Matt Cutts Warns Against Taking Google Patents Too Seriously

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Another day, another Matt Cutts Google Webmaster Help video to talk about. This recent one deals with how SEO professionals pay close attention to any new Google patent that is remotely related to Search or Search Quality terms, and then speculate until some believe some very incorrect ideas about how Google is operating.

Cutts was asked what the latest SEO misconception he would “like to put to rest” and you could almost see the relief in his eyes as Cutts began explaining that patents aren’t necessarily put into practice.

“Just because a patent issues that has somebody’s name on it or someone who works at search quality or someone who works at Google, that doesn’t necessarily mean we are using that patent at that moment,” Cutts explained. “Sometimes you will see speculation Google had a patent where they mentioned using the length of time that a domain was registered. That doesn’t mean that we are necessarily doing that, it just means that mechanism is patented.”

Basically, there is a practice of SEO professionals, especially bloggers and writers, to speculate based on patents they see have been filed, and this can grow to offering tips and suggestions about how to run your website based on speculation stemming from a patent that isn’t in use, which all comes together to create some widespread misinformation.

For example, consider the speculation that comes every time Apple files patents for future phones. While they’ve recently had trouble with leaking physical prototypes in various ways, in the past, Apple kept their secrets well guarded, and the speculation based on their patents were often outlandish, and at best completely wrong.

That doesn’t mean you can’t learn and make predictions based on patents, especially if you see indicators that it has been implemented, but it is important to take every patent with a grain of salt. While Google has created the mechanisms for these patents, unless you see evidence, they probably aren’t worth getting worked up over.

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