Can I click on my own site’s links in Google to improve my ranking?
In any online SEO community, asking this question will probably cement your status as one of the newcomers in the group.
The answer also happens to be no.
But while spam-clicking your own site in Google won’t provide any benefit to your SEO, that doesn’t mean click-based engagement signals don’t have value.
Below we’ll briefly break down three important click-based signals for SEO. Let’s take a look:
1) Optimize for CTR
Google uses CTR to monitor how websites are doing in search.
It’s not a big ranking factor, and it truly may not be a ranking factor at all.
But optimizing for a higher CTR will get you more traffic – and that’s the point, right?
2) Increase visitors’ dwell time
A click isn’t just a click, as anyone who focuses on things beyond traffic (i.e., engagements, revenue) will tell you.
Clicks can be weighted based on how long the user remained on the page.
Accordingly, make sure your pages accurately answer user queries to keep them hanging around.
3) Be the last click
What does that mean?
It means striving to be the last site that a user clicks on before concluding their search. After all, Google’s job is to fulfill a user’s query whatever it happens to be, whether that’s informational, transactional, or navigational.
One Google patent that states “a last click…can be considered as likely indicative of a good page.”
If a page has a high bounce rate and users are “pogo-sticking” around to find the best page (bouncing out of a site they clicked into, followed by clicking on a different site, and so on) then it probably isn’t doing a good job answering the user’s query.
Of course, this can also be related to the way the search query was worded.
We’ve all experienced cases where our Google search probably didn’t give the results we wanted due to our lack of specificity.
This might include looking up unfamiliar abbreviations or searching for terms that we didn’t know or anticipate had multiple meanings. For example, if you’re trying to look up someone by the name of “Will Smith” and you’re not looking for the actor, you’ll probably be searching for a while.
Although Google may not use click-based signals as major ranking factors, optimizing for the three pillars above will help your site get more traffic.