The Google results aren’t a popularity contest any more

I’ve written before that it’s important to have results in the search engines which look good, because clickthrough rate helps you get a better position in the results. It makes sense. If people are clicking on a result low down the page rather than one higher up, Google will adjust the positions in favour of the popular result, right?

It turns out …not right. Not any longer, at least.

An intrepid SEO expert named Bartosz Góralewicz has been undertaking some experiments, and he found that clickthrough rate is not a ranking factor many more. It doesn’t appear to matter how many people click on each result, their relative positions are determined by other factors.

You can read the research in Is CTR A Ranking Factor In Organic Results? on Search Engine Land. However, the findings shouldn’t change anything you do. It’s still critical to have a good-looking result, because for the position on the page which you’re going to be given, the volume of clicks is going to be entirely down to the attractiveness of that result.

So continue to work hard on writing page titles which draw people in. Ask questions, discuss the benefits and be intriguing. And make sure you spend time on your description meta tags too. They all play their part.

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