As a business owner building and managing an SEO campaign, you’re always looking for keyword opportunities you can take advantage of. But what you may not be aware of is the fact that you may be targeting keywords that result in zero-click searches. A Zero-click search is when users type in and enter the search query but do not end up clicking on any of the search listings that are returned.
Why Do Users Search But End Up Not Clicking on Any of the Results?
There are several reasons why users enter a search query but avoid clicking on the results. First, the search query may have been too broad, and the user may not have gotten the kind of information the user was looking for. This boils down to the website targeting the wrong types of keywords for their campaign.
But the big reason that users do not click on the results is that Google provides an immediate answer to their search query. To give a straightforward example, if a user enters a search query “how old is Barack Obama?”, Google will return the exact answer in their information box. It will also offer the user links to related information.
As a result, the user does not need to click on any of the websites in the search listings. It would merely be a waste of the user’s time and energy to click on the other website listings. The only time the user may click on the results is if the user is looking for more in-depth information that expands on the search query.
Zero-Click Searches Are Rising
It’s been found that these types of searches have been rising for many years. Around half of all users making Google, searches ended up ignoring the search results. Experts say that this figure will continue to climb each coming year. This information can sound disturbing to many digital marketers invested in SEO. It seems like Google is discouraging users from having to visit any of the websites in their search listings.
What usually happens is that the users end up using Google and its other owned sites after these zero-click searches. Google may want more traffic to be funneled back to their websites to extract more value. By their nature, zero-click searches either do not generate any revenue or very little revenue for the company.
What Does This Mean for You?
Many advertisers and SEO marketers like to focus on keywords that are not commercially driven. These keywords offer an excellent opportunity for businesses to generate leads by providing value in the form of content. As Google gets better in answering simple search queries with their answers at the top of the search results, this can start presenting more significant challenges for businesses capitalizing on these keywords.
Advertisers may start to see a lower CTR on their ads. Companies that rely on organic SEO will begin to see a drop in their traffic numbers. And of course, companies that target these simple keywords will need to start shifting their strategy. They need to start targeting search queries that allow them to present value with content that Google cannot answer in a simple information box.
How Should Zero-Click Searches Affect Your SEO Strategy?
If you’ve been targeting the keywords that often result in zero-click searches, you should start focusing on more complex keywords. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should stop targeting these kinds of keywords. After all, these keywords are usually great ways to generate leads because there are very few competitors trying to optimize for them.
These keywords should still be a part of your overall SEO strategy. However, you shouldn’t be focusing on these kinds of keywords if you are building your campaign out for the long term. More of your time, money, and energy should be invested in keywords that allow you to present value to your target audience.
You want to be relying on metrics to drive your campaign. If you’re finding that the time, money, and energy invested in simple search queries stop becoming worth it, it’s time to move on. You want to focus on a keyword strategy that yields a strong ROI for your business.
What Kinds of Businesses Will Be Affected by Zero-Click Searches
While all kinds of businesses will be affected by the rising number of zero-click searches, there is one business model that will be affected more. This business model is the publishing model. Many publishing sites rely on search traffic for their revenue. They monetize the search traffic through lead generation and advertisers paying for an ad spot on their websites.
It’s easy to see that many of these publishing businesses rely on simple search queries to funnel traffic into sites. If Google starts to offer quick responses to more of these search queries, these publishing businesses will see substantial drops in their traffic and, consequently, massive reductions in their revenue.
There Are Still Unique Opportunities for Zero-Click Searches
Google does pull the information from sites in their search listings. The information box they present uses what they call featured snippets. If you manage to win a spot in these featured snippets, it could result in the visitor clicking to your site. The listing will feature your URL in the featured snippets as credit for the content. Google may also offer related information from other pages on your site instead of a direct link.
So how do you get on the featured snippets? First, make sure you optimize your page correctly for the search query. Second, you want to make sure the page is still ranking highly for the keyword. Third, you want to ensure you create relevantly, targeted, and quality content for the search query. Finally, you want to use relevant images to add more context and value to your content.
In conclusion, zero-search clicks can be an obstacle to your SEO strategy. However, you want to let your metrics decide which keyword opportunities are worth and which aren’t. There are also ways to capitalize on this emerging trend. SEO demands that you learn to adapt, so you need to come up with a strategy that can withstand this trend in Google.