Google will never reveal their ‘secret sauce’ ingredients

Ex-Googlers vow to keep their mouths shut despite leaving Google’s employment

ShushIt’s an age old question but many in the SEO field wonder why a large number of ex-Google employees who were known to work in the “Web Spam” and “Search Quality” divisions have never let the cat out of the bag and told the world how Google’s algorithms actually work and ultimately, how to get position one.

It seems once you are in that trusted circle, you always remain in that circle and that trust should never be compromised. Barry Schwartz over at Search Engine Roundtable recently put the question to a number of high profile ex-Google employees and the responses were interesting.

One particular ex-employee in question is Pedro Dias, who worked at the higher levels of the Search Quality Analyst team for about five years. He gave a number of reasons why he has not announced to the world how to break Google’s top rank code. Here’s a summary of what he said:

  • Search Quality Googler’s essentially hate spam and anything related to manipulating search results so why offer those people a short cut to the top
  • any revelations would undermine the trust between their current and ex-colleagues and would give them a bad image
  • they prefer to see their work with Google and beyond as long term, rather than just to get rich quick
  • they have their our own vision of the web and searching, prefering to think like search engineers, helping businesses understand search rather than selling magic formulas and torching them.
  • everyone who works for Google essentially signs an NDA
  • and finally… because they like to know inside info that others don’t and keep it that way

The final two points of that paragraph to me are the most revealing.

For one, it comes as no great surprise that Google will insist that any employee signs a non-disclosure agreement. Any self-respecting, professional organisation of their size will automatically want to protect their patents, formulas and processes. Who wouldn’t? So don’t expect any major leaks to come out that will change the SEO game anytime in the near future.

The final point is also a poignant one. If you leave Google, safe in the knowledge that you have all this inside information stored safely away in your memory, that makes you the most employable person on the planet when it comes to seeking a new job in SEO or internet marketing.

People with that kind of inside knowledge written on their CV won’t take long to find offers of work coming their way. In fact, they’re the type to be head hunted and swiftly. Does it come as any surprise that there is a long list of ex-Google Web Spam and Search Quality department employees that just so happen to work in an SEO or search consultant role nowadays? Absolutely not!

So where does that leave us non-Google folk?

Our job is simple. Stick to the rules that Google are laying out. The great news going forward into 2014 is that finally, we are starting to get more and more clearer, concise indications from Google as how to go about ensuring our websites are the best they can be to rank well for our industries.

In a recent Google Webmaster video, Matt Cutt’s explained that plain, concise English will always win over jargon based content. Yet I see jargon, buzzwords and just plain incomprehensible nonsense get plastered all over the web.

We love to make ourselves appear to be experts by using big words, fancy language and clichés when we forget that a website should be about ensuring two things:

  1. the search engines can understand it and rank it well for relevancy
  2. anyone visiting the website can understand what it is we’re promoting

Yet I’m amazed at the sheer volume of sites that have literally spent hours composing verbiage that just baffles instead of clarifies. It’s not as bad as it used to be but it still goes on sadly. Here’s Matt’s video for those interested in what he had to say. Just ensure you have sunglasses on – that yellow t-shirt is pretty offensive!

And the moral of this story is?

If you want to rank well, write well. Great content is the way forward for this year and beyond and those that spend the time to make their site informative, educational and original will reap the rewards long term.

That, we can most certainly be sure of.

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