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Clickless Searches. What do they mean for your SEO?

What is a clickless search? Clickless searches are when your search query shows an answer in the search engines that don’t lead to you clicking through to a website.

The goal of search engines is to be able to provide the best answer to whatever you are searching for. Your goal as a website owner to rank #1 in search results for your product/expertise/answer. For example if I type in “affordable web design services” into a Google search box, here is what I see:

You can see there is one ad on this page, and Sumy Designs ranks #3 for that search term. (We’re working on being #1!). However, there are easy options for searchers to visit websites through organic search.

A new trend in Google is the clickless search. For example, if I search for the “Cleveland Indians schedule,” (what can I say? I’m an Ohio girl) I see this:

Google is not showing me results for the Cleveland Indians team page (as one might expect), instead, Google is assuming (hoping?) that what I’m really interested in isn’t the the schedule for the whole season but just for the upcoming games this weekend. If that’s what I needed, I read the results then leave without ever clicking through to https://www.mlb.com/indians.

I get the same sort of results for “time in London.” Google is assuming all I care about is what is the current time in London, England.

At this point, you’re asking “What’s the big deal? Isn’t this great for searchers? ” Yes, and no. It’s great if Google correctly decides this is what you’re searching for. However, this makes getting organic search traffic to your website more difficult…as if competing for organic traffic with ads and featured snippets wasn’t hard.

clickless searches

What this means for the click-through rate

Click-through rate is an important metric we follow when it comes to your analytics and SEO. CTR is the percentage of folks who see your listing in the SERPs (search engine results pages) and then actually click on your listing. The higher the CTR, the better, because that means that your listing is generating traffic to your website.

If folks are finding their answers without clicking, then that means that your CTR is going to go down. Will less clicks also mean less revenue? Will finding what they need in the SERPs without needing to get to your site affect your business?

The answer is, it depends. A lot depends on your business and your content. If what people are really looking for is your phone number, then finding that in the SERPs to call you doesn’t really affect your bottom line, because you are still getting the conversion even without a click.

However, if the searcher finds the answer to their query, and it doesn’t lead to a click to you and they no longer need you, then it’s going to affect your business. This is particularly bad for those who depend on ad revenue versus those who provide services. If your website revenue depends on someone seeing ads on your site, and they don’t click through, then it’s problematic.

What should you do?

  • Give more in-depth answers so that if searchers see a snippet of the answer, they want to click through to your site to learn more.
  • Build your brand recognition so searchers are looking for your specific brand, not a generic keyword.
  • Prioritize your content for keywords with a high click-through rate.
  • Focus on content that is more in-depth that readers need to click through to read more
  • Think about drawing traffic through lower volume long tail keyword searches.

Do you feel like you’re losing traffic to clickless searches? The SEO team at Sumy Designs is ready to help.

Elise Nester

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