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Google Search API leaks: All you need to know [LIVE BLOG]

2 mins read

This is a developing story. We will keep this blog updated with major developments and relevant advice.

What's happened?

A tonne of internal Google documents that relate to their Search algorithm were leaked. They'd been out in the ether since March 2024, maybe longer in other languages, but came to prominence in May.

Initially they were Google confirmed to The Verge that the 2,500 leaked API documents were indeed genuine.

They weren’t quite a full disclosure of how Search ranks sites (and therefore a cheat code for what exactly needs to be done in order to rank your site) but they did give lots of other once-secret/rumoured insights.

How did the SEO community respond?

The SEO industry essentially split into 2 camps as a result of the leaks:

  1. “We knew this stuff. Don’t read too much into it. Stop making wild assumptions.”

    Kinda like Ahref’s Patrick Stox said,

    “Many SEOs are saying that the ranking factors leaked. I haven’t seen any code or weights, just what appear to be descriptions and storage info. Unless one of the descriptions says the item is used for ranking, I think it’s dangerous for SEOs to assume that all of these are used in ranking.”

  2. “No, we did not already know all this stuff. Do read into it. And we should make some strategic changes to how we operate when it comes to SEO.

    See Search Engine Land’s post by Michael King and SparkToro’s Rand Fishkin as the leaders of this camp.

What do we advise?

We have always been advocates of concentrating on your readers/potential customers as opposed to pleasing Google's secret search metrics.

That said, it's not that simple. Life rarely is.

You have to give your content (and content producers) some tactical steer to best play the odds of bringing SERP traffic to your site.

So, we advise taking note of of the following notes and action points:

  1. Content authors do matter.
    If you didn’t switch to using named authors when it became a thing for company blogs circa 2010s, you need to go do some switching now so you can build up authority voices for the search engine spiders to index as a whole.
  2. Clickstream matters to an unknown extent.
    If Rand Fishkin is considering his zero-click mentality (going 'no-click, value up front' was his big bet in the past 12 months), you should too. Had you gone all in on this? We're blending this approach with the typical 'see more on our website' approach and will keep pivoting as platforms demand it (looking at you LinkedIn).
  3. SEO-friendly page titles really do matter.
    At one time, the mindset was to do titles that were purely longtail keywords. It worked. Until it didn't. Then solely creative/intriguing titles were pushed. Guess what... turns out, somewhere in the middle was best. Do use keywords (or search-like wording) but try to blend UX and entertainment (creative titles) in the mix without becoming too dry.
  4. 60-70 character limit is a myth.
    I'd take this one with another pinch of salt though: Whilst Google's spiders might crawl beyond 60-70 characters when reading your title, be conscious of what actually gets shown on the SERP as that's what your actual human readers will see. Front-load the value.
  5. Remember, all of this is just tactics.
    Put the bulk of your content energy into making engaging content that helps your customers and prospects. Everything else is essentially just tactical.

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