When someone heads to a search engine like Google with a question or a problem, they want to find an answer as quickly as possible. They often don’t have the time or patience to click through multiple search engine results. To keep their users happy, search engines strive to present relevant information right at the user’s fingertips. In recent years, this has resulted in an influx of zero-click searches. Read on to learn what zero-click searches are and how they may be affecting your SEO efforts.
What are Zero-Click Searches?
To combat users’ lack of patience, search engines may display relevant answers to questions right at the top of the search engine results page. This means a user doesn’t even have to click on the first result to get an answer to their most pressing questions. Using Google as an example, imagine you type, “When was The Great Gatsby published?” into Google’s search bar. Above any relevant results, Google will display the answer, “April 10, 1925.”
This featured snippet is information Google deems to be relevant to your query. Using a proprietary algorithm, Google pulls that information from one of the top results. Google will display this featured snippet when your question or query seems to have an exact, definite answer. If people are looking for more obscure information or conducting a more general search, featured snippets may not appear.
You didn’t have to click on anything or wade through results to find that answer. This is a prime example of a zero-click search. With people turning to the internet to answer more of their questions, zero-click searches are becoming more common. In fact, somewhere around 65% of searches don’t result in any clicks on organic results.
Zero-click searches are great for Google. They use this feature to attract and retain more customers and increase their reputation as trustworthy sources of information. Users aren’t navigating to organic results, and are instead staying on Google. Therefore, Google has more opportunities to target users with advertising, hoping to get
them to click on a Google Ad.
Google has increased zero-click searches by increasing the information available to users right on that search engine results page. For example, if you’re looking for information about a business, Google will pull relevant data like addresses, phone numbers, business hours, and reviews. This means that, rather than heading to a business’s website, the user will find everything they need right on Google.
Zero-click searches are also great for consumers, especially those who are using mobile or voice search. They have immediate access to the information they need, which saves them time and effort. For both Google and the consumer, zero-click searches seem like a win-win.
How do Zero-Click Searches Affect SEO?
But while zero-click searches benefit Google and its users, what effects do they have on businesses trying to attract new customers? As a business, you want your website to appear higher on search engine results pages. This will attract more potential customers to your website, growing your traffic and your leads. But with fewer people actually clicking on any organic results, what does this mean for your website?
Zero-click searches may leave marketers feeling frustrated. After all, it’s tough to compete with a tech giant like Google. Even if you put a lot of effort into your SEO strategy, it may feel like your efforts are for naught. But don’t despair. The truth is, it’s more important than ever to focus on optimizing your site for search engines. If Google thinks you’re providing relevant, helpful information, they may decide to use it in a featured snippet.
Should I Change my SEO Strategy?
A great SEO strategy is focused on creating a deep and knowledgeable content base. But are there any additional steps you as a business owner or marketer can take? Here are a few tips:
Aim to maximize your visibility on Google
This includes your Google My Business listing. These listings are often the first thing that people see when they are Googling a local business, so it’s important to make sure the information available is relevant and helpful.
Ask your current customers for reviews
Authentic positive reviews from customers can boost your business’s online visibility and increase the chances of a potential customer visiting your in-person location.
Continue with many of your current SEO strategies
This includes following best practices for creating helpful content. Your website is still one of the best tools in your arsenal and can help you stay visible even in the age of zero-click searches. Your website is still there to tell your story and connect you with important people like customers, potential employees, current employees, and people who may want to partner with you in other ways.
Look into optimizing your content for featured snippets
This is one of the most crucial aspects of staying visible in the age of zero-click searches. Part of successful website design is to structure your subheadings and related content in a semantically advantageous manner to encourage featured snippet selection. If you are lucky enough to be included in a featured snippet, a link to your website will be displayed directly below it. So this means that if people read information from your site and are looking to read more, they still may click through to your site.
Aim to provide value in all the content you create
It may also be helpful to switch your keyword focus to more long-tail keywords.
Shifting the focus to more long-tail keywords and providing content with added value for search engine users is also crucial to securing long-term traffic to your site. Think like your ideal customer does, and strive to create content that meets their needs.
Keep in Mind
The impact of zero-click searches seems to vary by industry, so your business may not be affected by them at all. However, if you’ve been seeing a steady decline in organic traffic in recent months and years, this could be the culprit. And if you’re struggling with keeping on top of all the latest trends, it may be time to call in an SEO professional.