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    Originally Posted by matt1966
    Feels like Mummy and Daddy are arguing lol.
    There's only one person arguing, the rest of us are having a fun discussion. imo
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    Hi KnowOneSpecial,

    I'm in complete agreement with you that G uses CTR in A/B testing of its search engineers' experiments of proposed algo changes.

    G's Paul Haahr said it in this Mar 2016 video at SMX West.

    My disagreement is specifically with the contention that:

    "So does this make a strong case for Google using user behavior metrics as ranking signals."


    When you read the Stone Temple article you reference, it says in the next sentence:

    "Note: He did NOT say that it was a live ranking factor, but more a way of validating that other ranking factors were doing their job well."


    If you click the link to the slide show it goes to the set of slides used in Haahr's SMX West video linked above.

    I believe it is slides 29 & 30 that some people think supports the assertion that G uses CTR in its ranking algo.

    If folk watch/listen to the video they will hear Haarh say:

    • This A/B testing is done before proposed algo ranking changes are implemented in the world-wide ranking algo
    • This is one technique used to assess algo changes before they are published across the site
    • It was also used to test which shade of blue to make G's link text
    • Note the slide line "do we really think A is better than B?"


    He then goes on to talk about how unreliable CTR is as a ranking signal that they also use a team of human raters to assess algo changes.

    Thanks for bringing another reference to our attention that supports G saying CTR is NOT an algo ranking factor.
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    Hi John

    First let me say we, meaning you and I, are of diametrically opposed viewpoints.

    I have presented information stating emphatically without a doubt that Google measures, tallies, uses all sorts of noisy signals.. ctr, dwell etc etc. They use this data to design and tweak their algo's.

    Now you say that this supports your viewpoint that Google doesn't use these signals. I say the information completely supports the opposite viewpoint in that they do use it.

    Step 1
    Create an algo for ranking.

    Step 2
    Use noisy signals, ctr, dwell, pogo sticking and verify under controlled conditions that the algo's do in fact work.

    Step 3
    Release the algo's in to the real world for use in delivering SERP results to the public.

    Step 4
    Verify algo operation later by testing said algo with those noisy signals on a periodic time table.

    Now of course that is a streamlined version of what I think happens inside of Google's Think Tank. Also I will state it is just an assumption and I have no real world knowledge of how Google does things. I will state that I am a professional programmer and that that I outlined above is probable of what Google is doing !

    Now I will use an analogy to stress my point....

    During WWII General Patton was extremely upset (as some reported this), when he defeated Rommels Panzer Corp in North Africa and Rommel was not present on the battlefield, he had actually returned to Germany because of an illness. It was pointed out to Patton, General, you have defeated Rommel's plan, so in fact you have defeated Rommel.

    If these noisy signals are used to design the real time algorithms and to verify correct delivered results, then those signals are in fact used. Do they evaluate CTR and Dwell on each site before assigning them resulting position in the delivered SERPS, NO of course not. But, here comes the but, the man behind the curtain is tracking said signals and using them in the design of the algos.

    So I read this as they do use those signals, period !

    Comments on this post

    • KernelPanic agrees : Brilliant analyzation
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    Just for anyone new that might be reading:
    Definition of Dwell Time. Dwell time is a metric that calculates user engagement, session duration, and SERP CTRs. It is a data point that is not publicly available but is nonetheless a factor that affects a site's search engine results.
    Here's the article
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    Originally Posted by matt1966
    Pretty good article on the topic here: https://www.link-assistant.com/news/...r-and-seo.html
    That article should put matters to rest:
    While some Google representatives may be reluctant to admit the impact of user metrics on rankings, many aren't.

    In a Federal Trade Commission court case, Google's former Search Quality chief, Udi Manber, testified the following:

    "The ranking itself is affected by the click data. If we discover that, for a particular query, hypothetically, 80 percent of people click on Result No. 2 and only 10 percent click on Result No. 1, after a while we figure probably Result 2 is the one people want. So we'll switch it."

    Edmond Lau, who also used to work on Google Search Quality, said something similar:

    "It's pretty clear that any reasonable search engine would use click data on their own results to feed back into ranking to improve the quality of search results. Infrequently clicked results should drop toward the bottom because they're less relevant, and frequently clicked results bubble toward the top."

    Want more? Back in 2011, Amit Singhal, one of Google's top search engineers, mentioned in an interview with Wall Street Journal that Google had added numerous "signals," or factors into its algorithm for ranking sites. "How users interact with a site is one of those signals".
    Besides all the obvious evidence that everyone can see, Google engineers admitting the truth pretty much closes the book on this argument.

    Google uses user behavior metrics in its algorithms. Case closed.
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    I'd like to know how much of ranking factor though.

    One of my websites offering software services had to shutdown as the software could no longer run. Rather than just destroying the site, I've put a banner on the pages stating the service is no longer in use to see if anything happens when my bounce rate plummets.


    The bounce rate went from 50% ish, to 85% ish. After 3-4 months, nothing has changed in the serps at all. If anything, the past three months have actually improved in regards to traffic from Google.


    So although I think it is a ranking factor - maybe not a very big one? I'm sure in time this will change. Who knows...
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    Originally Posted by JohnAimit
    Hi KnowOneSpecial,

    "Note: He did NOT say that it was a live ranking factor, but more a way of validating that other ranking factors were doing their job well."

    Surely this is two sides of the same coin. Google has been saying it uses a 'needs met' approach for quite some time. Now even if it uses it only as a validating factor that means they use it to tweak ranking factors in order for sites with good UB to rank higher.

    i.e. UB = SEO Factor
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    Originally Posted by Doodled
    Surely this is two sides of the same coin. Google has been saying it uses a 'needs met' approach for quite some time. Now even if it uses it only as a validating factor that means they use it to tweak ranking factors in order for sites with good UB to rank higher.

    i.e. UB = SEO Factor
    Well said.
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    I'm just glad this matter has been put to rest. We're all in agreement that user behavior is used to determine ranks.
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    Originally Posted by KernelPanic
    I'm just glad this matter has been put to rest. We're all in agreement that user behavior is used to determine ranks.
    Yes, I agree what are saying, in that scenario organic results will be influenced from Google PPC listing because I know those guys who are working for paid marketing they create most powerful landing page as per their analysis and findings.
    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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