zero-click search header image

What you will learn in this post:

  • Zero-click searches are dominating Google, and the trend will only continue
  • There are effective strategies to obtain a coveted SERP result
  • Why this is significant for voice search as well

When looking for products and services, most consumers start with a Google search. In the past, a search inquiry would often lead to a business’s website or landing page where a user could learn more, become a member or make a purchase. However, as Google’s influence has expanded and its algorithm has evolved, the platform now provides users with most (if not all) of the information they need without having to enter another web page. In fact, less than half of all Google searches now end in a click.

As Google continues its effort to become the single source of information for businesses including yours, this trend will become even more prevalent. Right now, there is a 60:1 ratio regarding the rate at which consumers view your local listings on Google versus a click-through to your site. What can your company do about these zero-click searches?

Measuring Your Response to Zero-Click Searches

At first glance, these statistics may be alarming. After all, many companies put a lot of time and money into building their websites, and website conversions still contribute to the success of many businesses. However, an increase in zero-click searches is not a zero-sum game.

While Google benefits from keeping more users on its platform, your business does not necessarily lose out. On the contrary, Google now makes it easier for your business to relay key information and appeal to online users. So, rather than fight the wave of zero-click searches, you should meet searchers where they are. This starts with understanding how Google has evolved and using the tools it provides to your advantage.

Here are five powerful ways to leverage zero-click Google searches.

1. Maximize Value from Zero-Click Searches

Some online users may enter your website eventually, but a Google search results page is still the first thing most people will see. Knowing this, make sure that all the information searchers need about you is accurate and readily available on Google.

By creating a Google My Business profile, you can easily enter and update all relevant information about your business and each of its locations, including name, address, phone number, hours of operation and so much more. Take full advantage of Google My Business by displaying customer reviews, adding visual content, filling out the Q&A section and creating unique Google Posts to communicate with customers.

Pillars of Listing Optimization

2. Research Keywords with Higher Click-Through Rates

Perhaps the greatest challenge presented by the increase in zero-click searches is figuring out which keywords and phrases will lead search users to your brand. Good keyword research remains a crucial component of a company’s local SEO efforts, as Google’s algorithm is largely based on this search text data. 

You must focus on both branded and unbranded keywords relevant to your business. Pay particular attention to long-tail keywords (keywords and phrases containing at least three words), as these terms account for about 85% of all online searches, according to an Ahrefs study. These long-tail search terms are especially important for voice-based searches, and if your brand is not in the top 3 Google results, your site will most likely not be found.

3. Develop Long-Form Custom Hyperlocal Copy

Another way to get into Google’s good graces and increase your local search visibility is by crafting unique, high-quality, localized content on your website. This content can range from blogs containing those well-researched keywords mentioned above to detailed FAQ (frequently asked questions) pages that anticipate relevant long-tail search inquiries.

Just as you should do extensive research on keywords, you should also spend time figuring out the kinds of questions customers may ask about your business or in general. Which questions can your business answer concisely and with authority? If Google’s algorithm deems your answers worthy, and if your FAQ pages are structured with the proper schema markup, your brand might be one of the first to appear in a relevant text-based or voice search.

4. Apply Structured Data

Structured data (schema) enables the search engine crawlers to better identify your on-page content, phone numbers, media, and other attributes.  They can also increase your chances of obtaining rich results including zero position results (including answer boxes)

If you are not using structured data you are losing out.  Make sure you utilize as much schema as possible to markup your landing page information (including FAQ schema). Make sure you use JSON-LD schema templates because that is Google’s preferred structured data format.

Also, structured data in itself may be a positive SEO signal.  Even if you don’t obtain rich results from using structured data, Google has hinted around that it is beneficial.

5. Optimize Your Listings

Even if a user does not click through to your website, you at least want them to find your business’s information. The more detailed, accurate and widespread this info, the better. Distribute your information across Google’s various properties and offerings, such as YouTube, Maps, Images, AMP (accelerated mobile pages) and Knowledge Panels.

By optimizing your Google My Business listings, you can build trust with Google’s algorithm and show up on a greater number of search results pages, such as the Local Pack and Google Answer Box. Make Rio SEO a part of your multi-location listing management strategy so these listings remain accurate and optimized across every location.

Google shows no signs of slowing down on its journey towards greater influence over customer searches. While this inevitably results in a decline of website clicks, set your sights on the bigger picture and embrace these changes. Doing so will ultimately allow you to reach an even wider audience and still get your message across whether or not users decide to enter your website.