Audience Intelligence platform, SparkToro, recently claimed that only 35% of Google searches resulted in a click. Their point was to highlight that fewer clicks are going to websites.
However, Google has just published an article debunking that claim with context of searches and traffic, claiming that findings about zero click searches are misleading and rely “on flawed methodology that misunderstands how people use Search.”
In their article, Google actually went on to explain that they have increased the number of visitors to websites every year, stating:
“We send billions of visits to websites every day, and the traffic we’ve sent to the open web has increased every year since Google Search was first created.”
Whether you believe the data from SparkToro is accurate or not, it’s interesting to think about why people might make a Google search and not end up clicking through to a website. And why that might not mean they didn’t find what they were looking for.
Reasons a search query may not result in a click through
Users amend their initial query about their first search
Some people don’t always know how to word their queries when they begin searching. Often, they’ll start with a very broad search term such as “clocks” and upon getting their initial search results realise that they actually want to search for “round wall clocks.” So they’ll change their search to something more specific before clicking on a website. In this case, these searches would be considered a “zero-click”as the search didn’t result immediately in a click to a website. But it doesn’t mean the search wasn’t useful.
Some searches are simply for quick facts
Let’s face it, we Google everything nowadays. And sometimes people just want to check a quick fact or check the upcoming weather. A lot of this time, this information is displayed directly on the results page without the need to click on a website. Google does this as part of its ongoing strive to create the ultimate user experience.
Google My Business results
A Google search can connect people with a company without clicking on their website – if they even have one. As Google explains:
“People might search for business hours, then drive to the store after confirming a location is open. Or they find restaurants on Google and call for information or to place an order, using phone numbers we list. On average, local results in Search drive more than 4 billion connections for businesses every month.”
Google My Business results are also highly useful for people who might just want to look at which coffee shop near them is open now. For example, I searched “coffee near me” which presented me with a range of results that gave me information I needed without needing to click…
(Of course, these types of results may also result in a click depending on the user’s needs but we’re focusing here on zero click searches).
So businesses need to keep in mind that traffic and click throughs aren’t the only metrics to measure the success of your SEO agency and Google may still be rewarding your digital marketing team and bringing value to your brand, even if every search doesn’t end with a click.