Google Says Leaked Search Docs Are Real, But Cautions Industry On Context

As search professionals try to process and understand what the data revealed in Google Search ranking documents that were made public this week, Google has responded to the leak.

“We would caution against making inaccurate assumptions about Search based on out-of-context, outdated, or incomplete information," a Google spokesperson wrote in an email to Media Daily News. "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 result from manipulation.” 

The company declined to comment on the detailed specifics of how the ranking systems work or exactly what the document means. Confirming or denying this type of sensitive information can enable bad actors and spammers who seek to manipulate search results.



Leaked Google documents on Wednesday gave the search industry proprietary insight into Google Search, revealing important elements that the company uses to rank content.

Erfan Azimi, CEO and director of SEO of digital marketing agency EA Eagle Digital, shared the documents in a video. The thousands of documents appeared to have come from Google’s internal Content API Warehouse.

They were released on Github by an automated bot called yoshi-code-bot. These documents were also shared with SparkToro co-founder Rand Fishkin earlier this month, and Mike King, founder and CEO of iPullRank, who also viewed the documents, began to deconstruct them.

Changes in search happen rapidly. One example is how quickly generative artificial intelligence has changed in the past six months.

Google continually adjusts its systems in an effort to deliver the most helpful results. That means that while the core ranking principles remain the same, individual signals can change frequently or be discontinued.

Based on that thinking, it would be incorrect to assume that the leaked document is comprehensive, fully relevant, or up-to-date.

Curiosity is built into human nature. There is much speculation about what information resides in these documents and what it actually means.

To protect its competitive advantage, Google declined to elaborate on how its system works or could and will change over time. 

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