Posted: May 26th, 2009
It’s a well-known fact that Google tracks click-throughs from its search engine result pages (SERPs) to the webpages listed there, and it seems that they have recently changed the way they track these clicks. Until recently, listings in the SERPs would use the simple URL redirects of “google.com/url?q=referral” to determine where traffic is coming from, but these links don’t appear anymore.
Using SEP as an Example
For example, when googling “search engine panel” and hovering your mouse cursor over the title, the status bar displays:
Why The Change?
Well, in addition to the obvious web analytics applications for gathering such information, I believe that the search powerhouse also puts a strong emphasis on accuracy. It’s a principal factor for its dominance over other search engines, and there is a belief that clicks within the natural search results play a role in ranking.
This isn’t that much of a stretch, as click-throughs already play a role in AdWords quality scores and paid search results.