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Bill Slawski is a pioneer of Google Patent and SEO, his work and understanding of the aspects of how Google ranks websites is unparalleled. This time he has explained how Google ranks the websites. This is explained in the context of the new “Medic Update” in Google Patent and how you can modify your site to help it rank better. Google uses different patents in its algorithm that help rank a website. Google Patents is used to segregate the search queries and the websites by their relevant topics. This classification is further helpful in analyzing which website or search query falls under which domain. 

Topics or Knowledge Domains

Knowledge Domains is the technical term that denotes a dedicated sphere to the search queries and websites. 

This is what Bill has to say about Knowledge Domains: 

“The words “knowledge domain” stands for topics that a query may be about, and is not a reference to a knowledge graph.”

He also writes in his article that:

“Queries from specific knowledge domains (covering specific topics) might return results using sites that are classified as being from the same Knowledge Domain.”


Differentiating between Topic Pages and Topic Queries: 

Topic Pages and Queries refer to the particular location and placement of the search question. Topic Pages can be understood in the context where different questions are kept under different heads. For instance, a query about a car or its car parts can go under one head, like Car Information. And a question on “how to repair a car part” will go under a different head. 

Similarly, different questions will be placed under different topic pages. As per the Patent documentation, the Topic Queries are the precise questions asked by any user. Taking the same example as above, a question like “how does a car engine work” can be kept under “ Car Information” and under any other Topic Page. 

That’s why it is essential to ensure that the Query Topic and the Website Topic always Match to rank a website. 


Understanding the Classification System of Google Patent:

Website Classification: The search engines read the data provided by a website’s classification system for generating search results. Before the search engines deduce the website classification, it relies on the website’s own classification system to generate representations. Understanding these representations the search engines classify multiple websites. 

Bill Slawski says about Website Classification:

“The search engine… may use classification for a search query to select a category of websites with the same, or a similar, classification.

The search engine… may determine search results from the selected category of websites.”


Organizing the websites into clusters: 

The official description of the website organization into clusters is referred to below:

The websites that have a good and dedicated classification system have better chances to be ranked by the search engine. 

Further, based on this classification the google patent will create clusters of websites that may have the right answer to a search query. The websites can be classified based on the likely responsiveness of websites as they are placed in clusters. 

Also, the websites that are placed in the first cluster have a better chance to respond to the search query by having the required information by the user. 

Going forward, the Google patent also explains how a website will not be classified or ranked. Interestingly, the phrase ‘Skipping Analysis’ is mentioned in the document. Such a website is placed in a different cluster than the cluster which has those websites which are similar to the one skipped. 

“In some implementations, one or more of the websites used during training may not be assigned to a classification.

For instance, when a website representation is more than a threshold distance from a cluster or is otherwise not included in a cluster, the website classification system… may determine to skip using the website representation to create a composite representation, e.g., may determine to skip further analysis for the website during training.”

Authoritativeness of a website: 

The authority of a website in its particular cluster or Topic page is also useful in the ranking. To that end, the Patent document has the following to say:

“…each website in the plurality of websites may have a score. The score may indicate a classification of the website, such as an authoritativeness, responsiveness for a particular knowledge domain, another property of the website, or a combination of two or more of these.” 


Key Takeaways: Rankings of Websites

For the major part, the site authority and its distance from its related cluster are looked at while ranking. 

Yes, the authority of the site is a good indicator of ranking. But, the algorithm that sorts websites according to the topics is research in great lengths. The algorithm shortlists one website that holds the highest authority in one type of topic classification. These websites are then called seed sites. 

The other websites are then ranked on the basis of the gap from the seed site. The sites which are distant from their relative cluster are not even considered for ranking and are discarded. 

Content clustering and arranging relevant content under one head only and then using it for comparing the authenticity with other links only to classify the website is indeed important. 

This interconnectedness between two sites that are kept in one cluster further reinforces why it is essential to get external links from relevant sources or pages that can help in improving the ranks. 


Key Takeaways: Google Update Recovery

The new update, in particular, the “Medic Update” has allowed the algorithm to look at relevancy in more detail for ranking. 

So, if your website has lost its position from the SERP or has collapsed, look for its relevance. It may happen that your website has lost its relevance or any other site has become more relevant than yours.