What Digital Marketers Need to Know About No-Click Searches

No-click searches happen when a user finds the answer to their query on the search engine results page and does not click through to the website that is the source of that answer. Learn how to optimise for these direct answers.

By Kristen O'Toole

Jun 12, 2019

3 min

If you follow search trends as closely as we do, you've probably seen a bit of hand-wringing from marketers and SEOs over no-click searches.

No-click searches, or zero-click searches, happen when a user finds the answer to their query on the search engine results page (SERP), in a featured snippet, Knowledge Panel, local pack or other SERP feature and does not click through to the website that is the source of that answer.

If this sounds unfamiliar, open up a new browser and search for "what time is it in Beijing?" It is likely that you'll see a box with the current time, date and time zone for Beijing in your search results, without clicking through to any of the many websites that have optimised for "what time is it" searches since the dawn of organic search. This works with queries that have multi-part answers, as well — try searching for "how to repot a plant" and you'll likely get a neatly numbered list of steps, right there on the SERP. These direct answers are appearing more and more for informational and transactional queries.

While no-click searches may be convenient and efficient for consumers, some marketers and content creators are anxious about search engines "stealing" their traffic by scraping content and information into SERP features. And on mobile, where that sweet high-intent traffic takes place, no-click searches are increasing faster than on desktop — in the U.S., 61% of mobile searches in 2018 resulted in zero clicks.

The rise of no-click searches is not the death knell for SEO or content marketing — it's one iteration in the evolution of the consumer search experience, and it's a major opportunity for marketers to better meet users' search intent and deliver the right answers about their brand at the moment of intent.

Your brand already has all the answers. Optimising them for AI-powered search requires organising the facts about your business into a structured, accessible database — a knowledge graph. Without this, brands run the risk of not being found when consumers search using unbranded queries, or of consumers finding the wrong answer altogether.

How to Optimise for No-Click Searches With On-SERP SEO

  • Structure your data.

You probably already know how important structured data is to help search engines understand the content on your pages. Optimising to deliver direct answers on the SERP requires structuring as much information about your brand as possible. This allows the AI that underlies search engine algorithms and other discovery services to identify relevant answers from your brand to the questions your customers and prospects are asking in search.

  • Link listings to local pages.

Increase your brand's share of search results by linking third-party listings to landing pages with consistent, structured information. This drives an average increase of 28% in search impressions.

  • Optimise content on and off your site.

Inform your content strategy with intent research, and take advantage of enhanced content options on your third-party listings. By creating content — whether that's blog posts, videos, charts, photos, or tables — that provides answers to the questions your customers are asking across your marketing channels, you can increase the amount of real estate your brand occupies in relevant search results.

Learn how your business can deliver brand-verified answers in search results withYext.

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