Analysis: SEO Community Claims About Google Zero-Click
Figure 1: On March 22, SEO practitioners released articles and claims that Google search results (SERPs) mostly end up with no clicks or no visits to the website. Then on the 23rd, the claim became a serious discussion in the SEO community around the world. Even this claim is not supported by clear data. The climax is a day later, on March 24, Google officially released an article to confirm these claims.

At the end of March 2021, the SEO community on Twitter was buzzing with claims that more searches on the Google search engine ended up with no clicks to websites or "zero clicks".

A day after the article's release, Google Search's public liaison @dannysullivan released an official article via the Google Blog to provide feedback to search engine practitioners regarding the claim. In short, Google mentions that the data and claims are incorrect.

SEO Community Claims About Google Zero-click

Read Google's official article regarding the zero-click claim and discussion of the SEO community via the attached link.

Figure 2: A snippet of a tweet from an SEO practitioner regarding Google's zero-click claim. This claim is getting more and more disapproving comments, but some SEO practitioners are aware of the other practitioners’ effort in presenting alternative data (when Google does not provide certain data as expected). Read more about their discussion via the link in the third paragraph of this article. 

As an introduction, zero-click is not a negative thing for search engines and websites. But, this topic can be negative from another point of view. Please note that the keywords written in the search box do not expect answers from a website page. For example, the keyword “date of birth of [a hero]”. Then the search engine will display only the date of birth, through the search engine's rich snippet or knowledge graph feature. Of course, it has to do with user behavior that varies across the world. Obviously, if search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo can't limit any questions that may be asked by their users, advanced algorithms are prepared and continuously improved to answer all questions and provide the most relevant answers as quickly as possible.

Let's take a closer look at the various user questions that have the potential to increase Google's zero clicks.

First Keyword“apple stock”For stockers, the Stock Market is a source and place of investment with very large funds. Monitoring the aggregation of buyers and shares is important, the more often the better. This type of keyword may not need a special page, especially since Google and some other search engines already have rich snippets as a feature in search results.
Second Keyword“Srinivasa Ramanujan age”As a world-class mathematician, Ramanujan is an important figure for academics and mathematicians around the world. Such keywords may be submitted to obtain other information about him. A website page certainly does not need to make an article just to answer these keywords. Google rich snippet is enough.

For a more complete discussion of marketers and SEO practitioners, check out their comments in Figure 3 below.

Figure 3: The snippet of the SEO community discussion at the end of March 2021 on zero-click claims.

Regardless of whatever reasons some SEO practitioners have devised for this claim, the interesting new thing is the quick official response from Google regarding the discussion of the SEO community.

With the scenario that might have been used, the first claims like this were deliberately launched to get Google to write an official response regarding anything on the search engine, mostly about algorithm updates. Then, the second reason may be that practitioners hope to present new information to the community, with the hope that other practitioners also understand that claim data is only an alternative. This second reason should be expected to trigger further constructive discussion.

From that issue, let's check the article and find new information for optimization activities.

Note 1, Google's contribution in providing website traffic continues to increase every year

Table 1 - First statement and analysis

Google's Official StatementsThe analysis
In reality, Google Search sends billions of clicks to websites every day, and we’ve sent more traffic to the open web every year since Google was first created.
  • Google sends billions of clicks every day to websites around the world. With the total of their search engine users appearing in Keyword Planner for all active countries, we can see how many clicks were distributed to each country. So, this will benefit global publishers in making more accurate ad revenue projections.
  • Cumulatively every year these clicks have increased, although no health percentage increase is stated, at least this is proof that the Google Search team continues to innovate and produce breakthroughs that are able to maintain their dominance in the search engine business market.

Note 2, Use Google Business and put the work phone number

Table 2 - Second statement and analysis

 Google's Official StatementsAnalysis
And beyond just traffic, we also connect people with businesses in a wide variety of ways through Search, such as enabling a phone call to a business.
  • Google noted click activity to the phone number embedded in Google Business. It's possible that they are experimenting in a country with the growing health of Google search engine usage to get more precise information to improve the quality of its search algorithm.
  • It is also possible that these activities have become part of the algorithm with a certain weight, at least for keyword groups in local business niches. From an SEO point of view, this should be a novelty and of particular concern.

Note 3, The latest final result from the Google experiment

Table 3 - Third statement and analysis

Pernyataan Resmi GoogleAnalisa
People don’t always know how to word their queries when they begin searching. They might start with a broad search, like “sneakers” and, after reviewing results, realize that they actually wanted to find “black sneakers.”
  • Google might have the final results on the behavior of a keyword written down so they can mention that "users reformulated their question" when a keyword doesn't help the user's expectation at all.
  • From the examples mentioned (about sneakers) this belongs to a common group of keywords where this topic will be related to the December 3, 2020 algorithm update. The SEO community is busy with his writings, and they have lost significant organic traffic. Even cmlabs was also affected by this, where traffic to some of our clients fell from 40% to 95%. It might answer one of the community's claims that SEO specialists should start focusing on the quality of traffic rather than the quantity. Then long-tail keywords should be the top priority, then enter the large search volume on general keywords.

The interesting thing on the third note is its relation to the algorithm update last year. Some SEO practitioners in the global community expect an official explanation from the Google team:

why is it that a website we have been doing well for so long through optimization and following guidelines suddenly loses significant organic traffic (up to over 90%).

Thing like this is not new to SEO, it's just that some say this time it became one of the most severe attacks. But we clearly understand that the algorithm will continue to be improved.

Google's official confirmation is always awaited. Then, it dissected to get new information about what their search engine team is doing with existing algorithms. The company, of course, is not trying to answer what the community needs, but the needs of users around the world, which is in line with Google's commitment and mission to provide accurate information for more people.

Rochman Maarif

Rochman Maarif

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