The facets of SEO keep changing consistently, and one of the prime changes observed over the past few years is Zero Click searches. Search engines are trying to make the search process more user friendly, and this has created a huge impediment for the website owners. In this article, let what Google zero-click searches are and why are they important.
What are Zero Click searches?
By definition, a zero-click search is a search result that appears at the tops, perhaps as a snippet. It lets the user find an answer without having to perform further clicks.
A zero-click search satisfies the query by the user and keeps the user on the search engine’s page instead of moving them to third party sites. They have become quite popular for people looking for direct information instantly without having to browse through multiple results or go through blurbs of text.
You might have noticed that when you search for some information on Google, the very first result displays the answer to your query without any need to click further. It is also called Featured Snippet, and it has improved user experience to a greater extent.
While they are extremely user friendly and pride for the website owners to feature in a Snippet, it can affect your commercial prospects as a business or blog owner.
How to be visible in zero-click searches?
Appearing in a featured snippet may be quite difficult, especially with hundreds of thousands of websites competing for the position. How can you improve your odds of appearing in a zero-click search result?
A few tips here can be helpful –
- Ensure an optimised content – Your content may be great. Still, unless it is optimized for SEO, it won’t rank or be visible in zero search result. A few optimization techniques include using proper headings and tags, using the right keywords, and make sure that the information is relevant to the query.
- Answer questions – Make sure the content on your website is configured to answer common questions. You can think of questions from a users perspective (related to the topic or keywords) and then create content around it in an answer form.
- Prepare high-quality content – Well researched and high-quality content is more likely to get zero-click searches. The search engine should find the content to be relevant to the user queries- content which answers the users questions to the point.
- Add FAQ section – Ideally, zero-click searches are centred around questions. This makes it obvious to include FAQ page on your site. Using FAQ schema can be a great option, but make sure your content itself answers the questions when using FAQ schema.
- Use stats and numbers – Yet another technique that helps feature is zero-click searches is to use facts and numbers in your content. Graphs, charts, and factual info have a better possibility of featuring in zero-click searches.
How zero-click searches affect users?
Ever since the Featured Snippets or Zero click searches were introduced in 2013, more and more users have begun believing that these search results satisfy their queries. As per a recent HubSpot survey, it was shown that more than 45 percent of the respondents considered the Zero click searches to be more accurate.
Some of the advantages offered by the Zero click searches to users include-
- Gives direct answers to the users queries without having to read blocks of text or browse multiple sites.
- Reduces the time spent by the user to find an answer to their queries.
What are the different types of Featured Snippets?
Featured Snippets come primarily in three variants.
- Paragraph – One of the most common forms of featured snippets. The paragraph feature snippet provides the answer to the query in a box with or without images.
- List – The list type of featured snippet appears when the search engine displays the results in the form of a numbered or bulleted list
- Table – In this type of featured snippet, the results would be displayed in the form of a table.
Other less prominent featured snippet types can include YouTube featured snippet, that shows a YouTube clip in response to a search query, or Carousel snippet where Google shows the related keywords.
How zero-click searches affect SEO?
If you have been using Google search (most of us do) these days, you would have noticed that more than 50 percent of the searches have a zero-click search result.
While this can be useful for the users, a zero-click search makes the website owners lose traffic due to no clicks. Even the sites such a Wikipedia have lost a considerable amount of traffic since the launch of Featured Snippets.
However, there is a silver lining here. You can steal the information from the Featured Snippet to get better traffic. It has been observed that while around 8 to 10 percent of the clicks go to the featured snippet, approximately 20 percent clicks go to the first natural result below the snippet. Featured snippets can also help improve the familiarity and visibility of your site.
How to optimize for Google zero-click search results?
One of the prime factors that can help you get a place in featured snippets would be to use the right type of keywords. Long-tail keywords have been known to be a better option to get featured snippets.
Picking keywords which are more than four words in length and optimizing the content around those keywords can assure you a place in a featured snippet.
Some tips to optimize for a better position in the featured snippets are:
- Use questions and keywords in a subheading inside your content – Make sure that you are directly matching the keyword that you want to answer.
- Keep your answer to the point – Let your featured snippet be as simple as possible so that Google will find it easy to pick.
- Use Schema mark-up – Schema mark-up has been one of the practical solutions to win featured snippets.
The best way is to follow up the long tail keyword with a precise answer to the question within 60 words. Keeping your answer as factual as possible can help you feature in the zero-click searches.
Important factors about Zero click Searches
As we have seen above, Zero click searches dominate almost half of the total search results. These quick search results can reduce your clicks, but can be used to improve the authenticity and familiarity of your site considerably.
However, it comes with some disadvantages like reduction in traffic and visits from search engines- which we cannot control.
It is recommended to optimize your website content for featured snippets for gaining some of the benefits offered by the zero-click searches.