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Patent Application #20120016857 appears to be for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Here is its claim 1:

A computer-readable medium comprising computer-readable instructions for providing search engine optimization analysis, wherein execution of said computer-readable instructions by one or more processors causes said one or more processors to carry out steps comprising:

  • obtaining a starting uniform resource locator identifying a network location for a starting web resource;
  • analyzing said starting uniform resource locator, wherein said analyzing comprises obtaining a text-based portion of said starting web resource comprising data and metadata, processing said data and said metadata to determine a plurality of potential target terms, and performing a relevancy test of said text-based portion of said starting web resource based on said plurality of potential target terms;
  • determining any referred uniform resource locators in said text-based portion of said starting web resource, wherein said referred uniform resource locators each identify a referred web resource sharing a domain with said starting web resource;
  • recursively analyzing said referred uniform resource locators, said recursive analysis comprising obtaining an additional text-based portion of a referred web resource; processing additional data and additional metadata in said additional text-based portion of said referred web resource to determine additional potential target terms for each referred web resource, and performing an additional relevancy test of said additional text-based portion of each referred web resource based on said additional potential target terms for each referred web resource;
  • analyzing a link index of a network comprising said starting uniform resource locator to determine web resources linking to said web resources associated with said starting uniform resource locator and said referred uniform resource locators;
  • calculating an internal search engine optimization score based on said analysis and said recursive analysis;
  • calculating an external search engine optimization score based on said link index;
  • providing a graphical report comprising a visualization of statistical information related to search engine optimization; and
  • providing a domain visualization map comprising a graphical network representation of said statistical information for said starting uniform resource locator and said referred uniform resource locators.

I have been doing SEO for a few mom and pop stores and recently someone pointed me to this patent. Once you start reading the patent, it becomes clear that the patent could be for a search engine, rather than the optimisation, but the title suggests otherwise.

Is there prior art for SEO?

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Your question would fit better into the purpose of the site if you just reworded it a bit to ask for instances of prior art for this patent. –  Michael Pryor Sep 20 '12 at 15:37
    
ScrumDude, Thank you for the question and welcome to the site. Can you add some background information and point out where you see a potential problem? A site full of patent links asking "Is this patentable?" is going to be very difficult to work with, and you won't likely get the help you need. Take a look at this post for guidance: Question Titles — What should an ideal prior art request look like? Hopefully that helps. –  Robert Cartaino Sep 20 '12 at 15:43
    
MichaelPryor Robert Thanks! –  ScrumDude432 Sep 20 '12 at 15:56
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3 Answers

up vote 14 down vote accepted

The claim is as follows:

  1. A computer-readable medium comprising computer-readable instructions for providing search engine optimization analysis, wherein execution of said computer-readable instructions by one or more processors causes said one or more processors to carry out steps comprising: obtaining a starting uniform resource locator identifying a network location for a starting web resource; analyzing said starting uniform resource locator, wherein said analyzing comprises obtaining a text-based portion of said starting web resource comprising data and metadata, processing said data and said metadata to determine a plurality of potential target terms, and performing a relevancy test of said text-based portion of said starting web resource based on said plurality of potential target terms; determining any referred uniform resource locators in said text-based portion of said starting web resource, wherein said referred uniform resource locators each identify a referred web resource sharing a domain with said starting web resource; recursively analyzing said referred uniform resource locators, said recursive analysis comprising obtaining an additional text-based portion of a referred web resource; processing additional data and additional metadata in said additional text-based portion of said referred web resource to determine additional potential target terms for each referred web resource, and performing an additional relevancy test of said additional text-based portion of each referred web resource based on said additional potential target terms for each referred web resource; analyzing a link index of a network comprising said starting uniform resource locator to determine web resources linking to said web resources associated with said starting uniform resource locator and said referred uniform resource locators; calculating an internal search engine optimization score based on said analysis and said recursive analysis; calculating an external search engine optimization score based on said link index; providing a graphical report comprising a visualization of statistical information related to search engine optimization; and providing a domain visualization map comprising a graphical network representation of said statistical information for said starting uniform resource locator and said referred uniform resource locators.

I will attemp a translation:

code for doing seo analysis by a) getting a starting webpage and figuring out the relevancy of the text on that page b) getting all the outgoing urls on the same domain, and doing the same thing recursively (so spider the website) c) looking at other web sites linking into this site d) giving the text an SEO score e) giving the links an SEO score f) showing the SEO results in picture form and g) showing the network links visually as a graph

All the pieces of this exist as prior art. The question is whether putting it together is patentable. (In certain cases, this can happen, in others it cannot - it depends on how obvious that is to a skilled practitioner in that area).

I think the best initial approach is to show prior art for all the clauses of the independent claim I quoted above, so I'm making my answer community wiki and anyone should feel free to edit it.

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I just remembered - I have used a software that was almost exactly the same. This had to be 10 or so years back, from what I recall it was marketed as a "link checker". The name - from the fog of memory, was something like "Web Analyzer" or "WebAna". I probably still have the package in storage, I will update this when I find out for sure.

In "WebAna" - one would enter a starting URL. The software would fetch the document headers, parse and prepare meta values and identifiers. It would parse the HTML content and assign some ranking values based on the text and links within, saturation, frequency, etc. The software would then go to each of the links it found and repeat this process. There was a setting to make it stop at a specific level (of link depth). When that was reached, a graphic representation was rendered on screen, with pages connected to the other pages by some logic of ranking as setup for that particular report. One could print or render HTML pages to be viewed as a (on a) website.

I'm a little short on time today, but I will try and find the exact name (or disk) and update this answer in a day or two. And some concrete links or prior art data, sorry for the rushed entry but someone else reading this may remember this product.

UPDATE 9/26

This may be it: http://www.microsystools.com/products/website-analyzer/ the current release is v4.0.9 - a posting dated March 30, 2010 on their support site yields at least that much discussion history of this product: http://webhelpforums.com/index.php?topic=9.0 the product history page at: http://www.microsystools.com/products/website-analyzer/history.php does not have absolute release dates, but the earliest dated record is v1.0 (28th of Marts 2006) which appears to be a typo for 28th of MARCH 2006 (the page is rife with typos and spelling errors).

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The definition of SEO generally describes this entire patent application. As such, the concept IS already prior art as it exists and has existed before the filing. Every search engine out there already uses the exact procedure described (Googbot defined), although the ranking and weighting system is unique to each search provider. Unless the logic of this patent application ranking/weighting/scoring system introduces some new innovation (which I don't see), this should be un-patentable.

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I don't agree with your simplification. The patent's claim has 7 parts, and some of those parts actually use the term SEO to describe the patent. This isn't a patent on SEO ranking. –  Michael Pryor Sep 25 '12 at 15:49
    
Point taken. I need to shake off the "obviousness" and focus on the prior art. –  Ron J. Sep 25 '12 at 21:23
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