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Google data leak angers SEO experts

An extraordinary leak of data from Google a few days ago has set the SEO world on fire. In An Anonymous Source Shared Thousands of Leaked Google Search API Documents with Me; Everyone in SEO Should See Them on the SparkToro blog, one of the world’s best-known SEO experts Rand Fishkin writes that the documents “directly contradict public statements made by Googlers over the years, in particular the company’s repeated denial that click-centric user signals are employed, denial that subdomains are considered separately in rankings, denials of a sandbox for newer websites, denials that a domain’s age is collected or considered, and more.”

It’s technical stuff, but still a fascinating read for anyone involved with search engine optimisation. Google has confirmed the documents are real, but says: “We would caution against making inaccurate assumptions about Search based on out-of-context, outdated, or incomplete information. We’ve shared extensive information about how Search works and the types of factors that our systems weigh, while also working to protect the integrity of our results from manipulation.”

Regardless, many SEO experts are really disappointed or angry. They believe that the ‘rules’ they were working to over the years may have been misguided. The online chat is extremely hostile to Google, and it will be interesting to see if it’s all a storm in a teacup …or a significant event in the big change in how people use the web that we’re currently going through.