in the Search space.  If you are a regular reader of Marketing Jive, you've probably noticed that this Spring we have discussed interlinking strategies on numerous occassions.  This is for goo reason culminating with regards to a patent that Google applied for in 2004, that was granted on May 11, 2010.  Dubbed the "Google Reasonable Surfer" patent by Bill Slawski, the patent basically states that "...Not every link from a page in a link-based ranking system is equal, and a search engine might look at a wide range of factors to determine how might weight each link on a page may pass along.".

This has a direct impact on how site owners should and will link from within their own web pages as different features associated with links, and the pages they appear upon and point to, may determine how much value those links pass on to the recipient pages to which they link.  Bill Slawski is a pretty brilliant guy.  He has an uncanny ability to dissect Google patents and pull out the key items and share them in an unambiguous manner.  Probably the best SEO post of 2010 and possibly the past couple of years is Bill's thoughts on the Reasonable Surfer patent. 

In the past, we have discussed what makes a good link a good link, but in Bill's piece, he takes this to another level identifying a multiude of factors that Google most likely uses when placing authority or value on a link from page A to page B.

Examples of features associated with a link might include:

1. Font size of anchor text associated with the link;

2. The position of the link (measured, for example, in a HTML list, in running text, above or below the first screenful viewed on an 800 X 600 browser display, side (top, bottom, left, right) of document, in a footer, in a sidebar, etc.);

3. If the link is in a list, the position of the link in the list;

4. Font color and/or other attributes of the link (e.g., italics, gray, same color as background, etc.);

5. Number of words in anchor text of a link;

6. Actual words in the anchor text of a link;

7. How commercial the anchor text associated with a link might be;

8. Type of link (e.g., text link, image link);

9. If the link is an image link, what the aspect ratio of the image might be;

10. The context of a few words before and/or after the link;

11. A topical cluster with which the anchor text of the link is associated;

12. Whether the link leads somewhere on the same host or domain;

13. If the link leads to somewhere on the same domain,
  • whether the link URL is shorter than the referring URL; and/or
  • whether the link URL embeds another URL (e.g., for server-side redirection)

Examples of features associated with a source document might include:

1. The URL of the source document (or a portion of the URL of the source document);

2. A web site associated with the source document;

3. A number of links in the source document;

4. The presence of other words in the source document;

5. The presence of other words in a heading of the source document;

6. A topical cluster with which the source document is associated; and/or

7. A degree to which a topical cluster associated with the source document matches a topical cluster associated with anchor text of a link.

Examples of features associated with a target document might include:

1. The URL of the target document (or a portion of the URL of the target document);

2. A web site associated with the target document;

3. Whether the URL of the target document is on the same host as the URL of the source document;

4. Whether the URL of the target document is associated with the same domain as the URL of the source document;

5. Words in the URL of the target document; and/or

6. The length of the URL of the target document

Bill covers it all.  Not only within the post, but within his reponses to the comments to his post.  Read the post in it's entirety here: Google's Reasonable Surfer: How the Value of a Link May Differ Based upon Link and Document Features and User Data

I've thought about sharing some of my thoughts on Google's Reasonable Surfer patent, but since Bill's article is so indepth and the fact that there has been some great coverage of the Reasonable Surfer patent including an article by a team member of mine, Tina Kells on Ask Enquiro, I'll save my comments for another time.  I will say this however, Google is looking at signals other than links as well, which I feel isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  I feel that perhaps there is sometimes too much weight placed on link popularity and that items such as timiliness of information, personlization and user behavior are other factors that play a key role in which pages should show up in the search results.

Google’s Reasonable Surfer Patent: Interlinking, Link Building and SEO Strategy Implications - Tina Kells - Ask Enquiro
SEO Implications Of Google’s “Reasonable Surfer” Patent - Eric Enge via Search Engine Land

Labels: ,

posted by Jody @ 2:20 AM  
  • At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Daniel said…

    thats an excellent post. very informative and with a few key points you can realy focus and learn from. i am new to this and blogs/ posts like this are very helpfull. thanks for this


  • At 4:48 AM, Blogger elrizz said…

    I agree with what you said.Here is a great resource about best tools for seo that you can check. I have personally use this site to know the best seo tools available in the market.

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