Yahoo! Search Engine Optimization Patent Application

On January 1, 2009, a patent application published on a Yahoo! Inc. invention related to Search Engine Optimization.  Search Engine Optimization, or SEO as it is typically referred to, refers to actions by a web site to improve its presence and positioning for relevant search queries.  With the amount of information available online being so large engaging in SEO activities to make it more likely that a search engine will highly rank your website or web page is vital.  The search results from a search engine are often ranked based on relevancy, and the pages listed first are generally deemed to be the most relevant.  Therefore, it is desirable for a web page operator to have his/her web page appear near the top of the list of search results. For example, a website for a patent law firm might like to be at or near the top of a search for “patent application.”  Many times my Patent Application page will appear on Google as the top result, even ahead of the USPTO website.  Achieving this takes a lot of time and energy, but being online since 1999 certainly has helped’s search engine ranking for this and hundreds of other terms and phrases.

No one knows for sure what the algorithms are that are used by search engines because their actual algorithms are safely guarded trade secrets.  The reason for cautiously guarding the specific algorithms is that the search engines want to deliver the most relevant information to those searching any particular search terms or phrases, and if the algorithm was known to everyone then websites could play games to move up higher in the rankings even if their site is not as relevant as other sites given a particular inquiry.  Nevertheless, SEO needs to be a big part of any strategy to deliver traffic to a website, so tried and true methods are employed by those serious about obtaining more traffic.  Such tried and true methods include creating original content that relates to popular search terms and phrases, getting links from other websites that have related content and getting links from websites that themselves are popular.  So the best strategy to move up in the free rankings of a search engine is to have quality, reliable, original content and to get your content directly linked from popular, reliable, related websites. 

Every so often, however, one of the major search engine companies will apply for a patent and when the application is published you can get a glimpse of what they are thinking.  SEO can never be static, but rather it must evolve with industry practices.  The search engines are always tweaking, modifying and changing their algorithms to stay ahead of those who seek to drive traffic to sites that are not directly related to search inquiries.  The reason for this should be obvious.  If you use a search engine that does not deliver good information that is related to  your inquiry then you will stop using that search engine and start using another search engine.  With the search engine market being extremely competitive and very lucrative due to sponsored advertising, search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN must constantly stay one step ahead of those who seek to engage in manipulating the system through black-hat SEO activities.

This latest Yahoo patent application does not really provide many, if any, new insights into the algorithms that are used at Yahoo, but it does describe an interesting approach to Search Engine Optimization, and one that seems like it could be used to manipulate the free search engine rankings to benefit those websites that do truly have unique, original information.

This Yahoo patent specifically relates to a a system and method for search engine optimization that  enables SEO efforts by utilizing search query logs, which may be stored in a search log database to determine popular concepts or units which may then be utilized to optimize a site or page.  In particular, the search log database may provide a frequency list reflecting the popularity of various search terms. Popularity is based upon the frequency with which a particular search term or phrase  is searched for, so the more searches that are performed for a particular term or phrase the more popular the term or phrase is considered.  The more popular terms and phrases that are related to the content of the page are then automatically injected into the page, thus making the page seem even more relevant for those search terms and phrases in the future.  The frequency list is then compared with the existing search terms and phrases so that the more popular terms and phrases within the page may be emphasized.

What this seems to envision is that web pages will become dynamic and automatically update based on the search terms or search phrases used by individuals to actually find the page.  For example, those using this system and method would be able to have a page dynamically altered based upon how individuals find the page.  So if you were to find a particular website using the phrase “how do I patent an idea” the page would automatically update itself so that the next time that someone searched for the same phrase the page would appear all the more relevant to the search engine. 

This seems to be an excellent way to allow individual users to have greater participation in determining what particular websites and web pages are most relevant given a particular search inquiry.  It would also seem to make search engine optimization much easier as well, and perhaps get some of the bad actors in that space out of the business. 

SEO will be easier because those with original and reliable content can focus on writing quality content and not have to worry nearly as much about keyword density.  Have you ever noticed how on websites the language sometimes seems a bit contrived?  Have you noticed how similar, but different, terms are used to convey the point?  All of this relates to search engine optimization and you probably never even knew that, right?  For example, take a look at this article.  Notice how I keep going back and forth between SEO and “search engine optimization”?  Notice how sometimes I refer to “websites” and other times to “web sites”?  These are subtle examples of search engine optimization.  You might be surprised that the free search engine rankings are not the same for “provisional patent application” and “provisional patent applications”, for example.  So a lot of writing on the Web, or Internet or World Wide Web is to make sure you use all the right terms to make people be able to find you on the Web, or Internet or World Wide Web. 

OK… OK… I will stop now.  Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself.  I don’t know for sure that using all these varying terms really works, but I know that ranking for various search terms does vary with very subtle differences in the term searched, so I am trying my own hand at SEO.  So far with almost 10 years under my belt and top 10 free ranking for hundreds of terms and phrases, I must be doing something right.

About the Author

Eugene R. Quinn, Jr.
President & Founder of IPWatchdog, Inc.
US Patent Attorney (Reg. No. 44,294)

B.S. in Electrical Engineering, Rutgers University
J.D., Franklin Pierce Law Center
L.L.M. in Intellectual Property, Franklin Pierce Law Center
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Gene is a US Patent Attorney, Law Professor and the founder of He teaches patent bar review courses and is a member of the Board of Directors of the United Inventors Association. Gene has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the LA Times, CNN Money and various other newspapers and magazines worldwide


Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author as of the time of publication and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of

Join the Discussion

18 comments so far.

  • [Avatar for Vibration Machine Canada]
    Vibration Machine Canada
    June 30, 2011 02:18 pm

    Excellent blog here! Also your web site loads up fast! What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  • [Avatar for Liga1]
    June 15, 2011 03:39 pm

    I had no idea that Yahoo has released and SEO patent application.

  • [Avatar for annarogers]
    April 21, 2010 08:47 am

    good work keep going …..thanks

  • [Avatar for Rob Johnson]
    Rob Johnson
    April 4, 2010 03:41 am

    Are Google calendar public entries worth anything in terms of link-juice? This black hat verses white hat debate is all a bit strange. I argue that black hatters have improved the quality of search just as modern wars have improved the technology of bullet proof vests.

  • [Avatar for Pete]
    January 25, 2010 03:26 pm

    Try taking SEO in house and saving some money. Good old fashion do-it-yourself. It’s not hard, you just need a little guidance.

  • [Avatar for | Pretty Women Gallery]
    | Pretty Women Gallery
    January 4, 2010 04:21 am

    Search engine optimization is indeed an important strategy to increase traffic into your website. If you have an online business, more visitors mean higher possibility of buyers. And if you have a monetized blog, more visitors mean higher possibility of more people clicking on the ads. I do SEO for my websites and blogs. And this has helped me a lot in my success.

  • [Avatar for Wedding Invitation]
    Wedding Invitation
    September 5, 2009 08:24 am

    I completely agree with their point that “The reason for cautiously guarding the specific algorithms is that the search engines want to deliver the most relevant information to those searching any particular search terms or phrases, and if the algorithm was known to everyone then websites could play games to move up higher in the rankings even if their site is not as relevant as other sites given a particular inquiry.”

  • [Avatar for Coach Bags]
    Coach Bags
    August 25, 2009 10:36 am

    In my opinion search engine wars would be beneficial for the end user because they get better service day by day. I think google is on top but yahoo is not far behind.

    coach bags

  • [Avatar for dsi console]
    dsi console
    July 31, 2009 10:50 am

    Really interesting article and now that yahoo and microsoft have joined forces, hopefully this will break the stranglehold the big G has on seo.

  • [Avatar for Seo Company]
    Seo Company
    July 9, 2009 12:43 am

    article is very good. But most of are mad towards Google rather yahoo. But we should remember that yahoo SEO also will be great as Google. Also there is more probability of getting top rank in yahoo than in Google if we use some idea. This article will be very useful.

  • [Avatar for raphnexx]
    May 27, 2009 01:47 am

    Thanks for the informative presentation.Patent on SEO is quite impossible since all seem to claim they all discovered it.

  • [Avatar for Hubport SEO specialist]
    Hubport SEO specialist
    May 27, 2009 01:45 am

    This is a certified fresh content,excellent presentation.Google and Yahoo are good search engines but there are some online marketers that uses many uncontrolled “phishing “techniques to drive more profit.

  • [Avatar for annarogers]
    March 20, 2009 07:44 am

    Interesting and informative post.

    I was looking out for a company that could provide customized and affordable SEO services and with whom I could touchbase on a daily basis. I was very impressed with the professionalism and quick response time of Seo Traffic Spider and hired their full time SEO services. Its interesting that they not only offer a customized optimization plan but also provide a superb discount on their SEO combinations.

    I think this would be a helpful start for anyone looking out for highly professional seo services and who prioritize quick customer response time and chat availability. You can surely get it all here.

  • [Avatar for annarogers]
    March 10, 2009 07:44 am

    Good content.
    Just wanted to add some points here that may be helpful for those looking out for professional SEO services. There are tons of SEO companies offering different SEO packages and solutions at highly competitive rates. However, when looking our for these services, its important to not only look at the affordability factor but also what is unique about their SEO service and what differentiates them from other companies.

    While choosing an SEO company its equally important to analyze the SEO company’s website in terms of their Rankings, Yahoo links, Google index, Alexa ranking and similar such factors which indicates the company’s expertise in the field of SEO. So make sure you are doing enough research and smart work before investing your advertising spend.

  • [Avatar for Ambit Energy]
    Ambit Energy
    February 17, 2009 05:09 pm

    Great Post. Yahoo should also patent the way we search online. Like nothing has been patented already.

  • [Avatar for stephen]
    February 12, 2009 06:37 am

    Your post is very interesting.It will definitely help who are looking for seo marketing. I would like to thank you for sharing this information.

  • [Avatar for Tulsa SEO]
    Tulsa SEO
    February 11, 2009 02:45 am

    I think the idea of trying to patent anything SEO related is rather silly. As you said, search engine optimization is an evolving animal – trying to stamp anything down and own it is a fruitless effort, in my opinion. The way search engines operate for optimization is such a variable, to keep up with any sort of SEO requires constant adjustment to the state of flux within search engine algorithms.

  • [Avatar for John McCall]
    John McCall
    February 6, 2009 03:34 pm

    I like Yahoo but it doesn’t stand a chance in the search engine wars,against Google. PR values changes frequently and paid links are a no no. Google provides the most relevant search results.

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