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Google Calls Controversial Zero-Click Search Data ‘Misleading’ The Search Engine Has Responded To A Report Suggesting That Only A Third Of Searches End In A Click

author image Written by: Wade Morris           Categories - In The News

Google has defended itself against a report that suggests only a third of searches on the engine actually end in a click.

Last week, SparkToro published a report claiming that 64.82% of searches on Google could be described as ‘zero-click searches’ – in other words, the user does not click on any web property on the SERP.

READ MORE: Two thirds of Google searches end with no click, research shows

SEOmoz CEO Rand Fishkin used a software called SimilarWeb to analyze nearly 5.1 trillion Google searches in 2020 to better understand how many searches actually ended in a click. He had performed a similar analysis in 2019, and found that the percentage of ‘zero-click searches’ had increased.

Fishkin’s report caused a minor uproar in the search community. Some shared concerns over the data, claiming that Google has been steadily monopolizing the web. Others criticized Fishkin’s report, saying that it doesn’t paint a full picture.

Google has fought back against claims of unfairness, calling Fishkin’s report “misleading.” Specifically, Google published a blog post titled “Google Search sends more traffic to the open web every year,” addressing the claims.

Written by Public Liasion for Search Danny Sullivan, the blog post argues that Google does not take clicks away from sites, but actually gives them more clicks.

“We send billions of visits to websites every day, and the traffic we’ve sent to the open web has increased every year since Google Search was first created,” he wrote.

Additionally, the post argues that a perspective is missing from the ongoing discussion: that not every user actually searches with the intention of clicking on something.

“People look for quick, factual information,” he wrote. “As many search engines do, we provide this information directly on the results page, drawing from licensing agreements or tools we’ve developed. These results are helpful for users, and part of our ongoing work to make Google Search better every day.”

Wade Morris

Wade brings an energetic approach to writing – he is always on the hunt for stories and angles that matter. With years of experience in journalism and marketing environments, Wade has written about everything from politics to education. Now, he writes about SEO and digital marketing trends.

Google Updates Its Guidelines for Search Quality Raters

10/20/2021

Google has finally updated its Search Quality Raters guidelines this week after a year without any updates.

For those who are unfamiliar, Google’s Search Quality Raters Guidelines offer insight into how Google assesses the quality of online content.

The last update took place on October 14, 2020, and was 175 pages. The latest update saw three of those pages removed, reducing the document to 172 pages. However, according to Search Engine Round Table, 3,635 changes were made – 807 replacements, 812 insertions, and 356 deletions.

Here is a quick summary of what was changed:

  • The definition of the YMYL subcategory ‘Groups of people’ has been expanded

  • Direction on how to research reputation information for websites and content creators has been revised

  • The ‘Lowest Page Quality’ section has been restructured, updated, reorganized, and refreshed

  • The definition of ‘Upsetting-Offensive’ has been simplified and redundancy in the Lowest Page Quality section has been removed

  • Other minor changes have been made throughout the document, such as updated screenshots and URLs, wording, and examples for consistency removed outdated examples and fixed typos.

Here’s what the ‘Groups of people’ section looks like now: 

“Information about or claims related to groups of people, including but not limited to those grouped on the basis of age, caste, disability, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, immigration status, nationality, race, religion, sex/gender, sexual orientation, veteran status, victims of a major violent event and their kin, or any other characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalization.”

Along with reporting from Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Round Table, SEO consultant Glenn Gabe also took to Twitter to share some of his insights on the new document.

Check it out below:

 

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Google Caps off Volatile Week With Another Algorithm Update

10/08/2021

What in the world is going on with the internet this week? It was only Monday that we reported that Google had rolled out a massive unconfirmed update, and the following day, Facebook experienced a colossal outage affecting billions of people around the world. Now, Search Engine Round Table is reporting yet ANOTHER unconfirmed update appears to be happening. And yes, this all happened in the span of a week. What a wild ride it’s been. 

While this latest update doesn’t appear to be as big as the one that took place last weekend, Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Round Table is reporting that tracking tools seem to show that an update began rolling out on October 6th, peaked on October 7th, and is now starting to slow down.

This time around, there is way more industry chatter going on in the SEO forums. Here are some interesting snippets posted in WebmasterWorld around October 6th:

“Seeing a return of the drop in USA traffic in the middle part of the day again. Starts in the morning and traffic remains very low for hours. Back to the old June patterns…”

“For me traffic has fallen off the cliff edge today with hardly any multiple page view visitors.

Over the last few weeks I have also seen many, many visits by Singapore, Huawei Clouds.” 

“Yesterday was my worst traffic day in years. Gulp!” 

“All competitors I am tracking are down today with only one exception, me lol I am in the same position as I was yesterday but the biggest volume keywords were targeted and pushed down the serps. Some low volume keywords improved. The algorithms constantly target high volume keywords.”

Tracking tools aren’t showing a ton of volatility, mostly just a shift in the Google search results. Overall, things look pretty calm compared to the update last weekend. Still, we’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

Check out the screenshots posted by Search Engine Round Table:

Semrush:

SEM Rush tracking 

Cognitive SEO:

Cognitive SEO report

SERPmetrics:

SERP Metrics report

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