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Four ways our Digital PR reporting tactics align with the Google algorithm leak

Antonio Wedral from NovosAntonio Wedral in Digital PR

6th June, 2024

Staying on top of Google’s guidelines is crucial for PRs & SEOs, but it’s rare that Google shares anything concrete about them. Therefore, it’s our job to spot trends, understand what works to increase rankings, and piece together the puzzle.

Last week there was a leak of Google’s guidelines, giving us a rare insight into their algorithm. 

We feel affirmed that we were already predicting many of these updates and have strategies in place, specifically in digital PR, to ensure that the backlinks we build for our client’s websites align with what Google wants to see.

To ensure we provide our clients with the most impactful links, we utilise two key reporting tactics: a NOVOS link score and a custom link relevancy tool:

NOVOS Link Score: Our link score evaluates several factors: the quality and trustworthiness of the domain hosting the backlink, relevancy (using our proprietary Link Relevancy Tool), the recency of the backlink, whether it’s a new domain for the backlink profile, the type of backlink (e.g., do-follow, no-follow, affiliate, etc) and where on the site it’s linking to (homepage, blog, PDP etc).

Link Relevancy Tool: Our tool assesses the context of the linking page and the linked domain to determine the topical relevance of the backlink to our client and their industry. By leveraging multiple AI and machine learning techniques, it generates an automated quantitative score.

Here’s why these two reporting tactics align perfectly with the Google algorithm leak from last week.

Google analyses the trustworthiness of a homepage

Google analyses the trustworthiness of a homepage (‘homePageInfo’) when determining the value of a link, according to the leaked algorithm from May 2024. This demonstrates to SEOs that we should consider the quality and relevance of a website we build backlinks on to ensure they’re an authoritative site within the industry. 

This has always been our practice at NOVOS, but as we roll out our link relevancy tool it will become easier to quantify with our clients. Our link relevancy tool analyses the context of both the page where we build a link and the domain/homepage, then compares it to our client’s domain to assess alignment in keywords and topics and produce a quantitative score for relevancy.

But, is it worth having a quantitative score? The PR industry often relies on subjective opinions to determine link relevancy, which can limit the range of publications targeted to only the most obvious choices. To address this issue, we developed the link relevancy tool to remove subjectivity from the equation, allowing our clients to see and understand link relevancy in a quantifiable way. This tool goes beyond the basic notion of “relevance” as being simply within the same industry, providing a more robust, quantitative approach to evaluating link quality.

For example, you might see publications like Ideal Home, Woman & Home and The Mirror as all being highly relevant for our online gardening client, however, each of these publications brings unique relevancy scores back. These scores, of course, depend on several factors such as which page the backlink is housed on i.e homepage or category page and which domains perform the best for the keywords. 


SourceType reaffirms what we believed on link recency

The blog explains that there’s “a metric called sourceType that shows a loose relationship between where a page is indexed and how valuable it is. Google’s index is stratified into tiers where the most important, regularly updated, and accessed content is stored in flash memory.

“Effectively, this is saying the higher the tier, the more valuable the link. Pages that are considered “fresh” are also considered high quality. Suffice it to say, you want your links to come from pages that either fresh or are otherwise featured in the top tier. This partially explains why getting rankings from highly ranking pages and from news pages yields better ranking performance.”

From this, it’s clear that fresher backlinks are preferable, especially from news publications. Older articles get buried as new content is added, so we refresh our domains every 2-3 years where we build links. Our NOVOS link score considers whether a backlink is from a brand-new domain for our client’s profile or a ‘renewed’ domain, meaning they haven’t received a backlink from that domain in a couple of years.

Building backlinks consistently over time is crucial for maintaining a strong backlink profile. A well-maintained profile retains its value and continues to benefit from natural, high-quality backlinks. This is why we recommend ongoing Digital PR as a key SEO strategy.


‘Domain authority’ is tracked by Google, in their way

The report states, “Google does indeed have an overall domain authority.” Of course, they don’t use Moz’s ‘Domain Authority,’ but the recent leak reveals Google computes a feature called ‘siteAuthority’ as part of the Compressed Quality Signals stored on a per document basis.

“We do not know specifically how this is measured or used in the scoring functions, but we know it exists and is used in the Q* ranking system.”

While the definition of site authority remains unclear, it likely refers to a website’s overall authority. Thus, third-party metrics like Moz’s Domain Authority and Ahrefs’ Domain Rating are invaluable for gauging a website’s strength. A high score on these indicates a site is well-regarded, and often linked to as a reliable source. This recognition aids our SEO strategies.

We particularly advocate for Ahrefs’ Domain Rating, which considers multiple Google ranking factors, including referring domains, domain age, and total number of links. Domain Rating is a key factor in our own NOVOS link score, helping to define a link’s authority and trustworthiness.

For example, some of the well-known news publications we’ve gained coverage from this week boast impressive domain ratings. Just to name-drop a few: The Mirror comes in at 90, Glamour Beauty Magazine at 81, OK! Magazine at 74, Yahoo! UK at 81, the Express at 89, House Beautiful at 85, House & Garden at 77, Tom’s Guide at 86, and Ideal Home at 78. You get the picture!

Link Spam Velocity Signals show us that natural link building is best

“There is a whole series of metrics about the identification of spikes in spam anchor text. Noting the phraseAnchorSpamDays feature, Google effectively has the ability to measure link velocity of spam.

This could easily be used to identify when a site is spamming and to nullify a negative SEO attack. For those that are sceptical about the latter, Google can use this data to compare a baseline of link discovery against a current trend and simply not count those links in either direction.”

Years ago, link building saw many website owners and even SEO’s trying to cheat the system by buying backlinks in bulk and spamming Google with these supposed ‘trust signals’ of a website. Some websites still believe this is a good idea (it’s not). Google can now identify these tactics by analysing the velocity at which links are acquired and the repetition of anchor text, distinguishing between natural link-building and artificial methods.

Digital PR offers a natural approach to link building. We create high-quality content that publications want to cover, recognising our clients as authorities and linking back to the relevant client page.



We are excited to announce that we will be seeking 10 beta testers for our link relevancy tool in a few weeks. This is a fantastic opportunity for internal PRs, PR freelancers and agencies to be among the first to experience and influence our innovation. If you are interested in participating, please send an email to with the subject line “Relevancy”.

Antonio Wedral from Novos
Article by Antonio Wedral
Antonio is the co-founder and COO of NOVOS. Before setting up NOVOS, Antonio led the digital growth at luxury men’s publication Gentleman’s Journal where he brought value from declining print sales to huge online subscription revenue growth. Antonio’s also worked agency-side on multiple award-winning campaigns.

Four ways our Digital PR reporting tactics align with the Google algorithm leak

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