Tag Archives: serps

Today’s Strange SERP: COP-USA

Check out the attached screenshot of Google’s serp result for “cop-usa

In the footer down below you will find the following bit of html:

[code lang=”js”]
<font size="1" face="Tahoma" color="#FFFFFF">www.cop-usa.com
www.cop-usa.com www.cop-usa.com www.cop-usa.com www.cop-usa.com
www.cop-usa.com www.cop-usa.com www.cop-usa.com www.cop-usa.com
www.cop-usa.com</font>
[/code]

New Google Patent Monitors Your Mouse On SERPs

A few days ago, this google patent application was awarded a patent that details a

“System and method for modulating search relevancy using pointer activity monitoring “

according to the patent title and abstract. If you read on, it explains that the data the patent suggests collecting is the mouse location on page and hover duration. What could this mean for SEO?

The simple answer is that there’s a new factor influencing rankings. The patent calls it the “client attention coefficient.” That wording suggests that it will have a direct effect on how “relevancy” is calculated for all Google searches. Any time a search engine makes a change in how they rank sites it’s reflected in the rankings. That may sound obvious, but it’s something every good SEO thinks about when changes start happening. Should Google incorporate this mouse tracking idea into their search engine it could produce some interesting results both good and bad. One thing we know is that we’d have to start paying more attention to how our indexed pages appear on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages.)

When Google builds a SERP for a search query it takes the titles and descriptions of the results and serves them up as a vertically aligned list with higher ranking pages at the top. The typical searcher begins scanning with their eyes at the page and sometimes follow with a mouse pointer. Referring back to the patent, this shouldn’t have a direct effect because the patent proposes a timer or “threshold value” that would filter out times when a cursor “temporarily passes through [these] regions.” However, this doesn’t change the fact that the results at the top are more likely to get mouse pointer attention. Depending on how much weight Google assigns to this new metric this could strengthen the barrier-to-entry for new rankings even more.
    The “client attention coefficient” might also accidentally favor indexed pages with longer titles and descriptions. The two search results below illustrate an example case.

google search result that takes up a small space

google search result that takes up a large space

A result that shows up on a serp (search engine results page) looking like the first result might not hold a visitor’s attention as long as the second. Another advantage the second has over the first is that it simply occupies more space on the page. It will grab more mouse time because of this but, Google’s engineers aren’t dumb. I bet they’ve already thought up a solution but there’s no best way around it. There will be some artificial-ness leaking into the organic rankings.

We won’t know how effective it is in improving results until Google actually implements it if they ever do. They may never implement this hopefully out of respect for our privacy. Hopefully we can prevent Google from looking through visitor’s webcams and tracking eye movement across the page. Anyone want to file that one now before Google does?