Search Engine Optimisation

Google Algorithm Leak Follow Up

The Google documentation leak is still a hot topic at Herdl. As you can imagine, for SEO agencies, this in an unprecedented situation where we get a true look behind the curtain. It’s not just us, since the leak, the SEO community as a whole has been back and forth with mixed reactions. Particularly, one theme has stood out, and that’s the lack of transparency and misinformation from Google Search. It’s true that Google’s past communications have sometimes been unclear or even contradictory, which can be frustrating for those of us in the field.

Progress Over the Years

When I started in SEO back in 2005, the landscape was much different. Google’s communication with the SEO community was minimal, and resources were scarce. Over the years, though, we’ve seen a significant increase in support and resources from Google. Yet, one would argue, these documents and comms have become more and more vague in more recent times, sometimes leaving more questions than answers. These shifts have at times made our work easier and has positively influenced how business owners and decision-makers view SEO.


We must also acknowledge that Google’s cautious approach to disclosure is understandable. They need to protect their algorithms from being manipulated. Additionally, the Googlers who interact with the SEO community are often bound by strict internal guidelines. They do their best to provide accurate advice, but they may not always have complete knowledge of the inner workings of Google’s systems. Nonetheless, I think many in the industry would mark a noticeable difference between the Matt Cutts era and more recent times.

Healthy Skepticism

Given this context, it’s essential to approach any information—whether from Google or elsewhere—with a healthy dose of skepticism. While there’s industry figureheads that I follow, at Herdl we always adopt a “test for yourself” mindset. This principle is especially crucial when dealing with the recently leaked documents. It’s about finding what works for your specific situation, sector or client rather than blindly following any advice out there.

Some Takeaways

While I don’t believe the leaked documents suggest any drastic changes for those following a service or product-first SEO approach, they do reinforce several important principles. These insights have confirmed many suspicions, theories and accepted practices.

  • Big Brand Brand Signals – establishing a strong, recognisable brand in your sector and doing the things a big brand would
  • User Engagement – how users interact with your site, both from search and beyond. Optimise your UI/UX and content format to improve engagement
  • Integrated SEO – this is common sense but avoid working in silos. SEO should be integrated and supported by other marketing activities
  • Quality Over Quantity – emphasise quality, authority, and relevance in link-building efforts
  • Content Optimisation – select the right content format to address user search intent effectively
  • Expertise – develop real expertise and feature knowledgeable authors behind your content (EEAT signal, baby!)

To clarify, what I mean by a service or product-first SEO approach is a separation between what many SEO agencies and digital firms carry out for clients versus work done by publishers, news websites, affiliate marketers or even bloggers. There’s often a flood of chatter in the SEO space coming from these various sub-factions and it’s important that we differentiate the possible impact so it stays relevant.

Final Thoughts

Remember, the key to successful SEO is continuous testing and aligning your strategies with what benefits your users and supports your marketing goals. Don’t get lost in the minutiae, focus on the bigger picture and the fundamental principles that drive effective SEO.

Stay informed, stay skeptical, and keep testing! If you’d like to learn more about Google’s documentation leak or anything else related to our SEO services, please get in touch.

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