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Google Leak: SEO Secrets Revealed (or Not?)

June 14, 2024 | Team DMB
Google Leak: SEO Secrets Revealed (or Not?)

Recently, the SEO community experienced an unprecedented event when a large amount of Google’s Search API documents were leaked to the public, providing invaluable information for marketers and agencies. The documents leaked presented some in-depth insights into how Google ranks pages, as well as other info that will significantly impact the strategies of SEO firms worldwide.

Here the team from Digital Marketing Blueprint breaks down exactly what you need to know and how your agency can adjust its tactics to gain the best ROI for clients.

Understanding the Extent of Google’s API Documents Leak

Google SEO LeaksIn addition to the insight contained regarding Google’s search ranking factors in the leaked API documents, they also included key facts about whitelists for specific sectors such as travel, politics, COVID, and Chrome browser clickstream data.

This isn’t the first time there has been a Google document leak that has benefitted marketers, but it is certainly the most significant; others were more fragmented and contained much less info. With the most recent leak, the SEO community has wide access to in-depth information that truly reveals Google’s inner operations and it’s made big waves, shaking up some of the most commonly held beliefs regarding the search engine’s ranking factors.

Transparency vs. Speculation

It’s important to note that the recent leak certainly did reveal a wealth of key SEO insights but it’s not exhaustive and the information should still be looked at with a healthy level of caution. The documents do, however, shed light and challenge some of the company’s prior public statements regarding ranking factors and other aspects.

For example, Google has repeatedly downplayed how significant user click data is in rankings but the fact that Chrome clickstream data plays a crucial role is telling. It demonstrates that some of the company’s public statements should be taken with a grain of salt.

5 Main Takeaways from Google’s API Leak

  1. Whitelists: Specific sectors like websites about COVID, politics, and travel, do receive special treatment when it comes to Google’s ranking factors. This demonstrates that Google manually intervenes to influence search factors on occasion.
  2. Adjustments to Algorithms: Google does indeed use features like “Navboost” aka “Glue” to adjust search results based on user navigation and click data. This is done via interaction metrics in an effort to fine-tune search results and prioritize links that users find helpful and engaging.
  3. User Engagement: To better understand user behavior, Google employs Chrome clickstream data, stressing the importance of user engagement. So, pages with high user interaction (longer visits/lower bounce rates) are ranked higher.
  4. Search Ranking Factors: Detailed information on over 14,000 factors that Google uses to rank search results was leaked.
  5. Quality Rating Data: Information about how Google’s quality raters assess the relevance and quality of search results was released, emphasizing the importance of high-quality, relevant content.

Common Technical Terms Explained

Here are some of the technical terms that appeared in the leaked documents:

  • EWOK: This is a quality rating platform that helps assess the overall quality of web pages. It’s part of how Google ensures that high-quality content gets prioritized in search results.
  • Glue: This refers to a system that integrates different data sources to improve search accuracy. It’s like combining multiple puzzle pieces to get a clearer picture.
  • Navboost: This is a feature that enhances the ranking of documents based on navigation and click data. Think of it as Google tweaking the results to favor links that users find helpful.

Advice for SEO Teams

Despite the limitations of the leak, the following best practices remain crucial for maintaining and improving SEO performance:

  • Staying Updated: Now it’s more important than ever to remain knowledgeable about evolving SEO trends and updates from Google. Regular professional development training and adaptation are key to remaining competitive in today’s ever-changing SEO landscape.
  • Establishing Authority: Authority online is key regardless of whether you’re a small business or a Fortune 500 company, so agencies and marketers should continue building website authority by producing valuable and reputable content. By creating detailed articles, case studies, and professional credentials you can continue highlighting your expertise.
  • Prioritizing Content Quality & User Experience: Engaging content is crucial to keep visitors on your site, in addition to ensuring it’s user-friendly, fast, and mobile-optimized.
  • Technical SEO Optimization: One of the best ways to not only improve user experience (UX) but also help your website’s pages rise in the SERPs is by optimizing its performance through technical SEO practices like enhancing page load speed, fixing broken links, and designing it to work on all devices.
  • Building a Strong Backlink Profile: Outreach-based link-building to industry-leading sources can help boost authority, credibility, and trust among potential consumers and current customers.

Insights for Agencies

For white label SEO agencies and other marketers, the Google API document leak provides incredibly valuable insights to help them align their efforts for the best performance and ROI. It will be easier for marketers to keep up with Google’s perpetually evolving algorithms in addition to boosting their campaigns organically.

However, some of the leading takeaways for SEO teams and marketing firms to keep in mind are:

Google’s E-E-A-T Considerations

Google’s recent emphasis on Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) seems, according to the recent leak, not as influential when it comes to rankings as previously thought. However, it doesn’t take away from the necessity to publish guest posts from industry experts to boost credibility, highlighting the expertise of your content creators and making certain the content on all of your sites (white label or not) is timely and unique.

User Intent Takes the Forefront

These days, user intent often takes the lead over traditional SEO aspects like links and less unique content. This means it’s important to perform thorough keyword and competitor research, as well as directly address consumer pain points. By doing this and employing analytics tools, you’ll be able to understand what consumers are searching for, and why. Then you can match your buyer’s journey and sculpt your sales funnel accordingly.

Branding Will Remain Essential

Having a standout brand that’s well-recognized outside of Google’s search channels is also an important aspect to focus on. This is because it will boost organic search rankings. Marketers can do this by creating a strong presence across all of your social media channels, online marketing efforts, and email campaigns. You should be sure to keep all of your branding (colors, logo, message) exactly the same across all of your marketing channels.

“Classic” Ranking Factors are Taking a Backseat

Although the common classic ranking factors like PageRank will still boast some relevance, things like page titles are now the most crucial component when it comes to ranking. Tips for making the most out of your approach are by including industry-relevant keywords, ensuring page titles are concise and descriptive, and also placing a primary focus on boosting user engagement metrics (i.e. time-on-page, clickthrough rates, bounce rates, etc.). Also, perform continuous updates and regular optimizations.

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