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Google's Reasonable Surfer Patent... any effects seen?

Msg#: 4191946 posted 1:30 pm on Aug 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

From what I understand, Google's "reasonable surfer" patent that was approved in May 2010 affects the way that Google looks at links in a variety of ways, including commerciality (is that a word?), link font/color, and quantity of words (head vs. long-tail), amongst others. Has anyone seen any difference in rankings rankings from interlinking following approval of the patent?


Robert Charlton

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Msg#: 4191946 posted 2:35 pm on Aug 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

This patent was discussed in June 2010 on WebmasterWorld in this thread....

Google's "Reasonable Surfer" - Bill Slawski popularizes the concept
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4145397.htm [webmasterworld.com]

As Bill Slawski discusses, in one of the early PageRank papers, Google founders Brin and Page...

...assume there is a 'random surfer' who is given a web page at random and keeps clicking on links, never hitting "back" but eventually gets bored and starts on another random page. The probability that the random surfer visits a page is its PageRank.

In this model, all links on a page may be weighted equally. A Google patent filed in 2004 assumes a "reasonable surfer" model, where some links are more important than others:

Systems and methods consistent with the principles of the invention may provide a reasonable surfer model that indicates that when a surfer accesses a document with a set of links, the surfer will follow some of the links with higher probability than others.

This reasonable surfer model reflects the fact that not all of the links associated with a document are equally likely to be followed. Examples of unlikely followed links may include 'Terms of Service' links, banner advertisements, and links unrelated to the document.

In answer to the poster's question, I'm thinking that this model is perhaps in part why contextual paragraph links now seem to have more effect than global nav links, and also why Matt Cutts has suggested that some forms of PageRank sculpting would make less difference than SEOs supposed they might... and in fact may be counterproductive.

The Bill Slawski discussion, which makes the Google patent readily accessible, is definitely worth rereading.


Msg#: 4191946 posted 5:56 am on Aug 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks! Yes, I read Bill Slawski's post on this topic...excellent stuff. I'll check out the thread from June.

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