Rand Fishkin went through a lot of the US Congress documents from the hearing on “Online Platforms and Market Power: Examining the Dominance of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google” that happened two days ago. He saw this document that suggested Google users “user signals, like clicks” in Google Search.
He posted this on Twitter:
SEOs are gonna LOVE this one:
– Yes, Google uses “user signals, like clicks.”
– Yes, Google has a measure of “domain” authority.
– Yes, they machine-learn against human rating data
All those denials all those years, but here it is, all laid out in the internal docs. /4 pic.twitter.com/1ayo8mAGK7
— Rand Fishkin (@randfish) July 30, 2020
The line he is referencing says “Continued investment in user signals, like clicks. Our search users create the first level of network effect of search quality and we are investing in this heavily.”
No where does this specifically say Google uses this as a “direct” ranking signal in search. Google has said it uses click data as an indirect signal. Meaning, Google will look to see if its algorithms are doing well and doing what they are suppose to be doing by looking at user signals, like clicks. But no where does this say that Google is feeding this directly back into ranking algorithms. In fact, Google has said numerous times it does not use this directly in rankings, but does use it indirectly. Apple does use it and so does Bing, but not Google – if you trust what Google has been saying for two decades.
Pedro Dias, who worked at Google for a while and a while ago summed it up also:
Also, why is the fact that Google machine learns against human data new?
— Pedro Dias (@pedrodias) July 31, 2020
Forum discussion at Twitter.