I originally made this post back in June/July 2011 after seeing how important I thought traffic data may become.
Was my prediction that the traffic data Google obtain via the SERP’s correct? Who knows, but as Google appear to be using more and more social features I still think it could have a bearing and would be interested to hear what others think. (see poll lower down page)
Google has always been very data conscious, and all new changes they are making at the moment appear to be based on gaining even more data and drilling that data down.
You have Google Places where they insist small businesses provide data in the same format as the business displays online, the old Google Profiles where they encouraged people to use personal names, information and photos for avatars, the new Google+ which does the same, the Google+ Pages for business that encourages publishers to tie in all their projects, the fact all features you have ever used whilst logged in to Google are stored and effectively merged together building up profiles of not just your personal, but also your business connections.
It appears to be Googles number one aim for all new features at the moment that people stay logged in to their Google account 24/7 and are always logged in when browsing.
Lets not forget Google is still primarily a search engine, so to me it makes perfect sense that they would use all the data they obtain to improve search engine rankings.
A little theory I have is that they may be putting less emphasis on backlinks, less emphasis on site age, less emphasis on number of web pages and more emphasis on the Natural traffic provided via a Google Search with what I describe as Traffic Rating for new pages
Traffic Rating isn’t about building a new web page, and using fake clicks, Google is far too smart for that, Traffic Rating is Google measuring the natural traffic a new page receives via the position in the SERPS.
We have known for a long time about FreshBot where a new page gets an additional boosting rank in the SERPS for a couple of days, could a reason for this be to see if it gets clicks and traffic in that artificial high ranking? And if it does receive good Natural traffic could Google be using this in their Algorithm and give new pages that obtain natural traffic a higher Traffic Rating