In 2020, almost 65% of Google searches ended without a click to another website. That’s up from 50% in 2019. This is according to a SimilarWeb study Rand Fishkin, founder of SparkToro.
First of all, what is a zero click search? Basically, if you input a search query in Google and don’t end up clicking on any of the non-Google results, that’s a zero click search.
Zero click searches are pretty normal. Say you search McDonalds. If you want their stock price, it’s displayed in Google’s snippet on McDonalds. If you wanted to see where the closest McDonalds is and maybe their hours, you can see that information displayed too. You’d never have to actually click the link to McDonalds website. And from McDonalds perspective, that’s probably not a big deal. The information they want conveyed is conveyed, with fewer steps.
So What’s the Problem?
Not every business is happy to give up their clicks. Say you search for flights. Google conveniently displays some of your options—and maybe you wont’ click on the various flight tracking websites that promise the best deal. Or say you own a dictionary site. Google might feature your content on their results and your potential audience will get the information they need from you, via Google, without a click. Or say you run a blog that reviews restaurant equipment. Someone searching for the best pizza stone may see some of your content in a Google snippet but never click on your site. Google used your content, and you didn’t get paid because there was no click.
Google offers thousands of types of snippets for various products and services its users search for. If your business relies on click and you aren’t getting them, this can be pretty frustrating.
So What Can You Do?
At the moment, not much. Politicians, regulators, and attorneys the world over are trying to sort out whether or not Google is a monopoly, and if so, what be done about it.
But if you run a website, you need advice right now, so here it is: work on improving your featured snippets and schema markup. Does that sound counterintuitive? Yes. But by improving the quality of information in your snippets, you’ll draw eyeballs. And, if there’s enough incentive in those snippets for someone searching Google to seek out more information, then you might turn an erstwhile zero-click searcher into someone clicking on your site.
Is that cold comfort? Maybe. But search is Google’s world and the rest of us are just living in it.