For several years we have been told that we need to get our web page onto the first page of Google – ideally in the top three results.
However, the next big thing is to make your web page a zero-click search.
At this point you may be confused, but zero-click searches aren’t as complicated as they sound.
Join us as we look at what zero-click searches are, and how you can optimise your content to hit this prime position.
What is a zero-click search?
A zero-click search (also known as position zero) is a search engine query where the answer is revealed at the top of the search engine results page (SERP).
It is called a zero-click search not just because web users don’t have to click on a website to find out more information, but also because the answer ranks above the first organic result.
For an example of a zero-click search in action, type “what is five times five?” into Google. Rather than direct you to a website where you can find out the answer, Google will display the answer directly at the top of the SERP.
Examples of zero-click search functionality include:
- Knowledge Graphs – the information box next to the search result that provides additional information about a query. This content is pulled from a variety of sources including Wikipedia and Google My Business
- Direct Answers – information pulled from Google’s knowledge base (i.e. the times table example we gave you above)
- Featured Snippets – information pulled from third-party sites
- Voice searches are also technically zero-click searches as people are asking a question and receiving an answer that has been pulled out of the SERPs
The aim of a zero-click search is to keep you on Google as long as possible. That way, Google gets to show you more Google Ads and sponsored content.
If Google wants to stop people from going to your website, why invest in zero-click search?
You may think that there is not much point in investing in zero-click search if people aren’t going to click through and visit your site. However, your brand can still capitalise from zero-click results.
Google does show a link to your website when you rank for a zero-click result. Although some people won’t click on it, others will visit your site to find out more information.
In fact, Search Engine Land won a featured snippet and found that the clickthrough rate for the page in question increased from 2% to 8%.
Zero-click searches can also highlight your brand, making people aware of you and more likely to use your products and services. If you appear on Google every time they search, it’s definitely a good sign!
How to optimise your content for zero-click searches
As mentioned above, zero-click searches can be a great way to promote your website and encourage clickthrough. The good news is that they are not as hard to rank for as you think; all you need is a little research and preparation.
Here are our top tips.
Do your research
Nearly 88% of search queries don’t have a featured snippet, so carrying out keyword research can help you get a valuable zero-click search result.
When you have your list of keywords, see which don’t have featured snippets attached to them in the SERPs. These keywords are the best ones to try and target.
Create a summary on your high-converting pages
A great way to increase the chance of a zero-click result is to identify the high-converting pages on your website and add a short summary detailing what the page is about and the key findings.
Popular pages are more likely to become featured snippets, increasing the odds of Google highlighting your page in the SERPs.
Utilise schema markup
Schema markup gives additional context to your web content, meaning that Google may be more likely to use it as a zero-click search. The bonus is that it can help your content rank highly for voice search too.
Format your content clearly
Optimising your content will make it clearer and easier to understand. Break down long-form content with headings and use bullet points and tables to highlight key data.
A concise and well-designed page can increase dwell time. This is a positive ranking signal when it comes to identifying potential zero-click search results.
Complete your Google My Business profile
Google My Business helps power the Knowledge Graph, so make sure you have filled in your profile. This will ensure that all your information will appear in the SERPs if someone types in your business name.
Go the other way and provide in-depth content
If you would rather not compete for zero-click searches, why not offer content that goes a little deeper on your website?
Rather than providing top-level content, offer a fuller analysis of a particular situation, question or topic. That way, you will rank for more long-form content and encourage people to click through to your site.
Although zero-click searches may be a bit of a headache if you are an SEO, you can’t deny how convenient they are if you want to find out an answer to a question in a hurry.
Zero-click searches are here to stay, and with the rise of voice search, they’re not going to go away anytime soon.
Take the time to optimise your content, and you will reap the results.