Although Google does not steal all zero-click searches for themselves, query refinement from searchers is responsible for many of them.
According to a new Semrush study, zero-click Google searches are different from the boogeyman they have depicted in SEO circles in recent years.
Google Search Results Outline
The following information outlines the results for Google desktop searches:
- Organic clicks: 45.1%
- Zero clicks: 25.6%
- Keyword change (zero-click, query refinement): 17.9%
- Clicks to other Google properties (e.g., images, news, shopping) 9.7%
- Paid clicks: 1.8%
Here’s the summary for mobile Google searches:
- Organic clicks: 43.1%
- Keyword change (zero-click, query refinement): 29.3%
- Zero clicks: 17.3%
- Clicks to other Google properties (e.g., images, news, shopping) 10.3%
- Paid clicks: 0.02%
According to Semrush, searchers spend little time analyzing search results. Searchers, on the other hand, only spend a little time looking at results, too, according to Semrush. Most people decide what they want to click on within 15 seconds of seeing a result.
- Consumers want answers – usually as fast as possible—and there are many reasons why there are no clicks. Google now offers more answers than ever in the form of various search features (such as time, weather, movie times, and direct answers).
- Methodology– Semrush collected data from 20,000 U.S. desktop and mobile users in May to build an anonymized sample. 609,809 search queries (308,978 on desktop and 146,390 on mobile) were recorded.
Several prior studies have compared Semrush to other tools (SparkToro, 2019 and 2020).
- 2019: 49% of all Google searches are no-click
- 2020: Zero-click Google searches rose to nearly 65%
Assuming there was another analysis by SparkToro this year or last, Google zero-click searches would be around 85%.
Stealing Traffic Clicks
Google’s Danny Sullivan has been making a lot of noise since 2019 about how Google has been stealing traffic clicks. According to Sullivan, Google sends more traffic to websites each year and describes some logical reasons specific queries don’t result in website clicks. Google could drive more traffic to websites than ever before while reducing the number of searches that would have gone to websites if it had yet to introduce its products or features that compete directly in organic search.
I appreciate Semrush’s attempt to provide more context and a more nuanced (less biased) assessment.
I (as well as several other intelligent SEO specialists) believe that those prior zero-click studies were either misleading or inaccurate. The math didn’t add up, so they got far more attention than they deserved.
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