Does Google use the number of times a site is bookmarked in Chrome as a ranking factor?When I went to see if Search Engine Magazine had ever covered this in the history of our site, I didn't find anything.
Still, it seems that this problem has arisen over the years, and I still see (lower quality) sites perpetuating this myth today.
Disclaimer: Chrome Bookmarks Data as a Ranking Factor
One of the top Google results related to this claim is a website that states
"Google keeps a record of bookmarked pages on its own servers and uses it as a nudge.Google collects user browsing data from Google Chrome (sic).
Of course, this is not a difficult claim to rank because it is clearly untrue.I actually want this piece to rank higher than that piece so no one else is wasting their time chasing this particular white rabbit.
Evidence of Chrome bookmark data as a ranking factor
Indeed, Google filed a patent in 2006 titled "Search Customization Based on User Profile and Personalization."This shows up as "Bookmark and Rank" in Google Patent Search.
Although it was reassigned when Google changed the capitalization of its name in 2017, its current status is "abandoned".
Patent citations give us insight into how others might use the technology outlined in Google's "Search Customization Based on User Profile and Personalization" patent.
For example, in 2004, IBM issued a patent citing Google's aforementioned work, its own "method, system, and program for ranking search results using importance weighting."(Remember IBM's WebFountain?)
Microsoft mentioned it in "Mobile-Friendly Internet Search" in 2005.
Some have questioned whether Google's patent proves bookmark data is a ranking factor.
I call it the "ancient alien" effect, and simply asking a question - no matter how absurd - can lead others to think the topic is therefore a possibility.
Could it be that Google is using the number of times your site is bookmarked in Chrome as a factor in its search algorithm?
This patent ismillions of years agoResults delivered to Earth by cute, curious technology?Alien?
On both counts, the answer is a clear no.
Patenting a technology doesn't mean it will be used.If so, parts of the technology may be used for other purposes or even applied by other people and companies.
Questioning whether bookmark data is a ranking factor produces a search result that may suggest to others that it is, and the misinformation itself perpetuates.
Evidence against Chrome bookmark data as a ranking factor
Google's idea of using Chrome bookmark data as a ranking factor is problematic in a number of ways:
Google has access to better data
What you're searching for (queries), where you're searching (device and location), websites you've visited before, and actions you've taken on websites you've visited (user behavior signals) all tell Google more about any given searcher. More information.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Bookmark data from Chrome has nothing on these more useful insights.
Bookmarks lack context
Many other forms of user feedback provide more useful context than bookmarks.What useful information can Google glean from your bookmarks, Dogtime.com?
Do you want to adopt a dog?
Doing a school project about dogs?
Bored or sad, looking for a furry pick-me-up with a dog photo?
Merely planning to return to a site later does not provide any useful clues about youwhy wouldthis way.
Without context of intent, bookmarks are just a ridiculous fact that Google cannot use in any way to personalize or improve the searcher experience.
Bookmarks are too easy to play
Can you imagine if a bookmark was a commodity like a link?
We'll have bookmarking agencies, bookmark spam and negative bookmarks (what that even looks like - maybe a bunch of porn and gambling sites bookmarking your bakery site collective bookmarking?).
You can rent a VA service to bookmark it for you for an additional fee.
This can't be a useful signal.
Chrome Bookmarks as a Ranking Factor: Our Verdict
Bottom line: Google doesn't use Chrome bookmark data as a search ranking signal.