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Yahoo Patents Human Edited Search Results Ranking

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Yahoo Patents Human Edited Search Results Ranking

So, what is Yahoo up to now with regards to its search results? Reports say that Yahoo has just received the U.S. patent for something called “Method and apparatus for search ranking human input and automated ranking.” Yahoo applied for this patent in 2002 and has finally received the ownership of the said concept.Let’s see, this seem a pretty clever idea if Yahoo is to market it as an improvement of its search engine results. Basically, if implemented for whatever means, it will calculate search rankings on Yahoo Search based on a combination of automated search algorithms and human editor input – hence better search results, presumably.

Here’s how the Yahoo Patent on Human Edited Search would benefit users:

Ranking by human editors reviewing search results provides more relevant ranking than automated processes and even search users, because human editors possess better intelligence than the best software and more clearly understand distinctions in pages, and human editors focus on areas of their expertise. For example, a human editor would more easily spot a page that is irrelevant but contains terms designed to get a high ranking from an automated process. However, human editors cannot process the volume of searches typically received by a search system and cannot keep up to date the queries they do process in view of the relevant pages that are added for consideration, modified or removed. In addition, in an open-ended query system, the number of possible queries can easily be in the millions. Even if editors concentrate only on the most common queries, the results change all the time as new data becomes available, old data becomes irrelevant, new meanings are created for old terms, or new events occur. If the results are based solely on what the human editors decided on one day, they might be stale and out of date the next day.

So essentially if you’re an SEO worker and you’ve successfully work on a particular site to make it rank higher on a particular search query based on Yahoo’s search algorithms, your site might not actually appear on the first page of the Yahoo SERPs if the human editors found it not so relevant to the search query at all. Of course this will be based on your site content.

Here’s Yahoo’s official statement about site ranking, demotion and promotion:

Promotions and demotions might be absolute (“Rank this document first highest.”), relative to itself (“Rank this document four positions higher than it would otherwise be.”), or relative to another document (“Rank this document higher than this other document.”). Other types of promotion/demotion might include “remove this document from consideration no matter what the automatic system suggests”, “this set of documents are to be given equal (‘tied”) rankings”, “do not rank this document higher than position P” for some integer P, or the like.

It’s pretty interesting to know how Yahoo could pull this blending of human and automatic site rankings off.  Also, how this would affect SEO work.

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Arnold Zafra

Arnold Zafra writes daily on the announcements by Google, Ask.com, Yahoo & MSN along with how these announcements effect web ... [Read full bio]

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