Google and Clicks: Unraveling the Mystery

Have you ever wondered how Google ranks its search results? Here’s a simplified take on recent revelations:

Clicks in Rankings: What’s the Deal?

Eric Lehman, who worked at Google for 17 years, recently shared that Google does use clicks in their ranking process. However, this doesn’t mean more clicks always equals a higher rank.

BERT, MUM, and User Data

Google has been advancing its technologies, with systems like BERT and MUM. These machine learning systems are now taking the spotlight, sometimes even over user data. As these systems improve, Google might not need as much user data as before. Eric mentioned, “the more we advance, the less user data we might need.”

BERT’s ‘Training Data’ Clarified

There’s been some confusion between “user data” and “training data”. When asked about it, Lehman explained that “training data” isn’t the same as user search data. It’s more about how systems like BERT learn and grow.

Why Are Clicks Sensitive?

There was some talk about not discussing the use of clicks in search rankings. Why? Lehman hinted it might be because they didn’t want people trying to game the system. In simple terms, they didn’t want people thinking they could trick Google’s rankings.

Google and Click-through Rates

Some SEO experts believe Google has hidden the fact that they use clicks in their rankings. When asked about it at a conference, Google’s Gary Illyes said they do use historical search data for one of their systems, RankBrain. But he was clear that it’s not as simple as more clicks = higher ranking.

Clicks: A Complex Picture

Google has always said clicks can be tricky. People can click on things for many reasons, and not all of them are genuine. That’s why Google doesn’t just count clicks. They look at things like how long someone stays on a page or if they click back quickly.

Illyes gave an example. If you often click on links about a company called Apple, Google might show you more about the company in the future rather than the fruit. So, they do use clicks, but mainly to understand what you personally like.

To Wrap It Up

Does Google use clicks? Yes, they do. But it’s not the only thing they use, and it’s not always in the way you might think. Google’s main goal is to give users useful results, and they’re always finding new ways to do that better. So next time you search, remember there’s a lot of smart tech working behind the scenes to help you find what you’re looking for!

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