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Zero click search: the new consumer comfort zone

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Zero click search the new consumer comfort zone


30-second summary:

  • Zero click search presents advertisers with the opportunity to pro-long budgets during periods when the paid search landscape is hypercompetitive
  • Brands can cash in on zero click searches for the organic element of their overall search strategy to gain visibility and drive conversions
  • Barilla Group’s global digital & search marketing manager, Nitin Manhar Dhamelia advises on zero click search optimization and measurement

Historic context

Back in 1998 when Google was founded, it served 10,000 searches per day and by 2012 it was 3,500,000,000 searches per day.​ And in 2021, search volumes continue to explode with Google serving around 5,600,000,000 searches globally per day.​

Its success in becoming a transitive verb was borne when Google tasked itself with bringing order to the chaos of the world’s knowledge. It knew that to achieve this magnitude of top-of-mind awareness, the key would be to create a window to the web that was inclusive, accessible, and easy to understand for the general population; it knew that inclusivity would accelerate adoption. Even today, the search giant is always working on improving the consumers’ search experience and 2021 saw several key algorithm updates roll out – passage ranking, page experience, page titles, MUM, mobile-first indexing, and more.

Not too far ahead in the future, Google is going to make it even easier for consumers to access information about brands.​ But why?

Micro funnels

Because people visit Google in key decision-making moments along the buyer journey – essentially, each Search session can be deemed a micro funnel. In fact, after the pandemic, there is no undoing the great reset. Nearly, 15 percent of Google search queries Google attended were first of their kind. And 81 percent of consumers discovered new brands online during the pandemic.

“There isn’t a world where people revert back to their 2019 behaviours, and part of that is now a part of their comfort zones.” – Corie Barry, CEO, Best Buy

Google’s own recent retail report identified four key consumer insights:

  1. Dynamic demand: People’s buying patterns will continue to change in response to unpredictable times
  2. Digital inspiration: People will use the internet to be inspired
  3. Convenience: People will prioritize convenience while shopping
  4. Supportive spending: People will be more mindful of how and where they spend their dollars with “values” playing a major influencer

Even though less favored by advertisers, zero click searches are pockets of opportunity for brands to focus on as part of their branded search strategy.

With great power comes great responsibility

With its always-on innovation focus, Google is constantly expected to eclipse itself (for the better) and the way it aims to achieve that is by presenting information in ever more easy-to-digest consumer-friendly formats.​

Its solution? Bringing convenience and comfort to their searcher’s online journey with zero click search. This means redesigning the search experience to align with a lucid consumer journey, which in some cases implies that – the journey both starts and ends in Google, and without a single click in the search results:

Squid Game Google zero click search

In terms of how this translates into volumes of searches, take a look at the data from an industry study below:

Zero click search data

What does this mean for brands?

In my own research the split of traffic between the core search marketing channels for a keyword that has a “need” intent, calculates to:

  • Paid: 6.5 percent
  • Organic (above the fold): 31.5 percent
  • Organic (below the fold): two percent
  • Zero Click Searches: 60 percent

Extraordinarily, the last number isn’t too far off an original 2020 study that was made of a sample size that is far greater than most brand marketers might have immediate access to.

However, when smaller, localized in-house studies surface very similar results it drives the conversation forward into where we need to focus a proportion of our overall search budgets: creating data-driven content that contributes to adding value and top-of-mind awareness (TOMA) to consumers.

Tips for brands to optimize and measure zero click search

The people also ask (PAA) feature in Google (essentially website content derived FAQs in Search results) are around six times more likely to appear in a search results page versus featured snippets.  And therefore, PAA should not be underestimated as a branding tool. So the first tip is to create editorial content that resides on your website and optimize for PAA – using long-tail search data.

And the second tip is to optimize your content for featured snippets across brand and partner websites – your keyword traffic or search traffic insights could help prioritize this activity internally.

Another interesting insight that stood out was – regardless of the industry, most “big” brands will trigger a PAA.

PAA box visibility stats

Measuring zero-click performance

Gauging the impact of zero click search remains a frequently asked question itself and a continued enigma that has hampered brands from focusing on this highly important search facet. These are some valuable avenues for search marketers to track the zero click search features’ performance:

1. Understand relativity

Understand the relationship between impression volume and average ranking for a target keyword(s) in the Google search console to create insights into where branded content can trigger a zero click search result.

2. Track soft metrics

This is where the soft metric shines – so by focusing on zero click SERP features for brand vs competitor domains, it’s possible to create an index to track the outcomes and evolution of a soft metric such as ‘share of intent’. This will help you grow product or service awareness/consideration via the zero click search element of your Search Strategy.

Piecing all this information and tailoring it to your brand will positively add a new dimension to your search marketing strategy.


Nitin Manhar Dhamelia is the global digital & search marketing manager at Barilla Group. Nitin has a 15-year track record of global B2B/B2C team management, governance, commercial experience, across Americas, EMEA, APAC.

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Google Says Keywords In Domain Names Are Overrated

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Google Says Keywords In Domain Names Are Overrated


Google’s John Mueller said once again that “keywords in domain names are overrated.” He and Googlers over time have said this numerous times over the years and he said it again. Instead he said “pick something for your business, pick something for the long term.”

If you want, I can license variations of Rusty[words-go-here], if you need an excellent domain. Like RustySEO, RustyDesign, RustyFood – you know it makes for a good name. ;-P

Here is John’s tweet on this:

A bit more from this conversation on Twitter:

Here is some of our older, previous coverage of this topic:

Forum discussion at Twitter.





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Googlebot Crawls & Indexes First 15 MB HTML Content

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Googlebot Crawls & Indexes First 15 MB HTML Content


In an update to Googlebot’s help document, Google quietly announced it will crawl the first 15 MB of a webpage. Anything after this cutoff will not be included in rankings calculations.

Google specifies in the help document:

“Any resources referenced in the HTML such as images, videos, CSS and JavaScript are fetched separately. After the first 15 MB of the file, Googlebot stops crawling and only considers the first 15 MB of the file for indexing. The file size limit is applied on the uncompressed data.”

This left some in the SEO community wondering if this meant Googlebot would completely disregard text that fell below images at the cutoff in HTML files.

“It’s specific to the HTML file itself, like it’s written,” John Mueller, Google Search Advocate, clarified via Twitter. “Embedded resources/content pulled in with IMG tags is not a part of the HTML file.”

What This Means For SEO

To ensure it is weighted by Googlebot, important content must now be included near the top of webpages. This means code must be structured in a way that puts the SEO-relevant information with the first 15 MB in an HTML or supported text-based file.

It also means images and videos should be compressed not be encoded directly into the HTML, whenever possible.

SEO best practices currently recommend keeping HTML pages to 100 KB or less, so many sites will be unaffected by this change. Page size can be checked with a variety of tools, including Google Page Speed Insights.

In theory, it may sound worrisome that you could potentially have content on a page that doesn’t get used for indexing. In practice, however, 15MB is a considerably large amount of HTML.

As Google states, resources such as images and videos are fetched separately. Based on Google’s wording, it sounds like this 15MB cutoff applies to HTML only.

It would be difficult to go over that limit with HTML unless you were publishing entire books’ worth of text on a single page.

Should you have pages that exceed 15MB of HTML it’s likely you have underlying issues that need to be fixed anyway.


Source: Google Search Central
Featured Image: SNEHIT PHOTO/Shutterstock





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Daily Search Forum Recap: June 24, 2022

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Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.


Google is experimenting with YouTube Shorts for SEO help content. Google is testing inserting keywords from queries in shopping ads. Google says keywords in domains are overrated and to ignore black hat traffic. Google said it is fine to link to WhatsApp numbers on your site. Plus my weekly SEO video recap is live.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:

  • Search News Buzz Video Recap: Google Search Ranking Updates, Google News Updated, SEO, Ads, Local & More

    This week, we had some interesting tremors and ranking shifts from an unconfirmed Juneteenth Google search ranking update that really spiked a day or so ago. Google News revamped its design…
  • Google: Ignore Black Hat Traffic, We Do.

    Google’s John Mueller said it is safe to ignore black hat traffic, he said it is just spam and there is no need to worry about it from an SEO perspective. He said on Twitter that black hat traffic is just spam and you should ignore it.

  • Google Tries YouTube Shorts For SEO Help Content

    Back in March, Gary Illyes and friends hinted that they may try creating short form video content for the Google help documents. Well, Google’s Alan Kent produced one of the first ones on the topic of why it is important to specify image dimensions.

  • Google Shopping Ads Tests Inserting Material In Ad Title From Query

    Google is testing a dynamic keyword insertion feature for Google Shopping Ads where it may insert the material in the product if used in the searcher’s query. I do not know if this is 100% new or not but it might be.

  • Google: Keywords In Domain Names Are Overrated

    Google’s John Mueller said once again that “keywords in domain names are overrated.” He and Googlers over time have said this numerous times over the years and he said it again. Instead he said “pick something for your business, pick something for the long term.”

  • Google: WhatsApp Phone Numbers On Your Site Is Not A Bad SEO Practice

    Google’s John Mueller said on Twitter that it is not a bad SEO practice to link to your WhatsApp number on your site. This is despite what some SEO toolsets say, linking to a WhatsApp number, phone number or fax number is fine and Google does not judge your site differently based on the type of number you link to.

  • Aurora Morales Recording In A Google Studio

    Aurora Morales of Google has done a nice number of videos for Google, specifically on the publisher monetization front. She did a nice number of those while at home since COVID. She now said she is b

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Other Search

Feedback:


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, you can follow us on Facebook and make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or just contact us the old fashion way.





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