Why The Google Algorithm Leak Matters

Why The Google Algorithm Leak Matters

The recent leak of internal Google documents, give the public revealing details about the company's search ranking algorithms. (Google has said they are legit.)

I've heard quite a few tech pundits, including Tom Merritt, who is my favorite of all of them, downplay the leak.

What gets me is that many of these "pundits" have NO IDEA what the heck they're talking about when it comes to search engine optimization. They're tech pundits not SEO/Marketing pundits for a reason.

This leak matters for a number of reason. And a big one is that they've denied for so many years certain aspects of the algorithm that many of us marketers/SEOs have known were in fact true. An example is Dwell Time. That's the time that a person stays on one page before dropping off. It might result in a bounce if they didn't visit any other page, but it's significant because that page held their attention for a longer period of time. Google has denied this was a factor in rankings.

Rand Fishkin, formerly of Moz and now of Sparktoro, has a great 11 minute video that everyone should watch on this.

I know many will ask why Google should give up their special sauce. I'm not advocating for them to do that, but to outright lie brings up credibility issues.

The media is going to have a field day with this.

The leak is important for many reasons. Some of which are:

  1. Transparency and Honesty Concerns
    The leak suggests that Google may have been dishonest or lacking in transparency about certain factors influencing its search rankings. This contradicts the company's public statements and raises questions about its credibility and trustworthiness.
  2. Potential Confirmation of Long-Suspected Ranking Factors
    The documents appear to confirm the importance of factors like domain authority, link metrics, content freshness, page titles, and user engagement signals (ex. clicks) in Google's ranking algorithms. While many of these were already suspected by SEO professionals, the leak provides potential validation.
  3. Insights into Personalization and Vertical-Specific Algorithms
    The leak suggests that Google may use different ranking factors for specific verticals like local search, e-commerce, and news. It also hints at the potential use of personalization data, such as Chrome browser history, in ranking results.
  4. Impact on SEO Strategies
    If the leaked information is accurate, it could lead to shifts in how SEO professionals optimize websites and content for better Google rankings. Factors like link building, content freshness, and on-page optimization may take on renewed importance. Now I know people are saying that lots of this data is old. True, but it can still be used and analysed.

The proof of the validity of the leak has been confirmed by Google. This leak has sparked significant discussion within the SEO community.

The leak highlights the ongoing tension between Google's desire to protect its algorithms and the demand for transparency from businesses and users relying on its search engine.

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