Schedule A Growth Strategy Session
Conklin Media Squiggle Favicon Logo

Understanding the Recent Google Algorithm Leak and What It Means for Your Business


Recently, a significant leak of Google’s search algorithm documents has provided us with a deeper understanding of how the search giant ranks web pages. This is a BIG deal, but it also has some even BIGGER caveats:

  1. First, Google has not publicly confirmed that these documents are even actual Google documentation. There’s some confirmation from current and former Google employees that the structure of it adheres to Google’s practices when it comes to documentation like this, and there are literally thousands of documents (which would be enor, but no official confirmation or denial from Google itself.
  2. Even if it is actually Google documentation, it gives no indication of how much or even whether each individual factor is weighted in Google’s search rankings. It’s not the exact recipe for how Google ranks pages – more just a list of ingredients and parameters that Google at least measures. Think of it as a peek at what’s inside Google’s pantry, rather than an over the shoulder look at how they bake a cake.

Nonetheless, this Google algorithm leak is monumental for the SEO world, exposing certain details about how Google monitors user behavior and could factor those items into its ranking (whether it does so or not). Some of the metrics it’s clearly monitoring are metrics that Google has previously denied outright that it even has data for.

The logical conclusion is that Google wouldn’t track data if it weren’t going to use it in some way, but again, that’s just deductive reasoning, not anything we have conclusive information about one way or the other.

What this does mean for us is that it’s a rare opportunity to validate our strategies, confirm that metrics we’ve been tracking are actually in alignment with what Google is paying attention to as well, and ensure we continue to optimize effectively.

We’ve spent a large part of the last few days reviewing the information and we’ve learned a lot. We’re already starting to develop some new strategies based on the information that’s come to light, but more than anything, these revelations underscore the accuracy and viability of our existing SEO practices at 5K and reassure us that our strategies are right on track.

What Happened

An originally-anonymous source who has since been identified as Erfan Azimi discovered and brought to light a database with thousands of leaked Google Search API documents, shedding light on the inner workings of Google’s ranking system.

It’s the first time that this level of transparency into Google’s ranking factors has ever been made public, and in some cases the metrics Google is paying attention to are in direct opposition to what it’s claimed in the past about how it ranks websites. 

Basically, Google hasn’t been honest in its public statements about how it ranks pages… our years of experience have told us that was the case based on what we’ve seen push sites toward the top of the rankings, but now there are documents straight from Google that confirm it.

These documents reveal that Google uses various metrics, including user engagement (via clicks and time spent on your website, among other things) and content quality, to rank websites. This information confirms the effectiveness of our SEO strategies, such as creating high-quality content that users actually want to engage with, building strong backlinks, and ensuring mobile-first, responsive design. 

Our commitment to these best practices is validated by this leak, proving that we have been, and continue to be, on the actual right path (even when it’s not quite aligned with Google’s public prescription for SEO) in optimizing our clients’ online presence. Here’s what that looks like:

Our Proven SEO Practices

Quality Content and Site Performance

At 5K, we insist on creating engaging, high-quality content for our clients. We understand that content is king, and it’s essential to captivate your audience with valuable information. That means they’ll stay on your site longer, click to other pages, learn more about your team, and watch your videos, all of which we now know firsthand are tremendously important ranking factors.

While we use AI extensively for ideation, outlines, organization of ideas, and research, all of our content is human-written, human-edited, and painstakingly created to maximize both keyword density (i.e. saying all the things your customers would search for when they need you) and readability.

Many of you have PowerPage™ content on your site, which is a trademarked type of page we’ve created for more than a decade using deep keyword research, a proprietary software we’ve developed in-house for content creation, and which has shown unbelievable results in earning organic traffic. If this leak has taught us anything, it’s that this approach was and is spot-on for organic ranking. (Our results taught us that anyway, but it’s nice to see that Google was right there with us all along, even if they claimed otherwise).

Our approach includes:

  • Engaging Content Creation: We craft content that not only attracts visitors but also keeps them engaged, ensuring they find the information they need.
  • Regular Updates: To stay relevant and up-to-date, we consistently update our clients’ content, reflecting the latest trends and information.
  • Optimal Site Performance: We focus on enhancing site performance and speed, ensuring a smooth and fast user experience, which is crucial for retaining visitors and improving search rankings.

High-Quality Backlinks

Building a strong backlink profile is another cornerstone of our SEO strategy. If you need a 30-second refresher on backlinks, here you go:

Backlinks are just when another website links to yours. That’s it. But not all backlinks are created equal. You want backlinks that are relevant to your industry and authoritative in their own right. Think of a backlink as an “endorsement.” If Google, in its birds-eye-view of the entire Internet, sees that sites it already trusts (using a metric we now definitively know exists called siteAuthority, which Google had denied was even a thing in the past) are linking to your site, that makes it trust you more. 

Basically, you’re judged by the company you keep. If you’re getting links from websites that are outside your industry, are filled with AI-written content, or aren’t getting any traffic themselves, Google not only won’t push your site up the rankings – you’ll likely be penalized for being associated with those sites.

Example: if you’re a software company and you get a backlink from Apple, Google will treat that as a MASSIVE signal that you’re to be trusted as well. Why? Several reasons – Apple itself is massively authoritative in the software space. You’d have to contribute something truly unique and valuable for Apple to feature a link to you on their site. They don’t do that very often.

If, as that same software company, you got a backlink from your brother-in-law’s sandwich shop, Google wouldn’t care at all. It has no relevance and likely no authority.

At 5K, we emphasize:

  • Authoritative Backlinks: Our team works diligently to secure backlinks from reputable, high-traffic websites that add credibility and authority to your site.
  • Quality Over Quantity: We reject the notion of accumulating low-quality backlinks. Instead, we focus on obtaining fewer, but highly valuable backlinks that significantly boost your site’s authority.

What We Learned and What You Can Expect from Us

Any time this level of information becomes public, there are bound to be lessons and our job as your business growth partner is to stay educated and informed. Even for our team, there were a few surprises that we’ll be rolling into future SEO strategies and that you can expect to hear from us about during our next calls with your team.

Importance of Click Metrics

One of the most critical revelations from the Google algorithm leak is the emphasis on click metrics like time on site and user engagement. These metrics tell Google how much value users find in your content.

Strategies to Enhance Click Metrics:

  • Interactive Tools: Implementing tools that solve specific problems for your audience can keep them engaged.
  • Videos: High-quality, informative videos can capture attention and encourage longer visits.
  • Calculators and AI Chatbots: Offering interactive elements like calculators and AI chatbots can improve user experience and increase time spent on your site.

Brand Awareness and Multi-Channel Traffic

Another significant takeaway is the importance of building your brand and driving traffic from diverse sources. Google values brand-specific searches and traffic coming from various platforms, indicating your brand’s popularity and authority.

Strategies to Build Brand Awareness and Drive Traffic:

  • Engaging Content Across Various Media: Creating compelling content in multiple formats, such as videos, images, and podcasts, helps reach a wider audience.
  • Paid Advertising Campaigns: Leveraging content for paid campaigns on platforms like Meta, LinkedIn, and YouTube can enhance visibility and drive targeted traffic.

Social Media Engagement: Actively engaging with your audience on social media channels increases brand recognition and directs more visitors to your site.

Conclusion – What’s Next?

This Google algorithm leak has given our team important insights into the intricate workings of search rankings. It’s a BIG deal and connects a lot of dots from Google’s past public statements, results from SEO experts around the world, and even things like the testimony to Congress made by Google executives about how their search algorithm works. Google is where the world goes for information, and when they’re incidentally or intentionally misleading, it matters.

At 5K, this information validates the effectiveness of our current SEO practices and reassures us that we’re on the right track when it comes to our only real goal – making your business more profitable. By continuing to focus on creating high-quality, engaging content, building authoritative backlinks, and ensuring mobile-first, responsive design, we are well-positioned to continue helping your business succeed. The new insights we’ve learned will help guide our future strategies, ensuring that we stay ahead of the curve and continue to deliver exceptional results for our clients.

As always, if you have any questions or would like to discuss how we can further optimize your online presence, let’s talk. We’re here as your partners in business growth, no matter what the landscape looks like.

5K Team

5K Team

Our team helps companies to increase revenue, decrease costs, increase efficiency, and scale employees using digital marketing and Ai technology.


Subscribe Now

Get the Latest
Industry Insights

Are you ready to grow?


By providing an email address and phone number, you agree to receive email and text messages related to your request for information about our marketing services.