Imagine this: A significant number of your potential customers search online but never click through to any website. Welcome to the world of zero-click searches, a rapidly evolving landscape that’s reshaping the rules of SEO.
This emerging phenomenon could be silently impacting your online visibility and traffic. Let’s unveil the mystery of zero-click searches and discover how they are altering the digital marketing playbook, challenging businesses to rethink their SEO strategies.
What Are Zero-Click Searches?
A zero-click search occurs when a user’s query is answered directly on the search engine results page (SERP), eliminating the need to click to any website. This might happen when a searcher gets information instantly from a quick answer box, a knowledge panel, or local business information displayed right on Google. As a result, the business appears on search results but gets no click-through traffic on its website. This occurrence is not just a minor blip in SEO strategy; it’s a game-changer that’s reshaping how we approach online visibility.
The Rise of Zero-Click Searches
One thing we know is that zero-click searches are on the rise. In recent years, several studies have tried to determine the number of searches that don’t result in clicks and the numbers have been, well, inconclusive.
Some studies have shown zero-click searches to be as high as 65% and as low as 17%. For this discussion, we’ll look at a SEMRush study conducted in October 2022 as a starting point.
The SEMRush study showed about 26% of all desktop searches were zero-click and about 17% of mobile searches ended without a click. Still, these numbers don’t tell the whole story. Zero-click searches don’t mean that users didn’t find the information they were looking for. In fact, it might mean they found it in other ways or refined their search and found it later.
How Zero-Click Searches Work
One possible answer for a zero-click search is that the user simply didn’t find the information they were looking for, but this isn’t the most likely outcome. Over time, Google has continued to roll out more and more SERP features in an effort to answer queries easily and provide a superior search experience.
At present, there are more than 15 different types of SERP features, many of which can answer a question directly in the SERP without requiring an additional click. Featured snippets, FAQs, map packs and knowledge panels are just a few of the ways in which an answer could be provided that might not result in a further click.
There is also the possibility that the user’s initial search didn’t provide the results they expected to see, so they refined their search and tried again. Think about your own search engine usage and how many times you conduct a search this way. You’ll get an idea of how often this type of zero-click search happens.
Impact on SEO Strategy
The rise of zero-click searches requires SEO professionals to evolve their success measurement methods. Instead of solely focusing on traffic and rankings, SEO professionals need to expand reporting to capture overall impressions generated from SERP features. Tracking elements like featured snippets and the search volume of terms associated with them can provide a more accurate picture of how effectively a brand competes in search.
Opportunities in Zero-Click Searches
Despite the challenges, zero-click searches offer opportunities for brand awareness and credibility. By crafting high-quality content that secures a featured snippet, brands can increase visibility and establish themselves as credible sources, even if these searches don’t lead directly to website traffic.
SEO Strategies for Zero-Click Searches
1. Learn to E-E-A-T
Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) is a way to describe the types of content users (and Google) are looking for. Establishing your brand as a go-to source for information helps surface your pages in the SERPs. Your SEO strategies WILL NOT WORK if your content isn’t credible. Before you do anything else to your website, make sure you’re doing the right things to present your business as a subject matter authority.
2. Optimize Differently
Along with solid E-E-A-T, find ways for your pages to capture SERP features. Optimize a page for featured snippets. Make sure your name, address, and phone number are listed and accurate on your site. Use schema markup to your advantage as a ranking signal and a method to help capture SERP features like map packs. Don’t forget to optimize your Google Business Profile so you’ll show up for local and branded searches!
3. Create New Types of Content
Depending on your business, you may have the opportunity to create pages with content like calculators or unit converters that could show up independently in search. Also, creating social media posts, videos and other diversified content can show up in search and enhance your brand along with your search traffic.
The Future of Zero-Click Searches
This is the question that is currently keeping SEO professionals awake at night. Google is in the process of rolling out its version of AI-driven search, known as Search Generative Experience (SGE), which will have an impact on organic search traffic. It will also, theoretically, lead to even more zero-click searches. From what we know today, Google intends to keep other SERP features in place, too, pushing organic results even further below the fold.
In conclusion, zero-click searches show how many users choose to interact with search results, emphasizing the importance of SERP feature optimization, and changing how we measure SEO success. Adapting to this evolving landscape means focusing not only on the amount of traffic but also on the quality and visibility of content within search engine features.
Ready to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of SEO in the era of zero-click searches? Contact the Campaignium team today! Our experts are poised to help you refine your SEO strategies, ensuring your content not only reaches your audience but also makes a lasting impact.
Whether it’s optimizing for SERP features, enhancing brand visibility or adapting to the latest search trends, we’re here to help you with every step. Don’t let the complexities of SEO hold you back. Reach out now, and let’s start crafting an SEO plan that propels your business forward in this dynamic digital world.