Why zero-click searches aren’t a lost opportunity for finance brands

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Lost in the search vortex
By Annabel Hodges, contributor. 10 December, 2019
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With an increasing number of Google searches being answered directly within the search results pages, zero-click searches are well and truly on the rise. And with finance brands missing out on click-throughs and exposure to their website content, it’s time for finance marketers to master an evolved search results page or risk getting lost in the search vortex.

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More than half of all searches (50.33%) on Google ended without a click on an organic or paid search result.

Google search results pages have always been considered a stepping stone for a user, designed to help them find the best answer from the most relevant final destination. But as Google continues to optimise and evolve its results, more searches than ever are ending on search results pages with no need to find the answer on a website. A study by Sparktoro in August 2019 found that more than half of all searches (50.33%) on Google ended without a click on an organic or paid search result.

Why zero-click searches aren’t a lost opportunity for finance brands

How have search results pages changed?

Mobile searches have long since overtaken desktop searches in a majority of countries and it’s here in this hard-earned real estate that the fight for brand visibility is toughest. Over 60% of all mobile searches end without a click, rising steadily since 2015. A standard search results page (SERP) could now easily include a wide variety of results that aren’t the traditional organic result, including Google Ads, Related Searches, Maps, Video & Image results, the Featured Snippet, Events, Podcasts, Twitter results, a Knowledge Graph, the People Also Ask section and a whole host more.

Take a search like ‘mobile payments’, it’s a generic ‘short-tail’ search term that could be used by a consumer or a business at the beginning of their research. They want to know more about how mobile payments work before they look at the ‘best mobile payment apps’, potentially seek out a review of a particular app and so forth as they become more familiar with the topic.

Why zero-click searches aren’t a lost opportunity for finance brands

You can see in the screenshot above that the SERP is already looking quite full, there’s a ‘Knowledge Graph’, a ‘Google Ad’, a ‘Featured Snippet’, a ‘People Also Ask’ box and some ‘News’ results. Square’s ‘top result’ is far down the page despite being in first position, and there is a lot of potential distraction for the user. The chances of that top result getting a click is relatively low, so finding opportunities to take advantage of the rest of the SERP is crucial to success.

Expand on the ‘People Also Ask’ box and you can see that Square is doing just that. Thanks to its optimised content, it is not only included as one of the ‘Also ask’ answers it’s listed as one of the best mobile payment apps on a third party site. There may be no click to site from this initial search but the searcher has already become more familiar with Square and knows the brand is highly regarded.

Why zero-click searches aren’t a lost opportunity for finance brands

How can Finance brands win with zero-click searches?

The good news is a zero-click search doesn’t mean zero opportunity for your finance brands’ content to get noticed. The bad news is that it can make it harder to measure. Like outdoor, print or radio advertising, these zero-click searches are more akin to a brand awareness campaign and can be tough to track if only seen within Google. Even if a searcher does click on a ‘Featured Snippet’, for example, it’s not currently possible to track in analytics if that click came from a standard result or from a ‘Featured Snippet’. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t matter. What is certain is that Google will only continue to evolve, and that means ‘on-SERP SEO’ will grow too. So what should a forward-thinking finance brand do to make sure they don’t lose out? We’ve already discussed optimising for the ‘Featured Snippet’, enriching your site with schema and mastering your SEO content gap analysis which will all help your brand shine within the SERPs. The next step is simply to include an awareness of zero-click searches in your day-to-day content marketing strategy.

  • Get to know your SERPs – what type of ‘other’ results usually show for your relevant search terms? Is your site as optimised as it can be for that ‘Featured Snippet’?
  • Broaden your horizons – a win doesn’t always have to be a click to your website. Who else is showing in the SERP and can your brand feature through them?
  • Expand your content types – Podcasts, Twitter and YouTube all get great airtime in SERPS, take advantage of it.

If you haven’t diversified your content types before, this is yet another reason to jump in. SEO is a complicated beast, and Google moves the goalposts almost daily, but there’s still plenty of ground to be gained for the wiley financial marketer. We can help, get in touch.

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Annabel is a digital marketer and seasoned writer with 15 years' experience working with global agencies and finance brands. With a particular love for SEO, analytics and all things data; Annabel draws on her industry experience and enjoys writing about growth and marketing solutions that tackle the challenges of finance marketing in a holistic manner.