Google's Paul Haahr, a lead ranking engineer at Google for 14+ years, had a nice conversation with the SEO community yesterday on Twitter.
It all started with a tweet from @Tony_DWM and it went into how sometimes trying to learn SEO tips from Google patents might be hard and potentially learning it from the full version of the quality raters guidelines might be more beneficial.
Here are some isolated tweets from the stream that I want to pull out:
@bill_slawski Also, what gets patented is a subset of what we do. There's a lot we treat as not worth patenting or "obvious."— Paul Haahr (@haahr) April 3, 2016
@bill_slawski On the other hand, the rater guidelines are intended to be clear descriptions and examples of what we think users want.— Paul Haahr (@haahr) April 3, 2016
@bill_slawski While not complete, they're meant to cover the vast majority of cases that actually show up in search today.— Paul Haahr (@haahr) April 3, 2016
@bill_slawski Plus, the rater guidelines are pretty current. (In fact, new ones went out recently.)— Paul Haahr (@haahr) April 3, 2016
@bill_slawski My summary: there's good information in patents, but there's more accessible, current, and complete stuff I'd start with.— Paul Haahr (@haahr) April 3, 2016
This is Google trying to tell us that maybe, just maybe, patents can steer us in the wrong direction and if we want more actionable advice on what Google wants today is to keep up to date with the quality raters guidelines.
Forum discussion at Twitter.
Update: Here are other tweets I should have pulled out earlier:
@bill_slawski Bill, what you do with patents is heroic and awesome – working through them and translating them for the world.— Paul Haahr (@haahr) April 3, 2016
@bill_slawski compared to a presentation that aims at explaining to the actual experts in the field as opposed to patent examiners.— Paul Haahr (@haahr) April 3, 2016
@bill_slawski (So, if someone does want to read my patents, they should start with your writeups.)— Paul Haahr (@haahr) April 3, 2016