On June 6, 2024, Andrew Shotland shared some intriguing findings from leaked Google Search API documents, offering several insights into local SEO strategies. While the leak contained a mix of basic and highly technical information, some valuable nuggets could help improve local search rankings. Here are five key takeaways from the leaked documentation.

1. Video Content is Crucial

One of the standout points from the leaked documents is the emphasis on video content. The documents mention an “isVideoFocusedSite” attribute, indicating whether a site predominantly features video content. Google appears to favour sites with more than 50% video URLs, even if they are not hosted on major video platforms.

Actionable Insight:

Local businesses can leverage this by incorporating video content into their websites. For example, a local veterinarian could create videos on pet care tips and host them on their site. Ensuring these videos include geolocation metadata can further enhance local SEO.

2. The Impact of Click Behavior

The concept of “CRAPs” (click and results prediction system) signals suggests that clicks on search results can influence rankings, including for local searches. This aligns with previous observations that user engagement, such as clicks, affects search rankings.

Actionable Insight:

While using bots to manipulate clicks is against Google’s TOS, understanding the importance of genuine user engagement can help. Encouraging real customers to interact with your search results through engaging and relevant content can boost local rankings.

3. Local Authority vs. Topic Authority

The documents differentiate between local authority and topic authority. LocalityScore, a component of the LocalAuthority signal, and titlematchScore, which measures how well titles match user queries, are highlighted.

Actionable Insight:

Improving title tags to better match user queries and ensuring your site has a strong local presence can enhance local rankings. For example, increasing the percentage of title tags targeting local queries might improve visibility in local searches.

4. The Role of Local Service Ads (LSAs)

Rand Fishkin speculated that Chrome clickstream data might influence rankings. If true, the effectiveness of different ad units, such as LSAs and standard PPC ads, could be significant.

Actionable Insight:

Testing the impact of LSAs versus PPC ads on local search rankings could provide valuable insights. Observing competitors’ ad spend and ranking changes can also offer clues about the most effective strategies.

5. Leveraging “Twiddlers” for Local Results

“Twiddlers” in the leaked documents refer to mechanisms that limit the type of results in a SERP, promoting diversity. This means a specific format of results, such as blog posts or directories, might be capped.

Actionable Insight:

Understanding the format diversity in local SERPs can help businesses optimize their content strategy. For instance, creating a local business directory on your site could help you secure a spot typically dominated by larger directory sites like Yelp.

Additional Insights from the Leak

Several intriguing attributes were mentioned in the leak that could have implications for local SEO, such as:

localyp: Possibly related to local business directories.

localsearchAuthoritySiteAnnotation: Indicates if a site is an authority for a specific location.

qualityGeoBrainlocGoldmineBrainlocAnnotation: Likely related to popular locations and advertiser lists.

indexingDupsLocalizedLocalizedCluster: Deals with deduplication based on geographic search.

imageRepositoryGeolocation: Involves geotagging images for local queries.

These attributes suggest that factors like local citations, geotagged images, and authoritative local content remain important.

 

While the leaked Google API documentation provides a mix of basic and advanced information, it highlights several actionable insights for improving local SEO. Emphasising video content, understanding the impact of clicks, optimizing for local and topic authority, leveraging LSAs, and utilizing content diversity strategies can help local businesses enhance their search rankings.

Stay tuned for more updates and experiments as the local SEO community continues to decode and leverage these insights for better search performance.  Get in touch with the team at Sierra Six Media, today and get started bettering your online marketing campaigns.