Do clicks from the search results impact rankings?


In the 20+ years that I’ve been doing SEO, the topic of the influence of clicks on search results, and the subsequent impact on the rankings of pages, has long been discussed and debated at length. The assumption has always been that yes, if a website in the search results seems to get a higher level of engagement, compared to other websites, then it’s likely that that website will continue to rank, or rank better for the associated search query.

Recent documents released by the US Department of Justice, as part of an antitrust trial brought against Google, appear to back up this theory. The documents seem to suggest that this “ranking factor” should be kept confidential outside of Google, due to the ease and possible manipulation of this ranking signal.

And it makes sense. When we are optimising websites, we also analyse how users interact with pages, as this helps us to maximise them for conversions. Google does the same thing to ensure that its results are in line with what users are appearing to find useful and relevant to their searches. Google analyses clicks, scrolls, pauses, hovers and much more to understand engagement with the results.

The concept of “chasing the click” has always been relevant; it just hasn’t been spoken about in public by Google engineers…but it is a thing and it does matter.

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