Blowing the lid off the Google Ranking Leak

Did you hear about the latest Google gos? A recent leak spilled the beans on how God…sorry – Google actually ranks pages. Thanks to the sleuths at iPullRank, we now have some juicy details that are shaking up the SEO world. Let’s dive into it, bust some myths, and explain how we stay on top of the ever-changing rules for ranking – despite the shifting sands! 

Fact vs. Fantasy: Busting SEO Myths  

Max Goldberg from USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Mike King at iPullRank has managed to lift the veil on how Google really works, so let’s get a handle on what he has uncovered…..  


Domain Authority Lives  

Google uses something called “siteAuthority,” despite what they’ve said publicly. 

Google has always played coy about using domain authority as a ranking factor. They’ve often said they don’t use it in the way SEO professionals think. However, the leak revealed that Google uses something very similar called “siteAuthority.” This means that the overall authority of your domain does play a role in how your pages rank, so having a robust, authoritative website influences performance. 

Click Magic 

Click data influences rankings. 

For years, SEO experts speculated about whether Google uses click-through data to rank pages. Google has downplayed this, but the leaked documents show that systems used by Google itself, like NavBoost, do use click data to influence rankings. So, the more people that click on your link in the search results, the better chance you have of improving your sites’ ranking in Google. 

Sandbox for Newbies

New sites do get a “sandbox” period, meaning they might be held back for a bit before ranking. 

The “sandbox effect” has been a topic of debate. Many new site owners felt like their websites were being held back from ranking, despite having good content. The leak confirmed that new sites often experience a “sandbox” period where they are temporarily restricted from ranking well. This period allows Google to ensure the site is legitimate and valuable. 

Chrome Spies 

Data from Chrome is used in ranking algorithms, even though Google has said it isn’t. 

Google has publicly stated that data from its Chrome browser is not used in search rankings. However, the leak shows otherwise. Data collected through Chrome, such as user behaviour and site interactions, does play a role in Google’s algorithm. This means how users interact with your site on Chrome could impact your rankings. 

UGC Counts 

User-generated content quality matters, so keep those comments and reviews coming! 

User-generated content (UGC) like comments, reviews, and forum posts are not just engagement metrics—they’re also ranking factors. Google looks at the quality of UGC to determine the value of your pages. High-quality, relevant user contributions can boost your rankings, so encourage genuine interaction on your site. 

Are you still with us? 


Meta Keywords Matter 

They don’t. Google ignores them, so don’t waste your time. 

Once upon a time, meta keywords were a big deal. Not anymore. Google completely ignores them now. Including them in your HTML code won’t help your SEO efforts, so focus your energy on other, more effective strategies. 

Social Media Impact

Likes and shares don’t directly affect rankings, although social media can still drive traffic. 

Many believe that social media signals like likes, shares, and follows directly influence search rankings. However, they don’t. While social media is great for driving traffic to your site and indirectly influencing SEO through increased visibility and engagement, those likes and shares don’t count as direct ranking factors. 

Google Analytics Influence

Using Google Analytics does not impact your site’s search ranking. 

There’s a myth that using Google Analytics gives you a ranking boost. It doesn’t. Google Analytics is a powerful tool for understanding and improving your site’s performance, but merely using it won’t help you rank better. Focus on using the data it provides to make informed decisions. 

Author Fame 

The specific reputation of the author doesn’t matter, just the content. 

People often think that having a famous or highly reputable author can boost content rankings. But Google’s algorithms focus on the content itself, not the author’s fame. Quality content that provides value to users will rank well, regardless of the author’s reputation. Although, obviously if you have a high-profile author of content, it will encourage visitor interest – so still worth pursuing where possible. 

AdSense Edge 

Running AdSense doesn’t boost your ranking; it’s all about the content, not the ads. 

Some think that running Google AdSense ads on their site will curry favour with Google’s ranking algorithm. It won’t. Google keeps its advertising business separate from search rankings. Your ranking depends on your content’s quality and relevance, not on whether you run AdSense. 

That’s just some of what’s been uncovered, but already you can see how it makes a big difference to be aware of these things. Knowing how the game works is how good SEO specialists win – we are on top of it; at least until the next big update – then we need to get on top of it again; you can see from online comms. that not all SEO’s are thrilled with all the change and the unclear messaging….. 

How We Stay on Top at Inspiration

Here at Inspiration, we’re all about staying ahead of the SEO game. We follow best practices, continually update our strategies, and remain flexible (with a quiet dignity) to handle Google’s ever-changing rules. 

So how do we do it?  

  • Regular SEO audits and updates. 
  • Continuous learning and training. 
  • Ethical SEO techniques. 
  • Close monitoring of performance metrics. 
  • Quick adaptation to algorithm changes. 

Our approach means we’re always ready for whatever Google throws at us. Even with their lack of transparency, we’ve had a lot of success with SEO for clients and a robust strategy that keeps us on top. And you better believe that SEO experts are staying on top of Google right now… 

What does that mean for our clients

When people search for key terms on Google, they find you before they find your competitors. That means more visitors, which means more customers. Simple. 

Is Google Losing Its Shine?  

Some folks think Google might be losing its sparkle. There’s chatter about it prioritising ads and commercial results over genuine information. Articles like this one suggest Google might have to strongly diversify from organising the world’s information. People are getting frustrated, feeling like they’re wading through ads to get to the good stuff. 

Google as the Next Baidu? 

There’s a worry that Google could end up like Baidu, China’s top search engine, which is heavily focused on e-commerce. If Google continues to prioritise paid content, it might become more of a shopping mall than a library of knowledge. Imagine searching for the latest research and getting a page full of ads instead – not ideal, right? 

If It’s Free, You’re the Product 

Ever heard the saying, “If the service is free, you’re the product”? That’s Google in a nutshell. It collects heaps of data to understand what we’re into and to commercialise this, it tailors and targets ads accordingly. It’s how they keep the lights on while giving us “free” services. By knowing more about us, they can serve us more relevant ads and improve their own data insights. But this also means our data is constantly being mined and analysed.  

So has Google’s plan all along been to mine our data and content and sell it back to us, via AI tools for example? Maybe. But I think we’re safe for a while yet… 

So, that’s the scoop! 

If you want to get ahead in SEO today, you’re not just up against AI drivel, random Redditors’ opinions, and ads (we offer those too!), you need an SEO expert at the wheel.  

When it comes to Google in general, its also good to remember that – as outlined above – essentially a two track approach is essential; you need to be working on ranking over time, and you need to be running ads – to optimise both channels.  

Google’s algorithm leak has given us a lot to think about, but at Inspiration, we’re always ready to adapt and help our clients succeed in the ever-evolving digital landscape. If you want to stay ahead too, give us a shout – we’ve got the tools and the know-how to keep you in the spotlight. 

Contact us now to see how we can propel you to the top!