Now, more than 50% of Google searches end without a click to other content, study finds - Search Engine Land

Now, more than 50% of Google searches end without a click to other content, study finds - Search Engine Land


Now, more than 50% of Google searches end without a click to other content, study finds - Search Engine Land

Posted: 14 Aug 2019 08:41 AM PDT

"Zero-click searches …. have been on a steady rise for years, and I don't expect that to reverse or plateau anytime soon," Rand Fishkin, founder of SparkToro, commented on the updated findings of his Google clickstream data study, released Tuesday. The updated data provided by Jumpshot found that in June, for the first time, the majority of Google searches (50.33%) ended without a click on an organic or paid search result.

Image source: SparkToro.

A steady, upward trend. In a look at how much of Google's search traffic is left for anyone other than Google itself, Fishkin's initial study, published earlier this summer, found that 49% of searches in the first quarter of 2019 were zero-click, up from 43.9% in the first quarter of 2016. He noted that the majority of zero-click and paid search growth happened on mobile, where overall search volume is highest.

The update includes data from the second quarter of 2019, in which 49.76% of Google searches ended without a click. In June, that figure surpassed 50%, meaning that the majority of Google searches ended right on the search results page, without the user clicking through to any results.

Anti-competitive behavior? The study estimates that 94% of all U.S. searches occur on a Google property (including Images, YouTube and Maps). "That makes them a clear monopoly in search," wrote Fishkin, who will be discussing these trends in a keynote address at SMX East on November 13 in New York City.

While more Google searches than ever end without a click, Google has continued to send a relatively consistent portion of searchers to other Alphabet-owned properties.

Image source: SparkToro.

What about paid search? "I think paid search CTR will probably decline over the next few months," Fishkin told Search Engine Land Wednesday. "That's because historically, each time Google changes how paid ads appear in the search results (like the late May shift to the black 'Ad' labels in mobile SERPs), ad CTR rises, then slowly declines as more searchers get familiar with the ad format and develop ad blindness."

As searchers get wise to paid ads, we may see more clicks to organic results, said Fishkin. Then again, Google may also create new ways to get searchers to click on ads.

Zero-click searches don't necessarily mean zero opportunity. "The big goals of advertising have always been to create awareness, increase exposure, and share information," Fishkin said, pointing out the opportunities that are still available for SEOs.

"Rich information appearing in Google's results may be, like billboard ads or press mentions, harder to track than website traffic, but it's still exposing your brand name to an audience, building familiarity, and sharing information. In my opinion, the brands that find ways to benefit from that type of SERP exposure, even without a click, will be the ones who win at this new form of on-SERP SEO."

Why we should care. The proportion of zero-click searches has increased over the years, and the more searches that end without users clicking through to a page, the less traffic and fewer marketing opportunities brands and publishers are likely to have to develop their own audiences.



About The Author

George Nguyen is an Associate Editor at Third Door Media. His background is in content marketing, journalism, and storytelling.

Over 50% of Google searches result in no clicks, data shows - The Next Web

Posted: 13 Aug 2019 11:58 PM PDT

Google is hungry for your clicks. But it turns out that more than half of all Google Search queries now result in no clicks.

As of June 2019, 50.3 percent of Google searches received zero clicks. By contrast, searches with organic clicks to non-Google websites now make up only 45 percent of all traffic.

That is according to data from marketing analytics firm Jumpshot based on 40 million browser-based searches on desktop and mobile in the US. The data was crunched by Rand Fishkin, founder of audience intelligence search engine SparkToro.

Credit: Rand Fishkin / SparkToro

Even worse, it seems this trend towards zero-click searches has seen steady growth since 2016. In the meantime, organic reach for third-party websites has continued to shrink.

To be fair, it's not all that surprising that a large number of searches result in no clicks – especially when we factor in that Google has been shifting its attention to summing up results in snippets at the top of Search. While those might be easier to scan for users, they do eat into third-party websites' traffic.

We've reached out to Google for comment, but have yet to hear back. We'll update this post accordingly, if we do.

However, as Fishkin points out, a US congressional panel recently asked Google if it was true that less than 50 percent of searches lead to non-Google websites. It was a simple Yes-No question, but the Big G eschewed giving a direct response. Instead, it took a dig at the authenticity of the data cited – without denying it.

"The author of the report cited in our letter did not make his specific methodology clear, but it's inaccurate to portray featured snippets as simply answering a question and never resulting in a click," the company wrote in a statement. "Many sites strive to have their content highlighted as a snippet, which can drive meaningful traffic."

Interestingly, Fishkin further notes that Google's search dominance has reached a 94-percent market share (the data is based solely on browser-based searches).

Credit: Rand Fishkin / SparkToro

For the record, this isn't an entirely new development. Back in June, Search Engine Land cited earlier research from Fishkin that suggested the number of zero-click searches in the first quarter of 2019 had reached nearly 49 percent of all queries.

Still though, the outlet noted that the Fishkin's methodology wasn't exactly bulletproof.

"The figures are based on over one billion web browser searches on ten million domestic desktop and Android devices in the US," Search Engine Land wrote. "It does not include searches conducted on iOS devices, the Google Search app, voice-only devices or searches that ended in a click to a mobile app."

The finding reignites discussions on Google's anti-competitive conduct, which many have criticized in the past.

Indeed, reports from yesterday suggest that 23 European job search firms are working on filing an antitrust complaint against Google with the European Union. The companies allege the Big G placed its own job search results above those of competitors.

What makes matters even more pressing is that it's hardly the first time the search engine giant has drawn criticism for its anti-competitive practices.

In the past, the company was fined €1.49 ($1.67) billion for killing ad competition, €2.4 ($2.69) billion for unfairly boosting its own shopping service, and €4.34 ($4.87) billion for illegally restricting the use of Android.

Read next: What Slack and Fortnite can teach your business about freemium pricing

Google Search Console Now Reports on More Types of Structured Data - Search Engine Journal

Posted: 13 Aug 2019 01:30 PM PDT

Google is adding three more types of structured data to the rich results report in Search Console.

Search Console will now report on the following types of structured data:

  • Product markup: Allows Google to display detailed product information in search results.
  • Sitelink searchbox markup: Allows Google to display a search bar that lets users search a website's content.
  • Unparsable types: This refers to structured data that has been implemented incorrectly.

Now, owners of e-commerce sites can use Search Console to easily check if Google can read all of their product markup.

In addition, they can quickly identify which sets of markup contain errors and begin troubleshooting immediately.

Google mentions that only the ability to report on these types of structured data is new. The issues being reported on may or may not be new.

These three types of markup join the following types that were already supported by the rich results report:

  • Event
  • FAQ
  • Fact check
  • How-to
  • Job posting
  • Logo
  • Q&A page
  • Recipe

Google’s job search tool faces complaints from rivals in Europe - The Verge

Posted: 13 Aug 2019 08:46 AM PDT

Twenty-three job-hunting sites have written to the EU's Competition Commissioner to ask Google to withdraw its first-party job listing tool from its search results, Reuters reports. The sites, which include UK site Best Jobs Online and German sites Intermedia and Jobindex, claim that Google is unfairly pushing users toward its own service, while their pages are being pushed down in search results. There are also fears that, in the future, Google may start running ads on the search tool, and the search giant could eventually cut these third-party job listing sites out entirely.

Google's tool appears if you search for terms relating to common job roles like "call center jobs." Although it links out to various job listing sites where you can actually submit an application, the tool includes features of its own like the ability to save listings, filter results, and set up alerts.

The complaint comes just over two years after Google was fined a record-breaking €2.4 billion (around $2.6 billion) for manipulating search results to prioritize its own shopping comparison service. Although there are similarities between the two complaints, the difference here is that the job listing sites aren't being cut out of the process entirely. Google still links to them for you to actually apply for the jobs, and it doesn't offer its own application process. However, these 23 firms argue that linking to competing services doesn't amount to "equal treatment."

In a statement provided to Reuters, Google says that the current tool, which was launched two years ago, was designed to address these previous antitrust complaints. It added that it prominently links to job listing sites. One of Google's senior product managers for Google search, Nick Zakrasek, says that many job listing companies "have seen a significant increase in the number of job applications they receive," and that "by improving the search experience for jobs, [Google is] able to deliver more traffic to sites across the web and support a healthy job search ecosystem."

Not every job listing site objects to the tool. Some have welcomed its introduction, which Reuters reports drew 120 million clicks in June in the US. One job listing provider, iCIMS, says that the tool is now the third-largest source of referrals to its clients' pages, and its applicants are more likely to be hired. In order to benefit from this traffic, sites have to format their listings in a way that Google's algorithms can easily read. One such site, Monster, has been asking its customers to do just that in an attempt to recover customers lost through poor search engine rankings for its regular pages.

If the EU decides to open a formal investigation, it could be one for its new Competition Commissioner. The current commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, is due to leave the position at the end of October, although Reuters notes that she is expected to prepare an "intensive" handover to her successor.

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