What Do We Know About the Google API Leak That’s Being Reported?

Recently, a Google API leak was reported. Is it true? What will this mean for SEOs going forward?

Video Transcript

David: So, I don’t know if you heard about this. There was a huge API leak promoted by Rand Fishkin and Mike King, suggesting that the Google algorithm was leaked in its entirety.

Stephanie: I saw that.

David: And this is the repository that allegedly has 14,000 ranking criteria, and SEOs are going crazy. What have you heard about this?

Stephanie: The last thing I heard was that there were some doubts as to whether this was an actual leak, if this was true, or if it was kind of a staged thing.

David: Yeah.

Stephanie: I didn’t really have a chance to dig in to see 14,000 criteria.

David: Who has time to do that? So, the big takeaway is this seems to disagree with the words directly from Google. For instance, Google said time and time again we do not have a domain authority score on a website. You’ve all heard of domain authority, and we’re saying we don’t have a domain authority score. Well, this seems to imply they do have a domain authority score. So, has Google been gaming us SEOs who try to believe Google? There’s another thing in here that suggests that Google likes what they call the long click, which is someone who clicks on a site and then stays at that site for a particularly long amount of time. And this seems to imply that the long click is a ranking signal. So, the big things that have come out of this seem to completely contradict what Google has publicly said is not true about the Google algorithm. That just gets fed into the current situation with Google after AI Overviews where everyone’s like, we no longer trust Google, especially the SEOs. So, I have yet to look through it. I’m waiting for the fallout because I’m not a chase-the-algorithm guy. I feel strongly that if we do good marketing, we’re going to end up on the good side of this. But other people are like, I told you so. I told you that long clicks were a ranking factor. I told you there was a debate. But here’s the thing. From what I can surmise, mind you, this is two or three days after this was released.

Number one, we don’t know what this even means: Google API, content warehouse. Is that the Google algorithm for ranking, or is this how Google finds articles in the Google cloud? We don’t know. We don’t know what this is about. And so, we should not be jumping to conclusions that just because it’s from Google, it has anything to do with search algorithms. Second of all, I have a big respect for Rand Fishkin, and I have a bigger respect for Mike King. These guys are people I think know their stuff. But this was first leaked by Rand Fishkin. And you know who Rand Fishkin is? You’ve all heard of Moz? Rand started and created Moz. He sold Moz to somebody, and they run it. And Moz is a great quality product. But Rand has a new product, and his new product, I’ll just say I think he’s got a vested interest in frustrating SEO people. And so, as much respect as I have for Mr. Fishkin, and I’ve met him once at a conference, he would not know me from anybody, but he’s a nice guy. But I do have a little suspicion that there’s a bias in this and that it’s being promoted as a Google algorithm. You can’t trust Google. Oh, I happen to have a product to sell you that basically means you don’t have to rely on Google anymore. And so, I’m kind of like, hmm, yeah, because nowhere in this is it said, this is a Google algorithm for search things.

Now, Google has had big releases before. Remember those PDFs for lead optimization we talked about a few months ago? That was a big leak. I don’t think Google leaks anything accidentally. The search quality raters guidelines big leak. Well, now Google embraces the fact, and they will tell everybody when they release new ones. If this is a leak, I don’t think it’s meant to. I think Google is intentionally leaking, but I don’t think it is necessarily search-related. And so, the other challenge with this is that if this is about the search engine results, and there are 14,000… Google has said there are dozens of criteria. There are 14,000 in this document, but we don’t know the weight that each one of these 14,000 fits, right? We know their attributes, but which one is more important than the other? This document makes no reference to any of that. So, even if somehow we have all the criteria, Google may use long click as a ranking factor, but we don’t know if it is the number one ranking factor. Is it the only missed important ranking factor? Or is it one thing that they might look at that has a little bit of value, but maybe it’s kind of like, remember we were all freaking out about the web core vitals and page speed, and yeah, okay, it is a ranking factor, but it’s not the only ranking factor. And if all you did was web core vitals, you’re not doing your clients justice. Right? So, for me, when all the fallout comes from this, maybe I’ll eat crow, and maybe we’ll learn that this is totally the algorithm, and I’m a fool for not spending the last two days reading 14,000 lines of code. But I’m kind of like, you know what? I’m going to let this all play out and see what happens. But frankly, if I’m doing good marketing, I don’t have to worry about whether I get long clicks or not. I don’t have to worry about what my domain authority score is. I’m just doing good marketing. And that’s going to last through this or through AI Overviews or whatever the next big thing is because I’m focusing on being a good marketer, and I’ll let everyone else neglect their clients for the next week because they’re reading this, and I’ll keep working on my clients’ websites, and we can see success rather than be distracted by this.

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