Thrive in a Zero-Click World: Essential SEO Tactics

Written by Matthew Ludden / February 28, 2024 / 7 Minute Read
Article Preview

Learn what zero-click searches are and why they matter for your SEO. Get expert tips to adapt your strategy and thrive in a changing search landscape.


What Is a Zero Click Search?

A zero-click search happens when a search engine answers your question directly on the results page (SERP), so you don’t need to click any links.

Think of it like this: you ask Google, “What’s the weather today?” and it shows you the forecast – no website visit needed. Zero-click searches are becoming more common, impacting how businesses need to think about their online presence and search engine optimization practices.

In this article, Valve+Meter Performance Marketing’s ongoing series on SEO strategy trends and best practices, our team considers how zero-click results will continue to increase as Google’s Search Experience (SGE), Microsoft’s Bing Copilot, and other emerging technology are transforming the search engine landscape.

The primary question for any digital marketing strategy is, how does any Google SERP feature impact brand visibility?

Google Search is a powerful marketing tool to reach your target audience. Your SEO strategy must adapt and evolve to earn organic search results. This mindset is the core of Valve+Meter’s ThinkFirst™ practice and testing culture.

Key Moments:

  • Zero-click searches are increasing due to user experience focus and voice search.
  • SERPs now include various elements beyond the classic “ten blue links.”
  • Adapting to zero-click searches is crucial for businesses; target featured snippets, optimize for voice search, and focus on brand visibility.
  • Creating high-quality, in-depth content remains essential for SEO success.
Featured Snippets 60%
Nearly 60% of zero-click results come from featured snippets. (Semrush)

Why Are Zero Click Searches on the Rise?

The surge in Google zero click searches is primarily due to improving user experience. Search engines like Google strive to provide immediate answers to users’ queries.

When queries have direct answers, zero click results make sense.

Semrush found that 25.6% of all searches are now zero-click. This trend is fueled by the growing use of voice search, where quick, concise answers are favored.

We also live in a time where Gemini and ChatGPT. Before Copilot’s launch, ChatGPT was visited over 1.6 billion times in December 2023. In a world where AI tools can create code, text, images, video, and other content on a greater scale, Google Search and Bing will evolve.

Adaptation is the standard for SEO efforts as the continuous enhancement of search engine algorithms has included featured snippets, knowledge panels, and local packs.

These changes cater to the user’s desire for instant and relevant information. But do zero click results impact organic website visits?

Impact on Organic Traffic

For many businesses and search queries, zero-click results may not significantly impact organic search.

Traditionally, SEO rankings focused primarily on relevance, authoritative score, and backlinks. In Google’s Webmaster Guide, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E.A.T.) began driving many SEO campaigns. Building E-A-T. remains crucial for SEO, especially in local search. However, Google increasingly prioritizes content that directly fulfills users’ needs.

This shift impacts traditional ranking factors and how businesses can benefit from zero-click searches.

As Google expands its Knowledge Graph, features like the knowledge panel are more likely to benefit local businesses. While zero-click searches can reduce website clicks in some cases, they also offer new opportunities to drive leads without website visits.

Google Maps is a prime example. Someone searching for “[business type] near me” might get directions without ever clicking your website. These consumers who navigate to your storefront are essentially invisible organic clicks. These interactions are valuable, and zero-click features are expanding in new ways.

Complex searches often still lead users to websites for in-depth information or purchases. This suggests a continued need for SEO strategies targeting longer, more specific keywords, while also optimizing for visibility in zero-click features.

Changes in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)

Search engine results pages (SERPs) have become far more dynamic to accommodate zero-click searches. Features like featured snippets, direct answers, and knowledge panels provide immediate information, often extracted from websites, to answer users’ questions without them needing to visit those sites.

While these features can potentially reduce website clicks, they also offer valuable brand visibility opportunities. Smart marketers and SEO tools now track impressions in these features, recognizing that SERP presence builds awareness even without direct traffic.

Zero Click Search 1/4
Zero-click searches now account for 25.6% of all searches.
AI Tools 1.6 BN
ChatGPT was visited over 1.6 billion times in December 2023

How Do Zero Click Searches Affect SEO?

Zero-click searches present both challenges and opportunities for SEO professionals. Since they can reduce website traffic, strategies must adapt. Optimizing for featured snippets and other SERP features is now crucial. This means creating content that directly answers common questions in a format search engines can easily understand.

While the days of the “ten blue links” search engine results page are a distant memory, organic search remains vital.

Adapting Your SEO Strategy

A strong SEO strategy combines high-quality content, long-tail keywords, and building domain authority to reach your audience – even alongside zero-click features.

Driving organic traffic strictly to your website is no longer the only avenue for reaching your target audience. Here are key strategies to consider:

  • Target Featured Snippets & Rich Results: Structure your content with clear headers, concise paragraphs, and lists or tables when appropriate. This makes it easier for Google to extract relevant information for featured snippets, image carousels, and video results.
  • Aim for the Knowledge Panel: If you’re a local business or notable brand, optimize your Google Business Profile and build your authority online. This increases your chances of appearing in the Knowledge Panel and the Local Pack.
  • Go Beyond Clicks: Think of SERP features as branding opportunities. Even if people don’t visit your site immediately, seeing your business name and helpful content builds recognition. Earning SERP features opens more opportunities for backlinks to your site strengthening overall SEO.
  • Optimize Images & Videos: Using descriptive file names and alternative text (alt-text) on images can target image searches. Infographics, charts, and original images can also drive strong image search results. Consider creating video content that directly answers common questions.
  • Long-Tail Keywords: Target more specific, question-based phrases people are likely to search for. For example, instead of just “plumbing services,” target “how to fix a leaky faucet.” A combination of context and keywords will keep organic results strong.
  • Track Impressions, Not Just Clicks: Use Google Search Console and other SEO tools to monitor your visibility in featured snippets and other SERP features. This data is as valuable as traditional click metrics.

Zero-click searches are here to stay. By embracing the opportunities they offer and continually adapting your SEO strategy, you’ll maintain a strong online presence and reach your target audience effectively.

Mobile Users 57%
As many as 57% of mobile users do not click on paid or organic results. (Semrush)
Desktop Users 53%
As many as 53% of desktop users don't click paid or organic results.

Maximizing Visibility in a Zero Click World

In a zero click world, maximizing visibility requires a strategic approach to content creation and optimization.

Brands should focus on providing clear, concise answers to common queries, and optimizing for featured snippets and other SERP features.

At Valve+Meter, our team strives to deliver a holistic approach to digital marketing. This leverages paid advertising, social media, SEO, and other channels to drive direct traffic to your website.

Click-through-rates, SEO search volume, and even SEO traffic can be misleading. Bad metrics skew how Google and other platforms benefit your business.

Valve+Meter builds processes and structures that measure the revenue impact of performance marketing. Our ability to connect your sales to lead sources help gain insights into what tactics drive revenue.

By prioritizing user intent and creating content that directly addresses user needs, brands can maintain visibility and engagement in a landscape dominated by zero click searches.

Featured Snippets and Quick Answers

To capture zero click searches, it’s essential to optimize for featured snippets and quick answers. This involves structuring content in a way that makes it easy for search engines to extract and display as a snippet such as:

  • Clear and concise language
  • Formatting content with bullet points
  • Using numbered lists
  • Formatting headers as question-based queries

Providing direct, authoritative answers can increase the likelihood of appearing in SERP features. Even if your website is super relevant and you answer questions, Google will keep evolving and changing.

Creating In-Depth Content

Zero click searches are dominant for quick answers, but in complex sales cycles, click searches are not disappearing anytime soon.

The emergence of AI heralds a new way for websites to create content and likely will lead to a crisis of quality. Websites are confronting a transformation in content marketing and to earn organic traffic, quality is the present and future.

Developing in-depth content that comprehensively addresses user queries can separate your brand from competitors. This type of content provides meaningful value to users. By covering a topic thoroughly and providing actionable insights, brands can establish themselves as authoritative sources, attracting both clicks and zero click impressions.

While long-tail keywords have lower search volume, high-quality content nurtures your audience. Direct research, social proof, infographics, videos, and other dynamic content also encourages engagement and sharing, further enhancing visibility and reach.

How Are Zero Click Searches Impacting You?

Valve+Meter offers a free marketing assessment that includes insights into your performance in Google and Bing. If you are interested in improving your search results and building measurable marketing strategies, connect with our team.

Get Started


A zero click search is a query that is answered directly on the search engine results page (SERP), without the user needing to click through to a website.

An example of zero click content is a featured snippet that provides a concise answer to a question, such as a definition, a step-by-step guide, or a quick fact, directly on the SERP.

In search engine language, a zero click is referred to as a search that satisfies the user’s query directly on the SERP, eliminating the need for further clicks to obtain the desired information.