If you do even a slight amount of online business, you know by now that Google and your business are pretty firmly linked. With over 90% of online experiences starting on a search engine, SEO and PPC have become much more than buzzwords. They’re ingrained in how we do business. In a recent effort to make information more accessible, though, Google has changed the game. It’s becoming more difficult for customers to find your business organically. Here are the reasons why and how you can prepare for them.

Zero-Click Searches

If you search for something like “weather in Atlanta” or even the term “SEO,” you’ll notice the Google shift I’m talking about. Rather than immediately offering you links to other sites, Google scrapes that information and displays it directly on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). This format is starkly different from the Google of years past, and it’s unintentionally killing clicks. When someone finds all or at least enough displayed at the top of the page and stops there, it’s a zero-click search.

This new face of Google’s SERP is extremely convenient for the casual searcher cutting down on clicks. But for those of us who rely on those clicks, it’s a major speedbump. In 2018, over 34% of desktop searches resulted in zero clicks, and mobile zero-click searches were above 60%. As Google becomes more of a portal than a search engine, businesses are going to need to improve their approach to SEO to keep getting clicks that drive purchases. There are 3 relatively easy things you can start doing to boost your efforts.

1. Write Long Tail Content

This exercise will not only help you get more valuable clicks, but it will help you understand how to set your brand apart from others in your space in general. “The Long Tail” refers to more specific keywords or phrases that go beyond the generics of your product or service. In other words, you want to think about the small things that distinguish you from your competitors. 

For example, if you own a salon, you don’t want every title or keyphrase to be generically about salons and hair. It helps to branch out a bit to appeal to a wider variety of searches. People who search more specifically are much more likely to make a purchase, so it helps to target those people with more finely-tuned language. A good SEO practice to remember is to link your long tail material to your mainstream content to help Google crawlers make sense of your site.

2. Analyze Customer Responses 

If you’re doing any type of surveying or customer feedback, take a look at the language your customers are using. If you can establish a pattern of what customers are looking for in your experience and even what they searched for when they found your business, you can tailor your content accordingly. You will discover the features and specific language you can highlight in your content that will appeal to the searches of your most likely customers.

3. Educate Your Team

SEO vocabulary and practices, at least on a rudimentary level, should be commonplace among your staff. Present your findings and best practices to team members to ensure that everyone is writing authoritative content that stands a chance of showing up on SERPs. The more clarity and authority your copy has, the more likely Google is to pick it up or at least scrape from your site and feature at the top of the page.