I have been hearing this from several well known folks here and elsewhere that going back to SERPS and clicking on another result item or doing another refined search as a negative signal for search engines?
If so, why? Today morning I was looking for some Jquery plugins. I did find one that I want but then I also went on to click on other SERP items, then refined my search and again clicked on several other results. I was doing this for almost an hour. I was just trying to explore all alternatives and narrow down on the plugin that will be more suitable for the site I was working on. Some plugins were good for this site while a few others were more useful for other sites of mine. I eventually went on to use the plugin I downloaded from the first site.
I do this kind of research for even e-commerce queries. But does google or other search engines really consider going back to SERPS and clicking on another result as a bad signal?
I would imagine that the signal has a different influence depending on how long you stay on the page before you click back to SERPs. If you click back almost immediately, this could be a quite strong signal that the page is not relevant.
But if you stayed on the page for a some time before clicking back, then the conclusion is more blurry - you could have stayed on page because it is relevant, or you could have stayed on page because you were searching from within the site to find relevant content, but could not find it - Google would not know which one.
But a high percentage of immediate clicks back to SERPs for a particular search term that has enough searches (and clicks) for the conclusion to be statistically viable, and where the user then goes to another entry in the SERPs may not have as much noise and it may indicate that the page is not as relevant to this particular search term.