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The Rise of Zero-click SERPs

We’ve all witnessed many changes in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) over the recent years. From toughening up on the old overstuffed keywords trick through to more recent innovations on voice searches, Google has been finding ways to make searching more user-friendly and relevant to users. One of Google’s latest phenomenon’s is the rise of zero-click SERPs (search engine results page).

Simply explained, zero-click SERPs happen when Google shows the answer to a search query on top of the search results. This means that the user gets the answer to their query without needing to click on a link from the list of results. And according to SparkToro founder Rand Fiskin, a whopping 62.5% of mobile searches and 34.4% of desktop searches result in no clicks at all – because searchers don’t need to leave the search engine results page in order to find the information they’re looking for.

Google is constantly focussed on delivering enhanced search results that serve the user’s best interests. The rise of zero-click SERPs elements including featured snippets is a result of Google adapting to new search behaviours and mobile usage limitations.

So, what’s a featured snippet? It’s a summary of an answer to a user’s query which is shown at the top of the search page. Featured snippets take up most of the space on the search results page because Google answers the searcher’s question with a snippet containing what it considers to be relevant information the searcher is looking for. So, for example, if a searcher wants to know what exercises to do in order to lose weight, Google conveniently gives them the answer, without the need to click through to a website:


The reality is that featured snippets are generally only shown for organisations who already rank in the to 10 on Google, so improving your organic ranking will improve your chances of a featured snippet being shown.

An organic listing refers to the unpaid or natural listing of a website on search result pages such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. It plays a significant role in the success of search results for your business and its importance cannot be ignored. Here’s why:

  1. If you are using natural and organic techniques such as producing high-quality content, your competitors will have a hard time out-performing you. As long as you are satisfying your client needs, your organic search ranking will continue to improve on searches.
  2. It’s super-cost effective – when you’re high in the organic listings for your chosen search terms, you can kiss goodbye to those expensive Adwords and other online campaigns.

Now, here’s the bad news. Because of the rise of zero-click SERPs driven by the amount of information Google chooses to display as a result of a search query, there has been a significant decline in organic clicks. Whilst it makes the search engine experience more pleasant for the users – since it saves them a lot of time and effort – it creates problems for companies who depend on organic listings and clicks to generate new business. It’s important to remember here though that whilst the opportunity to earn clicks through good organic listings is shrinking, search itself continues to grow and create new opportunities.

Keep in mind that the role of SEO has not changed, and that’s to keep you on top (or as close to it as possible) of the search page results. While it’s almost impossible to identify for sure how the constantly changing Google algorithms work, one thing to remember is that Google is focussed on how to serve their users the best possible results.

To improve your organic ranking, you need to identify as many opportunities to be featured as you can, and – as we’ve said many times before – this starts with solid keyword research and long-tail keywords that reflect who your audience is and what they’re searching for.

Take a look at this blog for tips and strategies to help you improve your keyword research. Another tactic to consider when you’re doing your keyword research is to pay attention when Google presents you with “people also ask” information – it’s a great indication about what your target audience is searching for. Here’s what appeared immediately underneath the search we did about exercises to lose weight:

Here’s a great featured snippet example from a company who really know their market well. If a searcher wants to know how to build a deck, Bunnings have a perfectly featured snippet that answers the question, right at the top of the page:

great featured snippet

Notice how this snippet invites the searcher to click because not all of the information relating to building a deck can be displayed in the snippet. This is a strategy that is no doubt delivering clicks to the Bunnings site, and once the searcher clicks through, Bunnings also give them even more opportunities to stay on the site and potentially shop:


The key here – once again – is to be relevant to what your audience is looking for so you can feature at the top of search listings with a snippet that tantalises with part of the answer but doesn’t go all the way, so the searcher will want to click through to your site to find out more.

While the rise of zero-click SERPs may be frustrating for brands and content creators, don’t be discouraged if your SEO efforts aren’t producing an increase in your organic ranking and clicks. You can always hire a team of experts who can help you keep your website on top of the searches. Broadcast SEO has the right skills and experience to develop and optimise your website, making sure that you rank high in searches. If you need a hand with your website, check out some of our work here or contact us for a chat.



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