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Click Throughs Affect Rank?

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6 replies to this topic

#1 donaldcroswell


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Posted 17 August 2003 - 05:43 PM

Hi all
I was wondering, if ten people did a search on a phrase like "best widgets", and there were two pages exactly the same but one was clicked on 8 times by the searchers and the other was clicked on 2 times. Will the page that people have clicked on more, rank higher? Does Google track which pages people click on more for individual key phrases? (sorta like in Adwords?)

Don :aloha:

#2 Jill


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Posted 17 August 2003 - 05:52 PM

There's no way for Google to track clicks, generally. However, they do seem to do it on a limited basis. Every now and then you'll see tracking URLs start to show up on Google, but not for everyone.

So most likely, they do track a limited subset of clicks, and possibly use that information in their ranking algorithm.


#3 Mel


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Posted 17 August 2003 - 10:31 PM

Hi Jill:
Seems to me that if the use of clicks were included in the Google algo then it would have to be done for everyone or the results would be skewed.
I would be very surprised if clicks are a part of the algo.

#4 qwerty


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Posted 17 August 2003 - 10:39 PM

I agree with Mel. Counting clicks in the free results is bound to throw off accuracy, and I'm sure Google knows that. If it were true, and more clicks meant better rankings, people would be clicking their own link like there's no tomorrow. And if the opposite were true -- if clicking too much were seen as an attempt to influence ranking and was therefore penalized, people would hire folks to spend all day clicking their competitors' links.

I've heard rumors that they track the clicks of people using the toolbar, as Alexa does, but even that seems highly unlikely to me.

#5 projectphp


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Posted 18 August 2003 - 12:56 AM

Taking this a bit broader, the only way to track clickthorughs is to run clicks through a tracking domain, i.e. for www.alltheweb.com search for "help me out" without quotes, the results URLs are in the format http://click.allthew...reeservers.com/. This means that when you click a URL, you go through am alltheweb server, that measures click throughs.

You can check by doing a search, right click on a link, select copy shortcut and see what the link says.

Google don't track clickthroughs, so click throughs can't be a part of their algorithm (if you are lucky, you might get a Google tracked URL, as Google do spot checks of their SERPs).

AltaVista do use clickthroughs as part of their algo, and so might, and I stress might, any other Search Engine that tracks click throughs.

#6 Jill


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Posted 19 August 2003 - 11:58 AM

PHP, sometimes Google does use tracking links. Which is what I was talking about.

And I do believe that they could do this with a certain percentage of the population (not all) and use that information for their algo. Just like anything, you can measure using a subset and it can be highly accurate.

Look at the Nielson ratings, for instance.


#7 projectphp


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Posted 19 August 2003 - 08:43 PM

PHP, sometimes Google does use tracking links. Which is what I was talking about.

Yeh, I mentioned that. But would they use this data as part of a ranking algorithm? Maybe. Probably not, IMHO. It would be pretty simple to spoof, and Google is pretty savvy about stopping undue influence.

I was always under the impression that Google tracked URLs more as a means of checking customer satisfaction, i.e. how many people click through to page two of the SERPs? Is this increasing or decreasing? That sort of random sampling. Could be wrong, and like the voting buttons on the toolbar, no one knows what they use them for, so all speculation is valid.

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