In today’s episode, Manuel asks if zero-click answers are the future of SEO. I explain how zero-click results are already reducing organic traffic and will only increase as AI improves. To thrive in this new environment, marketers must find ways to attract visitors directly, bypassing search engines. Tune in to hear my tips for succeeding in an SEO world dominated by zero-click answers.
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What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.
In today’s episode, Manuel asks, are zero click answers the future in SEO?
Yes, yes, they are. Or very few clicks. Anyway, we already know that zero click answers are more prominent than not most of the time. This means that when you type an answer into a search engine like Google, you get an answer that you don’t have to then click on to go anywhere, right? You say “How many days is it from 1970 to today?” and it just tells you right there. Or “What are the hours of the sushi bar near my house?” and it shows you the hours and the website stuff right in a little box there.
You get a lot of zero click answers already in SEO because Google understands the query and is able to return a satisfying response. It’s one of the reasons why organic search traffic has been dropping year after year from Google in particular, really since 2018 when Rand Fishkin over at SparkTor talked about this. He said, yeah, zero click is the way Google is moving and taking as much traffic as it can.
With generative search experiments and generative AI in Google results, that’s going to get even worse. If you have general generative search experiments turned on, you will see very clearly what the future of search looks like. For a lot of questions, Google will present a summary, and it will not send traffic anywhere. If you ask it, “What are some good tips for baking an apple pie?” it will just generate an answer. And that answer may or may not send traffic anywhere. Even though it’s drawing from original sources, it’s going to summarize and consolidate and synthesize answers that don’t send traffic anywhere.
And that’s good for Google, because again, if users stay on Google longer, they’re more likely to eventually click an ad. And it’s bad for us as marketers.
So yes, zero click answers are the future in SEO. And you need to be prepared for this, you need to be ready for this. This is something that is happening now already. It’s not some distant day in the future. Generative search experiments are in Google today in beta. And so your strategy has got to be “How do we deal with a future in which Google sends us less and less and less traffic?”
In the keynote talk that I give, I talk about this to some degree. And the short answer really is you’ve got to have mechanisms that sidestep other people’s AIs, things like a newsletter, or a blog, right, the way people subscribe to you directly, a text messaging system, a Discord server where people again can connect to you directly without somebody else’s AI in the way.
The same is going to be true of search. As search consumes more and more clicks, we are going to have to take other measures to still attract traffic to our sites. We are going to have to market in some ways like search engines don’t exist. They can take care of the answering the generic questions and we will be the ones who will satisfy intent-based questions like “Who’s a good agency for this?”
So yes, zero click answers are the future. The future is now and it’s only going to get worse for SEO folks.
That’s the show for today. Thank you for your question. I’ll talk to you next time. If you like this video, go ahead and hit that subscribe button.
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