The United States Patent and Trademark Office recently approved a patent application from Google which forecasts a greater focus on mobile pages/versions in mobile search results going into 2013.

Apparently the U.S. Patent office works on Christmas Day, or simply wanted to offer Google a Christmas gift before the FTC Antitrust case ruling, as it approved Google’s Blending Mobile Search Results patent under USPTO number 8341147 on December 25th 2012.

Let’s take an initial look at the patent to see what it might tell us from a mobile search marketing perspective.

What Are The Key Points?

  • The mobile search result quality scores and the generic search result quality scores were generated according to different scoring formulas.
  • Based on one or more terms in the search query, the search query is classified as a mobile query.
  • The search service also directs the query to the mobile search engine (step 230).
  • To calculate the scores, the mobile search engine uses a different scoring algorithm, or formula, than the one used by the generic search engine. Using the search result quality scores, the mobile search engine ranks the mobile search results (step 245).

What Does This Mean For Search Marketers?

Search marketing translation below each point:

Patent Point #1

  • The mobile search result quality scores and the generic search result quality scores were generated according to different scoring formulas.
What this means for search marketing: 
  • Clarifies that mobile search results and generic (aka desktop) search results are different.
Patent Point #2
  • Based on one or more terms in the search query, the search query is classified as a mobile query.
What this means for search marketing: 
  • This indicates that Google knows just from the keywords alone if you are on a mobile device and thus your intent, although it does have access to your user agent to be sure. Just ask the few Windows Phone 8 users.
Patent Point #3
  • The search service also directs the query to the mobile search engine (step 230).
What this means for search marketing: 
  • Affirms there is a separate search engine index for mobile queries.
Patent Point #4
  • To calculate the scores, the mobile search engine uses a different scoring algorithm, or formula, than the one used by the generic search engine. Using the search result quality scores, the mobile search engine ranks the mobile search results (step 245).
What this means for search marketing: 
  • Not only is there a different mobile search engine but it has different priorities in ranking and mobile pages will have an edge.

OK, What Should I Do About It?

You can’t rely on the same ol’ same ol’ desktop SEO practices while mobile search continues to grow, with it already achieving 20% of all search in 2012 according to RKG and Covario’s own studies.

You can address the mobile searchers intent by targeting mobile related keywords separate from the desktop experience, optimally with the use of dynamic serving or at least a different mobile URL.

Each page needs to provide clear signals that it is targeted to a  mobile device, this can be directly called out in its DocType and affirmed in its page size.

Finally, the page must show that it is useful to the mobile searcher by providing concise, to-the-point information, a phone number, the nearest address, and easy social-sharing functionality.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile | Google: Mobile | Mobile Search | Search Engines: Mobile Search Engines

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About The Author: is a SEO Manager at Covario, SEO course instructor at San Diego State University, contributor to The Art of SEO : Mastering Search Engine Optimization published by O’Reilly and owner of Mobile Martin based out of San Diego, California.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



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  • https://twitter.com/olegko Oleg Korneitchouk

    Why is this allowed to be patented? Seems like its just improving relevancy for mobile searchers… just like a search engine should.

    Either way, good to know. Really stresses that there will be differences between mobile and ‘traditional’ SEO.

    Cheers

  • http://twitter.com/ysekand Yousaf

    Interesting patent actually.

  • Jean-Philippe Bédard

    Hang on. We’ve heard over and over, over the last year or so, that Google “prefers” Responsive Web sites… I also know the big G “accepts” other URL scenarios… That means one URL. Now, this article suggests the actual best way is to have “at least a different mobile URL” ? Please expand on that… Thanks !

  • Michael Martin

    Jean-Phillppe,

    The best way, in general, for actual Mobile SEO is via dynamic serving which is under the same URL but with different HTML based on the device type.

    Google prefers responsive design since its easier for them to crawl and feels generally that people won’t “screw it up”, but as this patent shows, having actual mobile SEO gives you an advantage. This can only be achieved with dynamic serving or a separate mobile URL since responsive design is the same HTML on desktop as mobile, but only changes the visual presentation based on device type.

    Hope this clarifies it a little which I can expand further in a future post or presentation :)

 

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