Google search results

Is it true that when you do a search in Google, if you’ve clicked on a particular link before, that it will affect the ranking of that website?

If you mean you are more likely to see that page again on your computer then i believe that to be the case. If you log in with a google account you can turn off that feature.

Thanks Noppy, I’ll check that as well, but would the fact that you’ve clicked on the website before, affect how it ranks on your computer the next time?

In a similar vein, how can you definitely view the rankings on Google.com of a particular website in exactly the same way that they would be viewed by someone else, that has never clicked on that link before?

thats what the personalised search results being turned off should solve. It will stop Google trying to be clever and return what you’ve visited before.

Another way would be to clear all of your cookies/cache each time or use incognito mode on most browsers and that should sort it.

Or one step further and use a proxy server (although google doesn’t always serve the page if it thinks it’s not a genuine computer)

If you searched for a specific search term and clicked on a link then google will add a few relevancy points for that site with that search term - having said that, it also depends what was the bounce rate and some other elements I guess.

For the person carrying out the search? Or are you suggesting it has an effect of the site’s rankings in future searches for anyone?

User Experience does seem to have some effect on site rankings. Especially the bounce rare. Just clinking on a particular search result does not affect its ranking. However if people click on a particular search result > go to the site > dont like it > and return back to google search - google uses this search experience as a measure of relevancy. We all know bounce rates affect relevancy for certain terms. In that case google may demote you one step below to see how well the new one in your position fares. If they do better than you, then they may retain their new position.
How ever this happens over a long time and not with one or two or even 50 clicks. We have tested this and successfully see the results correlating to bounce rates from that page.
Bottom lime - if people follow your search result link and go to your site, like it and stay there longer your ranks may improve.

My testing suggests that SERP positioning is cookie based and perhaps localStorage.

For example, I often search for code related terms,
Often w3school pages will appear earlier in the results.
I habitually scroll past those until I see an MDN page.
Later searches for code related terms will then display MDN pages earlier in the results before w3school pages.
Until I close my browser and all cookies are removed
Then, once again, the w3school pages appear before MDN pages.

Google will not know how long a visitor stays on a site.
It may very well know if they go back to the search page for the same search terms,

I agree that if such data is used as a positioning signal that affected results for everyone it would be over a longer time with many users.

I doubt that Google can accurately determine whether or not a page provided what a user wanted or if a user didn’t use the best search terms for what they wanted.

But that said, over time and with a large data set I imagine they do work in an assumption that it is the page failing to satisfy the search terms and not a “user error”

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agreed, so unless they return to serp results. Its mostly a positive signal, though there may be false positives like some one closing the browser or doing an entirely new search.

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Really, I’m trying to view the Google (and Bing) results for certain search words / phrases exactly as someone else in the same country would view them (even if I may have clicked on certain links before).

There is no single view about which you can say “This is how other people see these results”, because their results, too, will be influenced by their own settings and search history.

@Noppy has already explained to you how to clear your own search history to get the best “generic” view you can.

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