Search engine optimization industry is full of rumors, workarounds, and gurus who try to push all kinds of systems in order to make money. If you are involved in search engine optimization industry, you must know that Google uses over 200 different factors to calculate the rankings. Google’s algorithms are a closely guarded trade secret and nobody knows exactly what factors are included in Google’s algorithms.
Over the years, many SEO enthusiasts, as well as professionals, have conducted their own tests in order to figure out the factors that may be used by Google to calculate rankings. Most people know that links remain the most important factor but there are also several other minor factors that influence the results.
Many SEO consultants are of the opinion that click-through rates in the search engine result pages are also a factor. Some professionals in the industry claim to have conducted internal experiments to test this hypothesis and their test results seem to indicate that it is used as a ranking factor by Google.
It is also important for you to keep in mind that Google has never indicated that click-through rates are used as a ranking factor but then, Google has never talked about the numerous factors it uses in order to calculate the rankings. It should seem fairly obvious that click-through rates should matter as people tend to click through pages that seem to be relevant to the query typed by them in the search box. Therefore, it may be concluded that click through rates do matter in terms of rankings.
However, click through rates, at best, should be thought of as an offset factor as search results change as per the preferences of a particular set of audience. Another important thing you need to keep in mind is that a webpage has to already rank on the first page of search results for click-through rates to have any effect. If a webpage is already on the 20th page for a search query, the click-through rate is not going to make it rank on the first page. On the other hand, if a webpage is already ranking on the first page of search results but is ranked at the eighth or ninth position, improvement in click-through rate may push it to the top three results for that particular query.
Another important thing you need to keep in mind is that most of the tests conducted to figure out the value of click through rates in rankings have concluded that it works for a particular query and not for all the queries. On the other hand, when you invest in general search engine optimization, you can expect ranking improvements across the whole spectrum of keywords. In other words, with proper search engine optimization campaigns, you can gain rankings not just for the targeted keywords but a whole lot of related keywords.
This is due to increase in trust rating for the domain and once ranking improves for a few keywords, the website also starts ranking for a ton of related keywords. Therefore, it is safe to say that click-through rate doesn’t work like a ranking factor if the webpage isn’t already ranking. However, if a webpage is already ranking on the first page of search results, its ranking can be further improved by trying to increase its click-through rate.
There are some software solutions available in the market that claim to emulate real users in order to increase the click-through rate of a particular URL for a particular query. As far as the effectiveness of the software solutions is concerned, nobody can say that they have found an effective solution. You should also know that Google also takes the IP address of users into account while displaying search results. Therefore, if you decide to invest in a software solution to emulate real user actions to increase click-through rate, you will also need to invest in hundreds or perhaps, thousands of proxies in order to have any desired effect.
Overall, it can be safely said that click-through rate is a minor ranking factor and investment in enhancing click-through rate only works if a webpage is already ranking on the first page of search results. On the other hand, there are several other search engine optimization techniques that can deliver far better results for a similar investment.