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What I've learned about manipulating SERP CTR

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by macdonjo3, Feb 17, 2016.

  1. macdonjo3

    macdonjo3 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    As people know, I've been beta testing a SERP CTR service of mine with BHW members and have had some good results. I'm going to share, for free, what I've learned in the past ~20 months.

    Hypothesis: If the CTR of your SERP is higher than the expected CTR, Google will rank you higher that your current position.

    Expected CTRs based on position are as follows. Find the CTR for your position:
    [​IMG]

    So based on your search count, and the percentage of that search count of the position you want to achieve. You can guesstimate how many clicks you need.

    Google Webmaster Tools offers your CTR, but the problem with this, is it doesn't incorporate those who don't click. For example, my site is sitting #2 for it's keyword, and it claims the CTR is 6.58%. This will be a similar case with your site. This is because the expected CTR posted in the above image, doesn't include the percentage of those who don't click, or those who click to Google Images, etc. If it did, these percentages would be diluted.

    [​IMG]

    This has been a topic that has seen both success and failures when tested.

    I've been testing this since summer 2014. I'm a programmer, so I've been using Python to simulate via Selenium. I've found out what works and what doesn't.

    Rand Fishkin ran the best test on Twitter, and has offered the most accurate information, in another video. His findings match up exactly with what I've found. He ran a CTR test, and had put himself number #1 in just 3 hours.

    This makes manipulating SERP CTR the quickest way to move up page #1.

    So lets talk about what works, both stated by Rand Fishkin, and what I've tested.

    Using proxies? DOESN'T WORK
    Using fake clicks? DOESN'T WORK
    Using real people? WORKS


    Face it, simulating operating systems, screen resolutions, internet browsers and a number of other factors is not easy. When I tried doing that initially, it didn't work. I am known to use my own products, and build them around my own needs, thus why Keyword Scout was such a hit back in it's day.

    When I was building simulations, I had to read market share reports to accurately generate the proper simulations. For example, you randomly select the resolution of 1334x750. Now, you need to find which OS this is. Well, this screen size is the iPhone 6. Which OS version are you going to choose? iPhone 6's use both iOS 8 and iOS 9 and likely iOS 10.

    I honestly think the above may be a bit overkill. The real advanced ways Google will determine if the click is real or not will be a technical aspect.

    Take a look at this presentation: http://www.slideshare.net/SergeyShekyan/shekyan-zhang-owasp

    But my favorite examples are: http://engineering.shapesecurity.com/2015/01/detecting-phantomjs-based-visitors.html

    [​IMG]

    So unless you can BE SURE that the software you're using to manipulate clicks has taken care of vulnerabilities like these, you probably shouldn't be using it.

    With real clicks, you don't have to worry about these technical faults. There are just too many, and it's just too risky to put in the hands of some offshore developer. I'm a late-year computer science student at a top research university in Canada and I don't even feel confident enough to fake it. So, USE REAL CLICKS.

    So, now you're thinking, will SERP CTR manipulations work on my site and keyword?

    Well, real USA clicks are not cheap. So if your keyword has a search count of 20k, then you're going to need thousands of clicks to move it. So you have to consider how lucrative the top position really is. However, lets look at a proper example. Lets say you had a keyword that has a low search count, but high profitability, something like "injury lawyers in st petersburg." Lets say the search count is 500, and the CPC is $20. If you sent some clicks to it, it wouldn't require many, and you'd still turn a profit.

    Questions? Ask away. :)
     
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    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
  2. ThopHayt

    ThopHayt Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Is this a click exchange where you install something on your PC and so do others and you exchange clicks? Or is this something else?
     
  3. asap1

    asap1 BANNED BANNED

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    Hmm, interesting. Need to give this a try.
     
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  4. royserpa

    royserpa Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    botnets anyone?
     
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  5. Aatrox

    Aatrox Supreme Member

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    Definitely interesting. Maybe instead of throwing money on some links, I should try this and see what happens. Thanks for sharing.
     
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  6. Bucketbot

    Bucketbot Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    That's one of the first things that pops into my mind. These botnet cats I'm sure are making a return with some type of method besides just selling DDOS attack services.
     
  7. fc-dh

    fc-dh Elite Member

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    Am i the only one who thinks that this is just an advertorial....?
     
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  8. hekke

    hekke Senior Member

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    Interesting, I might do a case study on this actually! Just got to find the best site to push it on. :)
     
  9. rushuna

    rushuna Regular Member

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    Did you just ignore everything else he posted? Yes, he's advertising his service but he also published his findings.
     
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  10. alwaystoday

    alwaystoday Junior Member

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    This is interesting. I read something yesterday that basically said CTR has no impact at all on SEO.
    http://searchengineland.com/ctr-ranking-factor-227162

    Interested to hear your thoughts on his analysis. I had more or less written CTR from an SEO perspective off after reading this but maybe i'm missing something.
    I've only recently started investigating SEO.
     
  11. macdonjo3

    macdonjo3 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    You need to read the posts by Rand Fishkin, and also what I said in this thread.

    Automated clicks do not work.

    I can't stress it enough.
     
  12. ThopHayt

    ThopHayt Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Well this will be easy enough for me to see if it can boost one of my longtail niche pages from nowhere to page one or two. PM me about the beta, I'm willing to put it to the test.
     
  13. 1morenoob

    1morenoob BANNED BANNED

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    Saw your other thread before and looks good. Was going to post pretty much what you said in the last paragraph, won't be cost effective for most, good for local sites etc that pay high.
    I might give it a go soon anyway but my sites in the UK so would be better if just UK was a option rather than EU
     
  14. rogerke

    rogerke Regular Member

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    Great case study and it confirms my own extensive testing.

    Automated tools like Insane Google Ranker work to improve CTR (queries gets picked up by Analytics, Search Console and Keyword Planner) but do jack shit to improve rankings. Tested it with (geotargeted) residential IP's and both private and public proxies.

    Now regarding real clicks, I've done extensive testing on that as well and it didn't do jack shit either. Only confounder is that I spammed classified ads websites and some people might have copy/pasted the queries in the search box instead of typing themselves, but I'm not convinced CTR is a ranking factor at all.

    Just watch your Search Console data of sites ranking with dozens/hundreds of pages and you'll notice some of them will have pretty high CTR without ranking improvements over time.
     
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  15. newyorker77

    newyorker77 Newbie

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    I would have thought ctr would have a little impact, so as much as to move you to the top.
     
  16. macdonjo3

    macdonjo3 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Let me say that CTR manipulation is mostly useful from moving SERPs around on page 1, but it won't take you from page 3 to page 1. However, if you want to go from #5 to #2, then SERP CTR can do that.
     
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  17. helll0a

    helll0a Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Id like to test this baby
     
  18. thebomb

    thebomb Junior Member

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    There are ways... :cool:
     
  19. whiteblackseo

    whiteblackseo Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Glad to be part of Serpclix :) Anyway I have a site at #10, what is a good estimate of money I should put in mac to get it to #1 or improve?
     
  20. macdonjo3

    macdonjo3 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Read the part where I talked about the monthly search counts. It's in the middle.