Among the Big Four tech companies, Google may seem like the goodie, considering Amazon, Apple, and Facebook can be a pretty devious bunch. But as Rand Fishkin said in November at SMX East in New York, Google is now “everyone’s competitor.”

And the reason comes down to three little words: zero-click searches.

What are zero-click searches?

As Search Engine Journal (SEJ) pointed out, more searches now end on Google—aka, without a click—than with one. That’s called a zero-click search, and frankly, it sucks for us (comparatively) little guys, because the effect tanks our click-through rate from organic search traffic.

Got an example?

Yerp. You’re feeling some food shame after that ice cream cake incident last night, so you’re planning a light yoga workout this morning. But… you can’t remember exactly how to get into Warrior I pose.

So, you ask your trusty friend, Google, the following:

‘how to do warrior 1 pose’
Google answers pronto with this Featured Snippet they scraped off classpass.com, a company that sells online fitness classes:
Example of a zero click search on Google

This no-click search is no bueno for classpass.com, but Google is less concerned about ClassPass’s feelings on the matter than we might think

Can you elaborate on that?

Well, as Search Engine Journal pointed out, zero-click searches may seem to be all about money. And they are, to a degree. But they’re also about Google making it loud and clear that the searcher is their customer, not us marketers and business people.

“And if that means scraping lots of websites and putting the answer right on the search engine results page (SERP)—they’ll do that,” wrote SEJ’s Andreas Dzumla.

In other words, you (as a searcher) might be grateful when you Google “how to spell seperate” and Google immediately informs you that it’s actually “separate” without judging you too hard. But a software company like Grammarly (the first search result with the hopeful SEO title tag of  “Separate Vs. Seperate – Which should I use?”) is getting robbed of a click.

Is this really that big of a deal?

In a nutshell: Yep.

The repercussions here are lost list building, ad retargeting, brand equity, and revenue opportunities. Check out SEJ’s article for more on how Google’s stealing half your traffic and how to get it back, because it’s definitly definitely a worthwhile read

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