This recent Google leak is a BIG deal!

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  1. PaulGoodman67 profile image95
    PaulGoodman67posted 7 weeks ago

    As highlighted in the recent newsletter, the leak of secret Google info, regarding how it ranks articles, is a huge deal. There's never been such a major security breach previously, both in size and severity.

    I've been reading more about the news at sites like SERoundtable.

    After staying silent initially, Google's admitted that the leak is genuine and not a hoax.

    I hope that the HP team are able to decipher the new info and perhaps figure out a way of getting us out of the mire. The downside is that Google can alter its algorithm and system for ranking articles at any time.

    One thing that will likely be permanently damaged, though, is Google's reputation. There was always a suspicion that Google engaged in putting out ambiguous and misleading info over the years. However, it now appears that they've actually been guilty of blatant lying, making it sound like they're providing helpful advice to sites and writers when they know the info is false.

    1. DrMark1961 profile image95
      DrMark1961posted 7 weeks agoin reply to this

      From your reading have you come up with any tips that we as individuals can make to our pages or do you think this can only be done on a site-wide basis?

      1. PaulGoodman67 profile image95
        PaulGoodman67posted 7 weeks agoin reply to this

        Much of the info is dense and not easy to decipher. I'm waiting on people with more time and expertise than me to report back. Sites like SERoundtable, SEMRush, etc., are normally good for that. I assume that HP will also give us any relevant info too.

        I assume that it will lead to changes in approach both site-wide and individually.

        1. EricDockett profile image97
          EricDockettposted 7 weeks agoin reply to this

          A few things stuck out to me, though, like you, I am waiting for some bigger brains to make sense of it all.

          1. There seems to be some emphasis on high-effort pages, which falls in line with the 10x content recommendations that have floated around for a bunch of years. However, HubPages went back to recommending shorter articles a few months ago. It seems from this document that Google makes note of "effort".

          2. Google still tracks authorship, it seems. For me this raises a bunch of questions, like: Is it smart to write on a bunch of different topics or does that dilute your authority? And: Is it a bad idea to change your author name on your profile, even if you are switching from a screen name to a "real" name?

          3. Site authority is a thing, apparently. So, are the niche sites handicapping themselves by not really being so "niche" anymore. Most of them address a range of topics, Except for PetHelpful and maybe a few others, most of the niche sites should probably be broken up into multiple sites.

          Again, much of this will be clarified in the days and weeks to come (maybe?) but those were a few things that got me thinking.

          I would also love for HubPages to communicate with the writers on all of this. They can't just mention it in the newsletter and then forget about it.

          1. PaulGoodman67 profile image95
            PaulGoodman67posted 7 weeks agoin reply to this

            Yes, I think that article length is a pretty complicated area, there’s supposedly a special formula that Google employs to rate short articles.

            I do believe that the decline of the niche sites’ authority has been a major factor in their decline but the question is how is authority improved. Nothing’s worked so far, maybe the leak will enlighten.

            We may at least learn what Google’s approach was, even if they inevitably change things again(!)

    2. Kenna McHugh profile image92
      Kenna McHughposted 7 weeks agoin reply to this

      The way Google ranks searches I am not surprised. I haven't trusted the entity for some time. Doing research on Google is futile. It's been that way for some time. I am watching from the sidelines. It's the best we can do.

  2. Rupert Taylor profile image95
    Rupert Taylorposted 7 weeks ago

    I won't pretend to understand any of the info coming out but it has always annoyed me that Google has been able to appoint itself as the arbiter of what does and what does not constitute acceptable content.

    It seems to be a feature of capitalism that very large corporations that become market dominant turn into bullies. That's why it's paramount that governments, in theory elected to do the work of the people, act as regulators and work to create a healthy and competitive business environment.

    Does Google have a reputation that can be damaged further? I don't think so.

    1. PaulGoodman67 profile image95
      PaulGoodman67posted 7 weeks agoin reply to this

      I'm not an anti-capitalist but it does mystify me how open the US is to corporations gaining monopolies. Many seem to see absolute control as some sort of just reward. The truth is that monopolies are bad for everyone apart from the corporation and they very often lead to corruption.

      Capitalism needs competition to function in a healthy way. For that to happen, I agree that there needs to be regulation. Google should've been broken up years ago.

      In the early days of the WWW, it wasn't clear how powerful the search engines would be. They are the self-appointed judge and jury as far as website rankings go, effectively able to make or break companies, from the biggest retail corporation to the lowly writer trying to make a buck. With so much money involved, it seems inevitable that things end up dirty.

  3. Genna East profile image83
    Genna Eastposted 7 weeks ago

    I read that article, and it is upsetting.  I understand that this is the biggest search algorithm leak in history.  Google’s quasi-defense:  That the information might be “out-of-context, outdated or incomplete.” Suffice it to say they cannot be trusted.

    1. PaulGoodman67 profile image95
      PaulGoodman67posted 7 weeks agoin reply to this

      Yes, Google's defense is not a defense at all. There was a long pause before they said anything at all.

      Perhaps some of the early optimism about the internet was Utopian but we don't deserve this sh*tshow.

  4. EricDockett profile image97
    EricDockettposted 7 weeks ago

    You are right. This is probably the biggest search story since Panda.

    SEOs will be tearing those documents apart for months. For now, here is some pretty good nutshelling from SearchEngineLand for anyone who is interested:

    Unpacking Google’s massive search documentation leak

    I came away from the above article with a lot of ideas and a lot of questions. It would be great if HP used this as an opportunity to interact with the community and come up with a solid SEO blueprint.

    I don't know if there is any point in being optimistic anymore, but if traffic is going to improve, something has to change. Now seems like the time.

    1. PaulGoodman67 profile image95
      PaulGoodman67posted 7 weeks agoin reply to this

      Yes, while I appreciated the editors' hard work in recent times, there was a growing sense that we were slipping under.

      Anything that disrupts seems to present a potential for change, however slim the opportunity.

    2. PaulGoodman67 profile image95
      PaulGoodman67posted 7 weeks agoin reply to this

      Much of the info is pretty technical.

      However, reading through the SearchEngineLand article that you linked to, Eric, I think that the easiest and perhaps most relevant part for the general writer/website manager would be this:

      9 pieces of actionable advice to consider:

      You should invest in a well-designed site with intuitive architecture so you can optimize for NavBoost.

      If you have a site where SEO is important, you should remove / block pages that aren’t topically relevant. You can contextually bridge two topics to reinforce topical connections. Still, you must first establish your target topic and ensure each page scores well by optimizing for everything I’m sharing at the bottom of this document.

      Because embeddings are used on a page-by-page and site-wide basis, we must optimize our headings around queries and make the paragraphs under the headings answer those queries clearly and succinctly.

      Clicks and impressions are aggregated and applied on a topical basis, so you should write more content that can earn more impressions and clicks. Even if you’re only chipping away at the impression and click count, if you provide a good experience and are consistent with your topic expansion, you’ll start winning, according to the leaked docs.

      Irregularly updated content has the lowest storage priority for Google and is definitely not showing up for freshness. It is very important to update your content. Seek ways to update the content by adding unique info, new images, and video content. Aim to kill two birds with one stone by scoring high on the “effort calculations” metric.

      While it’s difficult to maintain high-quality content and publishing frequency, there is a reward. Google is applying site-level chard scores, which predict site/page quality based on your content. Google measures variances in any way you can imagine, so consistency is key.

      Impressions for the entire website are part of the quality NSR data. This means you should really value the impression growth as it is a good sign.

      Entities are very important. Salience scores for entities and top entity identification are mentioned.

      Remove poorly performing pages. If user metrics are bad, no links point to the page and the page has had plenty of opportunity to thrive, then that page should be eliminated. Site-wide scores and scoring averages are mentioned throughout the leaked docs, and it is just as valuable to delete the weakest links as it is to optimize your new article (with some caveats).

      1. theraggededge profile image87
        theraggededgeposted 7 weeks agoin reply to this

        Crikey, do you think Google will visit our homes with those hoops for us to jump through? Maybe they can bring them on their next Maps reconnaissance?

        Their self-awarded 'authority' over web content is downright disturbing.

        1. PaulGoodman67 profile image95
          PaulGoodman67posted 7 weeks agoin reply to this

          Just to be clear, the advice above is copied and pasted from the SearchEngineLand article and is based on their analysis of the Google leak.

          I hope that you've not interpreted it as being from Google, Bev.

          I wouldn't post any advice from Google in the current climate as they've been shown to have lied repeatedly in the past.

          1. theraggededge profile image87
            theraggededgeposted 7 weeks agoin reply to this

            Okay, but still... the efforts we poor website owners must put in. I want to create content without worrying too much about ancient posts, bridging topics and so on.

            I did read the article and... whoosh! Straight over my head big_smile

            1. PaulGoodman67 profile image95
              PaulGoodman67posted 7 weeks agoin reply to this

              Yes, that's why I gave up on my own websites. There's a lot to worry about and it's very competitive if you're hoping for readers to discover you via Google or other search engines.

              The plus side is that you do have full control, at least. You can also pursue an alternative strategy, using social media to draw traffic, for example.

              Much of the article is over my head too. That's why I rely on others to analyze and then give me info and advice that's in easy, practical language.

              I'm hoping that HP will do that for us too, as well as make any necessary structural changes to the niche sites.

      2. EricDockett profile image97
        EricDockettposted 7 weeks agoin reply to this

        Ugh. I composed a lengthy response talking about Google and HP and the needed changes. All I did was get myself furious. It is why I try to stay out of the forums these days.

        The bottom line is, unless HubPages is willing to make changes, there isn't a blessed thing we can do with this information.

        Like everyone else, over the past couple of years, I have watched my traffic and income fall apart. I have one account that used to earn thousands each month a few years ago, which now won't make payout for the first time since 2013.

        Yet nothing ever changes, and no improvements are ever made.

        I keep publishing and updating old content. But it seems hopeless.

        If HP doesn't think this site is worth saving, there isn't much we can do.

        1. Kenna McHugh profile image92
          Kenna McHughposted 7 weeks agoin reply to this

          Eric, I hear you! The forums are depressing. Plus, HP is saying nothing and doing nothing, which means the future looks bleak. HP doesn't care about it one iota.

  5. theraggededge profile image87
    theraggededgeposted 7 weeks ago

    "If HP doesn't think this site is worth saving, there isn't much we can do."

    I think HP is now run by one person plus a few Arena editors. It's not important to anyone (apart from us). If it were, the analytics would show that articles are carrying way too many adverts and the overall quality is not as good as it should be.

    And remember we have never been told, since it changed, what percentage of ad revenue we receive.


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