Click Through Rate (CTR) Is A Ranking Factor

This article originally appeared in my Rank Theory newsletter where it was called “Google is Full Of Shit And If You Put Their PR On Your Shoulders And Help Carry That Message You Are Covered In The Shit They Are Full Of.” It just rolls off the tongue…

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    All right, let’s get into it.

    Googled lied about “CTR” being a rank factor.

    I’m bringing receipts to this conversation:

    Here’s a 2021 SE Journal article saying clicks are “definitely not” a ranking factor.

    Here’s a 2016 Perficient article on why it’s not a ranking factor featuring this amazing graphic:

    "why ctr isn't a ranking factor"

    LOL. IT’S TOO EASY TO GAME! (that’s going to be really funny in a minute).

    Here’s another 2016 article from SE Watch claiming “Google says it’s not a ranking factor so it’s not!”

    Here’s a 2021 SE Roundtable article carrying the shit for Google.

    Here’s Ross from Siege Media saying, essentially, that because it could be so easily manipulated, it’s probably not a ranking factor.

    Why am I bringing this up?

    Oh, no reason… just thought it was relevant given recent testimony from the ongoing DOJ vs. Google antitrust lawsuit.

    big tech on trial tweets about google and click through rate


    So they just SUPER downplayed it.

    Here’s a direct quote from Gary Illyes on a 2018 Reddit AMA:

    Dwell time, CTR, whatever Fishkin’s new theory is, those are generally made up crap. Search is much more simple than people think.

    Yeah it is! So simple that, like, click data actually moves the needle.

    Here’s John Mueller being real smooth:

    If CTR were what drove search rankings, the results would be all click-bait. I don’t see that happening.

    I’ve never tested this, so I can’t say if this is a thing or not.

    But I’m going to.

    Are you?

    Although it’s not directly related to the “CTR is *actually* a ranking factor, here’s a quick look at another way Google is TOTALLY LYING TO YOU.

    Google Says Links “No Longer A Top 3 Ranking Signal”

    Here’s an article about how at the recent 2023 PubCon, well-known honesty advocate and Bringer Of Google’s Light Of Truth And Veracity Into The Dark Heart Of SEO Gary Illyes said, basically, links aren’t really in the top three most important signals that Google’s algo would use to rank a site:

    Google has been downplaying the importance of links in its ranking algorithm for the past couple of years now. But last Thursday, at PubCon, Gary Illyes from the Google Search team said he wouldn’t even put links into the top three ranking signals Google Search uses.

    Wow! So cool.

    Look at all these sites Google chose to rank for “best cbd oil” on the strength of their content or, you know, whatever stupid bullshit Google is claiming is important nowadays…EEAT? Is it EEAT? I know how much experience GIANT BUSINESS MEDIA COMPANIES historically have with cannabis-adjacent products…

    best cbd oil search engine result page

    I mean… it’s weird, right?

    “But Sean Markley… Marque? But Sean, look at that Forbes article it only has 23 RD and it’s ranking for NUMBER TWO?!?!!11”

    So right. I’m sure the ONE POINT SIX MILLION REFERRING DOMAINS to the domain altogether has no bearing! I bet if you started a new CBD site and built 25 links you’d have… a pretty good shot at ranking. YOU SHOULD TOTALLY DO THAT!


    Time to stop building links because Google said they are less important?

    Send that article to your competitors.

    I’ve already shown you how generous and ruthless-in-pursuit-of-the-truth Google is.

    Time to build some more fucking links.