A recent blog post by Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz and new startup SparkToro talked about the rise of the “No Click Search.” Today Liz & Sandro discuss what the research says and what it may mean for the future of search.

Episode 0274

Rise of the No Click Search

Liz: [00:00:02] Hey there, welcome back to Liz & Sandro’s Marketing Podcast. Today we are talking about no click searches.

Sandro: [00:00:11] Correct. So recently Rand Fishkin who is a big name in the SEO world. He is the founder of Moz, m – o – z, which is a huge Web site for SEOs and for you to track your seo. So Rand is no longer there. And he started up a new company and he has some great blog posts. One of his most recent blog posts was “Is SEO still a worthy career?” Does it still matter? Is it still important? And some of the things that he cited in this great blog post which will link to in our show notes are that, over the past year the number of people going to Google is going up. It’s not going down. So more people are going to Google and doing searches but less people are clicking on results. More people are finding, and Google is presenting answers on google itself. So when you search how far away is the moon from the earth, instead of clicking over to NASA’s Web site. Google is presenting the answer right there. These are basically no click searches. So the number of no click searches is going up the number of clicks is going down. The number of people visiting Google is up the number of people who do not leave. Google is also going up basically.

Liz: [00:01:24] And so even if there isn’t a good unofficial Google answer people are just looking on that first search results page for the answer without clicking Correct?

Sandro: [00:01:36] Correct. So if you have a restaurant or auto mechanic and your hours will be displayed there on Google and even now with your Google My Business, you can enter in your entire restaurant menu and people can see your full menu on Google without going to your Web site. But this also brings up the power of meta descriptions.

Liz: [00:01:57] Yes because during our hiatus one of the things that Google changed was the lengths of what they display for a meta description. They increased it from what was it 160 to . . .

Sandro: [00:02:14] 320

Liz: [00:02:13] And that’s characters. So they are now Google is now displaying 320 characters in a meta description. That’s a big jump.

Sandro: [00:02:19] And a meta description is where is right below the big blue letters of what your website is so it’s it’s all the words underneath it in smaller print. So yeah. Correct. You may find your answer right there without going to your Web site. If you have a great meta description. . .

Liz: [00:02:33] It’s right there.

Sandro: [00:02:33] It’s right there. The answer’s right there on Google and you don’t need to click through to your business website.

Liz: [00:02:38] OK so this is interesting now that I really think about it. I I just did this I was googling because I wanted to know how much a Rolex cost I was just curious and I did my Google search and I didn’t feel like clicking onto a site. I wanted to find the answer just in the meta description on that search results page. So this is this is a thing now. It’s interesting

Sandro: [00:03:04] So Google did not give you an answer to that.

Liz: [00:03:08] No, Google didn’t give me an answer. And I think it’s for the most part I found the answer I was looking for you know between three and six thousand dollars. I mean obviously there are some models that are more than that but yeah I found my answer. I think I did click and do a little more reading but I was annoyed that I had to click in and skim an article like I just wanted to quickly know how much a Rolex costs.

Sandro: [00:03:32] Why did you not want to click through?

Liz: [00:03:34] I guess I’m lazy or I wanted the answer instantly. I didn’t want to read.

Sandro: [00:03:39] So this points to for small businesses what you want to do is have answers. If somebody has to come to your website for an answer have that answer readily available. You know I’ve always said for restaurants something I’ve started with your website four things people want to know: hours of operation, menu, phone number and maybe a web address. They don’t care about your history or how your grandma came up with the recipe how you learned it from your mother-in-law. That might be interesting to you. But really people just want answers right away. And so if they have to come to your website they want answers right away. So keep that in mind for your web site.

Liz: [00:04:12] So Sandro, as you’re showing me this chart because Rand has a bunch of really great charts. And again we will link to this article in our show notes. But as of October 2016. I mean there’s just suddenly a huge drop in these clicks. It’s showing that people are just wanting an answer and then that’s it.

Sandro: [00:04:34] Correct. It happened in between October and November of 2016. Now it could have been a number of things including Google having answer boxes at the top of searches like doing more and more I’ve heard up to a third of all searches now have answer boxes at the top. That may have something to do with it. It may be that people just want confirmation have confirmation bias. Do a quick google search find anything that confirms what they believe to be the truth and just leave it there.

Liz: [00:05:03] Oh that’s a good point. Get confirmation bias is a big thing right now. And then long term, are we thinking that Google’s going to keep these answer boxes? Because they make money on clicks if there’s been a huge drop. You know and by the way, Rand doesn’t work for Google. You know he’s this is his own research that he will maybe not his own but it’s third party research that showing a huge drop in clicks. So. So how is Google making money if people are just searching and closing the tab?

Sandro: [00:05:32] Correct. So that’s my biggest question how is this helping anybody? It’s not helping you. The small business owner because people are not coming to your Web site and it’s not helping Google because people aren’t clicking on anything.

Liz: [00:05:43] Right now popping into my head. So you could make the argument well, just make really really great meta descriptions. You have more characters now so, put all of the good information that you want that answers the question you know as soon as possible. Could that theoretically mean . . . OK, yeah, you’re going to see less traffic to your site but the traffic that does come is somewhat like me searching for Rolex’s. I’m not truly in the market for a Rolex. I just wanted to know what they start at. Now someone who was really interested would have, maybe clicked on one of those articles, done some digging and depending on you know what the site was you know maybe they maybe I clicked on an affiliate link to actually purchase a watch and then the blog made money. So so maybe we’ll see less traffic but better quality you know traffic that’s that’s really staying on a website and engaging with the site.

Sandro: [00:06:38] Great point. Yeah. So if someone comes through your site that’s because they really want to be there they’re not there accidentally

Liz: [00:06:44] Or not just there for all of 10 seconds originally.

Sandro: [00:06:49] Correct, Yeah. So that’s very true. And two other things to consider their voice searching. So they want Google wants the answers. Google . . . we’ll talk about voice search in future episodes. Of course.

Liz: [00:07:00] Yeah We’ll get more into that very soon.

Sandro: [00:07:02] But maybe that’s Google’s long play that they’ll make money through voice search more in the future.

Liz: [00:07:08] Do you have an Alexa?

Sandro: [00:07:10] I do. It’s awesome.

Liz: [00:07:11] OK. No we don’t. I don’t. My phone already spies on me I don’t need one more device in my house to spy on me.

Sandro: [00:07:18] But quickly speaking to that, it’s an Alexa so it does not use google. I don’t think it uses Google.

Liz: [00:07:25] Good point. No

Sandro: [00:07:26] It doesn’t always use Google at least I don’t believe so. My niece asked Alexa “who invented basketball?” And Alexa went on and on for about 30 seconds. And while Alexa was still talking my niece walked away and said, “Alexa doesn’t know.” And Alexa. . . the final three words, Alexa said it was reading a Wikipedia entry. She named the person who invented basketball. So the answer could have been shorter. . .

Liz: [00:07:48] But it took 30 seconds.

Sandro: [00:07:48] It took 30 seconds and who wants to listen to Alexa for 30 seconds? I know not a 7 year old. She Just walked away. She wanted a quick answer.

Liz: [00:07:55] Yes. So we don’t want to listen for 30 seconds and we don’t want to spend more than 15 seconds scanning a search results page for answers. We want it and we want it now.

Sandro: [00:08:05] Exactly. And then finally this is a good reason to find the Q and A section of your Google My Business Listing and go in there and read the questions people are posting and answer them. We talked about this in a past episode we’ll link to that past episode from 60 Second Marketing where you should investigate Google Q and A it’s something more and more people are doing. I do this every Monday for all my clients go through their Q and A and see what questions people are asking and we have gone in there and asked questions and answered the most common questions people have for our clients. And Google, who knows Google may be pulling from that in the future. There’s so much to this.

Liz: [00:08:42] Yeah there’s so much going on with Google.

Sandro: [00:08:44] So we’ll be keeping an eye on this and seeing what this all means and how it shakes out.

Liz: [00:08:49] Yes we will. Good discussion today. Thanks Sandro. That wraps up today’s episode. Again we will include a bunch of links in our show notes to different articles to some of our previous shows and to our social channels. You can reach out to us. Send us some tweets and Facebook posts because we would love to chat with you. Thanks so much. And we will see you next time.