Zero-Click Searches: What They Are and How to Deal with Them

The so-called zero-click searches are causing panic with both SEO specialists and website owners. Let’s have a closer look at this relatively new phenomenon to find out if their fears are warranted.

What are zero-click searches?

Zero-click searches are search queries for which the user does not click on any of the search results. These zero-click searches are on the rise. They make up over a third of the searches on desktop devices and over half of the searches on mobile. 

Why do zero-click searches exist? 

Google has been focusing heavily on elements that allow them to answer a query directly in the search results, such as snippets. When users find the answer they are looking for right away, there is no need for them to actually click through to the websites listed in the search results.   

Are Zero-Click Searches as Bad as They Seem?

Zero-click searches have an obvious effect on clickthrough rates and, consequently, organic traffic. Plummeting traffic understandably has people in a panic, but the situation isn’t quite as bad as it seems. Users you are now missing out on weren’t planning to make any purchases in the first place. You may lose out on traffic, but the effect on revenue should be minimal. 

Tips to Deal With Zero-Click Searches

Tip 1: Embrace Snippets

Many webmasters are not adjusting their content to help Google pick their content for snippets. Some simply don’t know how, while others flat out refuse to do so. That second group fears capturing the snippet will cause more people to read their content without clicking through. There are several issues with this train of thought:

•   Capturing a snippet doesn’t prevent you from also ranking on top of the regular results

•   Appearing in snippets increases brand awareness. People will start recognizing your name, which in turn increases the odds they will click through to your website during future searches

•   Several big names in the SEO world such as Neil Patel report higher clickthroughs after snippet optimization

The basic method to have your content appear in snippets is relatively straightforward. You only need to give Google a hand with the interpretation of your data.

An easy way to do so is to repeat the keyword of a question you answer. If, for example, your content answers the question “What are zero-click searches?” you want to start the answer with “Zero click searches are.” Keeping mobile and voice searches in mind, your answer preferably needs to be 30 words or less. This answer can be very basic. You can expand on it further in the article for users who want more thorough information. Google also likes to feature bullet points and tables in its snippets.

Tip 2: Look into Using Structured Data

The measures above mostly suffice for now and should help you capture a lot of snippets. Google is constantly adding more snippet types, however, such as the recently introduced FAQ snippet. To assist its AI in picking up relevant information in your content for these new snippets, you need to have structured data on our site. To check if your site already has structured data, you can use Google’s own Structured Data Testing Tool. Even if structured data is already in place on your site, you should still regularly check if any new snippets have been introduced.

Tip 3: Adjust Your Keyword Research

When a search shows some paid ads and a single snippet, organic results are still very visible on the page. When there is a significant amount of clutter, organic results become more of an afterthought. When the search results show multiple snippets, a related question box, and a list of other possible searches for the same topic, you may want to skip that keyword. You also need to make sure your keyword is sufficiently actionable to warrant a clickthrough.

Tip 4: Don’t Neglect Optimizing Your Old Content

If you have a lot of old content, adjusting every single page probably isn’t worth your time. By prioritizing this optimization in a smart way, you can achieve significant results quickly. Snippets usually feature a site that is already on the first page of the search results, so focus your efforts on pages that generate at least some traffic and already rank in the top ten.

Adapt, overcome

Zero-click searches may seem like they spell doom for your website at first but aren’t very likely to significantly influence your revenue. As is the case with any Google update, it’s simply a matter of adjusting your content accordingly.

Abdelaziz Naser
About Abdelaziz Naser
Abdelaziz Naser is an SEO specialist and PHP Developer working on some of Sandstorm's web Dev and SEM clients.
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