How to Prepare for the Zero-Click SERP
Gone are the days of a Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP) that simply lists search results that link us to different websites. These days, Google is presenting more content directly within the SERP through “Featured Snippets” and “People Also Asked” sections that effectively give users a more seamless online experience when researching information.
Search marketing experts at the 2019 SMX Advanced Conference made it clear that the zero-click SERP model is only advancing, and marketers and developers must revisit and refine current technical SEO strategies so their content remains visible online.
Don’t Settle for Sloppy Website Architecture
Website architecture is the foundation of any web project, and it’s the very future of SEO in a zero-click SERP landscape that relies on machine learning and artificial intelligence to prioritize rankings.
Developers must master the art of properly structuring data so that when Google crawls a page, it only pulls the most essential and relevant information to present to users within the SERP. It can be as simple as making sure your HTML tags are used for their intended purposes to maximize structure instead of causing clutter. The better the data structure, the more rich results users receive that enhance their experience with your content.
Siloing Your Content
Siloing content, or creating topic clusters, is a way to organize and interconnect content into clearly defined themes based on how people search. By siloing your content, your website becomes a hub for information on a given topic that covers a wider variety of searches so your content has greater chances of being presented within the SERP. The topic cluster approach to linking and information architecture also highlights the depth and breadth of your content with Google and positions you as an authority.
How well you structure data will have limited impact if you don’t maintain your website’s schema structure to ensure it’s free of errors or unnecessary markups. A website’s schema guides how web browsers logistically read, or “crawl,” the website’s content, and if it’s unstructured and difficult for browsers to interpret and present, your SEO rankings for zero-click snippets suffer.
With over 600 types of schema, it’s safest to stick with those recommended by Google so you know your efforts aren’t in vain and the information can be pulled into more specialized zero-click SERP displays.
Moving Beyond Keywords to Audience Targeting
Keywords are still fundamental to appearing on the first page of the SERP, but they alone won’t land your website into zero-click territory. Your keywords must be leveraged in content that presents only the most relevant and useful information no matter where users are in the customer journey so your content is made visible to them with the least required clicks to action.
Potential Consequences of the Zero-Click SERP
As Google makes it easier for users to complete any transaction within its SERP to compete with Amazon and other transactional platforms, the implications for e-commerce businesses versus non-transactional businesses vary.
For those in e-commerce, it doesn’t matter if a user can make a transaction from within Google instead of their site – it’s still a transaction. Ensuring your products are part of the Google Shopping experience could be essential for maintaining and increasing sales volume even if it means sacrificing some website traffic.
For sites that rely on web traffic to educate and convert customers, being left out of the customer journey in Google’s SERP could present serious problems in the future for conversions.
Keeping SEO rankings and visibility high with optimized content and clean website architecture are the best opportunities to future proof your website as the era of the zero-click Google SERP moves forward.
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