November 26, 2019
Announcer [00:00:04] Welcome to Search Talk Live, with search engine optimization and marketing experts Robert O’Haver and Matt Weber, powered by the Robert Palmer Family of Companies.
Rober O’Haver [00:00:18] Good afternoon and welcome back to another great episode of Search Talk Live. We are starting a little late today. We had some hiccups here, but we’re good to go. With me today is Matt Weber of ROAR! Internet Marketing. Matt, how are you?
Matt Weber [00:00:35] I’m doing fantastic. Getting ready for Thanksgiving?
Rober O’Haver [00:00:37] Yeah, yeah, I’m doing that. I still haven’t gotten the turkey yet.
Matt Weber [00:00:42] But I mean practicing. Are you practicing for Thanksgiving?
Rober O’Haver [00:00:45] Practicing what?
Matt Weber [00:00:46] Eating.
Rober O’Haver [00:00:47] Oh, I have no problem there.
Matt Weber [00:00:50] You can’t just walk in Thanksgiving Day and eat four pieces of pumpkin pie. You got to practice for that.
Rober O’Haver [00:00:55] True. True. Stretch the belly.
Matt Weber [00:00:58] That’s what I’m doing this week. Absolutely.
Rober O’Haver [00:01:01] Do the food coma thing.
Matt Weber [00:01:02] Yeah. You know, you talk to those food eating champions, you know, the guys that can eat a lot of food. And that’s not spontaneous. They actually trained for that.
Rober O’Haver [00:01:10] Really? Yes. It’s very disciplined.
Rober O’Haver [00:01:13] Yeah. I don’t know how to do it.
Matt Weber [00:01:15] Well, I’m going to try. That’s what I’m doing this week.
Rober O’Haver [00:01:18] Not me man.Yeah. So today, guys, you’re going to want to bring, if you have questions, you go to Twitter and type #searchtalklive and ask your questions and we will get them answered live on the air with our guest. But today is one of our special guests. I mean, all our guests are special, but this one is, I’d say, mentioned, wouldn’t you say, Matt, on just about every time we do. Who influences the influencer? His name. His name comes up for sure. I would definitely say that. But our guest today is the founder of SEO by the Sea. And out outside of Google, I’d say he’s the leading expert on Google’s search patents. And our guest today is Bill Slawski. Bill, how are you?
Bill Slawksi [00:02:04] I’m doing good. How are you today?
Rober O’Haver [00:02:05] Good. We’re excited to have you on. Because like I just said, everybody mentioned your name and they find your content and the information that you give to people super valuable. And it’s a pleasure to have you on the show.
Bill Slawksi [00:02:22] It’s a pleasure to be here. And it’s a pleasure to share what I’ve been learning.
Rober O’Haver [00:02:26] Yeah. So today we’re going to cover the user-specific knowledge graph. Can you give us a little- ? Actually, before we do that, why don’t you tell us for the people that don’t know who you are, which they must live under a rock, but tell us who you are and a little bit about yourself.
Bill Slawksi [00:02:45] So I’m the author of SEO By the Sea and I work for a company called Go Fish Digital. I’m the director of SEO Research. I’ve been doing SEO since 1996/97 when I first came across search engines. I decided it would be good to promote Web sites through search engines who appear in them. I’ve been writing about patents from the search engines since about 2005 because I found it was one of the best places to learn new information. I mean, it’s a version of continuing education. I find new things looking at white papers and patents and sometimes white papers are more up to date. Sometimes the patents are more up to date because they include things that it’s possible Google has implemented. For instance, the thing that I wrote this past week about, user-specific knowledge panels or knowledge graphs. It’s something Google has had people write papers on recently. And one came out in, I believe June or July about personal knowledge graphs, knowledge panels. There was a lot like the patent I wrote about that was originally filed in 2013.
Rober O’Haver [00:04:24] Wow.
Bill Slawksi [00:04:25] So the patent was maybe ahead of the paper because a lot of things that the paper mentions are built into the patent already.
Rober O’Haver [00:04:37] So for the listeners, could you explain how the user-specific knowledge graph affects the current search results?
Bill Slawksi [00:04:46] Sure. Okay, so we have personalization and search. When you do a search, Google may look at your previous search history and get an idea of what you’re interested in, and that may influence search results that you see. It’s not quite a filter bubble, but it’s more like Google is aware that you do searches, that you exist, that you have certain interests and it’s going to tweak the result you see based upon those. It’s not going to utterly transform and change those around, but it’s going to influence them to a strong degree. So Google came out with this patent on user-specific knowledge graph and said we’re going to look at the queries that people perform. We’re going to possibly look at the social networking posts that they make and we’re going to look at the e-mails that they receive, maybe through Gmail and see what they’re about, see if they involve certain entities, certain locations, and we’ll build a knowledge graph for each individual that includes those types of thing. Maybe it’s aware of where they live, where they play tennis at, maybe where they go to vacation, or if they’re going to conferences where they travel to.
Rober O’Haver [00:06:11] And. Sorry, go ahead.
Bill Slawksi [00:06:15] If you have a question, go ahead and ask.
Rober O’Haver [00:06:17] Is this more an informational type query that it affects more?
Bill Slawksi [00:06:26] You make a tweet that says going to bring the kids to the tennis courts in Carlsbad. Google all of a sudden knows you have kids, it knows you play tennis, it knows you live in Carlsbad or you live near Carlsbad. So it’s able to collect knowledge about you and about the other people, the other entities you have relationships with, like members of your family, your kids, your wife and so on. It becomes aware, it’s keeping track. It doesn’t just know the social networks that you belong to and who you might be connected to, but it knows knowledge about those things. Things that you might share with them. Relationships you might have with them.
Rober O’Haver [00:07:17] Kind of like your wife or a nosy neighbor.
Matt Weber [00:07:24] Bill, at one time, Google said that social media posts aren’t indexable. They don’t show up on SERPS because they didn’t have the technical capacity to crawl all of Twitter and crawl of Facebook. Has that changed? Are they now are they now able to crawl Twitter and Facebook?
Bill Slawksi [00:07:44] So they made a deal with Twitter where they get the fire hose of information. So they have all that data. They have access to it. They don’t have that type of access to Facebook. They use to have access to Google Plus. But that’s gone. So maybe they have some maybe they’re paying less attention to social networking than they are to things like e-mails. If you use G mail or other things you might post online. So the ecosystem that Google uses that you’re paying attention to may have changed from when that was originally filed back in 2013 to now. But they do still have some access to that type of stuff.
Matt Weber [00:08:45] Is the user-specific knowledge graph in place now?
Bill Slawksi [00:08:52] It’s hard to tell. We know that a knowledge graph is in place that includes things like entities that are mentioned in places like Wikipedia. So they’re notable. But when you tweet something about having a guitar that needs to be repaired, your guitar isn’t in Wikipedia. But it’s an entity that would be in your personal knowledge graph. The fact that you play guitar, that you have a guitar. That’s something Google would store information about.
Matt Weber [00:09:33] Based on your research, hypothetically, if we had a group of 50 people that all performed the same query from the same location. Based on your knowledge, how many different results would be fed back from Google, from that 50 pool of people doing the same exact query?
Bill Slawksi [00:09:56] It’s sort of like a Cosmic Comics question. There’s a writer named Italoo Calvino, who wrote a book called “Cosmic Comics” that’s based roughly on science. It’s like at one point in time, before the Big Bang, the universe was really small, it was all at one point and all your neighbors lived right next to each other; they were at the same place, which is why I brought the Cosmic Comics thing up. Okay, so people don’t perform searches all at the same place, but we’re not quite sure what Google is doing with click-throughs or what type of influence that might have. Google is probably tracking individuals as you do searches as if those individuals were entities and they’re probably tracking what queries they perform, what documents they choose, when they search, what time of year is, what time of day it is. And they’re collecting so much data about searchers and searches. It’s probably more information than exists on the Web in total.
Matt Weber [00:11:22] Wow.
Bill Slawksi [00:11:27] Think of how many people are doing searches a day. And it’s probably millions, right?
Matt Weber [00:11:32] Mm-hmm.
Bill Slawksi [00:11:35] So there are maybe a few trillion Web pages. But how many times do people search a month, if they’re searching a few million times a day? It’s a lot of information. It’s a lot to track and a lot of what Google’s tracking is information about searchers and searches and who looks at what page when and where and how long they spend there. Or how long they think they spend there, because Google is measuring that based upon when you select a page to look at in search results and then you come back to do new search. So that amount of time between your searches is the amount time they’re estimating possibly that you spent on a page.
Matt Weber [00:12:31] You’ve got the best reputation, as we talked about the start of the show, as knowing more things about Google patents than just about anybody. What do you think is the biggest secret you’ve ever unearthed from reading a Google patent? What was your biggest wow moment from reading a patent?
Bill Slawksi [00:12:51] It probably had to do with the phrase base indexing. Is it something that you do?
Matt Weber [00:12:58] Yes.
Bill Slawksi [00:13:00] Really? OK, good. So when the person who was patented that came to Google, it was probably about 2003/2004, she came out with the patent. She originally built a search engine for the Internet Archive called Recall, which is a beta. It was never actually released in a final form. It was purchased by Google before that could happen. And she was hired two weeks later. And she went to work for them, she released the patent for free space indexing and the fact that it involved so much concurrence of words and semantic topic modeling was really amazing to me when I came across it back in 2004. I watched as a lot more patents got added to it. There are over 20 patents related to phrase-based indexing now.
Rober O’Haver [00:14:18] Yeah.
Bill Slawksi [00:14:18] You know, usually when there’s just one on something, they say, OK, maybe this isn’t released, but as they add more and more, you sort of grow certain that they’re likely using the patent. When you start using that semantic topic modeling and it makes a difference, that’s when you’re sure it’s being used, but don’t really see anybody releasing any case studies. And I’m not necessarily releasing one.
Matt Weber [00:14:53] You’ve written that latent semantic indexing is widely misunderstood. Can you tell us about that?
Bill Slawksi [00:15:04] Sure, it’s away of using words that appear on pages, in documents, and the relationship to each other, and concurrence of words that appear in those documents in a mathematical way that tries to index them. It was originally written in 1986, no 1988 and patented by Bell Labs and the patent describes a database of about eight books worth of material which is a somewhat small database, much smaller than the web. And the patent also says if you add new information to an index, you need to run the process over again. So you know how much the web changes, people add content, people remove and delete content, they 404 pages, they add comments on blog posts, stuff like that. The web is much too active for latent semantic indexing to index it realistically or continue to re-index it.
Matt Weber [00:16:41] A lot of people think that latent semantic indexing is taking synonyms of words or phrases and populating a page with semantically relevant synonyms. But you contend that’s not at all what Google is looking for. Is that correct?
Bill Slawksi [00:17:00] So. Not at all. This is like trying to explain calculus in a podcast. Okay, so, latent-semantic indexing is a way of indexing, it’s not a way of optimizing. So that’s potentially where part of the problem comes from. So latent-semantic indexing is a way of understanding the words on a page, because other words exist on the same page. And when it indexes, it tracks that type of stuff. It’s not a way of making a page more indexable for a certain word. It’s not optimization approach. There are people who have come up with LSI keywords tools and those used something that’s much more like phrase-based indexing where you understand which other words frequently co-occur on pages that rank for a certain term. You add those frequently- occurring words on your page to try to rank for that same term. So if you have a page that’s about the president of the United States, you’ll see certain phrases appear on that page like Oval Office, Rose Garden, Secretary of State, and you look at those phrases and you can predict what that page is about and the topic of that page. And that’s the keywords that page might be optimized for. And that’s how something like LSI keywords ideally should work. It’s the way phrase-based indexing does work. So LSI keywords can work exactly like phrase-based indexing. Otherwise, Google could sue the people who run LSI keywords and stop them from using LSI keywords or offering a tool.
Rober O’Haver [00:19:22] So, Bill, I have a question. Now, not to get off-topic here, but have you seen from Google? You know, you have the knowledge graph, obviously, but utilizing, you know, schema markup to provide information, towards that, do you see that with Google not just leaning on a knowledge graph, so to speak, but also leaning on people that do mark up on their Web site and provide those rich answers and type stuff like that?
Bill Slawksi [00:19:58] Google has lots of redundant approaches. I mean, they’re not necessarily completely redundant, but they work towards the same goal. So Google may look at schema to learn about certain topics. And because it’s machine-readable, they can scan the Web for those schema scripts quickly and just read that stuff and learn about entities and relationships between entities based on schema markup as one way of learning about that type of stuff and potentially adding to a knowledge graph that information. Google likely is using an alternative approach which involves using something like a Bert, a natural language processing approach to read pages, identify entities, parse information about those entities like triples of subject, verb, object, triple information where they learn facts about the entities and relationship information involving other entities. So the movie “Planet of the Apes” was released three times, the first time in 1968. And Google has three entries in the knowledge graph involving the Planet of the Apes movie where they they’d say, OK, release date. The producer is who the actors are, what the movie was rated. So they’re collecting information and they’re sometimes disambiguating that information based upon the fact that there might be three movies with the same name. They’re trying to distinguish between the three. They can read the web, read web pages, extract entities, and collect that information, and they have some sites where they might do that on a regular basis like CNN or Daily Mail or The New York Times, where they can collect new entity information on a regular basis and they’re building a knowledge graph off of sources like that, too.
Matt Weber [00:22:29] Bill, what do you think is the most widely misunderstood signal in search?
Bill Slawksi [00:22:49] It’s tempting to say a few different things, I think I’ll stick with relevance.
Matt Weber [00:22:57] Tell us about think.
Bill Slawksi [00:22:59] I think people don’t quite understand that there’s an aspect to relevance that involves something called materiality. How important irrelevance might be? We talked about this in criminal law procedure in law school. A person who is on trial for murder might have character witnesses called, one of those character witnesse might be is kindergarten teacher who comes up, testifies that he was a great student as a 5-year-old, you know, 40-some years ago. It’s relevant. It’s not very material. So you can have stuff that’s relevant without being very material.
Matt Weber [00:23:55] So there’s not quite degrees of relevance, but perhaps weights of relevance.
Bill Slawksi [00:24:04] Right. Absolutely. And there’s a sort of weights between entities. Relationships between entities. When you hear that Google is trying to update its knowledge graph and has something like Barack Obama and it’s trying to fill in who Barack Obama’s spouse is, it may look and see lots of pages that have a Barack Obama mentioned along with Michelle Obama. It may seek pages where Hillary Clinton is mentioned and other women. But it can get certainty that Barack Obama is married to Michelle Obama because they tend to be mentioned more frequently as being married to each other on pages that are more reliable or pages more popular. And Google is looking at the reliability and popularity of pages that information like that comes from to determine weights between entities and entity relationships to determine relevance and weights of relevance.
Robert O’Haver [00:25:23] Hey Bill, we have to take a break real quick, but can we hold that thought and when we get back we’ll finish that. But also, we’re going to do what’s called “who influences the influencer”. We want to know who you kind of follow in the industry to help keep you up to date on things. And I know Google’s probably one of them, obviously.
Bill Slawksi [00:25:44] OK. Sounds good.
Robert O’Haver [00:25:46] We also have a question from a listener from Twitter. And we’ll ask you that when we get back. OK.
Announcer [00:25:54] Today’s episode of Search Talk Live is sponsored by:.
Matt Weber [00:25:57] Hey Robert. You’re here early for the show.
Robert O’Haver [00:26:00] Yeah, I got a ton of SEO work done this morning and I got it done way ahead of schedule. Couldn’t have done it without Ahrefs.
Matt Weber [00:26:06] Yeah, so much easier than using multiple programs and having data a bunch of different places.
Robert O’Haver [00:26:11] Plus, being able to see what is holding a page back from ranking in eight drafts is so much faster than picking through each part myself.
Matt Weber [00:26:18] Oh yeah, I agree. We use Ahrefs because it’s so easy to teach people at our agency how to use it. Their YouTube tutorials couldn’t be better. It’s one thing to have a tool. It’s another thing to know your team is using it to its full capacity. I don’t think there’s an easier or more complete tool than Ahrefs. Hey, Robert, why don’t you hit them up to be a sponsor of the show?
Robert O’Haver [00:26:37] I am way ahead of you.
Matt Weber [00:26:40] Ahrefs: the official SEO tool of Search Talk Live. Try their new seven day trial for only seven dollars. Go to Ahrefs.com That’s Ahrefs.com.
Announcer [00:26:50] You are web site analytics data probably feels like this (traffic sounds) But it could feel like this (peaceful birds chirping). Making sense of all the Web site data available to you hasn’t been easy until now. Smylelytics transforms your Web site analytics data into easy to understand memorable photographs. You pick your own photo theme. Smylelytics. S-M-Y-L-E-lytics. Like analytics, only happier. And it’s free at Smylelytics.com. Want to know how your Web site is doing? Get the big picture with pictures. It’s the easiest and most enjoyable way to understand your Web site data. No charts, no graphs, no cost. Sign up today. S-M-Y-L-E-lytics. Like analytics, only happier. At Smylelytics.com.
Announcer [00:27:52] Learning a lot from Search Talk Live, but don’t know what specific SEO actions you should be taking on your websit? Or maybe you’ve tried to implement SEO on your Web site but haven’t gotten the results you were aiming for. We’ve all been there. That’s why we here at Pixel Cut Labs created the SEO project planner. It’s a one time project where our SEO team runs a full site crawl, overlays data from leading SEO tools and manually audits every page on your Web site. We’ll use our findings to craft a strategic plan that covers everything from your link building strategy to page level technical SEO and content recommendations. The project planner is perfect for businesses that are serious about SEO and wants to hit a home run by leveraging our proven SEO strategy. To learn more and to see pricing for your project, visit pixelculabs.com/STL or text STLto 3 1 9 9 6. Pixel cut labs. Welcome to Page One.
Announcer [00:28:48] Get your questions in on Twitter. Type #searchtalkliv and your question. Now back to the show.
Robert O’Haver [00:28:55] All right. Welcome back. With us today is Bill Slawski of SEO by the Sea. Bill, one of the questions we have from Twitter is it says, “Hello. Question for Bill. What would you say has been one of the most significant changes that, from your experience, has potentially gone under the radar in terms of coverage, spotlight?”
Bill Slawksi [00:29:24] That is really difficult.
Robert O’Haver [00:29:27] Dan, if you could elaborate that, that might help.It’s a big topic.
Bill Slawksi [00:29:41] It’s a big top. So what I’ve been focusing upon a lot has been Google’s movement, from crawling Web pages to crawling information about entities. And I think people don’t necessarily quite grasp the importance of including entities under pages, including related entities and relationship information about those entities. It’s almost as if we’re moving from indexing Web pages to indexing the entities we represent. So local businesses to people at Google are known as local entities. So your business is an entity. It’s not a brand. It’s an entity. When Google finds the name of your business in a query, it’s not saying, oh, it’s a brand. They’re saying, oh, it’s an entity. We know about that. It’s in a knowledge graph or it isn’t in a knowledge graph. So one of the things that is a little bit confusing is if you do a knowledge graph search, you’ll see a results score for an entity. The result score is Google’s confidence that the entity that it thinks it is in your query is the entitiy it has information about it, and that’s what the results score is about, a confidence level.
Matt Weber [00:31:18] So one of the things I’m taking away from your answer is if I was an air conditioning repair company, I would want to on my Web site, have some copy about the brands that I sell: Carrier, which is an entity or Trane, which is an entity, because if I can associate with Google my entity with their entities, the knowledge that Google has about their entities could be transferred to what they know about my entity. Is that a fair extrapolation of what you’re saying?
Bill Slawksi [00:31:49] That is. That is very important. So I had a client who had an apartment complex or an apartment building in northern Virginia near the beltway, near Washington, D.C. And if you took the elevator down to the basement of this apartment complex, you didn’t get to the basement, you came out in the Washington metro line. Which really wasn’t on the Web site, they didn’t tell you that, they should have. Because as an entity, it’s a really important one. It’s a way around D.C., around northern Virginia and around southern Maryland that really can’t be beat. It makes commuting from place to place much easier. If you’ve driven the roads of D.C. you know what that’s like. It’s not a very good experience. So knowing that you live in an apartment complex, where you can go down to the basement, hop on the metro line, go to one of 19 Smithsonian’s where you can bring your kids for free? It’s a good thing to know. It’s something that should be on your Web site. And if it’s not, you’re not doing it right. You’re missing out on something that you should let the world and Google know about.
Matt Weber [00:33:22] So entity connection can be a valuable SEO hint for some folks listening to the show.
Bill Slawksi [00:33:36] Okay, so if you’re trying to sell location, an apartment complex, you want to provide information about location. You want to let your audience know which schools are in the area, which parks are in the area, what other landmarks, what shopping is available. So if you were designing this website for this apartment complex and one of Virginia’s largest shopping malls was two blocks away, but underground, and it is, it’s Pentagon City. And if you don’t put it on your Web site, you’re missing out. You should let people know things like that. It’s a four story tall or four story high shopping mall all underground. There are other things on that metro that aren’t noticeable, but you have like the world headquarters for Lockheed Martin, which is a huge military company providing military equipment. And if somebody works for them, their apartment complex would be a great place to live to avoid commute.
Robert O’Haver [00:35:01] So we need to get back to the, I forgot to finish up the who influences the influencer, which we usuallyd do it right after the break, but we had a long answer on that question. No problem. But so we want to know who influences you and everyone listening, please get out your pen and paper.
Matt Weber [00:35:27] Here’s the ultimate Internet. Who’s who? Coming up right now.
Bill Slawksi [00:35:33] OK, so I have a number of people from Google who I follow. I have alerts for them. One of them’s Paul Hare who did a “How Google Works”. Presentation at SMX East a few years ago and he writes a number of patents. I’ve written about 15 or so of the ones he’s written. Navneet Panda is another one. A guy named Trystan Upstill who used to be the head of the core of the Google ranking algorithm. He does a lot of quality search patent stuff too. Jeff Dean, who’s the head of Google Brain and he’s written a lot about crawling of Google websites. Emily Moxley, who used to be one of the head product managers at Google. So I follow a lot of people from Google, which isn’t a surprise. There are a few SEOs. I think the one I follow most closely is Dawn Anderson, who writes a lot about information retrieval.
Robert O’Haver [00:36:59] Yes, she’s been on the show, she’s great. Anyone else?
Bill Slawksi [00:37:08] I think I’ll leave it at that. Okay.
Robert O’Haver [00:37:09] Do you have any favorite podcasts? No pressure. I’m just messing with you.
Bill Slawksi [00:37:16] I will say that I’ve seen your podcast show up in a knowledge graph in reference to me and to some other people I know who I’ve looked up. So your doing a good job with that schema markup.
Robert O’Haver [00:37:33] Thank you.
Matt Weber [00:37:34] Nicely done, Robert.
Robert O’Haver [00:37:36] I’d like to take credit for that. That’s actually Spreaker this time.
Matt Weber [00:37:40] Hey, Bill, do you think that any of the search engines file patents just to throw somebody off to throw the competition for a loop?
Bill Slawksi [00:37:51] I am not quite sure. It’s hard to tell. That would be what people might refer to as red herrings.
Matt Weber [00:38:03] Yes.
Bill Slawksi [00:38:07] I think there’s a cost with filing a patent. It’s not quite the same as it was back when Google started. So when Lawrence Page first filed the patent for page rank he was filing as a small business entity and he got away with filing it for like eighty dollars and Sergey Brin filed a follow up patent to that about half a year later and he got to file that for about 80 bucks, too. Nowadays they go through a process where they have a bunch of lawyers read through these things and they wait until that’s done before they file them, and it’s a lot of work. Now the search engineers working on things and they have laws for them and then file them as an actual large business entity. It’s expensive. But you know, if you’re doing the intellectual property development that is worth protecting, it’s worth paying that.
Matt Weber [00:39:22] Bill, you’ve written about diversity on the SERP and Google’s patents that have a goal of increasing the diversity of results on the search engine results page. You know, a lotta SEOs, for them, the Holy Grail is having a paid ad, a local placement, a knowledge graph and an organic listing. Are those SEOs now fighting a losing battle if Google is attempting to diversify the results on a SERP?
Bill Slawksi [00:39:52] It’s a tricky question. I tell you one reason why is Google seemed to have been following some approaches that they maybe abandoned. One of them was there’s a process of combining or merging results together, called Augmentation. So Google, for a while, came out with the patent that said if you have a high ranking organic result in high ranking local result for the same query, we might merge them by removing the organic result and boosting the local result. So I wrote that patent. And then the next day I get a phone call from a coworker saying, hey, we have a client who just lost their organic ranking, it disappeared. I look it up. And at the very top of the results is a local result for that company, which it never ranked it highly for local results before. So they removed the organic result and boosted the local result. And that didn’t last too long. It’s something they tried and it appears they gave up on.
Matt Weber [00:41:19] We’re getting down to the end of the show and we can’t end the show without at least touching on the November 15th Wall Street Journal article, how Google interferes with its search algorithms and changes your results. Now, just a brief overview of that article. They tested 17 or 19 queries and they made the assertion that Google suppresses and manipulates results to favor larger businesses, they keep blacklists, etc. You were quite vocal on that. What was your specific issue with that?
Bill Slawksi [00:41:50] OK. How many billions of searches do people do at Google and their using such a small sample size. Seventeen queries? Some of the conclusions they came up with were that Google is purposefully manipulating search results so that bigger businesses ranked higher than small businesses. And as an SEO for over 20 some years ranked lots of really small businesses more highly than larger business. Google’s definitely not purposefully ranking larger businesses over smaller businesses. Not in my experience. They also made the claim that Google’s ranking sites that advertise higher than sites don’t. You know, as somebody who’s worked for sites, who’ve done cost benefit analysis, decided whether or not to pay for advertisements, paid placement? We’ve decided against that because SEO was affordable. Why pay a hundred thousand dollars a month when you can rank number one organically? Youcould get as much or more traffic.
Robert O’Haver [00:43:39] Well, I am dying to ask you something Bill, and it’s not really technical, but how do you feel now that Google’s kind of pushed down with the paid and the local three pack? How do you feel about that?
Matt Weber [00:43:52] That organic isn’t where it used to be.
Bill Slawksi [00:43:57] I think it’s forcing us to become better marketers. You know, when you when you watch an ad on TV or on the radio, you’re not getting immediate clicks or responses. You’re building brand awareness. Well, appearing in search results isn’t necessarily giving you an immediate response, but it’s building up the company that your representing and your doing the same type of thing with knowledge panels, with related questions. “People also asked” type things. You’re building awareness and it’s slightly less immediate of a response to your marketing, but it’s something you can build upon. And it’s worth buildig on. It’s kind of made the SEO guy to kinda go out and say, you know, I need to get to position zero because -.
Bill Slawksi [00:44:55] Well, I was I was trying to rank for position zero back in 2004 with definition questions. Yeah. And was a way to rank using glossary pages for definition result. And, you know, been trying it since 2004, like I said. So it’s nothing new.
Robert O’Haver [00:45:20] All right. Well, guess what time it is? It is time for the Search Talk Live tattoo.
Matt Weber [00:45:26] No, it’s time for believe it or leave it.
Robert O’Haver [00:45:27] Yeah. Believe it or leave it, sorry.
Matt Weber [00:45:28] . Believe it or leave it. Bill, one of the most popular parts of our show, we’re gonna give you three statements that we found on the Internet. And we’re gonna ask you to tell our audience whether they should believe it or whether they should leave it. Are you ready?
Bill Slawksi [00:45:42] OK, sure.
Matt Weber [00:45:43] All right. Number one, the expiration of Google’s page rank patent means that competitors will finally take some of Google’s market share. Believe it or leave it?
Bill Slawksi [00:45:56] Leave it.
Matt Weber [00:45:57] Tell us why.
Bill Slawksi [00:45:58] So Google. It wasn’t Google’s patent. It was Stanford’s patent. Google had an exclusive license to use it. But Google most likely abandoned the use of that particular patent back in 2007, according to somebody who posted on, was it hacker news? Hacker News, that Google abandoned that version of page rank and they likely started using something referred to as adaptive page rank, which increases indexing speed by like 30 percent. So it’s a different version, different brand of page rank.
Robert O’Haver [00:46:44] I love how he answered that question. He was just kind of like so confident, “No, it’s not Google!”
Matt Weber [00:46:52] Yeah, Great answer.
Bill Slawksi [00:46:52] So other search engines have said things about page rank like Microsoft has come out with a block level page rank, which indexes parts of pages using page rank. But there’s no proof that they’re actually using that.
Matt Weber [00:47:14] Got it.
Robert O’Haver [00:47:15] All right. You ready for question number two?
Bill Slawksi [00:47:16] Sure.
Robert O’Haver [00:47:18] You should not trust what Google says. You should only trust what they do. Well, that’s more of a statement.
Matt Weber [00:47:29] True or false, believe it or leave it?
Bill Slawksi [00:47:31] So Barry Schwartz came out with a story today where they’re talking about the possibility of Google search engineers ranking Web pages because it would give them a chance to experience what it was like to do SEO and while I agree with that, I think there have been some people who’ve worked at Google who’ve had some actual experience building Web sites and doing stuff like they had the head of structured search called Alon Halevy, who wrote a classifieds.com Web site that works a lot like indeed.com and it worked really well. So they do have some people who have experience building Web sites, doing search, or at least building The sites themselves that work well. Not necessarily to rank pages. And how fair would it be to have search engineers rank Web pages? Depends on who the search engineer was, I think.
Matt Weber [00:48:41] Yeah. Well, here’s number three. Bill, are you ready?
Bill Slawksi [00:48:43] Sure.
Matt Weber [00:48:43] In the next two years, half of the results on a Google search engine results page will not contain links to Web pages.
Robert O’Haver [00:48:54] Oh, God, don’t say that.
Bill Slawksi [00:48:57] Leave it.
Matt Weber [00:48:57] Leave it?
Bill Slawksi [00:48:57] Leave it because we’re coming into the Internet of Things. We’re going to have more things that have access to the Web, like refrigerators, ovens, cars. You’re going to have small screens or voice interfaces where there’s room for just one answer. And so it might just be an answer without a link.
Robert O’Haver [00:49:28] What if you don’t like the answer? No, I’m kidding.
Matt Weber [00:49:38] Well, now it’s time for a Search Talk Live Tattoo. Bill, a lot of really great deep stuff there that I think a lot of people who’ve listened to the show will listen to it again and unpack. Really great stuff. But now it’s time for your last piece of advice that you could give SEOs based on our topic today. It’s got to be tattooable. Robert gets all of these as tattoo’s. So keep it succinct, what’s your best Search Talk Live tattoo?
Bill Slawksi [00:50:06] OK. I feel like I’m cheating a little bit because I’m repeating myself. But it’s optimize entities.
Matt Weber [00:50:13] Oh, you nice one. Pulled from the content of the show and unique and powerful, “optimized entities”. That’s a good one. Yeah, I like that. Nicely done.
Bill Slawksi [00:50:25] Thanks.
Robert O’Haver [00:50:26] Well, Bill, I want to thank you for being on the show. It’s been an hour chock full of geek talk. Good stuff, which all our listeners love. So they listen in. But it’s been a real pleasure. Your insights are very rare. And it is a pleasure to have you on the show.
Bill Slawksi [00:50:45] Well, it’s been enjoyable. Thank you all. I hope you have better Thanksgivings than what we have planned for here.
Robert O’Haver [00:50:53] Oh, really? What’s that?
Bill Slawksi [00:50:54] We’re supposed to get rain and snow in Southern California!
Matt Weber [00:50:58] Stay inside and eat.
Bill Slawksi [00:51:00] I think so. I have to make sure I get to the grocery store and get a good Julian pie. There’s a town in San Diego County called Julian, which used to be a gold mining town until they decided they discovered that apples grew better than gold. They’re grown lots apples. They supply all the grocery stores around San Diego with apple pie.
Matt Weber [00:51:26] Nice. Well, have a great Thanksgiving.
Bill Slawksi [00:51:30] Thank you. Take care. Bye bye.
Robert O’Haver [00:51:35] Yeah, guys. Another episode of Search Talk Live. I wanted to thank everyone for listening to the show. I think Bill brought in some really good information-.
Matt Weber [00:51:43] Some deeper level stuff.
Robert O’Haver [00:51:45] It’s not a level that a lot of people think about, but it’s it’s here and it’s just going to get more and more intense, I believe.
Matt Weber [00:51:54] Yeah. I mean, when you think about what he is writing about and what will be taken into account when you do a search to give you relevant results, that’s pretty fascinating.
Robert O’Haver [00:52:04] It is. It’s it’s amazing. Anyway, guys, just to let you know, next week we are probably going to be off next week because of the Thanksgiving holiday. Some of us are going out of town and won’t be around. But we will be back the following week.
Matt Weber [00:52:20] Yeah. Yes. Next week we’re gonna work off the calories that we put on this week.
Robert O’Haver [00:52:24] And I wish everybody a happy Thanksgiving and happy holidays. And we’ll talk to you in a couple weeks.
Matt Weber [00:52:29] Thanks for listening everybody.
Announcer [00:52:41] Search Talk Live is sponsored by the Robert Palmer Family of companies. If you have questions for search, talk live or you’re interested in being a guest or a sponsor of the show. Email Robert at SearchTalkLive.com. That’s SearchTalkLive.com