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May 29, 2024

What the Google Search Algorithm Leak Means for SEO

Google Search, more importantly, how Google ranks search results, has always been a bit of an enigma. Sure, we’ve been able to deduce through years of trial and error what works, what doesn’t, and what could have potential, but Google never gives us exact instructions to rank higher in SERPs. 

More specifically, the Search team is secretive about what is even included in the ranking algorithm or what factors it weighs when evaluating sites. 

That all changed on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. 

A shockwave went through the SEO community as Rand Fishkin, founder and former CEO of Moz, shared 2,500 documents he received from a confidential source that appear to detail key insights into elements Google uses to rank sites in Search. 

The documents seem to originate from Google’s internal Content Warehouse API, and if true, reveal unprecedented details about how Search works, while contradicting many public statements made by Google employees over the years. 

While VELOX Media has long operated with an understanding of many of these ranking factors, and our strategies and results support them, to see potential confirmation is surprising, to say the least. 

Here’s what you need to know about the Google Search leak, what’s included, and how it might impact SEO campaigns going forward. 

What’s in the Google Search Algorithm Leak?

The leaked documents seem to detail more than 14,000 ranking features previously unconfirmed by Google. Some have even been flat-out denied by Google employees. They include everything from click data to authorship, date of publication, site authority, and more.

These are the top takeaways from the leak:

Cicks Are Important: Google has previously denied click data plays a role in ranking. However, this leak includes features such as goodClicks, badClicks, lastLongestClicks, and more, showing that user clicks play a part in the ranking process. 

Links Are Important: Link building is at the core of any successful SEO strategy, but some wondered if it had taken a backseat in recent years. The leak appears to show link diversity and relevance are just as important as ever and that PageRank is still alive and well.

Freshness Is Important: With features like bylineDate, semanticDate, and syntacticDate, Google clearly considers the freshness of content when evaluating a page. It’s not enough to post content in one big batch, and regularly publishing might lead to better ranking results. 

Page Titles Are Important: With a feature called titlematchScore, it appears Google’s ranking algorithm takes into account how well a page’s title matches a given query. 

Different Ranking Factors for Different Verticals: Parts of the leak suggest there may be separate ranking factors for specific verticals, including local search, travel, e-commerce, and news.

Your Brand Matters: Most importantly, you need to generate Search demand both on- and offline if you want to see sustainable organic SEO results. 

These are just a few of the highlights from the leak, and with over 14,000 different ranking features, there are bound to be others worth knowing if the leak is confirmed. 

While it’s surprising to see these features and ranking factors in leaked internal documents, much of our SEO work and the results we’ve generated seem to support many of them.

How This News (Doesn’t) Impact VELOX’s SEO Campaigns

Over the years, the VELOX team has invested countless hours in research and development to better understand Google’s ranking algorithm. 

Many things have changed, but the diversity of links, quality of content, and user experience have always had an impact. 

These latest leaked documents appear to confirm much of this. 


We’ve always emphasized the power of linking in search engine optimization. Specifically, we prioritize creating holistic, diverse backlink profiles for clients. 

Rather than only seeking high- or low-domain authority sites, we build links across a wide spectrum of industry-relevant sites. This helps our link building strategy appear more organic and natural and enables Google’s crawlers to better find our clients’ domains. 

On-Page & Technical SEO

Page titles, meta descriptions, and other on-page optimizations appear to be just as vital as ever to Google. The search engine is aiming to be as user-centric as possible, which means it will surface the pages that best match a given query. 

By putting in the detailed work to optimize our clients’ on-page content, we can help them appear for search terms that matter most to their business. Our technical SEO team works around the clock to find new on-page recommendations to help give our clients an edge in Search. 

Content Freshness

Based on the leak, Google places emphasis on the freshness of content and seeks to provide searchers with the most relevant and up-to-date information. Rather than publishing a backlog of client content at once, our team writes and syndicates new high-quality SEO content every month. 

This approach might take more work, but the results are worth it. Every month, Google has a chance to crawl and index a new piece of content with client links and branding. This helps our clients remain relevant and helps build their backlink profile in a sustainable, natural way. 

What Should Digital Marketers Do Now?

So, is it time to throw your entire SEO strategy out the window, revert to manipulation mode, and try to outsmart the algorithm? If you like disruption and lower Search rankings, that could be the move, but it’s best to wait and see. 

We still haven’t received confirmation these leaks are authentic, however we can likely expect some response from Google within the coming days and weeks. 

For now, review the top-line takeaways from the leak and consider if you’re already implementing them or if there’s room for improvement in your SEO strategy. Short-sighted tactics can never outperform a thoughtful, research-based SEO strategy in the long-term and we have the results to prove it.

Keep Up with Every Algorithm Update with VELOX

VELOX strives to stay ahead of the curve so we can spend less time chasing algorithm changes and more time delivering results. While many were shocked to see these documents leak, much of the information included has already been built into our SEO and link building strategies. 

If you want to stay ahead of your competition in SERPs and step up your SEO strategy, contact us today.

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