Search Engine Leak: Google Accidentally Reveals Secrets

More than any other company, Google determines who sees and who doesn’t on the Internet. If you want to set your own website above the competition, you often need to take steps to make the site more “appealing” to search engines like Google. Ideally, you’ll be higher in search results for the terms you want.

Being attractive to Google has become a lucrative business in its own right: countless companies run search engine optimization (SEO) and make websites easier to find. It’s not an easy task: it’s Google that gives websites what’s important. However, the search engine itself is considered a “black box”, so it is not known how exactly it works.

2,500 pages were made public

This makes information that provides at least a hint of what really matters to Google more desirable. About 2,500 pages of documentation for the internal programming interface have now been made public, revealing previously unknown details. Google accidentally released it online, where it was publicly viewable from late March through May.

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Google has yet to comment on the documents

A blog post by Rand Fish, who has worked in the SEO industry for many years, explained that Google has more than 14,000 criteria and data points that can theoretically evaluate websites. Many of them are already known, some were mentioned in the US competition process against Google, and some are completely new.

These documents were picked up by another SEO entrepreneur, who forwarded them to Fishkin. The whistleblower, who is no longer anonymous, wanted to expose “the lies that Google employees have been spreading for years.”

Google tracked clicks from the Chrome browser

Google uses criteria that the company says should not be taken into account for hiring. Individual mouse clicks from Google’s Chrome browser are apparently evaluated to determine which subpages are displayed most prominently in search. As The Verge and Hayes report, Google has repeatedly said it doesn’t use data from Chrome. Contrary to what Google claims, the age of the domain can also play a role.

Smartphone mit Chrome-App

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According to the documentation, functions from Chrome are also used to place pages

However, it’s not clear how big of an impact this collected data ultimately has on search results. There is great excitement in the SEO industry as many assumptions have now been confirmed, at least in theory – despite Google claiming otherwise. The company has not yet commented on the data, but some employees at the company confirmed to Fishkin anonymously that they were genuine documents.

That’s why recipes become long, short stories

Search engine optimization is likely to face new challenges with the Google internals that are now circulating – and may bring fresh air to the world of search engines. Because SEO is generally responsible for practically every (successful) website looking the same and meeting similar criteria. The fact that recipes on the Internet usually start with countless paragraphs of background on distant relatives and travels around the world isn’t a narrative requirement—but at least sometimes it leads to better search engine rankings.

For Google, however, the release means new concerns. In addition to the investigation in the US, which has already brought secrets to light and could have devastating consequences for the company if convicted, the previously undisputed search engine giant has been stymied by advances in artificial intelligence (AI).

Google is in trouble

In a race against tools like ChatGPT, Google suddenly wants to incorporate AI abbreviations into search results — not least because it has a clear opinion on the topic of AI. The results are often strange and have the potential to be very dangerous, for example when it comes to misinformation on important political issues.

There is clearly a high demand among users to get reliable answers quickly. But obviously neither SEO practices nor false AI information will help. Regaining the trust of the search engine giant will be difficult — but it will be critical to protecting its current business model of ad sales in the long run. The lack of transparency is criticized by users, companies and ultimately authorities — and gets Google into trouble.

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