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Google Click Tracking

     
1:46 pm on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Is Google experimenting with Click Tracking?

When doing a search I have just noticed Google using Click tracking Redirects much like yahoo has in place. It seems to be fairly patchy as to when it appears though:

Example URL in SERPS:

[google.co.uk...]

Anyone else seen this before?

10:43 pm on Dec 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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They have been click tracking on/off since about 1999 in one form or another.

[google.com...]

12:15 am on Dec 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I wonder what would happen were someone to simulate clicks to a google tracking link? Would google decide their site was highly attractive to users and boost it in the rankings?
1:07 am on Dec 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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You can't know - it might actually hurt you to click. If you were in the #4 slot and got more clicks than the #1 slot - would that be an indication of quality, or spam?
1:10 am on Dec 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Hey - if the first 3 had terrible descriptions, and yours was the first good des in the serps, I can see that happening.
1:12 am on Dec 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Then you have the toolbar and the "click back" factor to consider.

If you got a lot of clicks and no clicks backs, would you get promoted in rank - or demoted in rank?

1:16 am on Dec 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Let's assume that we have a robot that uses 10.000 proxies, and has been programmed to stimulate "natural" usage, ie, varies ctr depending upon the time of day, certain amount of clickbacks, etc. No reason G. would pick that up.

Of course, the whole thing falls apart when we recall that Google doesn't always use the redirect urls - they'd probably get suspicious if somebody was clicking on the link when the serps didn't present the redirect.

1:20 am on Dec 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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>Then you have the toolbar and the "click back" factor to consider.

>If you got a lot of clicks and no clicks backs, would you get promoted in rank - or demoted in rank?

I should think clearly promoted. The lack of clicks back would suggest that the users were satisfied with the site. It is when almost everyone bails out quick that the site seems to be of dubious quality.

1:25 am on Dec 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The trouble with trying that would be monitoring the SERPS to find out when the redirect url was activated on your links, on which keywords the redirect was activated, and for how long it was activated.

I'm sure that if the redirect is being used to detect clickthrus to your site, it would be hellishly difficult to falsify clicks.