Zero-click Search

A zero-click search is when…

A zero-click search is when the user can view the answer to a query on a search engine results page (SERP) without any clicks required to a link or page. This is bad news for performance marketers that can’t track site traffic.

Zero-click results are also referred to as Quick Answers, Knowledge Boxes, Featured Snippets, or Top Stories (for news). They are not to be confused with no-click searches which refer to content like social media that requires no clicks to see the content.

Why would I need this?

Zero-click searches are mostly used for top of the funnel marketing where it boosts awareness, fluency and brand opportunities.

In many cases, zero-click searches are quick informational queries rather than queries with high purchase intent or quality content. It can be favourable as consumers become familiar with the brand directly on the SERP without clicking onto the site. This is the first step of the buyer journey, and can create stronger purchase intent with paid/organic results.

They can build trust and brand credibility with consumers by providing relevant information in knowledge boxes and featured snippets. Local search experiences that are zero-click can also generate foot traffic.

Analysing zero-click trends can uncover how a SERP changes over time, what influences it and therefore how to gain the potential traffic from it. By using these keywords in SEO and PPC strategies, brands can benefit from the trends.

How does it work?

Google wants to keep users on its services for as long as possible and therefore is increasing the amount of zero-click searches. In June 2019, most of all browser-based searches on Google resulted in zero-clicks for the first time.

This growing prominence can complicate measuring SEO efforts, and SEO strategies must be optimised for search that generates less direct traffic.

To get brand content into zero-click space, marketers need to optimise their content so it's recognized by Google (or other search engine) algorithms:

  • Format content in a way that search engines will understand – for example, use numbered lists for ‘How to’ article, start sentences with "[X] is" or "[X] means," so the algorithms can tell what follows.
  • Learn from existing featured content. Look at the content that Google is publishing as zero-click to see what it likes. 
  • Use structured data. This helps Google understand more about a brand’s content and ways to present it in zero-click content.
  • Similar to a usual SEO strategy, use keywords.

Real world examples

A(i) guide for advertisers trying to navigate today’s paid search landscape