What did we learn about links in the Google leak?

At the end of May, over 2,000 pages of Google’s Content API Warehouse documentation was leaked into the public domain, claiming to hold the secrets of Google’s ranking algorithms. It’s by no means certain that the documentation tells us what Google factors in search rankings today – and there’s no way of knowing how much weight each of the metrics are given.

However, some of the search marketing industry’s heaviest hitters have pored over the content and pulled out some useful takeaways that could form the basis of some interesting experiments and tests going forward. Here, we’ve rounded up some of the key points:

Link relevance matters

This shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise, but the experts agree that link relevance is an important factor. Some interpretations of the data suggest that Google may even ignore links that it doesn’t consider to be relevant.

Focusing on building relevant links is good practise regardless. Yes, those are harder to come by and they will take longer to acquire than links from irrelevant, low quality sources, but the effort put into that link doesn’t just add weight to your SEO efforts. It could also help to direct more of the right kind of traffic to your site, simply by placing your name and URL in front of more people who are interested in your product, service or industry niche.

Links from news outlets are valuable

Achieving press coverage isn’t easy, but digital PR could be a game changer for your search positions as well as your overall business visibility. The leaked documents suggest that links from trustworthy and authoritative news sources are high value. Examples of those kinds of sources include the BBC, Sky News, Daily Mail and similar. You should also target reputable news outlets within your industry.

Consistency is important

One section of the leaked documents appears to suggest that new links could be given equal billing with high-quality links. This means that regularly adding links to your backlinks profile could play an important role in boosting your search rankings. For new links to be added regularly, you’ll need a consistent schedule of activity.

Anchor text and context matters

Contextual detail around a URL provides insight as to what the linked page relates to. Analysis of the leaked docs suggests that it’s not just the anchor text that’s used to gain an understanding of the link, but the content on the page around the link, too. When link building, you’ll need to keep this in mind and be careful where and how you place links. You’ll also need to ensure that your links are very tightly related to the text itself.

If you’d like additional support taking your SEO results to new heights, we’re here to help. Contact us to find out more about working with our data-driven, results-oriented team. 

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