coachm - 5:59 pm on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)
I'm convinced that they use bounce-back rate. IE, the user clicks back to the SERPs quickly and clicks another site instead, or refines their search.
I have no idea if they are doing that. It would certainly account for the terrible search results. Bigtime. I wonder why people don't talk about the issue that ALL user metrics measure the effectiveness of the REFERER. If the referral sends the visitor to a page and properly matches and represents the site, the metrics will be better than if the referer doesn't.
It's that simple. User metrics for ranking measure GOOGLE as much as they measure site quality.
That, and the switch to domain level rankings rather than page level, has trashed the search engines, if that's what they are doing.