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   » Main Page » SEO » Google's Mind Games

Google introduces the "We are going to screw with the heads of the SEO people" patent.

Reading a post on Web Master World's forums, I was drawn to the documents regarding Google's Rank Modifying Patent for Spam Detection

Bill Slawski has published an article [seobythesea.com] about a newly granted Google patent - one that seems to explain a lot of the odd ranking behavior that has been reported in recent times. The patent is named, quite simply, Ranking documents [patft.uspto.gov]

Rather than allow the rankings to respond immediately and directly to those changes, the patent explains a system that would change rankings in unexpected, counter-intuitive ways - while the rankings change from a first position through transition positions and to the final "target rank" position. In other words, significant changes in position continue to happen even though there is no change in page's ranking factors!
(http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4486158.htm)

As the time from a to b can be as long as 70 days, a lot of time can be wasted chasing incorrect results.

Thanks to http://www.yourdictionary.com/insane for the graphic
Hereís Googleís description within its patent:

When a spammer tries to positively influence a documentís rank through rank-modifying spamming, the spammer may be perplexed by the rank assigned by a rank transition function consistent with the principles of the invention, such as the ones described above.
For example, the initial response to the spammerís changes may cause the documentís rank to be negatively influenced rather than positively influenced.
Unexpected results are bound to elicit a response from a spammer, particularly if their client is upset with the results. In response to negative results, the spammer may remove the changes and, thereby render the long-term impact on the documentís rank zero.

Alternatively or additionally, it may take an unknown (possibly variable) amount of time to see positive (or expected) results in response to the spammerís changes.
In response to delayed results, the spammer may perform additional changes in an attempt to positively (or more positively) influence the documentís rank.
In either event, these further spammer-initiated changes may assist in identifying signs of rank-modifying spamming.

aakk9999 a Senior Member at WebMaster world (http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4486158-5-30.htm#msg4490229) commented.

From what I can also gather:

    a) During the "transition period" the ranking may fluctuate more than once (i.e. there could be more than one "transitional rank" employed)

    b) Changes to the web page during the "transition period" in order to "fix" the transitional ranking must be positively identified as rank-manipulation spam by Google to suffer negative consequences

    c) If the changes in reaction to transitional ranking cannot be positively identified as rank-manipulation spam, but are suspected to be rank-manipulation spam, the transitional phase may introduce even further fluctuation ("noise") in order to see if there are (and what kind of) further reactive changes and in that way positively conclude that the page changes are being done in order to manipulate rank

    d) If, as a result of "transition period" the page / site is positively identified as employing "rank-manipulation spam", this will result in the negative ranking score that can be applied to a site, a domain or to a link

    e) This "ranking transition add-on" (for the lack of the better name) may be applied to a page, the whole site or even to a number of sites with some common denominator (e.g. the same site owner, sites using the same template etc.)

    f) The history on how the site/page was changing over the time may be used to decide whether to apply "ranking transition add-on" to a page/site

I agree with thegipsy that it would be impractical to apply this across the board and that it is only done for a selected pages/sites that are already suspect to engage in what Google calls "rank manipulation spamming" (or perhaps where the jump in ranking is over x threshold)

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