Document Leak Exposes Google’s Engine Ranking

engine ranking, google, seo, search engine,

An anonymous source leaked documentation regarding Google’s Application Programming Interface, exposing how search engine ranking works.

  • The leak has raised questions about Google’s transparency and public statements.
  • The tech giant has lied about click-center user signals, sandboxes, subdomains, and Chrome data.

A leak of internal documentation from Google looks into the workings of its search engine ranking algorithm, triggering questions about transparency.

Google dominates the search engine market at 90.91%. Even if it’s not explicitly stated, if you want to rank on the results pages, you must comply with its rules. Except that, Google never outright told users how to rank. They gave guidelines on search engine optimization (SEO) standards, sure, but for the most part, it was the users who figured out the best Google strategies.

SEO experts, Rand Fishkin and Mike King, each published their own analysis. The anonymous source claimed that the pages were from Google. For its part, Google refused to comment on the authenticity of the leak until it sent an email toThe Verge.

Google spokesperson Davis Thompson cautioned against basing their assumptions on “out-of-context, outdated, or incomplete information,” writing that the company “[has] shared extensive information about how Search works and the types of factors that our systems weigh.”

What Has the Experts Upset?

The leaked documents include 2,500 pages that cover what Google looks at and considers for its search engine ranking. Some of the findings contradict what Google has previously publicly claimed.

Click-Centric User Signals

They are information deducted from users’ interactions with search results. The data includes:

  1. Click-through rate (CTR): how often users click on a specific result compared to others
  2. Dwell time: how long a user spends on the page he clicked on
  3. Pogo-stick rate: how quickly the user returns to the search engine results page (SERP).

Google vehemently denied that its search engine ranking considers this. While the documents do not mention these by name, they do confirm them.


Think of subdomains as a prefix that is added to the main domain name to help organize the website’s content or create sections with a different purpose. Take our website address, for example:; ‘www’ is the subdomain.

Up until this point, Google has denied that they are considered separately when it comes to search engine ranking.


For years, experts believed that there’s a filter limiting new websites for a period of time, regardless of quality. This is allegedly done to prevent low-quality and spam sites from quickly rising. Such sandboxes would have hindered newcomers, especially small and medium enterprises. Again, google has repeatedly denied this over the years. It also denied that a domain’s age matters for search engine ranking.

The leak, however, includes hostAge, a feature specifically used “to sandbox fresh spam in serving time.”


Some websites try to artificially inflate their traffic through clicks. According to the documentation, Google utilizes cookie history, logged-in Chrome data, and pattern detection to fight manual & automated click spam. This data goes into understanding a user’s typical browsing behavior. In turn, Google can differentiate between genuine and artificial clicks. Google also repeatedly denied the use of Chrome data for search engine ranking.


This leak showed a lack of transparency regarding search engine ranking. Whatever trust people have in Google is now on extremely thin ice.

For businesses, Google was setting them up to fail. They rely on SEO to drive traffic and, in turn, compete with others. Imagine implementing the best search engine optimization practices to various degrees of success and then finding out that a big part of it is missing. Cue confusion.

Google also claims that it keeps the internal workings of the search engine and its ranking under wraps to protect it from manipulation. However, watch as predatory SEO management agencies come out to ‘help’ the confused small businesses improve their SEO strategies.

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