Deciphering Google's Patent on Query Answers: A Comprehensive Guide for SEO Professionals


Note: This post was developed off an original review created by the late Bill Slawski in order to make his work more accessible to more people. The original post was called "Generating Query Answers" and was published in May of 2022.

In the ever-evolving landscape of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Google's patent on generating query answers, granted on May 3, 2022, has emerged as a significant development. This complex document provides a detailed insight into Google's methodology for generating query answers. This article aims to simplify the patent's intricate details and elucidate its potential implications for SEO strategies.

Understanding the Patent

The patent primarily revolves around how Google employs 'constraints' to generate accurate answers to queries. These constraints serve as guidelines that Google adheres to, ensuring the relevance and accuracy of the answers it provides. For instance, when a query such as "Who is the president of Japan?" is posed, Google utilizes these constraints to provide an answer that is current, accurate, and pertinent.

The Advent of Semantic SEO

The patent underscores the importance of Semantic SEO, which emphasizes the significance of the context in which words are used in content. It extends beyond mere keyword usage to include 'entities' and 'entity attributes'. An entity can be a person, place, or thing, and the entity attributes are the facts associated with that entity.

The Mechanics of Query Answer Generation

Google's search systems generate answers to factual queries by extracting facts from a database. These facts are stored in a graph that is updated in real-time. When a user poses a factual question, Google translates the facts stored in the database into a sentence in the user's language. This is achieved by accessing candidate templates for query answers based on the entity's attributes. Each candidate template comprises fields, and each field is associated with at least one constraint.

The Significance of Semantic Triples

The patent also introduces the concept of 'semantic triples', which are sets of three items that encapsulate a fact about an entity in the form of 'entity-attribute-value'. For instance, the semantic triple for the fact "Barack Obama was born in Honolulu" would be 'Barack Obama - born in - Honolulu'. Google utilizes these semantic triples to generate a phrase that answers the query.

Constraints: Google's Guiding Principles

The constraints that Google employs include a type constraint, temporal constraint, gender constraint, relationship constraint, singular/plural constraint, unit of measure constraint, and determinant constraint. These constraints serve as Google's guiding principles, ensuring that the answers it generates are accurate and relevant.

The Process of Generating Query Answers

The process of generating query answers involves several steps. Initially, Google receives a query that identifies attributes of an entity. It then accesses candidate templates for query answers based on the entity's attributes. Each candidate template comprises fields, and each field is associated with at least one constraint.

Subsequently, Google obtains a set of information that provides query answers and selects a template from the collection of candidate templates. The chosen template has the highest number of fields with constraints that satisfy the information set.

Finally, Google generates a phrase by adding the set of information to the fields of the selected template, such that the words comprise query answers. The phrase is then communicated to the user's device.

The Implications for SEO

This patent holds significant implications for SEO professionals. It indicates that Google is transitioning towards a more semantic understanding of queries, which underscores the importance of the context in which keywords are used.

This necessitates a focus not just on incorporating relevant keywords in content, but also on providing clear and accurate information about the entities those keywords relate to. This could involve providing more detailed descriptions of products or services, or including more factual information in content.

The patent also highlights the importance of structuring content in a manner that facilitates Google's understanding. This could involve using schema markup to highlight important information, or structuring content in a waythat aligns with the 'entity-attribute-value' triples that Google uses to comprehend facts.

Moreover, the patent reveals that Google is using a variety of constraints to ensure that the answers it provides to queries are accurate and relevant. This necessitates that SEO professionals be cognizant of these constraints and ensure that their content aligns with them. For example, if content pertains to a historical event, it is imperative to ensure that the content is accurate and up-to-date.


Google's patent on generating query answers, while complex, provides invaluable insights into how Google comprehends and responds to queries. By understanding the concepts and processes delineated in this patent, SEO professionals can optimize their content to better align with Google's methodology, potentially enhancing their search engine rankings and driving more traffic to their websites.

Remember, SEO extends beyond merely incorporating the right keywords into content. It also involves understanding how search engines like Google interpret and respond to that content. By understanding the principles outlined in this patent, SEO professionals can create content that not only appeals to their audience but also aligns with Google's sophisticated algorithms. This understanding is a crucial step towards optimizing SEO strategies.GRIP: Constraint-based Explanation of Missing Answers for


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