Google: 65% of Searches Ended Without a Click in 2020

  • There are no suggestions because the search field is empty.

By Helena Alcoverro, on 31 May 2021

Google's results page is becoming increasingly complex and offering users more information. Until a few years ago, the only options were to click on an organic search result or a paid ad. But now, non-click searches are the majority.

In no-click or zero-click searches, the user finds the information they are looking for in Google's own SERP and gets their answer without visiting any pages. Let's see what the data has to say about this.

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Google searches

The Latest Data on Google Searches

According to SimilarWeb, between January and December 2020, 64.82% of Google searches from both computers and mobile devices ended on the search results page itself, without entering any other website.

Google 65% of Searches Ended Without a Click in 2020

Image: SparkToro

It is necessary to clarify that although we normally refer to these types of searches as zero-click, it is possible that the user may have clicked within the Google results page to play a sound or call a phone number.

It is interesting to note that a similar study by Jumpshot in 2019 indicated that 50.33% of Google searches ended with no clicks, so we can see a clear increase in this trend.

To conduct the 2020 study, SimilarWeb analyzed more than 5 billion Google searches. Of these, 33.59% of searchers clicked on an organic result, 1.59% clicked on a paid ad and the rest stayed on the results page.

It is also very interesting to note that there are very clear differences between user behavior on computers and mobile devices.

  • On computers, organic results dominate, with 50.75% of searches ending with a click on one. 46.48% are zero clicks and paid ads account for 2.78% of the searches analyzed.

  • On mobile, non-click searches clearly dominate, reaching 77.22%. Click-through searches on organic results make up 21.99% and paid ads are much less successful, with only 0.79% of searches ending with someone clicking on them.

This data suggests that Google is further consolidating its dominance of online searches. In 2020, the search engine accounted for 91% of the global online search market. In the United States, Google controls 95% of search advertising and more than 50% of display ads.

In addition, Google has set out to replace cookie-based advertising with a proprietary system for aggregating user behavior, called FLoC. This would give them exclusive access to a wealth of information about users, helping consolidate their dominance of the internet advertising sector.

Position Zero and Zero Click Searches in Google

The popularity of zero-click searches originates from the radical changes that Google has made to its results page over the past few years.

The most prominent of these is "position zero" or featured snippet, which is a result that shows an extract of the information searched for, the title of the page where it is found, a URL, and sometimes an image. This result appears above all organic results and is often enough to answer the user's query, making it unnecessary to visit more pages.

The featured snippet information is displayed in three different formats.

  • Paragraph. This is the most common, since according to MOZ, 81% of the results in position zero are in this format. They usually appear when the user has entered a query in the search engine.

  • Table. This appears in 12% of the searches and organizes the information in a way that makes it easy to compare different options. Tables are very common when the user's query includes the word "which".

  • List. The remaining 7% are lists. They are more frequent when the search query includes the words "has" or "how".

Featured snippets are not the only new element on Google's search results page. In recent years, a large number of elements have been introduced that have contributed to changing users' search habits, and include the following.

  • The knowledge panel, which is another format that contributes to searches without a visit to Google. It is a tab that summarizes the most important information about a query and presents it in a column to the right of the results. This way, the user can be informed without visiting any other page.

  • Shopping results, which are actually paid Google Ads, that show a product of interest to the user accompanied by images, prices, reviews, and other information. With this, Google seeks to increase the conversion rate.

  • Videos, which make up 62% of Google search results with thumbnails mostly from YouTube. In this way, Google encourages users to stay on channels that they control.

  • Local information. For searches related to local businesses, information is displayed directly through Google Maps to encourage visits to the company's physical locations.

  • The Google results page often includes reviews for searches related to products, software, hotels, restaurants, recipes, and other related content. Reviews are displayed between the page URL and description, and show the average score and number of votes.

  • Site links. Google no longer only includes a single description and link for each search result. In some cases it shows additional pages from the same site with their corresponding links. This makes the result take up more space on your page and increases visibility.

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Helena Alcoverro