Click Distance: A Microsoft Search Patent

Aug 20, 2012 • 7:22 am | comments (3) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Bing SEO
 

Click DistanceA WebmasterWorld thread points to an older Microsoft Patent application named System and method for ranking search results using click distance.

The patent is about using the distance of a click in search rankings. Here is the abstract:

Search results of a search query on a network are ranked according to an additional click distance property associated with each of the documents on the network. The click distance is measurement of the number clicks or user navigations from a page or pages on the network designated as highest authority or root pages on the network. The precision of the results is increased by the addition of the click distance term when the site or intranet where the search query takes place is hierarchically structured.

In short, how many clicks it takes to get from the home page to a specific internal web page.

This is a common concern for many SEOs. The quicker the click from the home page to a specific document, typically the better that document will rank. Why? Well, typically your home page has the highest link authority and passing that link juice down can only go so far.

Senior WebmasterWorld member, Sgt_Kickaxe, summed up his thoughts in the thread:

- there is a maximum value
- click distance values are merged with other factors upon ranking
- each document receives a score
- a "Uniform Resource Locator" depth property smoothes the effect of the click distance on the relevance score
- arranged in a descending order of relevance

With the above in mind it is seemingly important to make a lot of pages easily accessible from links on the index page and that the links had best lead directly to pages that are highly related to the index page.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Image credit to ShutterStock for highway

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Comments:

Michael Martinez

08/20/2012 07:55 pm

Well, this may lead to yet more unnecessarily bloated menu code that will in turn lead to yet more preventable Website downgrades....

Mike Levin

08/21/2012 02:40 pm

While it's a Microsoft patent, no one should be surprised about click-distance from the homepage being a relevancy signal. Even under PageRank, most incoming links go to the homepage boosting it's authority, which "trickles down" from there throughout the site. This is a very similar thing.

Michael Merritt

08/22/2012 01:48 pm

Seems to me that there's the risk of going overboard and having too many irrelevant links from the homepage. If this patent really is part of their algorithm, people need to see it as only PART of the algorithm. It may be that this is weighed very little compared to other related signals. But I don't think I'm saying anything that isn't already well known.

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