3 Best Practices to Deal with Google’s Zero-Click Searches


As per Search Engine Land’s latest study, approximately 49% of all U.S. Google searches resulted in zero clicks in the first quarter of 2019. Another study from SparkToro showed that 60% of mobile searches ended without clicks.

Brands are trying hard to earn clicks from organic searches via content. Google, on the other hand, is answering users’ queries without them needing to click.

Do you know what this means for your business?

Let’s find out.

Impact of Zero Clicks on Brands

The way brands are fighting their way to Google’s first page rankings, it’s shocking to realize that searchers may never reach those websites.

It means your beautifully designed website, content, CTAs, etc., are not enough to catch users’ attention. Today’s users jump to Google, enter their search query, find the answer on SERPs, and return back to their work. They never make it to link-clicks, let alone to reading content and final conversion.

Does it mean that your eye-catching website, content, and other branding elements are going to waste?

Not at all.

Google still needs your content to answer users’ query. It’s just not used the way it used to be.

How Does Google Eliminate the Need to Click Links?

Previously, Google displayed links that contained answers to the user’s query. Now Google fetches the best possible answer from the content and displays it directly on SERPs, minimizing the user’s need to click links.

For example, if I search for “best shoe brands” I get the top brands in featured snippets with links to buy them on the right side of SERPs.

As you can see, these results practically eliminate the need to click on the article.

Give it a try with local searches: Type “best restaurants near me” and take a look at the results you get.

The names of restaurants, with ratings, reviews, and locations all appear in the results. Who will bother to click? Users instead turn to Google maps.

Here’s another example: “top movies of all time” provides a carousel to entertain you:

Now you have a clear idea why zero click searches are increasing at a high pace.

However, successful brands still manage to acquire those click-less customers.

Want to know how?

Let’s talk about the secret ways to turn users into customers without clicks.

3 Best Practices to Win Customers Directly from SERPs with Zero Clicks

Imagine that you are new to the city and want to eat out. You’ll ask Google for the “best restaurants near me.” Google will shower you with some of the best options available nearby. Still, how would you pick a restaurant from the list of results?

Here are a few potential scenarios:

  1. You’ll choose the nearest restaurant
  2. You’ll check ratings and reviews and choose the one that people seem to like the most
  3. You’ll combine ratings with appealing images

And that’s when you become a customer without clicking anything.

Google is no longer a game of achieving first page rankings. It’s about maintaining a good online reputation that will generate customers, and thus, rankings.

Here’s how to maintain your online reputation, so that you can get new customers from search engines and improve your rankings.

1. Google Reviews

The more, the better. Google reviews help you rank higher and deliver brand messages to potential customers immediately.

These days, brands shamelessly ask for customers to post reviews. They even go as far as offering them rewards in exchange for posting ratings and reviews.

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The only problem with Google reviews is they are not always good. Bad reviews will also show up and can damage your online reputation. However, you can still convert that disadvantage into a benefit for your brand.

Leverage the Power of Good and Bad Reviews

To see how a brand can use good and bad reviews to its advantage, I searched for “best restaurant near london bridge” on Google.

Here’s the first result with excellent reviews and ratings:

I know that not all the reviews would be good enough to score this restaurant a 5 star rating. Negative results are also lingering the search results. However, even though its rating is lower than the next listing, Tapas Brindisa London Bridge managed to have the coveted first spot on Google.

How so?

To find out, I read the reviews (both good and bad) and discovered the formula for grabbing the attention of customers as well as earning high rankings. It is the brand’s productive responses to all kinds of reviews that make potential customers think that brand cares for its customers.

Look at this response from the restaurant on a 5-star review:

In contrast, notice how the brand is extraordinarily careful while responding to negative reviews:

Now this is a surefire way to tell customers how much you care for them and are willing to improve their bad experience.

No wonder Tapas Brindisa London Bridge holds first place in Google and successfully catches potential customers without the need for them to click.

Long story short: start collecting as many reviews as you can. Respond to as many reviews (good or bad) as possible, and be ready to actually make improvements if they’re needed based on what customers are saying.

2. Brand Mentions

Google reviews alone won’t ensure that you get new customers from zero-click searches. There are many factors. One important factor is online word-of-mouth (a.k.a. online brand mentions).

Social media, forums, listing articles, etc., where consumers discuss your business, all play a role in attracting or repelling future customers.

To prove this point, I continued my research on Tapas Brindisa London Bridge. I wasn’t surprised to see it mentioned on top sites like TripAdvisor and Zomato.

That’s not all. The brand is 100% responsive to reviewers on these sites as well.

Next I checked their social media reputation:

Unsurprisingly, they are well-rated and active in responding to customers there as well.

You have to be active and responsive across all avenues for your brand in order to maintain and build your reputation.

3. Online Reputation Management

Complaints on Twitter, happy reviews and photos on Facebook, mixed Google reviews… and we haven’t even talked about forums. It all seems like too much to handle.

You can’t always be personally available on every platform online to respond to customers and answer their queries. That’s why you are in dire need of online reputation management to save your brand, customers, and Google rankings.

VelSEOity shared the case study of a business in cannabis space. The Canadian business successfully locked two pages of SERPs supported with brand recognition and strong online reputation. The brand achieved such results because of maintaining a phenomenal online reputation.

Hiring an online reputation management consultant will handle this complex job for you while you are enjoying the constant flow of new and repeat customers.

Wrapping Up

Among the hustle and bustle of prioritizing digital marketing, many companies forget to take care of the way customers are spreading word-of-mouth online. With the rise of zero-click searches, neglecting your online reputation will result in your losing customers, rankings, and allowing competitors to rise above you in rankings and business. But with some attention to maintaining and growing your reputation, you can take advantage of zero-click searches and make the most of your search rankings.

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