9 Insights from the Google Leak to Help You Look at SEO Differently

Jun 5, 2024

Last month, a major Google data leak occurred, giving us a unique opportunity to gain insight into how Google ranks websites. With over 2,596 modules and 14,014 attributes documented in the API, a wealth of information is available to enhance your SEO strategy. By leveraging this data, you can optimize your website to be more appealing to Google, increasing your organic traffic.

Would you like to start by learning the basics of SEO?


What We Learned from the Google Data Leak

We will examine some fascinating findings from the data leak and analyze how they could potentially influence your website’s search engine optimization (SEO).


Backlinks Still Matter

A backlink, also referred to as an inbound or incoming link, is a hyperlink created when one website links to another website. The leaked documents confirm that link diversity and relevance continue to be crucial factors in Google’s ranking algorithm. Backlinks from high-authority and relevant sites can enhance your site’s credibility and ranking. The more organic, high-quality backlinks you have the higher you shall rank.


Prioritize Link Relevance from High-Traffic Sites

The leaked information suggests that Google prioritizes quality over quantity. Obtaining links from high-traffic websites that are relevant to your website’s content will have a greater impact on your ranking than receiving numerous links from unknown websites.


Toxic Backlinks Are Real

It has been confirmed that toxic backlinks are not a myth. Toxic backlinks, also known as bad backlinks, are incoming links that can have a negative impact on your website’s visibility in search engine results pages. The existence of a ‘badbacklinksPenalized’ feature has been verified through the leaked documents. Those who buy backlinks or are part of backlink chains may be penalized; these are SEO strategies you should stay away from.

To protect your website further and check for toxic backlinks, it’s important to regularly audit your backlink profile and disavow any toxic links.


Importance of SEO and UX Collaboration

It has become more clear that SEO rankings is not only about text, but also about user experience (UX). Google’s algorithm emphasizes the value of session success. A successful session can be a long visit or a quick one; it all depends on whether the user finds what they’re looking for. Users going back to Google and clicking on other links are a bad signal, for example.

It is essential to have your website properly structured so the visitor can easily digest its content. Ensuring that your website is easy to navigate, with pages broken down into sections, and maintaining consistent fonts, titles, and colors will provide a positive user experience (UX). Everything from the graphics and artwork on the page, to the way the content is organized into different sections does impact UX.

If you want to learn more about how graphic design impacts SEO, you can check it out here.

This emphasizes the importance of close collaboration between SEO, copywriters, graphic design, and especially web design teams. SEO drives traffic to your site, while UX ensures that visitors can easily find the information they need and are motivated to stay.


Consider Content Diversity

Google might restrict the number of pages for specific types of content that show up in the search engine results pages (SERPs). When doing keyword research, it’s crucial to examine the SERPs to determine which content formats are ranking. If blog posts are predominantly appearing in the results and it seems unlikely that you can outrank them, you should think about producing different types of content, such as videos or infographics.


Choose Originality Over Length

Long-form content has been a pillar of successful SEO campaigns and continues to be important. However, the leaked data suggests that original content may be more important than content length. Focus on creating unique and original content that helps visitors find what they are looking for. Lastly, make sure to keep your content updated as things change and as competitors try to copy you.


Blog Copycats Are Punishable

The `BlogPerDocData` module includes a copycat score tied to the docQualityScore, suggesting that Google measures duplication specifically for blog posts. To avoid penalties, ensure your blog content is original and not duplicated from other sources. Regularly update and expand your posts to stay ahead of competitors.


SiteAuthority – Google’s Hidden Metric

Google may use a metric called siteAuthority. This means that a page from a well-established, high-traffic website will likely rank higher than a page from a brand-new domain, all else being equal. This implies that new or small websites may struggle to rank well in SEO compared to larger sites. A total bummer for smaller and upcoming businesses!


Click Baits and Spam May Be Punished?

One interesting factor, which goes against what some might have believed, is that domain names that exactly match unbranded search queries, such as SanDiegoRealtorExpert.com or CaliforniaBestMarketingAgency.com, may be considered spam signals and actually hurt your rankings.


What Has Google Said About the Leak

Google told SEO experts, marketing agencies, and the public to be careful with this leak. Google stated that a lot of assumptions are being drawn based on outdated, incomplete, and out-of-context data. Google added that search ranking signals are constantly changing. No specifics have been mentioned.



The Google data leak provides invaluable insights into the intricacies of the ranking algorithm. By understanding and implementing these findings, small and medium-sized businesses can enhance their SEO strategies and improve their online presence. Focus on creating captivating content, building quality backlinks, aligning SEO with UX, leveraging SERP format diversity, and prioritizing originality to stay competitive in the ever-evolving digital landscape.


Want more SEO tips for your small business? Check them out.

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