Google consistently adapts its search engine to give users exactly what they’re looking for. In the past, this meant improving its algorithm to avoid spammy websites that use black-hat tactics to rank for certain keywords. As a result, digital marketers shifted to white-hat tactics that focused more on content quality and ethical search engine optimization (SEO).
This is what led to nearly every SEO marketing strategy to create website content that got users to click on their website from the search engine results page (SERP). However, it looks like Google has evolved once again and started dropping clicks from the SERPs to zero.
Zero click searches are becoming more common for many types of keywords. In an age where people want fast answers, it’s become increasingly more common for Google Search queries to end up as a zero click search.
Here’s your guide to what are zero-click searches and how your digital marketing strategy should adapt to this search engine feature:
What Are Zero Click Searches?
A zero click search result displays the answers to the user’s queries at the top of the search engine results page. When a user encounters a zero click search on their Google search query, they’re likely to see Google Search features like website snippets, Google Maps widgets, Shopping links, the “People also ask” options, and other Google SERP features.
These results do either of two things. First, it answers the questions a user has, and they leave the search engine without clicking on any links to their search engine queries. Second, it keeps users within Google’s search features or any of Google’s other products, like Google Maps, Google Flights, and more.
These days, users want answers as fast as possible. While mobile devices have made the internet more accessible, search engines are now evolving to make finding answers even faster. For Google, this used to mean providing the best results at the top of SERPs through their Google Search features. But through a zero click search, a user can get their answer even faster – without the need to click out of Google SERP features.
How Do Zero Click Searches Affect Your SEO Strategy?
A Semrush study found that zero-click searches still haven’t taken over traditional Google search query trends. Based on Google Search, based on the click-through rate on desktop, zero click searches only accounted for 25.6% of all searches, while organic clicks topped at 45.1%. Mobile searches, on the other hand, saw 17.3% of searches resulting in zero clicks and 43.1% organic click-through rate.
But with zero click results expected to become more common, digital marketers are aware of its implications on any digital marketing strategy. Eventually, users may expect a zero click search with answers as early as the SERP stage, which means Google will need to find content that can answer their queries with just a short snippet. Additionally, marketers will likely see organic traffic decrease as people are less likely to click on links to find answers.
This can lead to a domino effect that can affect marketers and their efforts to drive traffic to their websites. With the rise of zero click searches, users are more likely to either exit their search or end up on other Google platforms. This can result in seeing leads and conversions from organic traffic drop as more users find their answers as soon as possible rather than having to visit more websites.
But what does this mean for digital marketing strategies? We can narrow it down to three key points:
1. The Top Position in Search Results Is More Crucial Than Ever
While marketers may see a drop in organic traffic, this could be an opportunity to reach out to users in the awareness stage of their buyer’s journey. Featured snippets are now becoming more common on Google Search results and in “People also ask” widgets, which means that getting the top spot of SERP results increases the chances of getting your brand in the spotlight, even if users don’t end up visiting your website.
2. Content Should Be Optimized for Google Search Queries and Featured Snippets
With Google Search features providing answers to put into featured snippets, creating high-quality content is more important than ever. While content should ideally be balanced between users and SEO optimization, your content should answer popular questions if you want to benefit from the growing number of zero click searches.
3. Your Strategy Should Cover Voice Search
Voice search is becoming increasingly popular among mobile device users and those who use home devices that allow voice search. Voice search results often only provide the top-ranking result, many of these going on to become featured snippets that boost zero click searches. This means that optimizing your content for the top snippet position can increase your website’s reach.
How Can You Adapt Your Strategy to Zero Click Searches?
If you want your digital marketing strategy to adapt to zero click searches, there are a number of ways you can shift your strategy:
• Redefine your metrics. Metrics like organic traffic and sessions are still important for measuring on-page SEO performance, especially if you want to see metrics like lead generation. But if you want to base it on zero click searches, you need to focus on other metrics, like:
○ SERP rankings for main keywords
○ Google Business Profile, previously called Google My Business (GMB), tracker for how often your business appears for relevant local search results
○ How many people search for directions to your physical location through Google Maps or GMB
• Enhance your technical SEO. Other factors like bounce rate can affect how Google measures your topical authority and relevance to keywords. When users decide to click on your website, factors like loading time, navigational design and other non-content factors can affect your rankings.
• Adapt your SEO marketing strategy. If your content ranks for question-based keywords, search engines can see your article as a potential featured snippet for giving users instant answers. Your SEO keyword strategy should be designed for both users on your page and for zero click searches.
• Improve your content. With the rise of zero click searches, your content is more likely to become a featured snippet if it provides instant answers to Google Search queries. Instead of long and winding content, write optimized content divided into sections that can easily break down what users want to know. For instance, if crawlers indexed your page for a certain keyword, if there’s a paragraph in your content that can answer a question, it’s more likely to be a featured snippet on a Google Search query.
Let Thrive Enhance Your SEO Marketing Strategy
Zero click searches are likely here to stay. For users, this means getting answers to search engine queries much faster. But for businesses looking to rank on Google SERP features for user searches, it means adapting and competing with similar websites to achieve the top spot. Give your website the digital marketing advantage by working with a team that gets you results.
Thrive is your results-driven digital marketing agency that understands the importance of adapting to search engines. We turn challenges into opportunities to boost your brand, increase traffic to your website, and get you those valuable leads your business needs.
Get in touch with us today to receive a free proposal.