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Top search query clicks - Google Webmaster Tools

Google tracks SERP clicks now? How?

     
8:01 am on Jun 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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In Google Webmaster Tools under Query Stats there is a Top Search Query Clicks report which, supposedly, shows which keywords resulted in the most clicks to your site. This means that google is tracking the clicks on search results,right? But how can it do this? The SERP links are direct and I did not find any javascript that can track clicks on the results page.
10:14 am on June 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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If you look at the source, they use code like:

onmousedown="return clk(this.href,'','','res','6','')"

in each href link.

1:16 pm on June 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I'm not seeing any javascript in links. I get
<a href="http://www.domain.tld/" class=l>Link text</a>

But, of course, they could've attached the JS onclick handlers via javascripts on page.

I must have missed something. So it's now known for a fact that G tracks serp links? Before, these were just speculations.

2:02 pm on June 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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They have the technology with adwords an i wouldnt put it past google to have weight to clicks in the top 10 serps, move sites up or down based off of click ratio and spreading the bandwith around almost in real time for quality sites.

The top 10 for my industry changes from what i notice like 3 times a day with my site going from 1 to 3 giving other sites a chance.

3:33 pm on June 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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They do measure the serps, they look at bounce rates via people clicking the back button and choosing a different result. They also look at IP information as well so they can "localize" results.
5:27 am on June 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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They do measure the serps, they look at bounce rates via people clicking the back button and choosing a different result.

I'm getting a lot of back hits, but then additional hits, because Google offers multiple search results to my site. Hope this helps.

Google should be able to check the time differential between the click to SERP1 and SERP2, etc., and then assume value based on time spent on a site. (Except when surfer breaks for cup of coffee. ;)

p/g

8:34 am on June 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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 They do measure the serps, they look at bounce rates via people clicking the back button and choosing a different result. They also look at IP information as well so they can "localize" results. 

But how can you track that a serp link was clicked in the first place? Without use of javascript or redirect url its impossible? The only other way that I can think they can do this is by using Google analytics data.

9:18 am on June 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Remember that G only has to add the JS code to maybe one SERPS page in 1000 at random to get excellent stats.

I think it's been established before that sometimes the JS is there and sometimes not.

Rgds

Damon

10:46 am on June 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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They do measure the serps, they look at bounce rates via people clicking the back button and choosing a different result

how do you know that? can you provide details of your source?
6:52 pm on June 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Remember that G only has to add the JS code to maybe one SERPS page in 1000 at random to get excellent stats.

Gotcha!
8:10 am on June 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Found an instance of G tracking SERP clicks while I'm logged in to Google Acccount. Only the first result is tracked, however.
I'm seeing:

<a href="/url?sa=t&amp;ct=res&amp;cd=1&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fdomainname.com%2Fpage.html&amp;ei=VaRdSdSdZbU-QLH3ODhAg&amp;usg=AFQjCNGcAFRqsJNadwApSkSkDlOWcsSnImnZA&amp;sig2=utyK1qk9YJxTKcg9AtPwaA" class="l" onmousedown="return rwt(this,'','','res','1','AFQjCNGcAFRSdlSkfghFpBilLdiGbnImnZA','&sig2=utyK1qk9YJxTPKdlUdvtPwaA')">Anchor link text</a>

It appears that not only G tracks clicks via Javascript, but it redirects the cliks through the script as well.

After I signed out of G Account, the SERPS are clean.

8:41 am on June 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I see all links with this code attached when logged into a Google account (I have personalised features off)

<a href="http://www.bupa.co.uk/" target=nw class=l onmousedown="return clk(this.href,'','','res','2','')">

but I also see the same code when I'm logged out.

Has anyone actually taken a copy of this Javascript code that is only there every now and then. Can anyone point to a source to back this up?

I have to say sounds to me (so far) like pure speculation.

Trying to measure page usefulness through user behaviour would be so unreliable. The amount of time a user spends on a page is no indication of its quality. Depending on the market, the search term, and the user's ability to use an SE properly, there would be SO many different variables to consider.

This forum is filled day after day by people complaining that Google can't determine quality based on content and IBLs. That is so simple compared to determining quality based on user behaviour as to be laughable.

4:52 pm on June 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Oops! Looks like they are tracking click behaviour after all...

[1stsearchenginerankings.com...]

5:16 pm on June 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Now that is a fascinating article. I'm not sure I entirely approve of Google using other factors in that way but at least it will take some of the heat off backlinks..
11:29 am on June 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the article, fishfinger.
4:50 pm on June 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I found the 'Bounce Rate' bit particularly thought-provoking. I run about 60 sites but only use Analytics on a few.

One site in particular with Analytics has had no link-building to speak of. It's a real 'if you build it they will come' site where all we've done is request a few links from forums and authority sites years ago and the site itself has done the work. We make tweaks often from a feedback form.

We have a growing and loyal core user group and over the past 18 months as this has grown so have our rankings. This would completely tie in with the findings from the experiment.

However, it also made me think that by starting to use Analytics on a high ranking site that has a high bounce rate (i.e. you suddenly let Google know that it is not performing well) could you actually harm its rankings?

What is an acceptable bounce rate?