Recently, Rand Fishkin and Mike King separately reported on a documentation leak containing a large collection of internal API documents from Google. Google has since confirmed these documents to be real, but cautioned that we don’t have the full context and that SEO professionals and businesses should not try to make inaccurate assumptions from the data.

What’s in the leaked documents?

To start, the Google leaks only became widely available and public knowledge within the last couple of weeks. These internal documents, which total over 2500 pages, outline many different attributes that Google is tracking for Search, including elements such as user clicks, browser search history, domain age, authority, and much more.

Gavan Thorpe Google Leak quote

What is Boostability doing with this information?

So how will Boostability react to the leaked information, as well as how will we use this information to provide the best possible product for our clients? Let’s jump right in. 

While Boostability has been able to get a broad summary of the leaks–scouring and evaluating all that information is going to take time. It’s also important to know that within the documents no “weight” is specified for any given item, we only know that Google is, or at one point, has been tracking it. Focusing on one item without considering other factors and the greater overall picture is going to hinder efforts more than help. 

That said, there are some key takeaways:

Building Your Brand

Throughout the documentation, you can see how ranking is impacted and not just by the main company website, brand, and overall presence. This is an area most SEO professionals already agreed was quite important and an element we continue to improve and iterate on. Companies will still need comprehensive directory and local profile management. Brands will continue to need the backing of being included in many popular directories and local profiles. Brands will also continue to need consistent and accurate business information to help broaden their online presence and establish their brand throughout the internet.

Website Authority + Link Building Are Still Important

Over the last few years, link building has been continuously floated as less important throughout the industry, and in some cases, Google had also provided statements that website authority resulting from those links was not a specific item they directly tracked. Whether they were arguing semantics or not, this leaked documentation does show that it IS something they track. Having quality links is a core part of SEO, and will continue to be. Website authority and link building has been and will be a continued area of focus for testing and improvement for every SEO professional.

Helpful Content Will Always Be Critical

Focusing on helpful content has been a regular and consistent part of Google’s algorithm for years, and with the recent documentation, that seems unlikely to change. Google’s entire business is built around trying to help users find what they’re looking for, and relevant content is a key factor in that. This means, not only providing more content where it makes sense but also creating content that focuses on answering questions that users will have about your product or service–nothing new here. Having a clear content strategy will continue to be a critical part of a brand’s online presence.

We Know Google Tracks User Activity

We know Google tracks clicks, user activity, and even browser history and how those can all factor into website rankings is often controversial. How a user then interacts with your website (what pages they go to, etc.) is also tracked. If you are a regular user of Google Analytics, these items probably sound familiar to you. We know for certain Google tracks this and most likely uses it as part of its algorithm.

The Boost Breakdown

“This leak is clearly highlighting that we need to be very careful in taking not only what Google says at face value, but the search industry as a whole. The only true data you should trust is your own,” said Gavan Thorpe, Boostability’s CEO.  “There are thousands of potential factors in this leak and most if not all have been discussed by SEO professionals for years. This leak changes very little. Moving forward however, testing will be critical. True there are some factors that we will go back and revisit so we can test their validity in the current version of Google search and a number of factors we have yet to test so we will prioritize testing now, but the approach to SEO remains the same. That approach is –implement a change, test it over time, and either remove it or continue it until it is time to retest. Search is an ever-changing and evolving landscape and those that continuously test and grow will find success. Even in light of these recent Google leaked documents, the staples of SEO remain the same–clear and correct online presence, helpful and improving content.”

As always Boostability will take a measured approach to implementing updates and improvements to our products to ensure we do it right to help small businesses reach their goals.

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Mike Jensen is Boostability's Director of Marketing with more than 15+ years of digital marketing experience in a variety of industries. Mike speaks Japanese and enjoys traveling with his family. Mike is also a connoisseur of 80's music and will never give you up and never let you down.