Skip to content

The Role of User Clicks in Google’s Ranking Puzzle

Do clicks impact your search engine rankings? For years, it’s been a big fat ‘no’ from Google. 

However, thanks to a recent lawsuit, the cat is finally out the bag. A former Google employee let slip that user clicks are in fact a big deal. 

This flies in the face of what we’ve been told by the search giant previously. What gives? And what does this mean for our SEO tactics? 

Google leaking secrets 

Google’s in the hot seat, and the info coming out is a game-changer for SEO. 

Eric Lehman, a former Google software engineer with a 17-year tenure, recently leaked some crucial insights during the U.S. vs. Google antitrust trial

Apparently, Google does indeed utilise click data in its ranking algorithms. But they’re not just counting them. They’re using them to tweak and test things. 

This is huge! 

It means Google’s really is watching how users interact with sites. So, is this the key to winning at SEO now? Making every click count! Have we completed SEO? 

Clicks and CTR: Signal or noise?

So, should we be chasing clicks now? 

Perhaps not. 

When we delve into the realm of SEO and clicks, the waters get a bit murky. 

It’s important to understand that while clicks are indeed a valuable piece of the puzzle, they’re not the entire picture. 

Google’s algorithms do not use clicks as a straightforward ranking factor. 

Instead, these clicks are more like a tool for Google to conduct experiments and tailor personalisation in search results. This nuanced approach means that a simple tally of clicks doesn’t catapult a website to the top of search rankings. 

Rather, Google’s method is layered and multifaceted, focusing on how clicks contribute to understanding user behavior and preferences. 

This insight challenges us to think beyond mere click numbers and consider the broader context of user engagement and experience.

Google vs Bing: Divergent paths in click data usage

While discussing search engine algorithms, it’s intriguing to contrast Google’s strategy with Bing’s. 

Bing are an open book on this topic. They use click-throughs and bounce rates to decide rankings. Simple. 

Google, on the other hand, adopts a more complex and cautious approach. The crux of Google’s strategy lies in mitigating the risks of data manipulation. 

Recognising that clicks could be artificially inflated, Google refrains from using them as a direct ranking lever. Instead, they employ click data as one of many signals, intricately woven into their algorithm to understand and enhance user experience. 

Think about it. If clicks were all it took, wouldn’t everyone just click their way to the top? 

Simply put, Google’s playing it safe. They use clicks, but not as a straight-up ranking factor. It’s more about understanding user behaviour than just counting clicks.

Inevitably, some folks will try to game the system, clicking away to try and cheat their way to the top. Google’s on it though and those tactics won’t work. 

In the long run, it’s smarter to simply focus on genuine clicks.

When everything clicks

While the debate on clicks continues, one thing’s clear – user experience and engagement are where it’s at. 

We need to think beyond just clicks. Instead, how do we keep users engaged and happy on our sites? 

That’s the future of SEO. 

We’re talking about content that grabs attention, websites that are a breeze to use and making sure users find what they’re looking for. That’s how we’ll stay ahead in the SEO game.