The 50% mark was crossed for the first time in June 2019: less than one Google search out of two is followed by a click on the results.
We click less and less on search results
SEO specialist Rand Fishkin (SparkToro) regularly analyzes the behavior of users on the Google results pages, thanks to Jumpshot data. It has been alerting for several months on the trend “Zero click”: it is observed that Google users click less and less on the search results. More and more often, the information displayed by Google on the results page is enough for them.
The symbolic cap of 50% is crossed
In June 2019, a new milestone was reached : for the first time in the history of Google, less than one request out of two was followed by a click on a result.
- 45.25%: click on a natural result (organic)
- 4.42%: click on a paid result (advertising)
- 50.33%: no click
For three years, the trend has been confirmed. In the first quarter of 2016, “only” 43.9% of requests did not generate clicks. Natural results obtained visits in 54% of cases. The graph below shows the evolution of behaviors since 2016.
An even more pronounced trend on mobile
This trend is important because the (very) vast majority of searches are done on Google. According to Jumpshot figures, 94% of online searches are done through a search engine owned by Google (classic search, Google Images, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Shopping …). Google’s competitors are struggling to convince net users, who are visibly pleased with the results.
Other data to take into account: we use more and more our mobile (and less often in a computer) to search the Internet. And on mobile, the Zero Clique trend is even more marked: in June 2019, nearly 62% of searches stopped at the mere reading of the results obtained (vs. 33.7% on PC).
Several factors can explain this phenomenon, such as the nature of mobile requests (in mobility, we need a direct response more often) and the impressive place taken by enriched results on our small mobile screens. What is certain is that this trend is not without consequences for users and publishers of websites.
Consequences for users and web professionals
We understand users who no longer click on the search results. More and more, they have direct access to information. Google does not just want to be a search engine: Google becomes a driver of answers. Ask your question to Google, via the wizard or via a form: Google will try more and more often to bring you the answer directly. In some cases, listening or reading these structured data is enough to access the opening hours of a store or to know the name of the coach of a football team for example. In other cases, the reading of exhaustive content, published on a website by a recognized author who has taken the time to treat the subject in depth,
For web professionals, it’s a real headache. They might be tempted to protect their web traffic by banning Google from aggregating their data on the results page. But refusing this promotion would immediately benefit their competitors: from the moment Google directly displays data on a request, website publishers prefer to see their data rather than those of their rivals. They do everything to chew the work to Google, structuring their data … to the delight of the Mountain View firm. For users, Google is no longer an intermediary, it becomes the one who answers directly to their questions.
Wase Dawson helped bring Web Search News from a weekly email newsletter to a full-fledged news publication by creating a new website and branding. He continues to assist in keeping the site responsive and well organized for the readers. As a contributor to Web Search News, Wase mainly covers Digital Marketing and Internet News news.