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Bill Slawski
Works at Go Fish Digital
Attended Widener University School of Law
Lives in Warrenton, Virginia
30,676 followers|1,059,776 views


+Michael King has done a great job with blog posts, shared slides, and presentations in describing different ways that he learns about audiences. This should be pretty exciting.
Ep 21: We are excited to have +Michael King join our regular Tuesday   #isoosichat  on April 15th with roundtable regulars +Ammon Johns+Bill Slawski, +Carlos Fernandes and +Erik Stafford

Understanding the target audience has always been a key element to successful marketing, however many businesses often forget the importance of it in their online activities.

Irrespective of the channel - search, social, video, email - and the content by which you aim to attract them to your offerings, understanding  your target market mix is crucial for success.

In this hangout we'll discuss with Mike the subject of online personas and methodologies he has used over the years to help him use these to great effect.

We'll discuss the use of user demographic tools and analysis to help build up more accurate data driven representations of market segments... and the ideal customer avatar for your business.

Why is this so important? If you know your audience, you then can tailor the content and user experience to suit and subsequently improve the rate of conversion. 

Using data to build clear images of segments and personas can transform  your online presence considerably. Not only in terms of reaching the audience more effectively...  but also how you communicate to them when they're "in front" of you.

Personalizing the experience, building the trust and improving the chance to persuade and convert!
This Hangout On Air is hosted by ISOOSI Research Engine. The live video broadcast will begin soon.

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His latest post on Moz on defining  buyer personas was epic. This should be a great HOA. 
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If Google Tracked Pressure Sensor Information From Phones...

Weather forecasts could be significantly improved, save lives, and help people. While traffic estimation information from sensors is nice, this pressure data could be a world changer.
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Interesting read +Bill Slawski thanks for sharing
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+Gianluca Fiorelli I don't see the reference in that wiki page, maybe I'm missing something. Haven't heard of Ammunaki myself, though. 

Scalable? Not sure what you're referring to (sorry). Are we talking about Google without talking about Google lol.
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Panda's Patent and the Panda Update

Google's Navneet Panda, father of Google's Panda Update, had his first US patent granted today. Does it contain clues as to how the update, focusing upon search quality and search rankings, works?
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It was tempting, but I had been writing a blog post about the patent I called the "hummingbird patent" for a week before Google announced the update, and almost did a Google Hangout about it that Thursday afternoon with +Max Minzer before it was announced. It was one of 4 patents that described a new framework for handling search entities to rank web pages. Amit Singhal's example was just too similar to the example from the patent for me to have any doubt. :)
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Make it easy for Google to identify entities on your pages!
Search engines have increasingly been incorporating elements of semantic search to improve some aspect of the search experience — for example, using markup to create enhanced displays in SERPs (as in Google’s rich snippets). Elements of semantic search are now present at almost all stages of the search process, and the Semantic Web has […]
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Useful post +Bill Slawski thanks for sharing.
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A Closer Look at Navneet Panda's Patent

The process described in "Ranking Search Results" is one which was penned by someone with a search quality perspective, rather than a web spam fighter's squint at a gun fight.

I look at how pages on a site are broken into groups, how a ratio independent link counts over referring queries is multiplied by a score involving how much pages are like navigational query results to determine ranking scores for pages on a site.

The patent may not provide a roadmap to explain how the Panda Update ultimately worked, but it does look like the first map that may have been made in that process.
Gianluca Fiorelli's profile photoBarrie Moran's profile photoNirmal Pattanaik's profile photoBill Slawski's profile photo
Lol +Bill Slawski .. because all his friends are in Gotham city.
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I'm looking forward to this HOA - should be informative and fun. See you there!
Special Guest: Dr. Peter J. Meyers

Our special guest for the 1st April is known to you all as Dr Pete of Moz, but you may be less aware of his long and detailed background in psychology and usability.

As part of our ongoing interest in persuasion and conversion, +Pete Meyers will be joining our #isoosichat  regulars to discuss the science and statistics of #conversion  and success, which is so closely allied to #usability  and persuasive design. 

Join +Bill Slawski +Carlos Fernandes +Erik Stafford  and +Ammon Johns  for what I'm certain will be a very informative and entertaining roundtable discussion.
This Hangout On Air is hosted by ISOOSI Research Engine. The live video broadcast will begin soon.
Conversion Science with Dr. Peter J. Meyers
Tue, April 1, 3:00 PM
Hangouts On Air

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Google Ranking Signals - Topical Authority

Authority plays multiple roles in how Google may rank pages in search, from local search to organic search to authorship-based search results.  We see people using "authority" to describe the effect of links from government sites and educational sites, though there's actually little to support the importance of such links or the "authority" of such sources.

Local Search Authority

How authoritative is a web page for a query, or a business location, or a category or an entity? We know that Google attempts to assess such values, and one of the patent filings they published on local search described how they might assign a specific web page to a business location for purposes of Google Maps, in "Authoritative document identification".

I wrote about the patent with the following post:

Authority Documents for Google's Local Search

Authority for a location may look at a number of signals, that might include such things as:

(1) The page has links pointing to it from pages that that mention all or part of the location or the business name.

(2) The page has links pointing to it where the anchor text matches all or part of the business name.

(3) The page has a title matching all or part of the business name.

(4) The domain name of the page matches all or part of the name of the business name.

(5) The business is associated with a single location

Authority for Query Phrases and Categories

There are a number of signals that might be used to determine how "authoritative" a page or site might be for specific queries or categories.

In the patent filing "Propagating useful information among related web pages, such as web pages of a website", we are told that some pages might be more authoritative than others for certain query phrases and for business locations (this patent shares an inventor with the one above). The patent is at:


Some of the signals that might be used to identify "authority" on a page or site as described in this patent:

(1) The term is used in references to the page such as links.

(2) The term is used in places like a business name in directories like a the Yellow Pages entry, showing the home page as the website for the business.

(3) The term is used in the domain name.

(4) The term is a registered trademark, associated with the home page of the Website.

(5) As a "strength of confidence score", the probability the search query term will provide a good search result which users will click upon, and stay for a while before returning back to the search results to click upon a different result.

(6) Other sources showing a Website is authoritative for a term.

Navigational queries

Some queries are navigational queries in that when someone performs a search for them, it's not as if they were looking for information about them, but rather that they were trying to visit that page. For example, when I type "ESPN" into my search toolbar, I don't want to find information about the network, but instead want to visit it. Maybe that has something to do with the site not being at, but instead at But, Google will show ESPN as the top result in response to my query.

Google does have a patent on navigational queries, which is:

Navigational resources for queries

The abstract for the patent tells us in part:

If a quality score for the revised query is greater than a quality score threshold and a navigation score for the revised query is greater than a navigation score threshold, then a navigational resource for the revised query is identified and associated with the candidate query. The association specifies the navigational resource as being relevant to the candidate query in a search operation.

I've broken down the patent in my post, HOW GOOGLE MAY IDENTIFY NAVIGATIONAL QUERIES AND RESOURCES, located at:

The patent describes looking at query sessions and click logs to see what people select when searching for a specific query. It uses information such as long clicks to determine whether or not people intended to go to specific pages based upon those long clicks (a measure of user satisfaction with the page clicked upon). This helps to identify if a query is a navigational one, with a specific page as an "authoritative" result for that query.

Entity Association

Google attempts to understand when a query contains a named entity within it, and may associate a specific web site with that entity. We see this described in the patent

Query rewriting with entity detection,536,382.PN.&OS=pn/7,536,382&RS=PN/7,536,382

The abstract for the patent tells us:

A system receives a search query, determines whether the received search query includes an entity name, and determines whether the entity name is associated with a common word or phrase. When the entity name is associated with a common word or phrase, the system generates a link to a rewritten query, performs a search based on the received search query to obtain first search results, and provides the first search results and the link to the rewritten query. When the entity name is not associated with a common word or phrase, the system rewrites the received search query to include a restrict identifier associated with the entity name, generates a link to the received search query, performs a search based on the rewritten search query to obtain second search results, and provides the second search results and the link to the received search query.

If you do a search at Google for [space needle hours], you'll see that the first 4-5 results are from, which Google appears to have associated with the entity, "Space Needle".

Authorship and Topical Authority

We don't seem to have a logged out Agent Rank or Author Rank in use by Google at the moment, except possible in Google's "In Depth articles, but in private search results (logged in, where social results are turned on), we do seem to see relevant results from people who are connected to us. We don't know all the details on how those are ranked, but there is a series of patents from Google that do describe the use and importance of topical authority for pages and how that may be determine.

I linked to one of those with this post, but the whole series is worth exploring in more detail. I include links to those in the post, GOOGLE PATENTS ON AUTHOR SIGNATURE VALUES AND AUTHORITY SCORES, at

Authors may be associated with topics that they write about, and be seen as having some level or amount of authority on those topics.

Google does use the term "authority" in a few different ways to determine how it might make associations between different businesses and websites, between different entities and web sites, between different queries and websites, and between authors and the content that they might create.

Exploring how Google might see something, or someone as authoritative may open up some opportunities to you.
A method and system for determining topical authority may include receiving topic information for a document, the information including at least one topic and a weight for eac...
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Thanks, +Bill Gassett :)
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Google Ranking Signals - Trust

Google uses Trust as a ranking signal. But not Yahoo's Trustrank algorithm as way too many people would have you believe.

"TrustRank" is NOT Google's algorithm, and too many people have been saying that it is. Just because Yahoo doesn't have their own search engine anymore doesn't mean that either Google or Bing can start using trustrank. And would they really want to anyway?

Trustrank is based on the assumption that good sites link to good sites. The whitepaper behind it (there's also a yahoo patent) is:

Combating Web Spam with TrustRank

Google does not use TrustRank. Google does use trust, but not "Trustrank."

Google does have a patent for a kind of trust rank, as described in a patent from Ramanathan Guha titled, "Search result ranking based on trust".,603,350.PN.&OS=pn/7,603,350&RS=PN/7,603,350

This is tied to annotations made by people creating Google custom search engines, and labels for different pages that help describe and define the contents of those pages. Since the people creating these annotations have a expertise in the subject matter of their custom search engines, they might be identified as trusted sources, and their annotations may influence the rankings of the things they've labeled.

I wrote about it a few years ago in:

Google Trust Rank Patent Granted

AT the point, I was wondering if there really were that many Google Custom search engines for the approach to actually be useful.

Another algorithm where Google has trust play a role doesn't directly impact rankings in search results, but instead locations of business in Google Maps. People who suggest changes in Google Map Maker may accrue a certain level of trust, which means that their suggestions might be believed and acted upon. A paper on the algorithm:

Reputation Systems for Open Collaboration

As far as we know, Google hasn't officially started to use an Agent Rank system, except maybe for in depth articles.  But, they have come out with three versions of the Agent Rank patent, with the last 2 being continuation patents where they've updated the claims section of the patents.

All of the Agent Rank patents tell us that they might limit giving value to endorsements (links, shares, comments, responses, etc.) to "trusted" Agents. This could mean another role for trust, possibly similar to the way that trust is used in Map Maker, where certain criteria or thresholds might need to be met first before reputation might be given to others, based upon sharing. 

Given that such an approach might be helpful in filtering out people attempting to manipulate something like a reputation score based upon an Agent Rank, it would make sense to limit improvements to reputation scores based upon endorsements from trusted agents.
The present invention provides methods and apparatus, including computer program products, implementing techniques for searching and ranking linked information sources. The te...
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The devil's in the details. :)
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Be Proactive, Be Prescient, and Be Successful!

If you're paying careful attention, if you're looking in the right places, you can see trends about to emerge in online marketing. It can be a competitive advantage to pay attention, and can help in avoiding problems and penalties.

This should be a fun discussion, and I'm looking forward to it. See you there!
Special Guest:  Danny Sullivan

One of the things that either makes people love or hate SEO the most is how things constantly change.  To those who have been in the industry more than 15 years, even all the pace of change today doesn't seem as extreme in many ways as the days when each month there might be yet another upcoming search engine, or the closure of a search engine you'd used to optimise for and got good traffic from.  In this epic Roundtable discussion, industry leader +Danny Sullivan  joins the regular ISOOSI panel (+Ammon Johns, +Bill Slawski and +Carlos Fernandes)   to talk about how change should be dealt with, anticipated, and adapted to.

We'll look at the truth in the old saying "The more things change, the more they stay the same", looking at some of the constant factors of SEO, not least that people themselves have not (yet) changed nearly so much.
We'll talk about wether Google's dominance is now too great to challenge, or if a serious potential rival is already out there, be it Apple, or some less-expected challenger.

We will look ahead at some of the changes we expect, and discuss ways to deal with such changes.  We'll talk about the things we don't expect to change much over the next few years, which may therefore be the most 'future-proof' areas to invest in for value.

We'll also talk about changes to the industry of web marketing itself, drawing upon Danny's insights running SMX as a sign of what people are most (and least) interested in learning today.
This Hangout On Air is hosted by ISOOSI Research Engine. The live video broadcast will begin soon.
Change: The Constant of SEO
Tue, March 25, 3:00 PM
Hangouts On Air

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Thanks, +Tom Bates :)
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SEO / Internet Marketing Consultant
  • Go Fish Digital
    Director of Search Marketing, 2013 - present
  • SEO by the Sea
    President and Internet Marketing Consultant, 2005 - present
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Warrenton, Virginia
Newark, Delaware - Hillsborough, New Jersey
Interested in seo, search engines, searchers' behaviors, the future of search, music, the environment, and how the Web works.
I grew up in New Jersey and Ohio, studied at the University of Delaware and Widener University School of Law, and spend a lot of my time either doing SEO, looking at the code behind web pages or with my nose buried in a search-related patent.

I presently live in the Virginia Piedmont, about 50 miles west of Washington, DC in a county filled with horse pastures and farm fields.

I enjoy reading fiction and science fiction, listening to most types of music, delving into  the history behind small towns, out door photography, and exploring nature.

I am the Founder and President of SEO by the Sea, and I like working with people with their web sites, to help make them easier to find, and easier to use.

Some posts I've written in the past that focus upon analyzing patents from the search engines:

I am the Director of Search Marketing at Go Fish Digital.

I am often called a patent analyst or patent expert or patent guru by many people and bloggers and media writers, but my job is not to analyze or interpret patents. I do that for fun, and to learn things about search engines and search that I otherwise couldn't. I consider it performing due diligence and feeding my curiosity - the information behind many business models and algorithms that search engines use are being made public, and it's worth taking the time and making the effort to read through them and trying to understand what they say and why they say it.

Bragging rights
Reads patents for fun
  • Widener University School of Law
  • University of Delaware
  • Hillsborough High School
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Other names
The Afro-American Historic Association of Fauquier County shows off images and artifacts from local people and places in the area. The exhibits stretch from Egypt to the election of President Obama. To me, the most powerful of the exhibit items is the Slave Cage outside of the museum from the 1850s, which is haunting.
Public - a month ago
reviewed a month ago
A great place to get local and healthy foods and produce, including farm fresh meats, cheeses, and many other products straight from the farm itself. I enjoy shopping at the farm market because I find myself wanting to sample everything I've purchased as soon as I get home and start unpacking my bags (sometimes I don't wait that long). The people who work there clearly love the place, and I'm usually asked more than once if I need any help, or have any questions. The store also includes lots of baked goods at great prices, honey and salsas and chutneys and many types of pickled produce from local manufacturers. They also carry organic goods and gluten-free mixes
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Public - 7 months ago
reviewed 7 months ago
3 reviews
The best BBQ I've ever eaten was in a roofless wooden shack just outside of Dallas, serving ribs and pulled pork, brisket and chorizos, fried okra and cornbread, and more. It's a long way from Virginia to Dallas.Fortunately, the second best BBQ I've eaten is about a six minute drive away, at a truck stop down the Seminole trail. If you like BBQ, and you get a chance to stop by, you definitely should. It's not fine dining, but it's definitely good eating.I have half my meal left, and if I wasn't full, it might not last too long. Other reviews I've read have pointed out the location, decor, and atmosphere of the truck stop, and if you drive past, it might not be a place you'd consider stopping at. If you like ribs or pulled pork though, that would be a mistake.
• • •
Food: ExcellentDecor: Poor to fairService: Very good
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago