What Are Zero-Click Searches And How Do They Impact SEO?

Your digital marketing team has spent a considerable amount of time, money, and resources maximizing your organic and paid search results. Thanks to strong keyword research, you’re generating good traffic and have an impressive click-through rate (CTR). However, something seems amiss.

As you analyze your search and traffic results you notice that a few keywords aren’t generating the same number of clicks or traffic as they once did. Zero clicks mean zero traffic and no traffic means no on-site conversions or sales. It’s not an ideal situation and even worse, the traffic from some of these keywords may be highly valuable and critical for conversions to happen.

Unfortunately, you’ve just identified zero-click searches. So, what are zero-click searches? More importantly, how do they negatively impact your visibility on the SERPs and are there any solutions to this ongoing problem? 

What Are Zero-Click Searches?

A zero-click search is when an individual performs a search on Google (or your preferred search engine) and doesn’t click on any of the search results that bring you to a website. Why does this happen? Simply put, Google is actively trying to make the SERPs more visual and wants to provide the best information quickly to improve user experience. The query you type in may display results at the very top of the page that immediately gives you the answer you were looking for without any need to click on a link.

An example of this is if you ask a question like “When is Mother’s Day?” Google will instantly answer this, leaving the user with no real reason to search for anything else or click on any results that appear.

Zero-click searches add yet another layer to the complexity of SEO. According to a study done by semrush of more than 600,000 searches, roughly 25% of desktop searches and 17% of mobile searches don't click on an organic or paid result.

Image credit: semrush zero-click study

So, where do you go from here?

1. Identify All Zero-Click Keywords and Queries

Don’t make the all-too-common mistake of trying to immediately address the first zero-click keyword you come across. While it’s understandable that you want to get a handle on things, it’s best to take a deep breath, step back, and take the time to identify all the zero-click results before tackling them one at a time.

Look for any similarities in these keywords and how they’re used. You’re likely to notice the following similarities:

  • Your keywords and queries only require simple and immediate answers
  • Your website doesn’t even get seen in the results because the top of the SERP is dominated by paid ads and other visual elements
  • You’re going after keywords where your competition dominates
  • Your keywords are too broad, which leads to an abundance of results showing up before you do

2. Use Different Approaches to Mitigate the Impact of Zero-Click Results

1. Identify keywords that lead to zero-click results: keywords such as ones that are dominated by ads, visual elements or your competition may need to be rethought. Instead, focus on long-tail keywords that have less volume but are still highly relevant.

2. Look for keywords and phrases that don't feature an instant answer. A tool we love to use to use to find this is semrush. You can use a filter in their keyword magic tool to see what keywords don't have any SERP features at all. Prioritizing those keywords will give you a better chance of showing up and claiming those clicks.

3. Prioritize Long-Tail Keywords: these are less popular, lower search volume keywords that usually have strong intent behind them. They’re specific and allow you to target a niche audience. Using long-tail keywords allows you to capture a portion of search results where there is minimal competition, but strong intent.

4. Build upon your existing keyword research: use keywords that – by their very nature – require more information. Avoid using keywords or phrases that lead to immediate, short answers. You need to find a balance between a solid search volume, relevance, and high intent.

5. Optimize for Q&A based queries: there are a plethora of questions that people frequently ask and need answers to. While these types of searches may not have a ton of intent behind them, it will get your site highly visible and bring in high-funnel traffic that could convert as the user moves down the sales funnel.

3. Complement Zero-Click Keywords

You are likely to find some zero-click keywords you simply cannot ignore or replace. Some of these keywords may just be what you need to rank for in order to reach your target audience and traffic goals. So, what do you do with these?

Change the way you think about success and adapt to the new way users are searching. Try to focus less on generating clicks and traffic to your site and more on adding value to the search results.

  • Use Infographics: An infographic is an ideal way to support your zero-click keywords. They’re visual, they incorporate statistics, art, colorful icons, and well-researched data to immediately capture your audience’s attention. Companies using infographics typical see a 12 percent increase in traffic on average. Your audience is then 3x more likely to share your infographic than any other content.
  • High-Definition Images and Video Content: Creating short, bite-sized digestible videos alongside creative imagery is another way to distinguish yourself and help support a zero-click keyword. With 28 percent of searches utilizing images and video content, this is a must do. 
  • “How-To” Images and Thumbnails: Any high-quality image or video should be accompanied by a visually appealing thumbnail. Equally eye-catching are single images that demonstrate a solution or approach. These “How-To” images show how to do something, how something works, or how to approach a given problem. Regardless of what it shows, customers click on them.
  • Leverage All Digital Channels: Organic search isn’t the only way to reach your target audience. Paid channels like PPC, SEM, and paid social are a great way to bridge the gap in addition to leveraging your social media feeds.

Simple, Proactive, and Insightful SEO Services with PBJ Marketing

If you find yourself overwhelmed with trying to figure out how to get more organic traffic to your site, we can help. We’ve helped hundreds of clients increase organic traffic, conversions, keyword rankings, site health and more. Our SEO services are designed with your goals in mind.

We are a certified Premium Partner Google Ads agency. It’s our job to find the right keywords for the right customers and products and it’s something every one of our campaign managers excels at.

If you need help eliminating your zero-click results, contact us now.