As if the SEO landscape wasn’t complicated enough, there is a new element to factor in your strategy: zero click searches. As their name implies, the user does not have to click on anything to get the answer they need. They can read it directly in the search engine page result (SERP).
Now, you may ask: why do I want to think about something that does not bring visitors to my site? Yes, this is the big conundrum of zero click searches. However, as we will explain below, this trend is here to stay. And Google encourages it.
A Detailed Look at Zero Click Searches
You may not have heard the term, but we can bet you have already benefited from zero click search results. Do you remember when you were asking for instructions or to find an address and Google displayed the result at the top of the page?
You got either a quick and clarifying answer or a map with the desired destination pinpointed visibly. Those are examples of zero click searches. You did not have to go to a site, or even to Google Maps to find the information your need.
So, what exactly is classified among zero click searches? Here is a comprehensive list:
1. Featured Snippets
Featured snippets are probably the best examples of zero click searches. You get a list of websites when you type a search query, but you also get a text box at the very top. This text box contains a snippet – or a fragment – from content posted on a web page, which gives a quick answer to your query.
The benefit of featured snippets is that visitors can choose to click on the link and see the entire web page if they are happy with the answer they’ve gotten and want to learn more.
2. Knowledge Graphs
A knowledge graph collects answers from various websites and displays it as a carousel of images. This type of zero click searches appears for questions related to people, brands, institutions, especially if you are looking for lists or tops, such as:
- The best Australian writers
- Top Australian films of 2022
- The best Victorian horror stories.
For example, this is the knowledge graph we obtained when we searched for “the best Australian films”. As you can see, here is a “More” button which will expand the search results on several rows – but this already means making one click.
3. Map Results
When you want to find out the distance between two locations, one of the top results will be a map indicating the route (by land, sea or plane flight) and the distance. This is yet another example of zero click searches – one that becomes increasingly popular as people regain their interest in travelling.
Do you remember when you wanted a quick definition for a complex word or term? Now you can get it with Google zero click searches. A definition result is triggered by search queries such as:
- What is the meaning of X
- Definition of X
- What does X stand for.
Google relies on reputable dictionaries, such as Oxford Languages and Merriam-Webster to display the results. As such, most websites are excluded from being featured in definition snippets – unless it is a very specialised and rare term on which you are a top authority.
5. Rich Answers
Rich answers (formerly known as Quick Answers) provide text, images and a “People also search for” section. They offer a very quick and informative answer on various general purpose topics.
Google does not offer any credit for these answers – that is, the website used as a source of information. The Alphabet company states that all the answers provided in this type of zero click searches are part of the public domain, thus there is no need to credit a source.
Why Should You Optimise Your Site for Zero Click Searches
So far, there seems to be no benefit for any site owner to get their content directly on a SERP, with no need for the user to visit the site. Yet, the fact is that Google adapts its ranking algorithms to whatever users want.
And a lot of people want quick and effortless answers to their queries. Therefore, Google looks for information that can be easily extracted from a web page and displayed on a SERP. By correlation, websites that can provide a lot of such helpful information get a better page rank.
Thus, even though you cannot really see the clicks in the analytical data, you are still getting bonus points for content which meets a user’s need for quick answers.
How to Optimise for Zero Click Searches
Finally, let us give you a few simple tips on how to create content that makes a great fit for zero click search results.
- Write short, concise and clear explanations and definitions
- Create Q&A and FAQ pages
- Add relevant facts and statistics to your content
- Use images
- Create clear and logical page structure.
As you can see, these tips are similar with the best practices for SEO and content writing – and we are sure that you are already applying it.
Zero click searches appear counterproductive at a first glance. In reality, they are extremely useful for any website that wants to keep up with the latest Google ranking requirements. In most of the cases, people who find helpful featured snippets from the same site for queries around a specific topic will end up browsing the source and even converting to leads and customers.