Woman with computer and phone searching on search engine

How to Optimize for Zero Click Search

No-click? No problem. Use this guide to optimize for zero-click searches.

Zero-click searches happen when a user inputs a query and receives an answer without ever clicking on a third-party webpage. The answer is showcased on the search engine results page (SERP) through various features (i.e., knowledge panels, instant answers, featured snippets, etc.), which often makes clicking through sites an unnecessary endeavor.

While these features make for a better search experience for users, they can negatively impact unprepared brands, businesses, and content creators with substantial blows to their conversions, clicks, and more.

Learn how this phenomenon came to be and what strategies your brand can implement to stay in the game of zero-click searches.

Why Do Zero-Click Searches Occur?

In 2019, over half of Google searches worldwide ended without a single click. Not a single one. And in 2020, according to data from Similar Web compiled by Sparktoro’s Rand Fishkin, that number has risen significantly — with 64.82% of searches yielding the same results.

So why does this happen?

With zero-click results on the rise, there’s much speculation surrounding the topic. So much so that Google has decided to step in and provide some insight. Non-click searcher activity could be caused by these factors:

  • Seeking quick facts such as “World population,” “Peso to Dollar,” or “UK time to central”
  • Looking up definitions and encyclopedic information
  • Finding general or local brand locations — map search
  • Interacting with businesses directly (i.e., seeking business hours, phone numbers, etc.)
  • Utilizing voice search through platforms like Google Home, Siri, and Amazon’s Alexa
  • Reformulation of queries for more relevant answers
  • Navigation to apps as opposed to web pages

The number of zero-click searches is expected to climb as Google continues to optimize zero-click search results and brands continue to optimize their content for zero-click searches.

How to Optimize for the New World of Zero-Click Search

Brands must adapt their strategies in order to remain competitive in SERPs dominated by instant answers, featured snippets, maps, and local packs.

By focusing your energy on optimizing your site and satisfying users’ search queries with useful information, you can position yourself as an authority on position zero. According to MOZ, there are tons of Google SERP features you could focus your sights on.

Just to name a few: featured snippets, image packs, knowledge cards, knowledge panels, local packs, news boxes, related questions, and shopping results.

If your brand wants to stay in the zero-click search game, these tips are a great place to start.

1. Ensure that Your Site is Mobile Friendly

Zero-click searches occur predominantly across mobile devices (77.2%) and voice search queries. And with Google’s recent shift to mobile-first indexing, revamping your site (if you haven’t already) to mobile-first indexing is a must-do in the world of Google ranking and surviving the zero-click surge. In short, it’s time to go mobile or get out of the game.

2. Add Schema Markup

Schema markup (or structured data) is code placed on your website to help Google’s search engine crawlers understand and categorize the content on your page. By adding applicable properties, you may rank better than companies without structured data and boost your brand across prized SERP features.

3. Leverage Content

By following basic SEO best practices for your content, you can position your brand to show up in featured snippets, knowledge panels, and more. According to Ahrefs, over 12% of search queries have featured snippets in their SERPs. So if you need a place to start, begin by optimizing your content for featured snippets, and you may organically appear across other features where applicable. Use these tips:

  • Do your keyphrase research
  • Limit redirects
  • Keep things clear, concise, and to the point
  • Add headers, subheaders, and lists as often as possible and where applicable
  • Use descriptive title and meta-description tags
  • Include external links and citations in your articles

4. Optimize Images

Optimizing your images can help improve page speed to prevent loss of searcher interest. It also allows Google to crawl your pages quicker for Google Image Search, it can decrease page load time, and can even improve a page’s authority — all of which can improve your ranking in SERPs.

According to Google, here are some practical strategies you can implement to optimize your images:

  • Utilize proper file formats
  • Decrease file size and compress your images without sacrificing quality
  • Use images with relevant alt text
  • Provide detailed titles, captions, filenames, and text for your site’s images
  • Use structured data
  • Implement image sitemaps
  • Lazy load images when applicable

5. Prioritize Your Local Listings

Google’s local packs provide searchers with everything they need to know about a business near their vicinity, typically without ever having to click on the webpage. Increase brand exposure and connect to local consumers by amping up your listing management strategy:

  • Hop on the GMB bandwagon — the primary ranking factor for Google’s local pack
  • Maintain an up-to-date presence across all of your local listings.
  • Provide all essential business information, including your brand name, address, number, website, social media and booking links, categories, business hours, etc.

Is it time you got help with your zero-click search strategy? Reach out to GPO, and we’ll help you keep your brand in the zero-click game.

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