Google benefits immensely from ‘Zero-Click Searches’, claims report: Despite sourcing info from websites, search giant not passing on benefits?

Google Searches Zero Click
Google benefits from Zero-Click Searches, but so can other online companies? Pic credit: Hebi B./Pixabay

Google appears to have benefitted immensely from ‘Zero-Click Searches’. However, some internet companies allege the search giant is not necessarily passing on the benefits to them.

Last year, almost two-thirds of all search results on Google ended on Google’s search page itself. It is these searches that are only benefitting Google, claim companies that run a business on the internet and need virtual traffic from the search giant.

Google Search Page is now the dominant page that doesn’t pass on virtual footfall to actual companies:

Nearly 65 percent of Google searches ended without a click to another web property. According to a study published by Rand Fishkin, founder of SparkToro, Google now offers a vast amount of relevant information on its own page itself.

The situation is uneven for mobile and desktop users. More than 46 percent of searches began and terminated on the Google Search Page itself. Meanwhile, more than 77 percent of searches terminated on the company’s search page for mobile users.

What this basically means is the Google is now the one-stop-destination for a lot of relevant information. Hence, the majority of visitors to Google Search Page need not head over to any other website to satisfy their curiosity.

In 2019, such ‘Zero-Click’ searches were about 50 percent. This means only half of the visitors or searchers on the Google Search Page headed to other websites.

It is important to note that last year’s statistics as well as that of 2019, come from different data providers. Moreover, they use different methodologies to come to a conclusion.

Despite the differences, the pattern is amply clear, pointed out Fishkin in his analysis. He claims it is “click cannibalization by Google”.

Why do internet companies care about Zero-Click Searches?

Zero-click searches largely mean that Google resolved search queries right on the results page itself. This means Goggle offered the relevant information on its own domain and did not send off visitors to other web properties.

Google regularly relies on information it gathers from other websites. Hence, popular platforms such as Wikipedia are trying to monetize their content.

Google does seem to benefit from such methods. The company can and does display ads or offer its own products on its own search page.

Simply put, Google can extract value from zero-click searches. However, if websites do not get virtual footfall from Google, they potentially lose out on customers.

The biggest victims of Zero-Click search results are companies that need visitors to engage with their web platforms and make money in the process. Online travel agencies, review platforms, expert opinions, and other similar websites are just some of the examples.

There are, however, some beneficiaries of Zero-Click search results. Google has been offering “featured snippets” or rich information that Google prominently displays inside search results.

These are akin to virtual billboard ads. Google rewards companies that strive to offer relevant and accurate information with such special snippets.

Google’s Search Engine Results Pages or SERP, have become very important to visitors, companies, and SEO marketing firms. Hence moving ahead, only those companies and brands who can find ways to benefit from SERP exposure would benefit most from Google, suggests the report.

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