Zero-Click Searches Are on the Rise — But Marketers Shouldn’t Be Scared

October 28, 2022image

The season of ghouls and goblins is upon us, and for marketers, one rising Google trend may feel particularly scary: the zero-click search. 

A zero-click search happens when a user performs a search but doesn’t click on a link that takes them outside of Google. In fact, as many as 57% of users on mobile and 53% on desktop don’t click an organic or paid result, according to a newly released Semrush study of more than 600,000 searches. 

Marketers may fear that increasing zero-click searches mean they will see a significant drop in traffic to their websites. While that could be true, businesses shouldn’t be scared by the growth of this trend. 

Nothing to fear: How marketers can navigate Google’s zero-click world 

Marketers don’t need to lament platform changes. Instead, they should build their SEO and marketing strategies to meet the needs of users and adapt to Google’s infrastructure. 

See? It’s not as ominous as it sounds. Let’s examine the key takeaways for marketers here.

Google isn’t evil

Google algorithm updates are happening more frequently and causing higher SERP volatility, but those updates have been less impactful overall, according to the latest State of Search report from Semrush. 

Google is adapting more quickly to meet the user’s wants and needs, creating a better shopping experience for transactional queries, and rewarding valuable content with higher rankings for informational queries. 

This results in a better search experience overall—and allows for the continuous growth of Google’s business model. 

In the past, a Google user might have clicked on a retailer’s paid or organic blue link and used their website to search for products. Now, Google presents these search results directly in a highly visual and user-friendly way. 

For example, take this transactional search on a mobile device:

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Google is quickly connecting its users with the information they are seeking and making it easier for them to shop within its platform. Fortunately, an improved search experience doesn’t necessarily equate to negative outcomes for marketers.  

Ecommerce businesses especially must ensure that their technical SEO is on point, such as the structured data on product pages, so that their products appear on the SERP for transactional queries (as we can see in the canine Halloween costume search above). 

In an ecommerce landscape where 83% of all traffic comes from people navigating directly to retailer sites, Google is disrupting that pattern by adding valuable shopping features to the SERP, such as the ability to filter products by seller, brand, price, or reviews. This allows Google to compete with Amazon as a go-to online shopping platform.

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Less traffic doesn’t spell the end of your SEO strategy

While organic traffic to ecommerce sites fell by 23% last year, our zero-click research reveals a more positive trend: 45% of all clicks on desktop and 43% of all clicks on mobile were organic. This shows that zero click may not be a curse for marketers after all.

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Organic channels and content remain key drivers of traffic. Semrush’s State of Search report revealed that informational keywords comprised 60% of unique search queries, demonstrating that users are seeking in-depth resources on topics that matter to them.

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To stand out in the search results where customers are looking for information, businesses can invest in high-quality, in-depth content that signals expertise, authority, and trust (E-A-T) to Google, and target SERP features with FAQs

While these tactics are valuable, the rise of zero click also highlights the importance of building an organic community to answer questions, solve problems, and provide expert insight on topics that matter to users. This approach can fuel brand awareness and build up a steady flow of organic traffic over time, which can be especially valuable during times of economic turbulence.

For an example of a brand who is harnessing the power of user-first strategies, check out these travel blog creators who turned their hobby into a lucrative business with Semrush. 

What zero-click search means for marketers in 2022 and beyond

The rise of zero-click search doesn’t have to be scary for marketers. The evolving nature of search requires an agile response, and marketers can still hit their KPIs by learning how to navigate a zero-click world

Check out our full zero-click study to learn more about this phenomenon and tips for avoiding zero-click searches on our blog. 

If you’re in need of exclusive data for an upcoming story, reach out to pr@semrush.com for media inquiries and questions.

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