Why do some websites rank better than others in the organic search results? It has a lot to do with trust. Does Google trust your brand enough to consistently rank well? Trust is becoming one of the most important underlying brand SEO factors for search optimization.
Back in 2008, Google’s CEO talked about branding as an essential factor that helps people navigate the internet. “Brands are the solution, not the problem,” He said. “Brands are how you sort out the cesspool.”
Recent Google patents provide some insight into how a search algorithm identifies brands and the associated data that can ascribe trust attributes, which affect SEO and brand optimization.
For example, this Google patent talks about answering questions using entity references in unstructured data. Part of the abstract says “Methods, systems, and computer-readable media are provided for collective reconciliation. In some implementations, a query is received, wherein the query is associated at least in part with a type of entity.” The word “entity” refers to a proper noun, which is a person, place or thing, and that includes a brand name. The abstract essentially says a brand can rank in part because of associated keywords. Trust is a brand SEO factor because the optimization process includes developing a connection between your brand and relevant industry keywords.
The patent summary goes on to say “One or more ranking metrics are used to rank the entity references, including frequency of occurrence and a topicality score. Frequency of occurrence relates to the number of times an entity reference occurs within a particular document, collection of documents, or other content. Topicality scores include a relationship between the entity reference and the content in which it appears.” This is important for SEO because it refers to how brands are understood by the prominence of brand references and the proximity of topically related keywords within the context of relevant documents.
Another section talks about how Google collects brand data and compares it to information in their database. “The system generates a collection of entity references appearing in a web page by comparing the structured or unstructured text to a list of known entity references, for example a list of names. In some implementations, entity references not previously known are identified based on a frequency of occurrence or other clustering techniques.”
The mention of “known entity references” could include the Knowledge Graph, which is a massive collection of real-world things and their connections. This database can affect brand SEO through connected information gathered from a variety of web sources used to enhance Google search results.
Another Google patent describes technologies related to entity identification. It says “Entity identification is the process of identifying particular entities, e.g., persons, places, and things, referred to by text” The patent talks about how Google technology can predict the identity of entities referenced in complete sentences. “The entity identification model may determine one or more predicted entities for the portion of the entity text included in the first portion of the complete sentence”.
The system can also predict entities from portions of sentences. “Having robust confidence scores for entity predictions for multiple sentences and multiple portions of each sentence may improve entity predictions as sentences are typed.” Related keywords and factual information about brands is collected in the Knowledge Graph and used as a trusted source of data for relevant user queries.
Actionable Items for Brand SEO
This information is just a glimpse of the research behind the methodology of using trust as a brand SEO factor to provide users with reliable search results. It shows how brand optimization is an important part of developing websites to rank well for their most relevant keywords.