When Google May Add Geographic Locations for Entities to SERPs

by Posted @ Oct 18 2019


Sometimes Google rewrites titles to Web Pages.

If you search for the Space Needle in Seattle, you may just search for [space needle]. Many other people may have searched for [space needle seattle] Because they included the location in their queries, Google may know that the geographic location so the entity space needle is Seattle. This approach to identifying geographic locations for entities is the focus of an updated Google patent, which now tells us that it may add that location to a page title when doing a search for an entity like that.

A Google Blog post from 2012 has former Webmaster Evangelist Pierre Far telling us about Better page titles in search results.

Recently people are reporting that Google is adding locations to Page titles, such as “NYC” for a service in New York City, when the query didn’t include a geographic location in it.

Google does have a patent on finding geographic locations for entities in search queries. It was recently updated by Google to show something new – geographic information in page titles. I first wrote about that patent in 2012, and a new version of it was filed by Google in 2016.

New Claims have been filed for this version of the patent: – US10437861 – Inferring geographic locations for entities appearing in search queries

I did write up a detailed post about the older version of the patent back in 2012:
Old post about the older version of this patent: How Google Might Use Query Logs to Find Entity Locations

One part of the patent where the new version of the patent is different from the older version is this part:

17. The one or more non-transitory computer-readable media of claim 13, wherein returning the data comprises one or more of:
providing text that identifies the at least one geographic location;
providing search results relevant to the at least one geographic location;
providing a map that shows at least one geographic location; or
providing a link to a map that shows at least one geographic location.

It is possible that Google has been adding locations to titles in search results since around or slightly before 2016, which is when this newer version of the patent was filed, with updated claims to reflect a change in processes used in the patent.

Google may understand that a page you may be looking for may be associated with a particular place under this patent, because Google can look at previous queries that a page was found for, and if a number of those queries in Google’s query logs show that a page was found with queries that included geographic locations in them, then it may associate that location with that page. Under the older version of the patent, it may have returned the page without making changes to the search result. Under this newer version of the patent, the new claim tells us that they may provide text or search results showing the geographic location.

And that is why Google may sometimes add geographic locations for entities to a search result for a query that doesn’t include a location in it.

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