1. Digital Marketing
    SEO Chat Mastermind (5000+ posts)

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    Things You Must Know!

    Here's a great article by Larry Kim regarding CTR and Rank brain where he says:
    Here's the wildest one. At SMX West, Google's Paul Haahr said Google doesn't really understand what RankBrain is doing.
    If this really smart guy who works at Google doesn't know what RankBrain does, how in the heck does some random self-proclaimed SEO guru definitively know all the secrets of RankBrain?
    Also in the article a Google Engineer lets it out that CTR is indeed a ranking signal.

    I'll make this point again, whether or not you feel CTR is a ranking signal doesn't matter, you still need to be continually working to improve it!
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  3. Retired from SEO
    SEO Chat High Scholar (3500 - 3999 posts)

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    Now Google shows 230.character but previous not so my guts feeling says that it works.

    Or as KP stated above if you feel CTR is not a ranking factor still need work for the better snippet.
    You do your business I do mine because you are you and I am I If we meet it is nice.
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  5. the mango demon
    SEO Chat Adventurer (500 - 999 posts)

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    Spammers and SEO tools makers are already busy on this factor.
    I have already seen and used one service that gets you clicks. I tested it on one project in UK and the rankings improved actually. But the next month the stupid client did not renew the services because he was already on page 1 (#5 average ranks for main keywords) So I do not know what happened next. I am not wasting time on lost projects.
    Actually, I am also working on an Android App to hire public to perform real searches and boost CTR.
    Not sure what I will get from this, but I have other plans with the app. If CTR boosting fails the APP will have other objectives.

    Comments on this post

    • KernelPanic agrees : Thank you for the thoughtful post
    SEO Professionals in NewDelhi It is different. Don't believe me? Go check yourself.
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    Contributing User
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    Hi All,
    Most of the web articles written about SEO are wrong.

    An essential SEO skills is to be able to assess articles and cull out the inaccurate dross and nonsense from fact, logic and plausibility.

    1. Check the Author's Article Reference Accuracy

    The simplest thing is to check the author's offered references and whether they are actually cited accurately.

    This Kim article fails at this very first hurdle.

    The Google Engineer cited is in fact, Paul Haahr. He has been a Software Engineer at Google for 14 years and the misquoted/mythical reference to CTR as a search ranking factor comes from his presentation at SMX West in Mar 2016.

    You can view a video of the presentation, with the slide show and a transcript here:

    The Kim CTR reference is to a point in Haarh's presentation where he is talking about "What Search Engineers Do". He has stopped talking about how search works. He got through that without mentioning Clicks or CTR at all.

    If you want to check the video with the slide presentation, the relevant points are slides 29-30:

    Haahr Slides 29:
    This slide starts to address the problems of live experiment measurements by search engineers (not the search algo). It includes the bullet point:

    • "Look for changes in click patterns
    • Harder to understand than you may think."

    The presentation makes it clear that this and subsequent slides have NOTHING to do with how G's algorithm ranks web pages. Haarh is ONLY talking about how engineers test and measure their activities.

    Haahr Slides 30:
    This is the slide that is supposed to put to rest any debate about G's use of CTR in its ranking algo.

    Watching the live video shows us this slide is not even talking about G's algo ranking signals.

    It is being used to demonstrate how inconsistent is any ranking signal based on SERP clicks. Hence, the hanging question at the bottom of the slide:

    "Do we really think A is better than B?"

    So, far from confirming that CTR is used as a ranking signal this slide is actually intended to confirm to us that CTR is a poor metric for measuring result "quality".

    This whole CTR as a ranking signal is based on a false assumption!

    Google does not use it simply because it does NOT consistently reflect "good" results.

    Until the proponents of CTR as a ranking signal can find a way to resolve this most basic of problems, their theory is dead in the water. And don't waste our time with charts that show "average" page ranking and CTR rates. These only demonstrate why CTR is a very inconsitant and unworkable metric. In over 2 trillion searches per year, the searchers do not want "average" results. They want the abnormal results that are relevant to their specific search queries.

    Nothing in Haarh's presentation about CTR as a ranking signal but there is a lot of very valuable info in this part of the presentation.

    Some may quibble that Haahr does not say CTR is NOT a search ranking signal. That is answered more directly in the Q&A session from the same SEO conference:

    Mar 2016: Paul Haahr & Gary Illyes video. Q&A session from SMX West 2016.

    At the 15min 58sec point...

    Sullivan asks: "Do you want to comment on the question that will never die, CTR. In the past I think the last thing I recall offical from G is 'we use CTR to our search results to reassure that what we are doing is right, we don't use CTR as a ranking factor in and of itself'".

    Haarh answers: "We use CTR for experiments. We use it for (search) personalisation.

    It is a challenging thing to use it in any circumstances. People try all sorts of crazy things - they don't necessarily work..."

    Illyes interjects: "Even when you do experiments and you have a controlled group, even then it is hard to interpret the engagement."

    Haarh responds: "There are so many experiments we have done that have very misleading live metrics that you really have to dig into them."

    The team then discuss various examples of tests that have demonstrated inconsistent CTR signals. This includes where the CTR for position 10 in the SERPS is more than the combined totals of #8 and #9.

    Danny Sullivan, the "father of SE reporting" actually goes on to ridicule those SEOs who believe CTR is a ranking signal.

    So there you have it from the Googlers. CTR signals are so ineffective and inconsistent that the argument over CTR as a ranking signal has been completely emasculated/invalidated by G's tests.

    It is not surprising that in the 9 months since this article was published, many/most/all of the informed SEOs who were supporting this theory have walked away from their theories.

    One cited by Kim in his article is Moz's Rand Fishkin. Here is the latest video by him:

    You won't find a single reference to CTR in these latest ranking suggestions.

    I hope this post gives folk some pointers and confidence to question the self generated "authority" of various SEO article publishers with large follower numbers.

    2. Check the Article Author's Expertise

    I also suggest folk search any SEO article author's LinkedIn profile. In this case I'm told that Mr Kim is a very experienced PPC, PPC software developer and social media marketer. I see 160+ articles published on LinkedIn. Almost all are about PPC, social media or self help topics. Where's the SEO expertise?

    <Snipped> No personal attacks
    Last edited by KernelPanic; Jan 22nd, 2018 at 11:36 AM.

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