Danny Sullivan, the Google Search Liaison, said during his brightonSEO keynote address on Friday that Google Search does use user interaction signals for Google Search but he added he won’t go into specifics on how these user interactions are used.
I asked Sullivan for clarification and he responded on X saying, “It was along the lines of of course we use user interaction signals, and it says this on the How Search Works site, plus it says this in your 2019 article when you asked us.”
You can see that over here where it says, “Beyond looking at keywords, our systems also analyze if content is relevant to a query in other ways. We also use aggregated and anonymized interaction data to assess whether search results are relevant to queries. We transform that data into signals that help our machine-learned systems better estimate relevance.”
Sullivan added, “Which leads to not the “do you use them” but “how do you use them” which I said we won’t go into the specific because what would you do? And that like anything, it would then cause people to focus on specific things rather than the board goals.” He said that “the longer part of what I talked about, and which I’ll likely share more about, on how we at Google need to do a better job to ensure that when we explain about broad things people should consider, that we help them not get lost in the specifics.”
Here is where he was initially quoted:
“Why don’t we give you actual user interaction signals? Because what would you do?”
— Megan Medaris (@meganmedaris) November 10, 2023
Here is his response to me about this:
It was along the lines of of course we use user interaction signals, and it says this on the How Search Works site, plus it says this in your 2019 article when you asked us. Which leads to not the “do you use them” but “how do you use them” which I said we won’t go into the…
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) November 13, 2023
Some “user interactions” mentions were leaked with the DOJ documents but what it all means, how it is used, is still hard to say.
Forum discussion at X.