A game-changer in search has appeared in the form of zero-click searches. When a person searches for word definitions, time zones, enters a basic math problem, how-to questions, and even currency conversion, you won’t find them clicking anything.
The results that Google shows on top of its search results pages (SERPS) are ready answers that make it unnecessary for users to click on.
How do you prepare your business for zero-click searches and how do you come up with an effective strategy to land one of those coveted spots?
What are Zero Click Searches?
Zero-click searches are when the answer for a user’s search query is displayed directly in the search result. You don’t have to click on anything to enter a website and learn more because the answer and information can be viewed right on the search result page itself.
Examples of zero click searches
- Featured Snippets
- Instant Answers
- Definitions or Dictionary
- Currency Conversions
- Database-Style Searches (ex. How tall is Lebron James?)
- Knowledge Panel
How Can You Take Advantage of Zero-Click Searches?
Zero-click searches are dominating with 50.3 percent of Google searches resulting in zero-clicks. In line with that, you have 5.3 percent of clicks going to organic searches, and 4.4 leading to paid ads.
While it can mean less traffic, it doesn’t mean less opportunity. Search engine optimization is still very important. Remember, there are still a flood of people using search engines, and putting your brand front-and-center, at the very top of Google, is a very profitable way to grow awareness, and gain credibility.
Internet marketing strategies like SEO or services like link building, content marketing, and white label SEO are never going away, and are still crucial for long-term business growth.
Strategies to Make Zero-Click Searches Work for Your Business
Zero-click positions give you leverage when it comes to awareness and visibility. It also gets most of the traffic when it comes to search engine marketing. Here are some strategies you can use to leverage zero-click searches for your business.
1. Claim and Optimize Your Google My Business Profile
Start optimizing your online brand profiles in all relevant listings, the major one being Google My Business. This way, you’re claiming your brand search, or any search relating to your brand name and business — not only enabling you to appear in zero-click search positions but also drive more click-through. When it comes to brand-related searches, users will tend to click in order to find out more information.
On Google My Business, you should always update your opening hours, address, and other contact information. Google values reviews and photos, so providing those in your GMB profile will help you show up in zero-click searches.
Make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward on every Google-owned platform, as well as other listings that are relevant to your business.
2. Use Google Search Console and Other Keyword Tools for Keyword Research
Zero click-searches have a lot to do with keywords. Review and assess your keyword strategy by diving into one of the most valuable SEO tools, Google Search Console. See which of your target keywords are attracting zero-click searches, and which of your pages have the potential to rank for a spot. You can view which queries related to your brand right on the dashboard. You can do this by heading to the performance section and clicking the search results tab. You’ll get a view of the top search queries, a list of pages and their traffic, and other relevant information.
You can target more keywords that can deliver a higher click-through rate by using SEMrush or Ahrefs for a deeper dive into keyword research. These tools use the CPS metric or clicks-per-search metric. CPS factors everything from search volume, keyword difficulty, and ranking so that you can estimate the real traffic potential of a keyword. This enables you to filter the terms that are most likely to appear in SERPs features.
Through these tools, and as you will notice while doing your research, you’ll find competitors who are already ranking for zero-click searches or featured snippets. Analyze them and study how you can reposition yourself above those pages.
Use insights from your research to develop a content priority list you can create, optimize, or rehash.
3. Optimize for Featured Snippets
Featured snippets, also known as “position zero” or “answer boxes,” are short snippets of text that appear at the very top of Google’s search results. It provides a quick answer to a searcher’s initial query and offers the option for them to click further if they need to. It’s positioned above the “people also ask” box and above the “number 1” search result.
A study found that nearly 30 percent of queries now include featured snippets, it’s also important to note that landing in a position zero automatically grants you authority.
As you provide quick answers to questions allowing users to not leave the search engine page, you’ll get less traffic. However, most of the clicks that happen will go to you or to the result that actually ranks within the featured snippet.
There are three different types of featured snippets:
- Paragraph. This comes with definitions or even just with single-word queries.
- List-based. This is geared towards answering how-to-based queries and will be taken from articles with a numbered list, or enumerated steps.
- Table. This shows a quick view of different data points.
Outside of these three, Google will tend to show more videos, or direct forms if a searcher happens to look for hotels or travel details.
One way to optimize for featured snippets and gain traffic at the same time is to go for more question-based queries. When someone is looking for a more detailed answer, they’ll end up wanting to read more information than just the quick one provided with them through the answer box.
Start looking for question-based queries that you want to rank for, and see what Google is already showing. Are they showing a paragraph? A list? A video? Depending on the results, you’ll have to replicate that content within your page because Google chooses that kind of information to rank, so you want to be geared toward ranking for that specific type of content as well.
Next, aim to rank on page one of the SERPS. Studies show that Google pulls 70 percent of its featured snippets from sites that position from one to ten.
Here are some tips to ensure that you’re seen as a strong candidate:
- Organize your headers. Format your content using clean code, and label your titles accordingly (H2, H3, H4, and so on).
- Create headers that match your users’ queries.
- Include the answer to the headers directly below it. Enclose your answers in paragraph tags.
- The first paragraph tag or the direct answer should be between 54 and 58 words long.
- Format list and table information with the proper tags.
- Make sure to include priming phrases when needed. This includes “follows these steps,” “here are,” and “start with,” just to name a few.
After you’ve done these steps, publish and track your post over the next few days. If you don’t see instant results, keep checking and make small updates.
4. Implement Schema
Allot time in implementing schema. Schema markup is a code added to the back end of your website that helps search engines better understand your content, and then index it in a way that it can be presented through more informative search results.
With traditional HTML scripts, search engine crawlers are only able to determine what your data says, but not what it means. So implementing schema markup helps you communicate to search engines what your content is about.
For example, if Google sees a number listed on your site, without a schema, the bots won’t have any idea what those numbers mean. It could be a phone number, a price, or an address. If you implement schema markup to communicate to those bots that a figure is a phone number, they can then display the information properly for users and can land you on zero-click searches.
Schema markup helps Google understand your website better, increasing your site’s visibility on the SERPs.
It also promotes a better user experience.
There’s schema markup for local businesses, restaurants, blogs, recipes, events, and more. Choose a schema markup that’s going to fit your website.
You don’t have to rely on a developer to start with schema. Although you may need help in the more technical aspects, you can start now on your own.
A popular tool to get started with generating schema markup is Google’s, Markup Helper.
All you need to do is select a type of schema and paste the URL of the page that you’d like to implement that schema on. To create the tags, highlight or click elements on the page, and select an attribute of that element based on the drop-down menu. Once done, click “Create HTML,” and you’ll have your HTML structured data based on your selection. If you’re satisfied, implement the schema markup on your site through your CMS or directly into your source code.
After search engines crawl your website, you should start seeing the results.
Why are Zero-Click Searches Valuable for SEO and Businesses
Visibility and authority are the most important contribution of zero-click searches to businesses. Another one is traffic. Even though half of Google searches end up without a click because of zero-click results, most of the traffic still goes through websites that landed those positions.
Zero-click searches drive marketers and businesses to focus more on search intent and opportunity. This means that you have to study the search intent of your target buyer and align it with your strategy and content.
For example, a user tries searching for the best headphones. The user clearly has the intention to buy or is in the research stage that will result in a purchase soon. Google will most likely show a list of the best headphones in the answer box followed by headphone products complete with prices and ratings.
Most users won’t just be satisfied with the information they get from the answer box and will tend to click multiple links and open them on multiple tabs to read. From this example, you can see that zero-click searches, with other results, generate awareness, impressions, and clicks to your website. Target the right keywords, the right positions, and optimize your content so that they’re shown in your desired spot.
Dominate Search Results with Zero-Click
Google continues to make “search” and “information gathering” more efficient for users through zero-click searches. As a business owner or marketer, you must see this as an opportunity and work with it. Zero-click searches boost brand visibility. It also positions your business as a thought leader, potentially increasing offline sales and engaging users to click on your website.
So use this type of query to improve your content, dominate the search results, and drum up more business.