Zero Click Search Results: What’s Going On?
The increase in zero click search results has negatively impacted web traffic. According to an article on Odysys, this is hurting the hospitality industry as “above the fold” results are paid search ads and Google’s own content. What else is contributing to the increase in zero click search results?
What are Zero Click Searches?
Zero click search results happen when a user does not click on a link after searching on Google. In the last three years, there has been a steady increase in zero clicks search results. This means more queries are being satisfied without needing to click. Alternatively, this could mean that the query resulted in unsuitable answers for the user. Most likely, given Google’s SERP, the former is true.
If you read about our SERP breakdown, you will see that paid search ads, knowledge panels and “people also ask” menus occupy space “above the fold.” Zero click search results are happening because Google is fulfilling answers to queries without the need to click a link to go outside of the SERP. The knowledge graphs and relevant information can answer queries within the SERP. This keeps users within Google for as long as possible.
In the case of the hospitality industry, Google gives preference to its own content in results. Google’s map and hotel finder appear first, resulting in fewer users visiting the property’s website. Google does the same thing with YouTube content. Because YouTube is part of Google’s network, YouTube results keep users in Google. According to Sparktoro, 95% of the search engine landscape is occupied by Google. This means results in Images, YouTube and Maps, results that look different, are just Google results in disguise.
While a zero click search seems convenient for users, it’s detrimental to websites that rely on organic search results for traffic. Additionally, Google’s features, like knowledge panels, fail to give credit to websites that provide the information. This caused issue when Google used lyrics posted by Genius in the knowledge panel.
At the end of the day, the zero click search results are occupying more of the search engine results, reducing the impact of SEO, organic search traffic and even paid search ads.