When you search a phrase on Google to find an answer, how often do you actually end up clicking on a link?
SEOmoz CEO and co-founder Rand Fishkin has heavily considered this question. This week, he published research about Google searches and the rate at which users actually click results. He found that a whopping 64.82% of searches end without a click.
Specifically, Fishkin analyzed 5.1 trillion Google searches in 2020 using software called SimilarWeb. Fishkin looked for what he calls ‘zero-click searches,’ which refers to any search that does not end in a click on a link or any other web property on the SERP.
Fishkin found that 64.82% of searches could be classified as ‘zero-click searches,’ though he speculates that the real number is much higher:
“That number is likely undercounting some mobile and nearly all voice searches,” he wrote. “It’s probable that more than 2/3rds of all Google searches are […] ‘zero-click searches.'”
Fishkin performed a similar analysis in 2019, using software called Jumpshot. He found that about half of all searches produced clicks in 2019.
The data published in 2021 produced a few more interesting tidbits:
33.59% of all searches ended in clicks on organic results, while only 1.59% ended in clicks on paid results
Zero-click searches occur more often on mobile than desktop
Fishkin didn’t share any conclusions he may have drawn from the data – “I have strong opinions on the matter, [but] I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves,” he wrote – but it’s reasonable to link to the data to Google’s much-discussed monopoly power. Specifically, Google’s share of the search and web market is so large that competing search engines and other websites struggle to get their share of web traffic.
Fishkin will co-host the upcoming Evolution of Search seminar with SimilarWeb on March 31 to discuss the research in further detail.