Google's Affiliated Page Link Patent
Might Google rank links to pages differently based a perception of how related or affiliated those pages might be to each other? For instance, if three pages authored by the same person link to a fourth page, and two other pages, each written by other people, also link to that fourth page, should the three links from the same author count as passing along three times as much link weight as the links from the independently written pages?
A patent granted to Google today shows how the search engine might analyze how "affiliated" pages or sites are to each other, and how their degree of affiliation might influence the amount of weight passed along by each link.
So, for instance, a page that has two links pointing to another page might not pass along twice as much link weight as a single link from that page. A site that has 20 links from its pages to another page may not pass along 20 times as much link weight as a link from one page would.
There are a few different ways that Google might determine how affiliated pages might be to each other, and the patent provides a number of examples of how pages or sites might be considered to be affiliated with one another.
Interlinking between pages and sites: For instance, Google might look at all the links between pages on the web, and pages or sites that are more closely interlinked to each other might be considered to be affiliated.
Traffic patterns: Pages or sites that are visited by many users in the same search or browsing session might also be considered to be affiliated.
Similarity of hostnames Pages that share a domain name or are on subdomains of the same domain can be considered affiliated.
Similarity of IP addresses The Internet Protocol or IP addresses of two web servers may be compared, and if the leading two or three components (octets) of the ID address are identical, affiliation may be inferred.
We don't know if Google is using this method or not, but it is possible that they are. The patent was originally filed in 2004, and its inventors include Krishna Bharat, who amongst many other things invented Google News, Amit Singhal, who is Google's present Head of Search Quality, and Paul Haahr, a co-inventor listed on a number of Google patents including one on Information Retreval based upon Historic Data, another on identifying meaningful stopwords in keywords, how multi-stage query processing might happen at Google, and how query refinements might be identified.
Originally published here
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