What the Google Leak Reveals About Local SEO?

May 30, 2024

Last week, a significant leak from Google surfaced, sparking discussions across the SEO community. The leak from Google's warehouse  primarily involved data related to their internal systems and the types of information they collect.

To give an analogy to make it simple, assume Google uses a massive Excel sheet with tons of information about every website for Google ranking. Each row here is a website, and each column represents different types of data that Google collects about these websites, like content quality, user engagement, and spam signals. The recent leak didn’t show us the whole Excel sheet or the exact formulas (algorithms) Google uses to rank websites. Instead, it revealed the names of some of these columns, giving us an idea of what kinds of data Google is looking at. So, we now know more about what information Google collects to make its decisions.

It’s crucial to note that this leak highlights the data being collected—not how it is prioritized or ranked in search results. The timing of this leak also suggests that the information is current and relevant to today's local SEO strategies. Still, keep in mind that just because a data is collected does not mean that the data is used.  

Google has also now come out and confirmed that the leaked search documents are real.

In this article, wanted to especially go through some of the relevant data that Google collects and what it means for local website ranking.

1) Business related information collected

One of the key models relevant to local businesses is the GoogleApi.ContentWarehouse.V1.Model.LocalWWWInfo model. This model encompasses vital business data, including the address, phone number, business hours (open/close times),  latitude/longitude coordinates, and a ‘confidence’ measure. The 'confidence' score indicates the likelihood that a given webpage is the authoritative source for a particular business. It also shows that the data is collected per page, and not collected a whole website in one go.

It also seems that for some kinds of business pages like travel, restaurants, hotels and health insurance it collects additional set of industry information.

What does it mean for Local SEO?
  • Schema matters a lot probably: You will find that a lot of the data collected here matches the details we provide on the schema of a page. Schema can also likely increase the confidence that a page is the authority page for a specific business. It also seems to be the most efficient way we can make sure that correct information is indexed by Google without data being lost of confused when Google scrapes it from the page.
  • Also the practice of including business details like name, address, open/close time on every page can also be very helpful. It could increase the likelihood of getting indexed correctly. Some other part of the leak shows there is truncation sometimes, which means sometimes pages are truncated if it is long. This means that it might be better if these relevant business information are better off on the top part of the page in general.
  • Page, not website: The data is collected per page, not a single field across a full website. So, in is important that you provide the relevant information on all pages. Not just the homepage. Make sure to add schema to every page too if you want it to be associated to the business.
  • Open/close time: This information from the website is indeed collected. So, if you find that your Google Maps open/close timing was automatically changed then this could be one of the source for this.
  • Depending on your niche, there are additional details collected. One industry that stood out was the restaurant and travel industry, where a much more data was collected.

2) User behavior on the page matters 

Google not only performs a one-time assessment for ranking but also continuously collects user interaction data, known as click metrics or signals, to understand how users interact with search results. This data can be retained for extended periods, sometimes up to 13 months. An important aspect for local SEO is that the location data of users is captured and stored, which helps determine the relevance of a page to a specific geographic area.

Another suprising find from the data is that Chrome browser data is also collected by Google. Reference to it can be found in the leak.

This information is managed within the model: GoogleApi.ContentWarehouse.V1.Model.QualityNavboostCrapsCrapsClickSignals.

What does it mean for Local SEO?
  • If your article has an effect of getting people from a particular location is staying more on the page and liking it, then the chances are that the page can get rank higher in that location. Make an effort to make the content relevant and engaging to a particular location.
  • Having a simple navigation is better. This way the user does not get confused and moves away from the page.
  • This does not directly mean that you can buy clicks from a location and rank higher as there also seems to be additional calculations to evaluate the quality of the visit.

3) Location relevance 

The relevance of a page to a specific location is assessed even if the location is not explicitly mentioned on the page. This is achieved by analyzing the content of the page to extract location-related information. If the precise location cannot be determined, the system defaults to considering the country level. The method by which this data is extracted from a page is detailed in the documentation.

You might find the explanation in the below screenshot interesting.

A particularly notable model that addresses this is the GoogleApi.ContentWarehouse.V1.Model.QualityNavboostCrapsCrapsClickSignals. Additionally, iPullRank's analysis of this data discusses the concept of 'location demotion'. This means that 'global' and 'super global' pages can be downgraded in relevance, as Google likely associates pages with specific locations.

What does it mean for Local SEO?
  • While the exact methods Google uses to leverage location data are not publicly disclosed, you can likely enhance a page's relevance to a specific location by explicitly including location information within the page content.
  • To avoid confusion, ensure that a page is relevant to a single location and clearly represents the target location in the content. For instance, if you want to make a page relevant to Etobicoke, a suburb of Toronto, include a specific reference such as "Etobicoke, Ontario" within the page.
  • It’s important to note that location relevance is evaluated at the page level rather than the entire website. Therefore, wherever possible, add specific location relevance to individual pages to improve their geographic targeting and relevance.
4) How on/off topic is a page

Google appears to be vectorizing pages and sites, which means representing the content in a structured format that allows easy comparison and analysis. By doing so, Google can determine how on-topic or off-topic a page is relative to the overall theme of a particular site.

Additionally, Google uses a metric called siteFocusScores, which denotes how focused a site is on a specific topic. The screenshot below illustrates the relevant model:

What does it mean for Local SEO?
  • Make all pages relevant to a topic. Dont deviate too much from the core intent of the site, especially when it comes to a Local SEO websites.
  • Creating separate pages for different categories or services in case you want to rank for that term. This would likely increase your chance of ranking. Include location information to when you write about these.


Many of the tips mentioned in this article are already known best practices, but it's nice to have this leak confirm that we're on the right track.

Just a heads-up, the leak mostly talks about the types of data Google collects—it doesn’t dive into how much weight they give to each piece of data. We also looked for info about Google My Business (GMB) data in the leak, but apart from some references to it in some model related to Google Ads, there wasn’t much about Google Maps.

We’re not linking directly to the leaked document here, but a quick search on Twitter should help you find it if you’re curious.

Hope you enjoyed our take on the data, especially how it relates to Local SEO.
Thanks for reading!

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