Have you recently looked up a definition, time zone, currency or metric conversion, local directional query, or a ‘how to’ question on Google? Chances are, you do this every day, a few times a day! Notice how your search engine displays the response to your query at the top of the page. This is a ‘zero-click’ search engine results page (SERP); a simple snippet or knowledge card that throws up a crisp, short and practical response to help the searcher immediately. It eliminates the need to click on the organic search results. Interestingly, zero-click SERP is an outcome of Google’s ability to continually adapt to modifying behavior patterns. In this case, the change is primarily fueled by the exponential increase in mobile device-based browsing and voice searches.
In fact, the latest data on Google click-through-rate (CTR) shows that 61.5 percent mobile searches result in no click. This is a clear reflection of another study that shows Google displays featured snippets for almost 12 percent of all their search queries. With the advent of zero-click SERP, SEO professionals, brand experts and content creators have been struggling with fewer impressions, lowers CTRs and significantly reduced traffic, even when they are top-ranked in the organic positions.
Here’s a closer look at how zero-click SEO will reshape future SEO strategies for your business.
3-Step Approach to Embrace Zero-Click SEO: Now and into the Future
- Maintain your Rank Status: No matter how challenging they are for your current SEO strategy, zero-click dominated-SERPs are here to stay. The question is, will you adapt and conquer, or ignore and perish? Your key SEO goal has always been to capture a prime spot in digital real estate. Incidentally, the new SERP elements, such as ‘featured snippets’ and ‘knowledge panels’ are also won by the top-ranking pages, which means to optimize for these features, you will need to maintain your page #1 rank success.
- Factor in your CTR and CPS: Take advantage of the wide range of metrics offered by SEO tools, including CTR and clicks-per-search (CPS). Although, in the past, you may have based your keyword decisions on search volume or difficulty, today, CPS is more relevant in estimating the traffic potential. Make CPS your core metric for keyword research and identify the target keywords that maximize traffic and ROI.
- Optimize your Content to Win Featured Snippets: The beauty of featured snippets is that they allow you to gain organic traffic, without actually creating new content or backlinks. All you need to do is study the current keyword rankings and filter out the words that are already top-ranked, or part of the displayed snippets. The balance keywords are your high potential opportunities; incorporate them into relevant digital content and win your spot in the featured snippets.
- Aim to reword in 54-58 words, with a powerful headline that includes the target keywords and a corresponding paragraph that offers a concise answer for the target search question.
- For winning definitions and explanations, follow an ‘inverted pyramid’ communication approach.
- To win featured snippets that display lists or tables, replicate the same structure in your existing content.
- Enrich your content by adding structured data through schema markup.
- Add images directly under your content optimized table or paragraph, with an alt tag that is in line with your featured snippet paragraph’s headline. This will boost your chances of gaining visibility for images within the featured snippets.
Build a Competitive SEO Strategy to Dominate the Zero-Click SEO Future
Content strategists often face the dilemma of whether to focus on exact match keywords and page ranks or deliver compelling and engaging content that addresses the searcher’s questions. In the next few years, more and more users will gravitate towards mobile device searches (“my screen size and display space is limited”) and zero-click results (“I want quick, clear answers to my questions, without clicking on search links”). In this scenario, implementing a future-ready SEO strategy is a necessity, not merely a nice-to-have option. This is especially important if you want to grab more eyeballs, increase your site traffic, drive more stickiness, and persuade more conversions to flow through the sales funnel.