Study: 57% Of Smartphone Users Don’t Click On Google Results

57% of Google users don’t click on webpages when they search from their smartphones, insights from Semrush show.

Even worse for the ad search giant: Only 0.02% of mobile users are clicking on paid search ads, a statistic that may be concerning amid the rise of immersive social platforms, like TikTok. 29.3% of smartphone Google users had to adjust keywords after the first search.

The marketing agency took an anonymous sample of 20,000 unique users, analyzing 609,809 search actions, but noted the difference between desktop and mobile traffic.

On desktop, the study found that over 30% of desktop users refined or extended their Google searches, while 25% didn’t click on a website on the search results page.

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Study Says Almost 30% of People Are Redoing or Refining Their Google Searches

Almost 30% of people are having to redo their Google searches, either by refining or extending queries, according to research published earlier this month by SEMRush, an online marketing software company.

SEMRush took data from 20,000 anonymous users who made 455,368 unique searches. It then looked at how long it took them to make a subsequent action. For over 70% of users, it took less than 15 seconds to make a secondary click, meaning they most likely found the website or answer they were looking for. Almost 30% of users, however, were refining, redoing or extending their searches in some way, suggesting that for some, answers weren’t effectively percolating to the top.

Research Finds Evidence Of User Dissatisfaction With Google Results

New research published by SEMRush indicates that a certain percentage of people searching on Google “aren’t satisfied with the results… and need to refine their queries” in order to find what they are looking for, as well as other findings that indicate some users may be having difficulty finding what they need on Google.

This level of dissatisfaction may explain why a tweet comparing Google to a dying mall resonated with thousands of people.

Zero-Click Searches Are on the Rise — But Marketers Shouldn’t Be Scared

The season of ghouls and goblins is upon us, and for marketers, one rising Google trend may feel particularly scary: the zero-click search.

A zero-click search happens when a user performs a search but doesn’t click on a link that takes them outside of Google. In fact, as many as 57% of users on mobile and 53% on desktop don’t click an organic or paid result, according to a newly released Semrush study of more than 600,000 searches. 

Marketers may fear that increasing zero-click searches mean they will see a significant drop in traffic to their websites. While that could be true, businesses shouldn’t be scared by the growth of this trend. 

Nothing to fear: How marketers can navigate Google’s zero-click world 

Marketers don’t need to lament platform changes. Instead, they should build their SEO and marketing strategies to meet the needs of users and adapt to Google’s infrastructure. 

See? It’s not as ominous as it sounds. Let’s examine the key takeaways for marketers here.

Google isn’t evil

Google algorithm updates are happening more frequently and causing higher SERP volatility, but those updates have been less impactful overall, according to the latest State of Search report from Semrush. 

Google is adapting more quickly to meet the user’s wants and needs, creating a better shopping experience for transactional queries, and rewarding valuable content with higher rankings for informational queries. 

This results in a better search experience overall—and allows for the continuous growth of Google’s business model. 

In the past, a Google user might have clicked on a retailer’s paid or organic blue link and used their website to search for products. Now, Google presents these search results directly in a highly visual and user-friendly way. 

For example, take this transactional search on a mobile device:

SERP for the keyword "halloween costumes for dogs" shows image-heavy sponsored results and shopping filters

Google is quickly connecting its users with the information they are seeking and making it easier for them to shop within its platform. Fortunately, an improved search experience doesn’t necessarily equate to negative outcomes for marketers.  

Ecommerce businesses especially must ensure that their technical SEO is on point, such as the structured data on product pages, so that their products appear on the SERP for transactional queries (as we can see in the canine Halloween costume search above). 

In an ecommerce landscape where 83% of all traffic comes from people navigating directly to retailer sites, Google is disrupting that pattern by adding valuable shopping features to the SERP, such as the ability to filter products by seller, brand, price, or reviews. This allows Google to compete with Amazon as a go-to online shopping platform.

SERP screen for the keyword "halloween costumes for dogs" shows the ability to filter results by seller, brand, price, or reviews
Less traffic doesn’t spell the end of your SEO strategy

While organic traffic to ecommerce sites fell by 23% last year, our zero-click research reveals a more positive trend: 45% of all clicks on desktop and 43% of all clicks on mobile were organic. This shows that zero click may not be a curse for marketers after all.Zero-click study result shows the distribution of clicks on desktop

Zero-click study result shows the distribution of clicks on mobile

Organic channels and content remain key drivers of traffic. Semrush’s State of Search report revealed that informational keywords comprised 60% of unique search queries, demonstrating that users are seeking in-depth resources on topics that matter to them.

State of Search report shows the distribution of keywords by search intent

To stand out in the search results where customers are looking for information, businesses can invest in high-quality, in-depth content that signals expertise, authority, and trust (E-A-T) to Google, and target SERP features with FAQs

While these tactics are valuable, the rise of zero click also highlights the importance of building an organic community to answer questions, solve problems, and provide expert insight on topics that matter to users. This approach can fuel brand awareness and build up a steady flow of organic traffic over time, which can be especially valuable during times of economic turbulence.

For an example of a brand who is harnessing the power of user-first strategies, check out these travel blog creators who turned their hobby into a lucrative business with Semrush. 

What zero-click search means for marketers in 2022 and beyond

The rise of zero-click search doesn’t have to be scary for marketers. The evolving nature of search requires an agile response, and marketers can still hit their KPIs by learning how to navigate a zero-click world

Check out our full zero-click study to learn more about this phenomenon and tips for avoiding zero-click searches on our blog. 

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