Google Search Leak 2024 – What does it mean for you?

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In May 2024, a huge alleged Google Search Algorithm leak was all anyone in SEO land was talking about. Not long before that, it was the new Search Generative Experience (SGE) that Google’s working on that had everyone’s tongue.

I’ll be honest, all the talk of SGE initially made me concerned – oh god, is EVERYTHING going to change? Is everything we know going to be blown out the water and are we going to have to relearn SEO?! 

Nope. And for me, the search leak confirmed this. 

In this blog, I’m going to give you actionable SEO strategies founded on what we always knew to be true – and handily confirmed by the leak! 

What exactly is the Google Search leak? 

On the 5th May 2024, SEO expert Rand Fishkin (founder of Moz and cofounder of SparkTorro) received an email purporting to be a monumental API leak of documents from Google Search division. 

What was leaked?

More than 2,500 pages of API documentation containing 14,014 attributes (API features) that appear to come from Google’s internal “Content API Warehouse.”

It doesn’t tell us exactly what effect each ranking consideration has or which are more important than others, but it does reveal how much data Google collects and considers when deciding what content to rank.  

I won’t bore you with the full story, but Rand spent time verifying the information the best he could, speaking with both the source and many Google ex-employees and the upshot is, it seems legit. 

SEO’s have long thought there to be dishonesty around what metrics Google uses to rank – with Google saying one thing and results suggesting otherwise. And my take on the leak is that the interest from SEOs is mainly a joy in confirming that they knew Google was telling big fat porkies about the data they use to rank content.  

You can read Rand’s full take on the Google leak here. 

What’s the headline on Google’s Search leak?

In my humble opinion, both the search leak and SGE tell me what I already believed to be true. Google’s biggest goal is to please people searching so that it remains the biggest search engine in the world <<< that’s how they make their money. 

People pay to advertise on Google because it’s the biggest search engine which means it has the biggest volume of users. To retain the market share, it has to put the people searching first. 

I’m heartened to see that everything I’ve been both practising and teaching relating to SEO is bang on the money.

I’ve long said that people like to make SEO sound way more complicated than it is. And it’s true.

Google may not be honest and open about ranking factors, but the bottom line is they want to please people searching.

Create super high quality content, focus on understanding search intent, and learn how to structure it – and you won’t go wrong.

Here are my top 3 takeaways from falling down a mine of reveal articles.

1. Contents not king, searchers are

Understand what people are searching for and deliver it – and you’ll be naturally creating cracking content.

The best way to show up on Google is to learn how to structure your content and how to understand what people are looking for when they search for the thing you want to rank for. 

Then create content that matches what they want and make it super duper quality content that really delivers on what they want and blows the competing content out the water. 

2. Spend time reviewing searches and competing content BEFORE you write

This leads on from above really, understanding what people are searching for, their questions and what content wins the top spots on Google will help you no end.

You can spend a ton of money on SEO software or you can go to the source. 

The best way to see what you need to do with your content to get it ranking is to Google what you want to rank for and pay attention.

  • What’s taking the top spots on Google for the search term?
  • How is the content formatted? Is it video, list format, long content, short content, etc?
  • What questions/points are answered within the ranking content? 
  • What questions are coming up in Google’s “people also ask” section

Google is the authority on what people want when it comes to searching online. Heck, if the leak has taught us anything it’s just how much data they have on us all! 

And that means, they’re best placed to reveal what searchers want – and they’re showing it to you for free, right at the top of page 1 of Google (after the sponsored posts/ads).

If you want to learn how to do this (with live demonstrations that make it make sense), I show you how inside my online blogging course Your Blog Genie. It’s simple, yet highly effective and will take you under an hour to complete. 

Dog blogger course Your Blog Genie

3. Work on growing your brand awareness

Google is more likely to rank content produced by bigger, more powerful brands. You may be more of an expert on a specific topic than Pets At Home, The Blue Cross or the RSPCA – but their content is still likely to show up at the top of Google purely because of how well known they are. 

There are two effective ways to approach this:

  • Work on increasing your brand awareness
  • Guest blog on websites of big brands so your content is on their website (hopefully at the top of Google)

The great thing about this is the two strategies work together. By guest blogging or appearing on podcasts or socials of bigger brands, you’re growing your audience which in turn leads to growing your own brand. 

Plus while you work on your brand awareness, your content has a greater chance of appearing at the top of Google. Win, win! 

What does Rand Fishkin have to say about it?

If you want a deeper dive into the finer details of the leak, check out Rand Fishkin’s full review of what he discovered and Mike King’s lowdown here. 

My top key highlights from their articles are:

1.Clicks seem to matter

Google’s refuted on this for a loooong time. But I’ve always believed clicks matter. If someone finds your content on Google, clicks through to it and quickly bounces away, that tells us that the content didn’t satisfy their search – it’s not what they were looking for. 

If they click into your content and hang around, they like what they found! If they stayed on your website even longer and visited other pages or blogs, they reaalllly liked it.

And the API document leak appears to confirm that Google is interested in what clicks keep people on site and satisfied, and which ones don’t. 

Ergo, they want to please the people searching. So pay attention to your website analytics and see how long people are staying on your pages. If they leap away quickly, update the content or consider whether you targeted the wrong search term!

2. Your most popular pages influence your sitelinks on Google

The leak seems to suggest that Google uses data from Chrome users to decide which pages to feature in a website’s site links on Google Search. 

Your site links are the featured pages that appear beneath your website listing on Google – shown in the image below. 

Having Googled my own brand name, this is what comes up. My site links correspond with my most visited pages. What does this tell me? Google wants to please people searching and show them my most popular and relevant content. 

I have blogs on my website that pull in more organic traffic than some of those featured, but the Google algorithm has correctly ascertained that they’re less relevant to my services and my broader audience. 

3. Page titles are really important

I touched on this early on, how you structure your content matters for SEO. And at a very basic (but effective) level, that means first identifying what you want to rank for, then making sure you clearly show Google (and people searching) by putting your search term in the right places (as well as creating content that matches what they’re searching for).  

And 1 of those key places to put your search term (keyword or phrase) is your page title. 

If you want to rank for “How to stop puppy biting” – don’t use a clever title for your blog to make it interesting – like “the failproof guide to stopping your little landshark’s attacks”… make your headline/title clear and save your creativity and personality for the body of the blog. 

I wrote about this back in Febuary 2021 (told you not much has effectively changed!) and you can read more about writing a headline that ranks here. 

To learn the other basic SEO structures you need for your onpage content like blogs and service pages, grab my free SEO checklist + webinar here. 

seo checklist for beginners

SEO checklist

SEO still doesn’t need to be complicated

I’ve long said that people like to make SEO more complicated than it needs to be. Yes, there are over 14,000 ranking factors that Google considers but for us small businesses, we don’t need to get bogged down in trying to understand them. 

The core takeaway I want you to have from reading this, is that whatever Google’s algorithms are up to and whatever new releases they make – their goal is to please the people searching because that’s what makes them money. 

Turn to Google and search for what you want to rank for, learn the SEO basics so you know how to structure your content, and listen to the people using Google so you can create the content they want. 

You can rest assured that after reviewing what we now know, all the SEO lessons in both Your Blog Genie and Underdogs Unleashed remain up to date  And will simplify SEO for ya minus the technical over complications…

So you can learn how to rank on Google by putting PEOPLE first, not tactics.

Dog blogger course Your Blog Genie

Read Next:

8 simple steps to SEO for beginners

10 blog post ideas for dog trainers (to boost your visibility)

SEO for dog trainers – top 80 keywords

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Written by Rikki S

Hi, I'm Rikki. I'm a copywriter specialising in helping pet businesses with copy that attracts, engages, and converts.

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