Click-through Rates and Climbing the Search Engine Rankings

Google draws on many types of data to rank their search engine results, but CTRs (Click-through Rates) are not included in the decision making of their algorithms. That is the official line, of course; they have stated that they only use them for assessing the quality of their results. So if this is the case, what are the indirect benefits of having a good CTR on Google’s search engines?

Indirect Benefits of High Click-through Rates

This question and many more were brought up in a recent hangout hosted by the webmaster trends analyst at Google, John Mueller. The essential take-away from this meeting with regards to the issue of CTRs was that there are indirect benefits to having a favourable CTR. He goes into detail on what those are and how taking advantage of these benefits relies on having a well-designed site to begin with in order to persuade people to share your site content, for instance. On this issue, Mueller begins by saying that “as far as I know, we don’t do that for web search.” In other words, CTR isn’t taken into account by the algorithms as a factor for ranking search results. He goes on to say that “what happens on your site is essentially up to your site,” indicating that in order to take advantage of a high CTR, you’ll need a well-designed site that engages the viewer or customer. Then, indirect ranking factors such as shares would be “something we might pick up.”

The Problem for Affiliate Sites

Mueller then went into detail on the issues for affiliate sites (sites directing people to other sites) with regards to CTR, and why CTR is not a viable ranking factor for Google. For these sites, “people go to the affiliate site but then go to Amazon to actually buy the product there directly,”, says Mueller, so “there’s nothing unique that they can actually do there [the affiliate site].” Essentially, people end up “recommending someone else’s website,” Mueller explains, and Google will recognise these recommendations rather than the CTR. To combat this and still feature affiliate links on you website, Mueller says that having a “great website” is the way to turn a good CTR into a high level of recommendations, which is “something that we can obviously count with regards to search signals,” says the trend analyst. Essentially, CTR isn’t the ideal metric for a search engine and so it’s important to concentrate on the indirect benefits by improving site experience if you want to climb the rankings. This is where our specialist online marketing services thrive. We have great experience in many areas of this marketing industry, including web design. Increase customer and visitor satisfaction, increase the recommendations you receive and shoot up the rankings in no time with the help of our marketing team.


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