Google is getting greedy with its own traffic.

They don’t want to send people to your website if they don’t have to.

About 8 years ago – so a million in internet years – Google gave people ten blue links, along with some ads when they searched for something.

Things have changed in a big way since then.

Google has been de-prioritizing organic search results in favor of ads and what are known as “No Click Searches”.

No Click Searches: Instances where people are searching on Google, only to get the information they need without needing to visit any websites.

Google understands that it can only get so aggressive in terms of prioritizing ads over organic search results.

What they’ve gotten very good at is getting people to stay on search results pages until they actually click an ad.

They’re doing this in many ways that you’ve already seen – and it’s happening more frequently.

Here are some examples:

Showing the weather in search results seemed pretty harmless.

Then websites like Time and IMDB realized they were getting less traffic when Google started featuring their content in search results (so people didn’t have to visit their website anymore).

And then Google started rolling out things like this in highly commercial markets (where a lot of money is changing hands).

This may not seem like a huge deal at first, but the growth of No Click Searches is no joke.

And it’s affecting local businesses.

No Click Searches now account for 47% of all search queries.

Google’s intent is to offer users as much value as possible directly within search results – so when people do something that Google can’t directly answer – the chances they click an ad (so Google gets paid) increases.

Rand Fishkin, one of the key leaders in SEO, recently held a presentation about this at a conference. Here’s one of the slides that refers to this:

47% of search traffic that used to go to sites like yours? It’s gone.

Business owners who rely on traffic from search engines previously just had to worry about the growing prominence of ads – as Google pushed organic results lower and lower on the page.

From the data above, it’s clear we’re now fighting against these ads, and the rapidly growing instances of No Click Searches.

No Click Searches on mobile: The real kicker is how No Click Searches work in combination with mobile devices. Due to the small screens, No Click Searches account for over 60% of searches in some cases.

The small screens mean that ads get even more priority on mobile.

When ads are followed by Google’s efforts to keep users from clicking on organic results (answer boxes, etc) it turns into even more No Click Searches.

Here’s an example of what we see when we search “mortgage rates Calgary”. Normal organic results aren’t even shown until the bottom of the third screen.

This illustrates the lengths Google is taking to offer people information directly in search results – so they can keep them on their pages longer – instead of having them visit your site.

See that little blue link in the bottom right corner? That’s where the organic search results start. People don’t even see them until they’ve scrolled down 3 full times on mobile.

That bright shiny site you paid a ton for – and are paying someone truckloads of cash to optimize for search engines?

Even if it ranks first, it’s now buried on the second half of the page.

This is why so many sites are seeing decreases in their search engine traffic – even when their rankings haven’t decreased.

Here’s what a well respected agency owner had to say on LinkedIn.

More instances of clients seeing decreases in traffic – even without losses in search rankings.

What does this mean for your site? Should you still be paying someone to optimize it?

Listen, I’d rather not give you my opinion. We’ve never met and I don’t know the ins and outs of your business.

Let’s look at the math instead.

The effort (cost) needed to rank first hasn’t changed between then and now.

But the ROI has.

Let’s assume your website converts visitors to customers at a rate of 5%.

And each customer is worth $100 in revenue.

Let’s say you’re paying an agency $1,500 a month to manage your campaign.

Here’s how things looked before the spike in No Click Searches:

Ranking = #1

Total monthly searches = 3,000

Percentage of visitors that click on the #1 ranking = 27%

Website visitors = 810

Customers (5% x 810) = 41

Revenue (41 x $100) = $4,100

Revenue – Expenses ($4,100 – $1,500) = $2,600

Previous ROI = 173%

In 2019, you’re still paying an agency the same fees, but No Click Searches now account for 47% of all search queries:

Ranking = #1

Total monthly searches = 3,000

No Click Searches (47% x 3,000) = 1,410

Total monthly searches, excluding No Click Searches (3,000 – 1,410) = 1,590

Percentage of visitors that click on the #1 ranking = 27%

Website visitors = 430

Customers (5% x 430) = 22

Revenue = $2,200

Revenue – Expenses ($2,200 – $1,500) = $700

ROI in 2019= 47%

Keep in mind this example does not account for other expenses, like your overhead or cost of goods sold (COGS).

Moral of the story?

Your costs aren’t yielding close to the returns they used to.

But many agencies and consultants would never tell you that.

Because your campaign is how they make their living – even if it’s slowly causing you to lose your shirt in the process.

Contact me to increase traffic to my website