When someone finds your real estate website in a Google search, and clicks on your site link, does it give your website an automatic SEO boost? The impact of click through rates (CTR) on search engine ranking has been debated for years. Here's why the debate rages on - and what Google has confirmed.
Google has said repeatedly that click-through rates do not give websites any SEO benefit. Despite this, web developers once theorized that CTR mattered for SEO, and would employ people to click on their website links from within search engines. This practice was not effective for SEO. However, it was an old tactic employed by "black hat" web marketers who used artificially-inflated CTR's to boost revenue on "pay-per-click" ads. The practice became discouraged as analytics improved, and unique visitor impressions became a qualifier.
Google recently muddied the waters further with this statement, in a document about Google Data Logging:
"For example, when you click a link in Google Search, Google considers your click when ranking that search result in future queries." You can see the entirety of the statement within Google AI & Machine Learning documents.
Google developers have since clarified that this statement is talking about "personalized search" results. In other words, if a home buyer searched for "Albany, NY homes for sale" and clicked on the Zillow results for that market, that same user is likely to see Zillow offered highly again in their next similar Google query.
Prior to 2009, a user needed to be logged into Google to draw "personalized search results" that are derived from the user's browser histories, cookies and so on. As of December 2009, personalized search results applied to all Google users whether or not they were logged in during queries. As of February 2011, personalized search expanded to consider the social media use of the user.
The bottom line: click-throughs themselves do not improve your overall page ranking on Google, per their developers. Yet this point will continue to be debated, due to Google's ambiguous phrasing.
In the meantime, it is correct to say that once a user clicks on your website through a Google search, he or she will see your website more prominently in future Google queries on similar topics.
This is another reason why high-value, frequently updated content with niche relevance is a best practice for real estate site SEO.
Looking for help with content for your website or social media pages? Contact RealSupport today! Call 847-705-1655, and ask Carrie for your personal consultation!
Copywriter & Marketing Specialist