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Google Patent Reveals Insight Into E-A-T Update

author image Written by: Nicole McCormick           Categories - In The News

Patent Lifts the Curtain on Massive 2018 Core Algorithm Update

Could we finally know the secret behind one of Google’s biggest algorithm update in recent years? Potentially. A recent patent published by Google has given us a glimpse behind the curtain of the infamous E-A-T update. The patent, which was officially published on February 13, 2020, is titled Website Representation Vector to Generate Search Results and Classify Website – try saying that three times fast! Essentially, the patent describes how Google is able to classify websites depending on whether they meet thresholds based upon quality scores, and then use that classification to assign different weights to rankings. https://twitter.com/bill_slawski/status/1231410913560821760 The patent document goes on to say the quality scores may be specific for a particular knowledge domain, and lists the following as examples of knowledge domains:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Education
  • Astronomy
  • Health
  • Medicine
  • Doctors

Here is a snippet of the patent: Chart from Google patent“Methods, systems, and apparatus, including computer programs encoded on computer storage media, for using website representations to generate, store, or both, search results. One of the methods includes receiving data representing each website in a first plurality of websites associated with a first knowledge domain of a plurality of knowledge domains and having a first classification; receiving data representing each website in a second plurality of websites associated with the first knowledge domain and having a second classification; generating a first composite-representation of the first plurality of websites; generating a second composite-representation of the second plurality of websites; receiving a representation of a third website; determining a first difference measure between the first composite-representation and the representation; determining a second difference measure between the second composite-representation and the representation; and based on the first difference measure and the second difference measure, classifying the third website.”

So, What Does This Have to Do With E-A-T?

Considering the range of industries covered under the patent – and the fact that it was filed the same week as the update – this could explain a lot about the August 2018 E-A-T update. To refresh your memory, E-A-T (which stands for expertise, authority, and trust) was a massive core algorithm update nicknamed the “medic” update due to its significant affect on medical websites. In fact, it’s estimated that over 41% of all websites affected by the update were related to the health/medical industry. The main focus of the update was to favour sites that are able to prove they have credibility, expertise, trust, and authority related to the topics they covered, particularly when it comes to health, finance, or e-commerce websites. Essentially, this patent gives us a look into how Google is able to determine the category of a particular website and therefore understand if the site should have a certain level of authority behind it. The patent reads:

“For instance, the website classifications may include a first category of websites authored by experts in the knowledge domain, e.g., doctors, a second category of websites authored by apprentices in the knowledge domain, e.g., medical students, and a third category of websites authored by laypersons in the knowledge domain.”

Between the contents of the patent and the fact that it was filed the same week that E-A-T rolled out, it’s fair to say that the two are most likely related. However, it should be noted just because Google has this patent, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s actually being put to use. But if it is being used, this definitely sheds a bit of light on the always so mysterious Google algorithm updates. Especially considering the fact that we’re usually left in the dark regarding these kinds of updates and aren’t aware that they’re happening until rankings start to fluctuate.

Nicole McCormick

Nicole is a wordsmith wizard, passionate about the written word and an avid storyteller who uses creatively crafted prose to help bring your brand’s story to the next level. A former journalist with writing credits in both local and national news publications and a few newspaper awards under her belt, Nicole now enjoys telling your stories and finding new and creative ways to create valuable content that resonates with audiences in the digital landscape.

July 2021 Core Update Completes 12-Day Launch

07/13/2021

SEOs have kept their eyes peeled all summer for information pertaining to Google’s various updates. Finally, Google has announced that its pair of summer core updates has finished rolling out.

Google launched its first core update of the year on June 2. With the launch, Google said that it would be splitting the core update into two launches – one for June and one for July.

The June update completed its rollout on June 12, and the July update began its rollout on July 1, finishing yesterday, as per an announcement from Google:

The core update is a particularly significant type of update. Upon a core update launch, Google makes broad changes to its search algorithms, in turn affecting what metrics are used to rank pages on SERPs. Following a launch, SEOs and site owners should pay close attention to their sites’ performance.

READ MORE OF OUR JULY 2021 CORE UPDATE COVERAGE

Not Done Cooling Down Yet

Even though the July core update is finished rolling out, tracking tools are still showing plenty of heat. Over the last twelve days, there have been two ‘spikes’ of activity – one on July 2 and one on July 9. It’s possible that sites are still reacting or catching up, even though Google isn’t making more explicit changes.

SEMRush as of July 13 at 10:00 a.m.

Have You Been Affected?

It’s not always clear following a core update which sites or pages will be affected. Most SEOs would agree that the update phase feels like a rollercoaster.

SEO Barry Schwartz writes that he’s ready plenty of theories about the recent updates on forums and social media. These posts speculate on what the update’s actual outcomes were, and what site owners should do to recover. However, Schwartz warns not to feed into these theories without proof.

I don’t think any of those theories have anything to do with what a core update is about or what it actually does,” he says. “Please be careful when reading these theories and associating them with the core update. I really think they are unrelated and lead you to fishing for the wrong thing.”

SEO Glenn Gabe, meanwhile, writes that he’s seen volatile results across sites from certain categories.

Specifically, sites with content pertaining to finances or the health and medical industry seemed to be hit hardest. Additionally, sites with product reviews have been hit hard, especially considering that the product reviews update was launched in the spring.

Gabe provides plenty of tips for SEOs who want their sites to recover. He points out that, unfortunately, you may have to wait for the next update to see favourable results.

“Sites that are heavily impacted by broad core updates typically cannot see recovery until another broad core updates rolls out,” he says.

Still, site owners should take an ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ approach to fixing their rankings. This means checking every possible factor rather than assuming a drop in rankings comes from one specific thing.

A Timeline of Recent Updates

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Google Uses MUM to Identify Vaccine Variations in Over 50 Languages In Seconds

07/08/2021

Nearly two months after announcing the Multitask Unified Model (MUM), Google began testing out its first application of the technology and is reporting some pretty impressive results. According to a blog post published on July 6, Google was able to identify more than 800 variations of vaccine names in over 50 languages in just seconds during its first-ever application of MUM. The blog post stated that without MUM, this would have taken the search engine weeks to complete.

After validating MUM’s findings, Google applied them to Search so that people could “find timely, high-quality information about COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.”

“Our ability to correctly identify all these names is critical to bringing people the latest trustworthy information about the vaccine,”said Google. “But identifying the different ways people refer to the vaccines all over the world is hugely time-intensive, taking hundreds of human hours.”

READ MORE: Google Announces New MUM Technology 1,000 Times More Powerful Than BERT  

What is MUM and How Does It Work?

Announced back in May at Google I/O, MUM is a technology developed by Google that is built on a transformer architecture. It has been compared to the BERT algorithm that rolled out in 2019,  however, Google is reporting that MUM is 1,000 times more powerful and has incredible multitasking capabilities.

READ MORE: BERT Explained – Everything You Need to Know About Google’s Biggest Update in 5 Years

Google explained that MUM can learn from and transfer knowledge across 75+ languages.

Here is a great example provided by Google that demonstrates what this looks like:

“Imagine reading a book; if you’re multilingual, you’d be able to share the major takeaways of the book in the other languages you speak — depending on your fluency — because you have an understanding of the book that isn’t language- or translation-dependent. MUM transfers knowledge across languages much like this. Similarly, with its knowledge transfer abilities, MUM doesn’t have to learn a new capability or skill in every new language — it can transfer learnings across them, helping us quickly scale improvements even when there isn’t much training data to work with.”

This means that MUM requires far fewer data inputs than previous models to accomplish the same task.

While its first application focused on identifying vaccines, going forward, Google will be looking at ways to use MUM to dramatically improve Search as a whole.

“Our early testing indicates that not only will MUM be able to improve many aspects of our existing systems, but will also help us create completely new ways to search and explore information,” said Google.

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