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Does Google Use Ctr When Ranking Organic Results


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15 replies to this topic

#1 TheGreatDane

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 06:44 AM

Hi all,
I tried to search for this topic in this forum, but only very old postings came up, so I would like to know your updated opinion on this.

Lately some supposed-to-be-clever-on-seo told me, that Google now monitors the CTR achieved in the organic SERPs and let's this affect the ranking of sites.

Even though it makes sense to use this principle as they already do in their AdWords system, I would have thought that this is to easy to manipulate (hire 100 low payed persons and let them seach-and-click om my link) and therefore wouldn't be a part of their ranking principle.

Thanks for sharing your opinion/knowledge on this topic.

/Per

#2 chrishirst

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 07:42 AM

Nope it's only in Adwords and "personalised" results do tend to show results you have clicked before as well as recently indexed URLs.

There has been many "experts" testing the theory and declaring to be valid, but most of them were using flawed methods of testing.

And yes it is all too easy to manipulate.

#3 Jill

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 12:01 PM

I don't think anyone could say for sure. But to some extent it would make sense for them to use this data. It's often believed that new sites or pages sometimes get a "debut" in the top of the SERPs for a time, and then they settle to a lesser position later on. I would imagine that clickthroughs and apparent time on page before checking another listing in the SERP could be a factor.

Totally just my opinion though.

#4 chrishirst

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 04:42 AM

Now I can see Google doing that, where clicks on "new" URLs in the results are used to judge the "usefulness" factor of that document.

Because that would really be playing with the heads of the "rank checkers" who then click through to "check out" the new competition. :)

#5 TheGreatDane

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 06:45 AM

Thanks for your input! :hi:

#6 BashrO

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 05:08 AM

Back in 2005-6 I've tested it on a couple new websites and my conclusion was that google indeed consider the CTR. I don't know to tell you if now it's still the same but if the CTR factor exist I'm pretty sure it's less valuable.

#7 Jill

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 05:10 PM

How did you test it? Doesn't seem possible to test.

#8 piskie

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 01:39 AM

It would need a sizeable colaborative group of testers working to a controled Click recipe otherwise, you would just end up with a tweaked set of Personalised results.

#9 chrishirst

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 05:39 AM

Even using a large group is fraught with the possibility of introducing inaccuracies and skewing of the results.

My observations are that even two clicks on the same result for any given word or phrase are enough to introduce a bias into the results set.

#10 Cwtguy87

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 09:15 AM

I have heard a lot about CTR and bounce rate to be a huge factor in rankings but like others said little proof to prove it...

For me if this is true it would be a real shame as I run a blog that handles very specific well optimized posts. When users get to my website from the SERPs to a specific page they are looking for they tend to read that and leave. I think there is nothing wrong with that. My website is about stocks and it is natural that many people (myself included) only have interest in a few stocks to research or invest. Thus they are not going to be interested in the multitude of others that I am covering, whcih are intended for someone else. This has contributed to a huge bounce rate.

One problem I see with using CTR for rankings is that if someone is already in the top page of Google it is not uncommon for the user to click all of the results without even checking them. For example, when i am looking for information, I right click and open new tabs for the first 5-6 results regardless of what they read. Then I go one by one, knocking them out. If the first few are crap why should they get my vote for CTR when I just do it out of habit? I suspect a lot of people click through habit.

#11 tedives2

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 08:20 AM

I've consistently seen new pages ranking on page 1 around positions 3-5 for a few days to a week, then pop down to page 2 or lower. Using relative CTR would explain the "honeymoon period" people often speak of.

Paid Search listings are simply an ordered list - almost identical to organic listings if you think about it - so why would Google use CTR as one of their largest factors on the paid side (it's the #1 factor in Quality Score, per Hal Varian's Quality Score video) and not take advantage of it on the organic side, when they're practically the same thing.

I'm a believer!
  • Jill likes this

#12 chrishirst

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 05:04 PM

Naah! That's just the normal day to day fluctuations, and a combinational effect of "personalisation and you searching like a rank checking SEO/Webmaster.

#13 Jill

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 05:15 PM

Paid Search listings are simply an ordered list - almost identical to organic listings if you think about it - so why would Google use CTR as one of their largest factors on the paid side (it's the #1 factor in Quality Score, per Hal Varian's Quality Score video) and not take advantage of it on the organic side, when they're practically the same thing.


Totally agree with this.

#14 LucidWebMarketing

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 01:08 PM

Search engines, at least the major ones, likely have always used CTR for the SERPs. Curiously, few people seem to realize that so kudos to you GreatDane for thinking of it.

On the easinest to manipulate, Google has checks and balances in Adwords so it's no big stretch to think they have the same for the SERPs. It would be very suspicious if a page or site got an unusually high click rate all of a sudden. Google is not stupid. They also have tonnes of data for the last 15 years they can rely on. In other words, it would be very hard, not to say impossible, to manipulate the results.

When you think about it as well, there's a reason many people report their pages jumping all over the SERPs. It's the system in action to determine a quality score to your page. It wouldn't be too useful if they always showed in the same position, the honeymoon period term tedives2 used.

By the way, time on page (or even "apparent" time on page as Jill suggests) is very likely NOT a factor. They don't care what happens after you click a listing, their job is done. They also don't have that data for the vast majority of sites.

Few people I believe do what Cwtguy87 does and click a bunch of results. At least, I don't recall that behaviour from raw data from a few years ago. Again, the search engines would know if this is a trend in specific industries and adjust.

So in short, I believe, and have for many years, that a huge portion of SERP results are driven by CTR.

#15 chrishirst

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 02:53 PM

So in short, I believe, and have for many years, that a huge portion of SERP results are driven by CTR.

Paid advertising yes, but it that was the case the first few results would rarely, if ever change, and the facts are that a newly indexed URL, ie: one that has NEVER been in the results so has never had a single "click" does appear on the first page of results, even if it is only for a few days.




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