“Brands are how we sort out the cesspool.”

This famous quote from Eric Schmidt, President of Google, gives us insight into the importance of brands when determining what search results to offer in response to customer queries.

How do you know a word is a brand?  Google codes up the clues into mathematical algorithms.

Google’s advanced and interlacing set of logical statements make it possible for a computer to sense what is and isn’t a brand. And, using logic strings, Google computers can gauge what brands matter most. What is most intriguing is that these algorithms are influenced by marketing tactics and results much like human brains.

The SEOMOZ.org blog “Whiteboard Friday” discussed some of Google’s patent applications and their recent acquisition of a company called Metaweb that sniffs out entities based on context, content and word usage. Google algorithms now can possibly:

  • Study the appearance of certain words and repetition of text content
  • Track frequency of use
  • Assessment of context of use and how text is positioned.
  • Follow what kinds of sites these words appear in, including news sites and retailers
  • See if the word gets talked about in links and in social media posts (and even in email as Google owns Gmail)
  • Note that the word appears in advertising (Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick gives it more power in this area)
  • Check if the word appears in patents, licenses catalogs, product reviews
  • Record how the word is used in search and what people click on as a result

If a word is used often, is mentioned on lots of different contexts like news Web sites, product review service, in blogs, in social media in advertising and in stores, it might just be a brand.