The Google Leak Confirms: Please Readers, Not Algorithms


The internet is on 🔥 about internal Google documents leaked to Rand Fishkin, co-founder of Moz, SparkToro, and all-round SEO legend. The materials confirm what we have always believed: original, helpful content beats copycat fluff in the long run.

We've distilled what you need to know about this leak and how it should inform your content strategy.

❗️ The leak provides insights into Google's ranking considerations, but it doesn't definitively confirm which factors the current algorithm uses. SEO Expert and Founder of iPullRank, Mike King, notes in his extensive analysis, "We do not know how features are weighted in the various downstream scoring functions. We don't know if everything available is being used."

What the Leak Reveals About Ranking

The leaked docs give a glimpse into Google's ranking considerations and suggest an emphasis on user engagement and site quality. Key insights:

  1. Backlinks are about quality, not just quantity: Google evaluates the relevance and authority of the linking page. Focus on earning contextually relevant, high-quality links from trusted, frequently updated pages.
  2. Engagement is the new SEO frontier: Metrics like dwell time, pages per session, and repeat visits are critical ranking factors. Optimize for engagement, not just keywords.
  3. Your site is as strong as your weakest content: A few stellar pages don’t compensate for mediocre content. Google's "site authority" and "site reputation" scores evaluate your entire domain. Prioritize quality control and content pruning to maintain high standards across all your pages.
  4. Brand might be the "X factor" in rankings: While not explicitly in the leak, experts like Fishkin argue Google favors strong brands. Invest in brand-building via PR, thought leadership, and online reputation management.
  5. E-E-A-T matters, but less than you think: Google does assess author expertise, but the leaked docs lack explicit E-E-A-T metrics. Don't fixate on E-E-A-T at the expense of other ranking factors. Balance credentials with content quality and user value.
  6. SEO is still a long game: The complexity of Google's ranking system, with factors like site authority and user engagement, means there are no shortcuts. You have to consistently produce relevant, valuable content.

How the Leak Should Inform Your Content Strategy

These insights show Google aims to reward authoritative content that puts readers first. Here’s a checklist for your content strategy:

  1. Prioritize engagement. Create content that captivates and serves your audience. Analyze user interaction data and optimize for metrics like dwell time, pages per session, and repeat visits. If you can hold your audience’s attention longer than others, Google will likely rank you.
  2. Invest in your brand and reputation. A strong brand is an SEO superpower. Use PR, thought leadership, and community-building to establish your brand as a trusted authority. A positive brand impression can outweigh other ranking factors.
  3. Consolidate and upgrade your existing content. Refresh, prune, or remove low-quality or irrelevant pages. Redirect to stronger assets. Make every piece reflect your brand and keep users engaged.
  4. Diversify your content distribution and promotion. Social, email marketing, guest posting, podcast and newsletter sponsorships — the leaked docs suggest Google follows users. Meet your audience on their preferred platforms and then pull them to your owned channels.
  5. Embrace originality and opinion. The internet is full of copycat content. To stand out and earn attention and links, find your unique stance and voice. Be provocative. Court controversy. Make your audience feel something.

In many ways, this leak isn’t a revelation but a confirmation of what we have long practiced (and sometimes, preached 😃): please readers first, and the algorithm second. Earn your audience's attention and affection with original content — chances are, Google will reward you, too.

Want to Know More About the Leak?

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