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    Does CTR on organic searches affect SERPs?


    I heard somewhere that the more often people click on your link when searching for a particular keyword, it will increase your ranking in the SERPs for that keyword.

    For Example: If a kabbalah website wanted to rank high for KW "Kabbalah", they could send out a mass email to all their members telling them to google "Kabbalah", find the website, and click on it.

    Is this possible? I know this works for "personalized" searching, but could this strategy work for your "global" or "real" SERP ranking??

    Thanks!
    M
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    We have always believed in user behavior effecting serps.

    Now that google actually admits to using "personalized serps" The belief is more than ever.

    Its funny when I visit one of my competitors in the serps (i'm in furniture), and then go on my dating site, I get ads from my competitor shown to me. I get the same google ads on my shopping cart forum.

    I mean really,, dont you think google trues to provide the most relevant results they can, with the information they have?
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    Originally Posted by AlexTampa
    We have always believed in user behavior effecting serps.
    Whoa.. slow down Alex.. don't respond on behalf of the whole forum!

    You need to qualify who "We" is.

    I don't necessarily disagree with the rest of your reply, but don't let people think you are passing on the beliefs of the entire forum in any post.
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    Originally Posted by channel5
    Whoa.. slow down Alex.. don't respond on behalf of the whole forum!

    You need to qualify who "We" is.

    I don't necessarily disagree with the rest of your reply, but don't let people think you are passing on the beliefs of the entire forum in any post.


    Alex
    [/QUOTE]
    Others Reply Here
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    It is much more likely Google uses behavioral data to merely push suspicious behavior to a specific filter to look for manipulation practices.

    So a high bounce rate might push the page through a filter that checks on or off page merits.

    That said... whether it does or doesn't isn't something you can "detect" thus isn't something you can optimize for so rather moot.
    Last edited by fathom; Feb 24th, 2010 at 08:38 AM.
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    Originally Posted by mtreidl
    I heard somewhere that the more often people click on your link when searching for a particular keyword, it will increase your ranking in the SERPs for that keyword.

    For Example: If a kabbalah website wanted to rank high for KW "Kabbalah", they could send out a mass email to all their members telling them to google "Kabbalah", find the website, and click on it.

    Is this possible? I know this works for "personalized" searching, but could this strategy work for your "global" or "real" SERP ranking??

    Thanks!
    M
    Getting back to the OP...

    1. Google tracks CTR and return rates using a JS event. They've just served you their best guess as to what you were looking for. They want to know if you liked it and where you stopped looking in their results. It's a good quality control, IMO.
    2. It might possibly play directly into SERPs. That one is a lot more nebulous to determine. I would assume a natural CTR and retention would lead Google to assume that you were what the end user was looking for. It's also possible that Google simple does an internal analysis and makes tweaks to their system manually based on the data.
    3. I would be highly dubious of any campaign focused on getting users to search for and then click on your page in a given SERP. Google frowns on manipulation. Someone posted a while back that they tried this and experienced a SERP drop afterward. Hard to say if it's connected to the click campaign, tho, but I wouldn't risk it.
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    It is fairly well accepted that the bounce rate metric is a consideration that effects normal organic SERPs.

    If you accept that then it is also reasonable to assume that CTR is a metric that would effect organic rankings.

    This is why there is also speculation that a well written meta description tag can have an indirect effect on rankings. I know many people do not accept this but it is certainly something that could influence rankings and therefore it is my opinion that it should nto be left to chance.

    Comments on this post

    • KernelPanic agrees : I also make certain to include descriptions in ALMOST every case. On some pages where I rank for myriad long tails, I will let Google do it.
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    I think (once in a while at least)... Anyway, I believe or think user behavior is taken into consideration by Google but with a big caveat.... CTR by itself is easily manipulated. I believe, no proof of this, that Google looks at a combination of user metrics in an effort to put some meaning to the CTR on at least the first page of the SERPs.

    Google should/could be using the full panaroma of user metrics that are available to Google to determine how well a SERP result satisfies a search query as compared to others within any given SERP result. Some of those metrics will provide very telling data on which page/site best satisfies a search query: CTR, bounce rate, time on page, time on site, social media messaging/votes, conversion rate (if available), etc.

    For Google to use CTR only would be ridiculous... but I think user data will come more and more into play.
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    CTR alone


    Agreeing with SEO_AM I would add this:

    CTR alone wouldn't do much good. Otherwise I could have

    "Megan Fox naked for first time ever" on my Title tag and most searchers (yes, women are curious too) would click through no matter what their original query was.

    Of course, when they opened my page and saw nothing of the sort, all but the most optimistic (or desperate) would bounce right away.
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    My own views have changed on this a lot lately. I now am more agreement with fathom in a general sense I think the CTR data is much more likely to be used as a quality control and fine tuning of the overall algo rather then specifically affecting SERPs (with some exceptions). My thinking goes mainly along the lines if CTR was affecting normal SERPs the results would fluctuate much more. ie seasonal, fad, topical factors would see SERPs changing for many terms more often then they do.

    It is also the case that most/many search terms are only searched very infrequently thus if CTR was changing results these results would be easy to manipulate.

    CTR could only specifically relate for exact search matches as anything else would be pointless.

    I think this is very different for searches accessing the QDF filter or other real time results.

    I think user behavior data in general is more likely to effect the trust part of the algo then the relevance part myself. As trust is more site wide then term specific. But that is another whole area of discussion….
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    Originally Posted by steviewilkie
    Of course, when they opened my page and saw nothing of the sort, all but the most optimistic (or desperate) would bounce right away.
    Lol, Google thinks both porn and no porn are bad, now what?

    If Google used user data for SERP better to make a company policy to create linkedin profiles where you link to the company instead of using your employees as hamsters in a wheel clicking on results.

    At first I thought Google would just use adwords technology to combat click manipulation, but yeah it might be feasible that personal search took most of the brunt of manipulation, and now its only to detect bad, user-dissing sites.

    Following these recommendations should increase the likelihood that your site will show up consistently in the search results.
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    Who cares what Google thinks regarding CTR and bounce. If you are working as an SEO you are continually working to improve these stats regardless of what Google thinks. If a low bounce and a high CTR give you a boost in ranks, that's great.
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    Honestly, I would not use CTR if I were them.

    I would use bounce rate
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    Why not use everything? CTR, bounce rate, and time on site. Imagine how good a metric that is for quality of material. Also, someone said they could artificially inflate CTR with a title like "Megan Fox Naked For First Time", but Google would compare your CTR to historic CTRs of similar content. And in this case, your CTR would be inline with Megan Fox Nude content.
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    Just because someone clicks a link, doesnt mean its most-relevant. EDIT: But google seems to think if you click something you like it (as per their personalization)

    Use the time on page for each unique IP on a query by query basis, and you can get some good info.

    I think the query by query basis is important.
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