Small businesses have a harder time finding new customers through Google Search, as consumers can now find the information or products they want directly through the search engine results page (SERP). This means that they are less likely to visit a company's Web site and that makes it difficult for small businesses to grow.
To better understand how marketers can use SERP to their advantage, Trustedreviews Pro Talked to the co-founder of CallRail and CPO Kevin Mann.
You mention a study from June 2019 that says that less than half of the SERP actually made a click (to a website I suspect). Can you tell us more about the background of this research and, in your opinion, if there were any reservations / pitfalls.
The clickstream data company Jumpshot's study found that for the first time in June 2019, less than half of Google's search queries generated a click on a website. Based on data from 40 million browser-based searches on desktop and mobile devices in the US, 50.33% were classified as zero-click, while 45.25% and 4.42% were organic clicks and ad clicks, respectively.
While the study did not provide accurate data on how many of these searches were done on a mobile device, all marketers are aware of the steady increase in mobile searches. Since we can expect more mobile searches to result in zero clicks based on the immediate answers consumers look for when they search their cell phones, marketers need to take this into account as they track overall Google activity.
Jumpshot has a panel of over 100 million devices worldwide. While keeping the exact number of devices in the US private, the company estimates it accounts for 2-6% of the world's total mobile and desktop Internet browsing devices.
One limitation is that the numbers are based on data captured only by Android devices. Differences in search behavior between Android and iOS users may cause bias in these results, but are not likely to be significant.
By and large, is it a good or a bad thing for companies that rely heavily on Google?
Ultimately, this will be a challenge for companies that rely heavily on Google, especially for small businesses that generate much of their new business contacts from search traffic. As customers now find basic information about a company on the SERP, such as: As a phone number or business hours, they are less inclined to visit a website. Many customers choose to call a company directly from the SERP. Because click-to-call counts as zero-click searches, it's impossible to match those click-to-call leads without using the right solutions.
What tools or solutions are available to help you track a user from a SERP to a Web site and then to a completed transaction? "
Mobile search engine advertising and Google Call Extensions are leading to a large number of leads from the SERP, so marketers are getting the click-to-call integration key to track that user activity closely. To better track calls made directly from the SERP, marketers can implement tools that identify the specific PPC keywords responsible for each call and match the conversion to additional information-including call duration, call records, and full callers ID.
What role do intelligent assistants play in shaping this trend?
Intelligent assistants undoubtedly play a role in accelerating the trend towards more and more zero-click searches. Actually, 91 million US consumers use language assistants for specific devices, and by 2020, one in three Americans will use a language assistant for daily tasks. As more and more consumers use technologies like Siri and Alexa for search, companies need to prioritize SEO for language optimization. Hiring a particular SEO for Voice Manager will ensure lasting expertise and innovation in this area.
How do you see the development of the trend? Is one category of sites (such as transactional sites) more affected than others (for example, news sites)?
With the steady increase in zero-click searches over the last few years, I see that this trend will not disappear in the near future. The increase in voice search and mobile search indicates an even higher number of zero-click searches in the future. But there is a limitation here. The types of queries that are performed through the voice search are usually very direct and intentional. They are commands rather than explorations. We use voice search to respond to a decision that has already been made. We ask for directions, contact information or facts about something we have already identified. Therefore, transaction pages should remain positioned to support these direct actions via voice search, and marketers must ensure that they optimize SEO for speech.
Does this mean that marketers need to pay more attention to improving their marketing mix (focusing more on direct, offline and other audiences)?
What marketers need to keep in mind is how they can reduce consumer friction, get more information about their business, and ultimately make an appointment, make a purchase, or sign up for a free trial. Google has evolved and is able to answer questions that users have directly on the SERP. In addition, consumers are less patient than they used to be, and they expect Google to provide this convenience now. Therefore, a well rounded marketing mix is important, but it is also important to consider consumer preferences and to ensure that marketers have the right tools to track how well their campaigns perform across all conversion points.
As Zero-Click Search grows, marketers need to get creative with their campaigns and make sure each campaign has solutions for full lead attribution. In this way, you can effectively allocate your budget to campaigns that generate the most leads. While search queries continue to be critical to generating new businesses, you should not underestimate other forms of digital marketing, such as content and social media, to drive customers to your site.
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