Does Google Rank According to Clicks in Organic Results?

Oct 19, 2007 • 9:45 am | comments (4) by twitter | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

Barry Welford presents an interesting question, one that has been highly debated in the past, on Cre8asite Forums:

I am getting the distinct feeling based on traffic to my websites that clicks on particular entries in SERPs are being weighted more strongly in the Google algorithms. In other words, suppose you had a web page sitting at #3 position for a given keyword search. If this web page gets more clicks by searchers than the #1 or #2, then this will eventually move your web page to the #1 or #2 position.

The question has evoked similar sentiment and others feel the same way. Respree, for example, says that Google likes popular sites. Does that extend to click popularity?

Bill Slawski, on the other hand, thinks that other factors come into play: which page was clicked? How long has the visitor hung around? How much of the page do they view (do they scroll down?) Do they refine their query? Are they returning to the page, and if so, how?

There's a lot of discussion, but there's no real support to the method. It is possible that people might access the 4th result and give it enough link juice to hit the #1 position. However, there's no definitive answer, and Google would never tell us anyway. ;)

Forum discussion continues at Cre8asite Forums.

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Comments:

CVOS man

10/19/2007 08:06 pm

I think its absurd to think that your rankings are not affected if you use Google Analytics. It's (fairly) easy to manipulate PageRank, but if you use GA you are essentially giving Google a license to control your site placement.

Michael Martinez

10/19/2007 08:41 pm

The more clicks a page receives, the more likely it is to earn new links. The more often a page changes, the more likely its relevance scoring will change favorably or unfavorably. There are a LOT of factors not related to clicking that could be causing pages to wobble in the search results.

AR

10/22/2007 09:17 am

we had a site, that was totaly not SE user friendly. almost all links to inner pages where in flash thus unacceisible from Homepage. All Pages were positioned on page 3-4-5 and lower we launched a huge PPC campaign on both google and other channels. we made sure we are alwasy on position T1 - T3. the amount of traffic we got was so huge, and the click thorugh rate was really good so Google had made some pages rank on the 1st place on organic results, even though these pages where far below on page 4 or 5 before we launched our campaign. this could happen of course only in a small country, where traffic and competition are still low for some keywords / sites

Texxs

10/22/2007 05:20 pm

"which page was clicked? How long has the visitor hung around? How much of the page do they view (do they scroll down?) Do they refine their query? Are they returning to the page, and if so, how?" How would they know these things on a non Google-Analytics site or non-adsense site?

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