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How to Do SEO for Zero-Click Searches

This is a complete guide to Zero-Click searches in 2021.

In this all-new guide you’ll learn:

  • What are Zero-Click Searches?
  • How to leverage SEO clicks
  • How to sustain CTR in this hurricane
  • How Featured snippets can be helpful
  • SEO Future with Zero-Click Search

So if you’re curious to learn to optimize SEO around Zero-Click Searches, you’ll love this read.  

Google serp weather search result for Tawang

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Introduction to Zero-Click Searches

zero-click-strategy

Chapter 2

Types of Zero-Click Search Results

optimization

Chapter 3

How to Receive Clicks in 2021

What are Zero-Click Searches?

Zero-Click Searches are search results providing the answer to your query at the top of the SERP in a snippet. 

So when you have already got the answer to your query at the top in a snippet, you don’t need to leave search engine results page to get the answer you need. Hence that results into a zero-click search.

In August of 2019, according to Jumpshot, 50.33% of all Google searches ended without a click to any web property in the results.  

And now according to a latest SimilarWeb Study, from January to December, 2020, 64.82% of searches on Google (desktop and mobile combined) ended in the search results without clicking to another web property. 

Pie chart showing in black color, 62.41% of All Google Searches Generate 0 Clicks

You can clearly see a jump of 14.49% in zero-click search results in just a span of one year. 

Needless to mention that it’s a win-win situation for Google. Since it saves the time for users and benefits Google with enhanced user experience. 

But what about marketers and business owners who invest a lot of time and money to drive traffic from search? Of-course most of us don’t like it. 

What’s the point in creating content when majority of the users aren’t clicking on the results, right?

Either way we need to accept the fact that zero-click search results are only going to rise since it enhances the user experience. So better get yourself prepared to ensure the minimum damage it does to your business rather than being worried for what’s uncontrollable. 

Fortunately, it’s not all that bad as it looks at first glance. 

According to searchengineland, the impact of zero-click searches is not evenly distributed across sectors: businesses in industries that Google competes with, such as online travel agencies or review platforms, may be losing a greater share of traffic than other businesses. Overall search volume has increased, which may mean more opportunities for businesses that Google doesn’t directly compete with.  

Let’s first understand what kind of queries get preference under zero-click results. 

Types of Zero-Click Search Results

Zero-click Searches are common on mobile and voice searches now because users looking for short and practical answers on-the-go to specific questions on such devices. 

According to Gartner , 32% of consumers are interested in hands-free technology that would limit touching or contamination (due to covid-19). 

The type of zero-click search results depend on search query. There are currently 6 types of zero-click results that are displayed in on the SERP.

 

1. Featured Snippets

Featured snippets are short snippets of text that appear on the top at zero position of SERP. They provide relevant answers to question-based queries. There are typically 5 types of featured snippets. 

Below is an example of a Paragraph snippet result for a “who is…” query–

Google serp showing a paragraph snippet result for the query 'who is jean monnet'

Below is an example of a Bulleted snippet result for the query “what are benefits of yoga”– 

Google serp showing a bulleted snippet result for the query "what are yoga benefits"

Below is an example of a Table snippet result for the query “highest selling cars in India 2020″– 

Below is an example of a Video snippet result– 

Google serp showing a video snippet result for the query "hot to cut hair at home"

2. Rich Answers

Rich Answers, aka Instant Answers (formerly Quick Answers) are answered by Google, instantly, without credit to the website. 

These answers  typically cover short, factual things like how far the sun from earth or what is 30+20. 

Google says they don’t need to provide the credit because these answers are part of public domain

Below is an example of a Rich Answers result for the query “how far the sun from the earth” is not a featured snippet– 

3. Definition

Definition-based results are for search queries that involve word definition, meaning, usage, and spelling.

Below is an example of a Definition result for the query “what does pixel stand for” essentially appears as a featured snippet– 

Google serp result of definition for the query "what does pixel stand for"

4. Map Result

Google map results are for location-based search queries that display a Google map result in SERP

Google serp showing results for the query "how far is chitkul"

5. Calculator

Google also provides a calculator for mathematical related searches. Users can perform basic or highly complex mathematical operations straight from the google search results page.

6. Knowledge Graph

Knowledge Graph answers often pull from a variety of sources and show up on the right in a big beautiful box or above the organic results in a photo gallery (or carousel).

You typically see these kind of results for brands, people, and organizations.

Below is an example of a knowledge Graph appearing on top of organic results for the query “famous tv shows on netflix”– 

google serp results showing knowledge graph for the query "famous tv shows on netflix"

Below is an example of a knowledge Graph appearing on the right side of organic results for the query “who is Mary Kom”– 

google serp results showing knowledge graph for the query "who is Mary Kom"

Below is an example of a brand knowledge Graph appearing on the right side of organic results for the query “Apple”– 

A simple search query for Apple resulted in a depth information on the SERP.

Google search results showing knowledge graph for the query "apple"

Below is an example of a brand knowledge Graph appearing Google SERP for the query “Swimming near me”– 

Near me option is a highly popular Google search feature that is very much relied upon among mobile users.

Google showing results for the query "swimming near me"

How to Receive Clicks in 2021

There are three main strategies that will help you to be successful in this–

  1. Start using click metrics when curating a list for target keywords.
  2. Conduct thorough keyword research.
  3. Optimize your pages that are already ranked for keywords with SERP features.
  4. Improve Page Navigation.
  5. Optimize Meta Tags
  6. Add Schema Markup when Appropriate
  7. Optimize Social Media Channels to Appear in Knowledge Panels
  8. Optimize Images to Appear in SERP & Featured Snippets
  9. Optimize Google My Business.

Let’s understand them one at a time:

 

1. How to use click metrics to decide for target keywords

Start considering CPS metric as an integral part of your strategy in your keyword research from now on.

I am sure the question you must be having in your mind is about CPS.  

Let me explain, what is CPS?

As you all know CTR (click-through-rate) is the number of clicks that your organic result in SERP receives divided by number of times your organic result was shown. In other words, we can say CTR is number of times your organic result is clicked per number of impressions. 

Whereas, CPS stands for clicks-per-search. In a simpler way, it means the average number of clicks that people perform after searching for a given keyword. Ahrefs differentiates search volume by searches with clicks and searches without clicks using their CPS metric.

Ahref tool data showing results for keyword donald trump age

In the era of zero-click search, CPS should become one of the core metrics to better identify which target keywords will provide the highest potential traffic ROI (return on investment). 

CPS has become a more accurate way to estimate traffic potential than simple search traffic volumes alone. 

2. Conduct Thorough Keyword Research

It becomes an important to keep an eye out for the keywords that display in the SERP for zero-click searches.

Once you have identified the keywords that have zero-click search features then you can create a content strategy to help target those features.

Targeting question based keywords and creating content to answer those queries will help you rank for the featured snippet position.

3. Optimize your Pages that are already Ranked for Keywords with SERP Features

After identifying the keywords that have the zero-click feature in SERP, the next step is to identify current web pages that are already ranking for this keyword. Once you have identified the pages, the next step is to optimize them and add more content to the page.

Optimization includes reducing page loading times by using light images, streamlining the CSS of the webpage, and improving the content on the page.

4. Improve Page Navigation

You can create a clear navigational structure –  with strong internal sitelinks to the core pages, as well as anchors and alt tags that are descriptive – to increase your chances of Google displaying your sitelinks and having more referral traffic. 

example of google search results with sitelinks

5. Optimize Meta Tags

With adding well optimized meta tags, you can increase your chances for getting more clicks when people are clicking less. 

You can refer to Neil Patel’s detailed study around optimizing meta tags

6. Add Schema Markup When Appropriate

Schema markup provides micro level details to Google.

Product, business, and review schema markup helps Google to understand in-depth what your pages and content are about. 

Make sure you review schema types and implement all the appropriate ones for your site. 

Schema helps your website results to appear with rich results. Rich results help in increasing CTR. 

 

7. Optimize Social Media Channels to Appear in Knowledge Panels

Knowledge panels are information boxes that appear on Google when you search for entities (people, places, organizations, things) that are in the Knowledge Graph. 

Connecting your Social Media channels will provide more opportunities for the user to click on a search element that you own and control. 

Note that your social profiles need to be verified with Google in order to be displayed. Schema markup is the way to go to markup your social profiles. 

8. Optimize Images to Appear in SERP and Featured Snippets

It’s always important to review your target keywords and see if images are included in their SERP.

12.5% of all SERPs display images. 

Make sure to optimize your images for SEO–

  • The image file name and alt tags: Choose appropriate and keyword optimize names.
  • Image context: Use images in context with the surrounding content on your site.
  • Image captions: Use short and relevant descriptions.
  • Image sizes: with common dimensions (e.g., 900 pixels wide and 16 to 9)

 

 

9. Optimize Google My Business

Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including search and maps. 

And also Google My Business is the number one way to win a lot of space for branded searches.

Make sure if you have a brick-and-mortar place for your business then sign-up with Google My Business and don’t forget to verify your listing.

Create a 100% complete profile.

Google My Business helps your business gain visibility in the Knowledge Panels. Also collecting reviews for the listing will also allow you to use it for the review schema markup mentioned above. 

Conclusion

Zero-click searches may not directly result in a visit to your website, but they absolutely boost brand visibility and referral traffic. Targeting the featured snippet position for a particular keyword search phrase is an essential SEO strategy in the current scenarios.  

The good news is that if follow the optimization strategies laid out for you in this guide, there’s a good chance if it wins you a featured SERP, you’ll keep it for weeks to months at a time. 

Don’t wait to optimize your website for the Google of today. 

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