Zero Click Searches

The Number One Problem with Google

The number one problem with Google happens to be their latest secret weapon against small business. And it’s the top threat to marketers as well.

If you’ve been in business online a while, you’ve likely suffered a reduction of clicks to your website from Google. In fact, it’s likely you’re not getting as much organic traffic from Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter either.

These companies and their global domination algorithms are creating more of what are called zero click activity — which means much less outbound clicks to business websites.

They’ve learned to hold onto more of their visitors and not present them with links to other websites, especially their big tech competitors.  As it happens, I have a solution for Zero click searches below.

Big Monopolies and Greed

The obsession between Facebook, Google, Amazon, Linkedin, Twitter and other major tech companies would shock you. They’re altering their various algorithms to keep visitors and revenue from the others.  A big game of keep away, but it also forces small businesses to pay more for visibility on Google.

I won’t pull punches here. Zero click is evil, and it leads everyone down a path to a dead end. It’s not good for searchers, small business or the world’s population in general since searchers aren’t reaching their intended goal — relevant knowledge, small business solutions and their products and services.

The AI guided Zero click strategy could end up destroying Google too. Google’s Pinchai was grilled about it at the recent anti-trust hearings recently. His predecessors, Page and Brin exited just before the antitrust movement leaving Pinchai to defend Google’s questionable business practices.

Google’s Walled Garden

Screenshot courtesy of

Google Reaches 50% Zero Click Searches

50% zero click searches means users didn’t get to their desired destination 50% of the time. They had their search experience rudely disrupted in the name more more ad revenue for Google.

Rand Fishkin of Spark Toro found that Google had reached 50% zero click searches in June 2019. Remember that zero click only works in monopolies. If users have real search alternatives, they’ll leave the big brand, poor user experience provided via the zero click merry go round.

Screenshot courtesy of SparkToro


Other Big Tech Companies Following the Zero Click Strategy Too

When people talk about zero click experiences, they understand it to apply to Google only. However, Facebook and other social media algorithms reduce exposure in their feeds, if a user’s post’s links point out to other sites, rather than to other Facebook posts.

And yes, Google is a monopoly, and they’ve altered their search results (through their analytics), to show fewer organic keyword search listings, as well as clutter them with ads and useless material to keep their search traffic on Google. By giving fewer free clicks to good content, they make small business pay to be seen.

So the priority is not user experience and satisfaction. In fact, it is to reduce selection/choice in the hope of generating more advertising clicks. It’s all about ad clicks, which is why Google has hired the former CEO of Adwords to now control organic search. That cannot be good for organic search!

When you conduct a search on Google, you’re often presented with a number of ads, sometimes filling the whole page you see in your browser. In the past, such a situation was considered a poor user experience and was punished by Google themselves, if any website did that.

Featured Link Widgets Push Relevant SMB Sites Down the Page

The ads at top were followed by Google maps results, common questions, people also ask, and featured results.

Above the Fold: Ads and Featured results only

No one has ever asked Google to include these junk information widgets. They put them in to push organic results down the page where they’re less likely to be seen and clicked on.

The Obsession with Facebook and the competition between them is causing Google to do horrible things. Add to the fact that Google failed in social media, and you can understand the mindset of the Google executives.

Google’s trying to compete with Facebook who have a platform that’s more sticky, although less informationally nutritious. Facebook is a key competitor for Google, but a FB model doesn’t work for a search engine company.

Google discovered more than 10 years ago that squeezing organic search results makes small business less visible. SMBs saw their traffic vanish with advertising being the only way to reappear on Google.

Squeezing Small Business

Through trial and error, Google discovered that squeezing wealthy corporate advertisers didn’t work well as they wouldn’t raise their ad budgets. Google stumbled on the fact that going after “weak” small business was a better way of squeezing money out of them and growing their revenues.

Indeed, small business was vulnerable to any monopolization of search, and Google had captured 94% of US internet searches. If you wanted visibility, you must pay Google for it. Google’s revenues have ballooned as a result. Check out the Google stock price now.

The key to this is monopolization and restricting visibility of small business. So far, SMBs have acted like lambs for the slaughter and accepted the every increasing ad costs and reduced traffic opportunity even though Google was pocketing outrageous profits and publishing them. Google’s stock price has soared.

Google’s quest for zero click searches revolves around their latest push of the philanthropic “one site for one search query” algorithm adjustment. Who knew algorithms could be so heavenly? As they may highlight the web page they feel answers the query best, it reduces exposure of the organic listings below.

You can see the strategy here, that reducing visibility for organic listings, sometimes to only 6 per page, and pushed to the bottom, without site links, would de-emphasize them. No free lunch for small business.

Yet even sites that rank first for the query still don’t get the clicks they expect from a number one ranking.

This is because the complete first page of results is designed not to provide a variety of rich search results, but rather a set of results that will generate more stickiness and ad revenue for Google.

Zero click is the worst thing that’s happened to internet marketing.

Consider that one answer doesn’t answer all the questions and angles of user inquiries. A search is an extended session of learning. But Google interprets this “learning session” as less profitable. Do a keyword search right now and see if the search results satisfy your search query or simply suppress your further search activity.

This is why I feel Google’s search engineers don’t know what they’re doing. They’re going down a dead end path to zero. This is where bad IT leads you.

It’s a process that leads to incremental revenue gains that look good on earnings results reports, but which lead to monopoly law suits and user dissatisfaction.

Another approach which would open Google up to more user curiosity, self-directed searches, and small business inclusion. Instead of restricting exposure for those who pay through the nose, they would make more small businesses visible so people can discover the small business they want to buy from.

Google’s approach to AI is wrong. AI can be used to grow information possibilities, more inquiry, more jobs, and more potential solutions. But in their self-limited “algorithmic squeeze pages” they’re pointing to reductions in everything. Zero click equals zero growth for users and society and business.

AI can be used to grow results, possibilities and knowledge, but zero click is in direct opposition of that very desirable outcome.

In this way, Google is using technology to frustrate citizens and send us down a path to Zero satisfaction.

How to Deal with Zero Click

Zero click makes competition in search results a winner take all scenario. That means hiring the best SEO copywriter to help you reach those top rankings. What an expert SEO consultant or company does is develop content in a way such that is a credible authority on that topic. Google’s EAT algorithm update requires web pages to possess expertise, authority and trust.

That means thorough treatment of a topic with coverage on vital concepts and keywords. Google’s eroding exact match keyword reliance so its system reads into your content’s topic and expertise level. Pushing keywords into title tags, headings and anchor is increasingly less effective.

This is why you need an expert SEO consultant to comprehend and respond to this very complex ranking algorithm.

Featured Results Boxes

Google inserts a variety of featured box listings. These small sections are called People also Ask, People Also Search For, Videos, Interesting Finds, Top Stories. If your content is intense, fresh, updated, readable, and uses semantic well, it can find its way into these spots. Top Stories is reserved for news sites, so you’ll need to contact a journalist or be included in a newsfeed to show in these results.

When you’re competing with big companies with extensive budget and reach, you must get more creative and you must beat those competitors with useful content. Big companies will rarely go deep on content because it conflicts with their branding and preference for light material.

Big companies get top rankings via reach and links from other big company websites or sites that possess authority and trust. Create content that is highly shareable via social media.

Of course, the research and production of that content and how it is written is the realm of SEO experts. It is best to use an experienced or talented SEO consultant to help you compete in this winner take all environment.

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