No-click or zero-click searches are dominating the browser-based searches on Google. It’s true – nearly 50 percent of searches on Google do not result in a click!
So, this the end of organic traffic, right? Absolutely not! I would see it as an opportunity for marketers to implement innovative SEO and content strategies to improve their online presence and authority.
Here are a few effective strategies you can adopt to not just brave the zero-click hurricane but to use it to your advantage.
Prioritize Rich and Featured Snippets (FS)
Featured and rich snippets are at the top of Google’s SERP and bring a sea of clicks. A featured snippet study by Ahrefs confirms that Google shows featured snippets for 12.3 percent of search queries. That’s huge! Further, nearly 9 percent of all clicks on Google go to featured snippets. So, if your content gets in the featured snippet, it can steal clicks from the top results to give your organic traffic a healthy boost.
How to rank in FS? Featured snippets offer an array of information, namely product highlights and prices, star reviews, and images without the user having to click on it. So, offering awesome and up-to-date content is not just critical but also essential to optimize for FS.
Further, including the question and answer on the same page can go a long way in improving your chances of winning the FS. Make sure your answers are short enough to fit in a box (in which the FS appears). We will see more about creating snippet-worthy content later in this post.
Invest time in conducting effective keyword research using tools like Ahrefs or KWFinder. Look for top question-type search queries in your target niche and include them in your content.
Check out how searching for ‘landscape garden’ shows the top-performing or high-CTR question keywords in this niche.
Begin by calculating your average click-through rate and then identify the keywords having an above-average CTR. Targeting high-CTR keywords in your content can win you the featured snippet and get your content on the first page.
Next, optimize for voice search. By the end of this year, 50 percent of all searches will be using voice-controlled assistants like Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant. What’s more? 60 percent of smartphone users have used voice search at least once in the past 12 months. Thus, the voice search trend is here to stay! Moreover, voice search involves asking natural language questions and FS is prioritized for such question-type queries.
Finally, add a Q&A or FAQ page on your website to address audience concerns while demonstrating your expertise and authority in the domain. Offering straightforward and short-paragraph answers to specific questions will improve your chances of showing up in a snippet and help you combat the zero-click SERPs.
Going forward, focus on rich and featured snippets to enter this competitive space and improve your brand visibility and conversions in this zero-click age.
Offer In-Depth Well-Formatted Content
Unless your website offers FS-worthy content, it does not stand a chance for ranking in this space. Make sure you offer in-depth, fresh, and unique content that addresses what people are looking for. In other words, your content should be relevant and satisfy the search intent.
According to Dr. Peter J. Meyers, the cognitive psychologist and resident Marketing Scientist at Moz, the inverted pyramid method works best when writing content for answers. In this method, you need to start off by answering the most-awaited information and then offer the supporting details. This method is often used in journalism and can help you craft compelling content, thus improving your chances of winning a snippet.
Check out this Whiteboard Friday video to know more!
Earlier in the post, I stated the importance of question keywords. But besides these keywords, you should use certain words that can improve your chances of being shown in the FS. An insightful whitepaper by Stat Search Analytics shares the words and modifiers that marketers should use in their content to generate featured snippets. Here’s a list of the words, taken from this whitepaper.
Finally, FS content comes in different formats, the top ones being paragraph, list, image, and table among others.
The format of your content should be according to the type of FS you are targeting. For instance, if you are aiming for the list FS, make sure your content is well-structured in a list format with descriptive headers and header tags H1, H2, and so on. Use short and effective sentences that offer direct answers. Add the relevant image for the answer.
Have a Solid On-SERP SEO Strategy in Place
On-SERP SEO is an umbrella term that encompasses everything we covered so far and more. Rand Fishkin effectively describes on-SERP SEO in this tweet!
Most SEO techniques are implemented to secure one’s positioning on SERP. However, on-SERP SEO also includes the actions that don’t involve a click and optimizing for Page 1 of the search result. Rand has been talking about on-SERP SEO for a while now. Check out his tweet where he points out why having an effective on-SERP SEO strategy is critical.
Essentially, an effective on-SERP SEO strategy can help improve your brand awareness, allowing you to stay competitive against position zero SERPs. It covers featured snippets, rich results, map listings, Google My Business, People Also Ask, Google Ads, image/video results, and every other tactic you adopt to boost your search presence, brand awareness, and CTR on the search engine page.
Here are a few points to consider when creating an on-SERP SEO strategy.
- Optimize for winning featured snippets as discussed earlier in this post.
- Sign up for Google My Business (GMB) and collecting reviews to procure many spaces in the SERP.
- Optimize for Google Sitelinks – by adding internal links to the core pages, including descriptive anchors and alt tags
- Add schema markup to help Google better understand your pages and the content they carry.
- Invest in branded pay-per-click ads to convert a search into a click.
- Optimize images and videos to appear in SERP.
- Optimize your social media channels to get featured in the knowledge panel.
To know more about on-SERP SEO, check out Rand Fishkin’s talk on the subject.
The Way Ahead: Play to Win!
The surge in zero-click search doesn’t necessarily mean that SEO is deceased. Our role as a digital marketer or search expert isn’t redundant. In fact, this zero-click revolution marks the birth of modern marketing tactics. As marketers, we should start strategizing now to brave the zero-click hurricane and improve your brand awareness and conversion.
I am confident that the strategies shared in this post will help you emerge victorious in the world of zero-click searches.