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August 28, 2006

It’s True - Google Can Tell What is Navigation on a Website

By Li Evans

There is always some kind of “rumor” or “unverified facts” that float around the Search Engine Optimization industry about what the search engine use or don’t use in the algorithms. There’s not many times when we SEO Professionals actually get confirmation of whether the “rumor” is true or false. For a long time it was widely speculated that certain sites were banned from Google, but, it wasn’t until Matt Cutts actually verified it on his blog that we as an industry got that “rumor” verified. 

So now another rumor has been verified, by two Google patent filings. For years it’s been speculated around the SEO industry whether or not Google could tell the difference between what is navigation on a website or webpage, and what is content. There have been articles written, discussions in forums and so forth, but really no “genuine” true confirmation from any of the search engines. 

Well the SEO industry just got not one, but two pieces of confirmation on the fact that Google can identify what is navigation in a website with its two newest patent filings.

Basically, for the focuses of the article – in layman’s terms, Google’s patents’ show that they can identify what exactly is navigation on a web site. Now, that we as SEO Professionals have the verification, the question now becomes, “How does Google apply this patent?” 

That question is probably the one with a million dollar answer for someone to come up with. We all know the search engines won’t give us that information, so its’ left for more rumors and more speculation about how much weight Google puts on navigational links and the text that anchors them. 

For a full “layman’s” look at the Google patent filings, Bill Slawski (SEO By The Sea) has written up a comprehensive post on Search Engine Watch. He also puts into “readable” English other patents from IBM, Microsoft and Napster in his 8/27/2006 article. In addition he gives the same type of translation to more patents from Microsoft, Ask and Yahoo that came up on 8/28/2006.

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