Joost's weekly SEO recap:

Alphabet, CTR and Local

Having been away on holiday for 3 weeks, and not being able to write a recap last week yet, this is the first one in over a month. A lot has happened, but not all of it will directly impact your search environment, luckily, so let me cover 3 things that stood out for me:

Google Inc becomes Alphabet Inc

Google changed its corporate structure. While this is interesting mostly if you’re too geeky about Google like me or you’re an investor, some changes do matter. Sundar Pichai officially became the CEO. He’s smart, but has a different management style. This is already becoming clear in articles like this one. About Google Now and whether it’s a priority or not. We’ll have to see what this leads to, but it already puts pressure on some parts of Google.

CTR as a ranking factor?

Is CTR (click-through-rate, specifically from the search results to your site) a ranking factor? A lot of SEOs, including me, thought so for a while, but thinking about it more, it’s also something that’s relatively easy to game. This piece of research was done pretty thoroughly and seems to indicate that no, it isn’t really a ranking factor. This piece says it is. I personally side with AJ Kohn, who puts it better than I could:

The evidence suggests that Google does use click-through rate as a ranking signal. Or, more specifically, Google uses click data as an implicit form of feedback to re-rank and improve search results.

Changes to Google Local results

A change that does affect you if Local SEO is something you think about: Google changed the way its local pack looks. Specifically, it changed it to a pack with 3 instead of 7 results:

relatietherapie Google zoeken

This new local pack has become way more prominent over the last few weeks. This means that for results that have this pack showing, it’s now in the #1 position 93% of the time where it used to only be #1 25% of the time.

If (a part of) your business is Local, now is the time to start investing more in Local SEO. We have both a WordPress plugin for Local SEO to assist you and some articles.

That’s it for this week, see you next week!

Joost's weekly SEO recap series

Take your technical SEO to the next level

  • Get Technical SEO & Structured data training
  • Hands-on advice for your technical setup
  • Save $$ by buying both Yoast courses
  • Start online when you are ready for it
More info

9 Responses to Alphabet, CTR and Local

  1. David Butler
    David Butler  • 4 years ago

    My test on CTR as a ranking factor also saw some positive results. You can see it here: davidbutler.co/blog/does-manipulating-serp-ctr-influence-organic-rankings/

    • Kevin Trye
      Kevin Trye  • 4 years ago

      Good research David. Thanks.

  2. Neo Ni
    Neo Ni  • 4 years ago

    Thanks for the update. The changes made in Google local results looks bad compared to previous one, not expected. They have reduced 7 maps listing to 3 listings which seems like, is Google planning to demoting Local SEO?

  3. ecodeal
    ecodeal  • 4 years ago

    good article ! Thanks for the useful information !

  4. _CTPG_
    _CTPG_  • 4 years ago

    Thanks for guide. I think Local SEO is very important.

  5. Ciprian
    Ciprian  • 4 years ago

    Time to increase CTR a bit, either by using smarter newsletters or better CTA. Anyway, I foresee some changes to the whole CTR/bounce rate thing.

  6. Nigel Abery
    Nigel Abery  • 4 years ago

    These local business results changes are really puzzling to me. On the one hand bumping it to the top says they think that local pack is more important. But then then reduce the number to three sites from seven, suggesting local is less important (unless you are top three). I wonder if people are now clicking more on the “more” results button in the local pack since it is higher and there are less results.

    Maybe it is just that for google, change is as good as a holiday!

  7. Tarun Gupta
    Tarun Gupta  • 4 years ago

    I look forward to this new corporate structure, I think its based on user interact with the individual website because Google uses click data as an implicit form of feedback to re-rank and improve search results…Thanks for the useful information about Google’s upgraded system for search ranking.

  8. Kevin
    Kevin  • 4 years ago

    An amazing article filled with a treasure chest of valuable information. I done a follow-up on your links, and to my surprise, I discovered a wealth of material.

    I’m always open to understand more about the Google Giants, and how to effectively achieve successful search results in the organics.

    By the way … Love your SEO Plug-in!