Understanding Zero-Click Search

When people search for things such as currency conversions, time zones, work definitions and “how to x”, no one is clicking through. This is due to new SERP features such as paid ads and featured snippets have taken over. These are now in the top position and are making it unnecessary for certain searches to require a page click. So, what do we do to hit that top spot? Write for zero-click search!

What is a Zero-click Search?

A zero-click SERP is where the answer is displayed directly at the top of a Google search result. Users are more satisfied when they don’t need to click on an actual search result to get the answer they need. Zero-click searches are common on mobile and voice searches. This is because users are often searching for a short and practical answer to specific questions on these devices.

Today, almost 35 per cent of desktop searches result in zero-click answers. On mobile, 62.5 per cent of users don’t click on search results. This is essentially due to Google adapting to new search behaviours and mobile usage constraints. In most cases, zero-click searched are answered by a featured snipper that pulls a short answer directly into the SERPs. Similar features such as Knowledge panels or Google Instant Answers are just database entries featuring information.

While this makes a better user experience for users with less time, it creates problems for content creators and SEOs. Featured snippets can be more common and volatile for certain search queries than others. They’re not just affecting simple search queries, but even things like recipes are now part of the equation.

Receiving Clicks in 2019

To become more competitive in the zero-click dominant SERP features, SEO professionals and content creators must adapt. The main goal of SEO remains the same: Get the top spot on Google and stay there.

Why you should Factor in Click-Through Rates

Most SEO tools come with a click-through rate (CTR) metric. CPS should be one of the core metrics you include in your keyword research. This will help you identify which target keywords will bring the highest potential traffic return on investment (ROI).

SEO experts used to account for search volume, keyword difficulty and current rankings when it came to making decisions on which keywords to pursue. These days, however, CPS should also be added to the mix. CPS has become a more accurate way to estimate traffic potential than basic search traffic volumes alone.

Optimising for Featured Snippets

These are important as they allow you to gain more organic traffic without creating new content or backlinks. However, they’re usually won by the pages that are already ranking on page 1. So, you need to work towards increasing your previous ranking success. In fact, it may even be crucial as, according to Ahrefs, Google now displays featured snippets for 12 per cent of their search queries.

So, to rank for featured snippets, you need to pull a ranking report for relevant keywords. Then, filter the ones that are currently ranking between positions 1 and 10 and are already displaying featured snippets. What you get from that will tell you the biggest potential for winning a place as a featured snippet.

Tracking via SERPs

Due to their important role in SEO, most rank tracking tools also track SERP features. A SERP can feature anything that is not a traditional organic result, so make sure you switch on this function in whatever tool you’re using.

Optimising Featured Snippets

If any of your keyword display featured snippets and have one of those keywords within the top 10 result position, you’ll want to rework the page to make it more likely to appear as the featured snippet.

The wording of your questions can be taken from snippets that already exist and the “people also ask” box. Not to mention, you could turn to the related queries at the bottom of the SERP. Exporting the list of related questions from a search term and running them through a keyword tool may help you identify some with a good search volume that you could also target. You should create a headline that includes your target keywords with a short paragraph answering it. It should be between 54 and 58 words.

Winning Definitions and Explanations

Let’s start with a basic example. If your target keyword is a definition, you will want to start with “X is a…” and go from there. Be sure to check the existing first page and make note of the dominant style of pages it features.

Winning at Lists and Tables

If the existing featured snippet displays a list, you may want to replicate this structure too. This works well for “how to” guides. Tables are best for comparison queries.

Winning with Image

You may have noticed that the text and image of the featured snippet are pulled from different websites. To make your image appear, add it directly under your paragraph list or table. Don’t forget to make sure the image’s alt tag has your keywords or a variation of your headline.

Dominating SEO in the future of Zero-click

The good news is that if you follow these steps, you will have a bigger chance of being a featured SERP. You could even hold that position for quite some time. What will help to keep in that top spot is to keep an eye on the changes that we may face. Search and more are here to help with all these elements of SEO. To learn more, get in touch.

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