Google and Click Tracking

The factors in Google’s algorithm to rank sites in the Search Engine Results (SERPS) is endlessly discussed and analyzed. One of the factors that appears to have become more prominent recently is Click Tracking.

Here is a layman’s quickie overview of how Google uses some of this data to rank sites and what small business owners can do.

In the most basic form, browsers do a keyword search on a search engine and a list of results. Browses click on one of the results, and a timer starts. If the browser comes back to the search results very quickly, it can be inferred that the browser didn’t find what they wanted and that information (site, keyword and a de-merit point) is factored into the ranking algorithms along with all the other factors.

The opposite is also true, where a browser clicks on a search result and then (apparently) finds what they want, which is inferred from the fact that they don’t return immediately to the SERPs page.

This is somewhat of a faulty assumption as all kinds of things could happen to explain why a browser didn’t return to the SERPs, but it does say something.

This is quite an over-simplified and general explanation but it does give a basic understanding of how this works.

What it means for website owners is clear:

1) You aren’t going to rank for keywords that aren’t relevant to your content. Now more than ever.
2) Make sure your site is what browsers are expecting to find. If you site doesn’t look like an adventure tourism site or an art gallery site, browsers will hit the back button.
2) The Rich get Richer and the Poor get Poorer. The sites that best serve the results that browsers are looking for will rise higher and the sites that don’t will sink to the bottom (other things being equal).

This gives a very clear message to website owners that is the same as ever — specialize in your niche and give visitors relevant content.

Beyond a simple timer, Google is very likely using much more intensive data in the same way. Google loves data and are one fo the few companies that really knows how to use it. Google’s free Analytics service collects massive amounts of data on keywords browsers use and how visitors interact with websites and many speculate this data is also being used.

Clearly though, Google is obsessed with visitor experience and so should every web site owner. Sign up for Google Analytics and watch how your visitors are interacting with your site and where they are clicking.

Not only will you increase your conversion rate, but help your search rankings as well.

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