The zero-click search trend is one that continues to grow. There is a litany of terms – things like currency conversions, word definitions, time zones, and how-to questions – where no one is clicking through.
This is because now more than ever, Google is implementing featured snippets. These featured snippets allow users to type in a keyword and get their answer in a short blurb at the top of the search. It makes for quicker, more efficient searches that don’t require clicking through to find the answer.
It is also because many new SERP features like media elements and paid ads have taken over the top spots in those keyword searches. They make clicking on certain types of search results completely unnecessary for the end-user.
For SEO professionals out there, this can create a real issue. After all, the point of SEO is to get the user to click through to your website. But with featured snippets, what is an SEO expert to do to draw that click through to their site?
Here is a little bit of a breakdown on the zero-click search and how you can combat it.
What is a Zero Click Search?
Though we touched on it a bit above, a zero-click search is one where the answer is displayed right at the top of that Google search result. Whereas old search algorithms from Google would produce the most relevant results, it now gives you the answer directly.
The intent of the user is completely satisfied without the user having to click on any actual search result links. The zero-click search is most common for voice and mobile searches because more users than ever are using these formats to find practical, short answers to their specific questions.
A zero-click search can include database-style searches that center around time, date, time zone, currency conversions, names and ages of products and people, and so on. There are also dictionary searches looking for definitions or “what if” searches. And lastly are direction-style searches that center around queries with “near me” and the like.
A whopping 34.4 percent of all desktop searches are of the zero-click search variety. And on mobile, that number nearly doubles, jumping up to 62.5 percent for zero-click search results. To say that they have risen in prevalence would be putting it lightly.
How to Boost Click-Through’s
Because the zero-click search has dominated SERPs thanks to these zero-click features, SEO professionals, as well as content creators, need to make adaptations by using different tactics in order to get the click-through results that they desire.
The main goal of SEO is very much the same: to take up as much of that prime page 1 real estate as possible in order to win the top positions. Those top positions are where users go for nearly all of their information and anything less than page 1 is a failure for SEO experts.
Factor in CTR
The vast array of SEO tools will offer a click-through-rate (CTR) metric. This shows search volumes with clicks against searches without click using what is known as clicks per search (CPS) metric. CPS is one of the core metrics that SEO experts will use to identify those target keywords that provide the highest traffic return on investment.
CPS should remain one of the most valuable metrics available to SEO experts when they make the decision on which keywords to pursue. This will also account for things like keyword difficulty, current rankings, and search volume as well.
Optimizing for Featured Snippets
Those featured snippets are perhaps the most important real estate to conquer for SERPs in the world of zero-click searching. They are important to win because they will allow you to gain more organic traffic without having to create new content or backlinks.
Generally speaking, featured snippets are won by the pages that are already ranking on page 1 of the Google search results for that keyword. This means improving your previous ranking success is as important as it ever was before.
Those featured snippets are actually more important than ever because Google now displays those featured snippets for a massive 12 percent of all of their search queries. Getting into those snippets means a lot of eyeballs.
The key to ranking for featured snippets is to identify the high-potential opportunities available to you and then create a step-by-step plan in order to update those relevant pages so that you can win them in the featured snippet space.
In order to find those quality opportunities, there are three steps to follow:
- Pull a ranking report in order to find those relevant keywords
- Filter those keywords that are currently ranking in the top 10 positions
- Filter by those keywords that currently display those featured snippets
It is, of course, a good idea to double-check those findings by typing them into Google and seeing what is generated. The first position is the page that Google thinks is the most relevant to that keyword search. And because of their importance in SEO, most rank tracking tools will track SERP features.
The good thing to keep in mind is that featured snippets are not quite as volatile as they might sometimes seem. If you follow optimization strategies that are available, you can feature in those SERPs and hold that spot for weeks or months at a time.
As user behavior changes, mobile browsing becomes more prevalent over desktops, and voice searching becoming more mainstream, Google will continue to adapt to whatever the new search reality is and SEO professionals will have to adapt with it.
Implementing changes to rank for featured snippet content can result in huge shifts in organic traffic for your website. To say that those top spots on page 1 are important is putting it lightly; it could make or break your business.
Implement the changes necessary to get your business into those coveted spots and you will have a leg up on the competition.