The theory revolves around the fact that if more people click to your website, and stay on your website (rather than clicking the back button), should you be ranked higher? For example, if a website ranked #5 is getting more click-throughs and a lower bounce rate than site #3 and #4, should the website at #5 be ranked higher because the users are finding more value? We have your answer in this case study.
We tracked 7 keywords and 7 URLs (from 7 different domains) for 19-30 days. These websites ranges from Fortune 50 sites to small local businesses. Campaigns start dates were staggered to avoid duplicate visitors visiting all 7 of the campaigns on the same day from the same IP. Our first campaigns started on September 2nd, while our last one started on September 13th. We concluded our data on October 2nd. The clicks were purchased from SerpClix, the crowdsourced SERP click network. The users were real, not bots, and they were on separate IP addresses and on separate computers. The clickers were worldwide, from all countries. They stayed on the website for 30-60 seconds before closing the tab. None ever clicked the back button, as that would be considered a negative ranking signal.
Video proof: https://youtu.be/y1PKawmJnIU
All 7 of the URLs we studied saw a positive net movement of at least one position within 13 days. Excluding the outlier, 6 of the 7 URLs saw a positive movement within 8 days. 5 of the 7 URLs ended up closing with an overall positive movement over after 30 days.
4 of the 7 URLs we studied never saw a negative movement. For the month we tracked them, they either stayed neutral, or went up in ranking. All 4 of them finished with a positive overall movement, averaging a gain of 4 positions. These keywords were long tail, made up of 4, 5, 6 and 7 words.
The other 3 URLs that did experience a negative movement at some point in the study, were 2, 3 and 3 words long respectively. While they did experience a negative movement, it was minimal. 2 of the keywords finished down 1 position, while the 3rd keyword was up one position.
Strictly A Positive Ranking Signal
From the resulting net changes, we can conclude that there are no negative signals from CTR manipulation, as the only rank changes were down a single position and all the others were improvements.
Burst vs Drip-fed Clicks
While some people claim that effects of CTR are best observed when the clicks are sent in a burst, we had both cases where drip-fed and blasted campaigns had positive results. If there was movement from a small drip, then the remaining of the drip would hold it there. This made it apparent that a regular, recurring campaign could
Movement By Page
We were able to move keywords on both the first, second and third page of Google. Sending clicks made much more of an effect on the 2nd and 3rd page, simply because the expected CTR on those pages is so low, and there’s also a lot of room to move up, of course.
You can view the manual rank check video here: https://youtu.be/y1PKawmJnIU
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