Google's latest patent award has significant implications for search engine optimisation and voice search.
Named "Related Entities", the patent's primary function mirrors latent semantic indexing, in that it links search queries to primary and secondary entities or topics while relying on domain authority as the basis of relying on a data source.
The creators include several Asia-based Google SEO, search, data and AdWords experts.
The device input and output prominently displayed in the patent indicates it will help voice search move forward, graduating beyond being proficient in answering a single topic question.
"What this patent seems to be aimed at is producing answers to relational queries, ie. tell me how x relates to y, or what do x and y have in common, etc," said Nate Shurilla, regional head of innovation at iProspect APAC. "This should then feed into Google Assistant’s AI becoming even smarter and being able to produce answers to a wider range of queries."
Shaad Hamid, head of SEO for Southeast Asia at APD said the patent shows that Google is putting in place the required building blocks needed to improve the effectiveness and usefulness of it's virtual assistant.
"Google needs to be able to understand relationships between entities and how they are connected beyond the simple website link," said Hamid. "This method is a starting point to provide them with the ability to successfully preempt user questions and help its AI assistant handle conversational search with a user a lot more effectively."
Implications for advertiser and agencies
Hamid recommends that advertisers start investing in the use of schema, RDFa, Microdata and JSON-LD to provide entity relationships directly from their website content.
"From a link building perspective, not receiving a do-follow link from an authoritative website may not be the end of the world," said Hamid. "Receiving no-followed links from a relevant and authoritative entity and/or being listed or referenced among similar entities (or even competing brands) will help increase your 'entity association' and strengthen your relevance score on that particular topic."
He added that topics need to be organised and looked at holistically, while identifying and preempting multiple 'related entities' that an advertiser's website content could be competing for.