Have you ever Googled something in a rush and found the answer instantly without clicking any search results?
That’s what we like to call “zero-click search.”
Zero-click searches give users the exact information they need without making them click on any search result. Google wants to deliver an effortless and low-friction user experience through zero-click search, eliminating the need to open multiple pages to find the right information.
While it’s helpful for end-users, it’s also a big cause of concern for marketers and business owners. They need to adapt their SEO strategies to scale traffic and achieve better ROI.
That’s why we created this ultimate guide on zero-click searches to help you prepare for the future of search and create a fool-proof SEO game plan.
What are zero-click searches?
A zero-click search is when the answer for a query is available directly at the top of the search result in a short snippet. Instead of clicking on a link to find the answer, users can directly see the answer at position zero on SERPs.
The concept first emerged in a research study by SparkToro that indicated how Google is monopolizing search traffic and establishing its dominance with zero-click searches. Since then, this idea has gained great momentum in the SEO world, with companies looking to avoid such search results.
But here’s the kicker: Semrush’s Zero-Clicks Study shows that at least 25.6% of all Google searches in 2022 were zero-click.
The growing trend of zero-click searches means SEOs and teams have to find a way to earn position zero for these searches. Even though they don’t attract enough traffic, they’re still helpful for winning more visibility for your brand and earning credibility.
Here’s what Amanda Natividad, the VP of marketing at SparkToro, has to say about embracing zero-click content:
7 types of zero-click content you can create
Now that we’ve uncovered what zero-click search is, let me break down the seven popular types of zero-click content you can produce to be featured on top:
- Definition: This is where Google displays either the dictionary definition or a small snippet from a longer piece of content. In both cases, the snippet gives the exact, to-the-point definition of the keyword/phrase you searched for.
- Calculator: This is when Google helps you calculate different metrics and conversions, like measurements, currency, time, and more. For example, you can easily calculate the value of US Dollars in Euros with Google’s zero-click calculator.
- Map Result: This is when you search for a place/region, and Google Map results show up, highlighting the exact location. For example, when you search for the famous bakery Anges de Sucre, you’ll see the map results first.
- Rich Answers: This includes content in multiple formats—like images, videos, non-textual content, and similar—to fulfill your search query. For example, jobs, flights, weather, hotels, reviews, and all other SERPs are types of rich answers.
- Featured Snippets: These are the most common type of zero-click content where the algorithm picks a small paragraph from a longer article to answer the search query. Google also highlights the lines or phrases with the exact answer to a query, like in this example.
- Knowledge Graph: This is a separate section on the SERP displaying additional information about your query. It includes relevant links to direct users to the right sources. For example, this knowledge graph for the book Everybody Writes includes links to Google Books, Goodreads, Amazon, and more.
Will zero-click content affect your SEO plans?
Zero-click search is Google’s attempt to reward and promote platform-native content. But Google isn’t the only one pushing native content—most social channels prioritize native content to create a zero-click environment.
Why? To keep users within the platform instead of nudging them away to other sites.
Now the bigger question is: will zero-click search impact your existing strategy?
The short answer is yes.
Even though zero-click searches hit your click-through rate, brands can still dominate the SERPs by securing position zero for relevant queries with laser-focused zero-click content. The idea is to offer valuable insights without making users click on your content.
To achieve this, you have to clearly understand the search intent and identify the exact response searchers want. Create content to meet the search intent and condense it into zero-click content, like a snackable video, an infographic, a featured snippet, or a rich answer.
Remember: you’re optimizing the most important part of your content to engage your audience instead of driving clicks.
So, focus on converting your original content into a short, digestible format that Google can place on position zero. Optimizing for zero-click searches also increases your chances of gaining visibility through voice search since it only highlights the first few search results.
How to create an adaptive SEO strategy for zero-click searches in 2023
One thing is clear: Google wants to create a more immersive search experience with zero-click content where users find answers as soon as they hit enter.
But for marketers, the competition to bag the top position for a keyword is fiercer than ever. You’re probably wondering what changes you should introduce in your SEO strategy to win zero-click searches. We’ve got you covered with these four best practices.
1. Create a responsive website design for mobile
77.2% of all mobile searches result in zero clicks. This data point explains the need among mobile users to find information quickly. To cater to this need, you have to design mobile-friendly websites and optimize your content for smaller screens.
With voice search becoming more popular and users accessing the internet from their phones, a responsive website significantly increases your chances of securing position zero.
Here are a few key points to remember for responsive design:
- Use a fluid design grid to resize every element on different screens.
- Choose a separate set of elements for the mobile interface.
- Pick a flexible layout and typeface to fit different ratios.
It all boils down to the user experience you offer. Your site’s UX is a key indicator for the algorithm to give you the top rank.
2. Rely on click metrics to choose the right keywords
While SEO professionals traditionally go after metrics like keyword volume, difficulty, current rankings, and more, zero-click searches will alter the equation. Check for click metrics like clicks-per-search (CPS) to understand the traffic potential for every keyword.
If the organic click-through rate is low, you can select those keywords for zero-click content. By checking the click metrics beforehand, you’re not shooting in the dark and expecting traffic from a zero-click search keyword.
3. Optimize your content to win featured snippets
When you’ve identified relevant zero-click keywords, invest your efforts into optimizing the content for featured snippets. You can win a featured snippet in many formats—text, table, media, people also ask, and more.
Here’s how to optimize your content for winning featured snippets:
- Definition: Answer “what is [topic]” in your content with a precise and clear explanation.
- Tables: Compare two concepts or items against specific parameters in a tabular format.
- Lists: Share steps, tips, examples, and more in an ordered/unordered list of items.
- Image: Design an image with the relevant keyword added in the alt text.
- People also ask: Include FAQs in your content and answer these questions precisely.
While optimizing your content, always remember to analyze the existing content placed on the featured snippets for a keyword. Aim to outrank this text with a better, more complete, and more informative response to the query.
4. Format your content to appeal to the algorithm
Another best practice for producing a zero-click SEO strategy is formatting your content for the algorithm. Presenting the right information quickly is only half the job done. You want to make it easy for Google to find the answer to any query.
So, choose the right format for your topic and structure your content strategically to help the algorithm navigate your site properly. For example, if you’re writing a “how-to” article, give a summarized version of the answer early in the article. The algorithm can map this part to the featured snippet for the relevant keyword.
Prepare to embrace the future of search.
Zero-click searches are based on the idea of giving maximum value upfront in exchange for… well, nothing. Put simply, marketers are trading clicks and traffic for their target audience’s convenience. While this might sound counterintuitive, it has its benefits.
For starters, by featuring on top of the SERPs, you can establish your dominance and get the maximum eyeballs for any keyword. This visibility naturally translates to more credibility and brand awareness. It also allows you to stay top-of-mind for your audience.
What’s more, you can impress Google’s algorithm with zero-click content and boost your domain authority to increase your overall search rankings.
So, if you want to tap into the power of zero-click searches, our experts will do the job for you. Rely on our years of expertise and tried-and-tested techniques to produce high-impact zero-click content. Contact us today!