How zero search results could change your SEO strategy

Have you ever thought about what a page on Google would look like that was full of zero search results?  This is something that is fast becoming a reality with Google’s latest search results experiment – and something that affiliates will need to take into consideration as part of their future SEO strategies.  

What are Zero Search Results?

Lets start with detailing what Zero Search results actually are. Zero search results do pretty much what they say on the tin, they show no search results at all for specific queries.It could be when a user searches for a date or time or asks a math related question.  Google may simply display what they feel is the most relevant answer with only a button to take to take you to the source. This means that there would be absolutely no snippets or descriptions in the result listings to tell people about your site before they get to the main page.

What is the Feedback is so far?

Google already tested this theory out in March earlier this year but it wasn’t that well received.  After such negative feedback, they dropped it after it being live for only a week.  They have now confirmed that it is back in action.  For now, it’s solely for mobile devices and for local time, unit conversion or calculation queries.  In September Google tested this out again; however, they called it a glitch – and everything went back to normal.  They seem to have fine-tuned it a little more, and zero search results are now with us.  Google has stated that this strategy will result in much faster loading times giving users a better experience overall. 
Google has always placed their focus on speedier loading times – think of the Mobile First Index, and AMP – so the reasoning behind this latest development isn’t too much of a revelation right now. 

What Does it Mean for Affiliates?

If affiliates are only focusing on traffic search volume or site rankings for traffic volume,  you could end up with an inaccurate evaluation of the search terms or keywords that you are trying to get traffic from and the entire strategy would need to change as results would no longer be relevant.  Although it’s only relevant to fairly specific query types now,  it might be a good idea to consider your acquisition plan if this becomes more widespread across the board. It might even affect the entire traditional method of SEO strategy. 
Your main focus  should always be the user engagement and a focussed intent to deliver a product or service that is useful to your audiences.  Understanding where, how and who will be searching for keywords relevant to your service is key for driving results. You also need to take into account whether the user intent is still useful for you in terms of the resulting rankings that will appear in Google. Is SEO the only channel you should be looking at to drive volume of visitors to your site, or should you be looking at other ways to achieve your business and website goals.  

What does the future hold?

Google although mysterious in a lot of ways will give us clues as to what they feel the user intent is in their platform.  When you are researching keywords – do you see featured snippets – or Google’s suggestion of “People also Ask”?  Looking ahead at how you can capitalise on these small changes and reading leading channel specific portals to keep abreast of what is changing helps to give you an idea of what Google is potentially thinking or looking to change in future.  
As an affiliate, learn how to interpret these small clues from Google might give you a much better understanding of how your site should adapt going forward. Zero search results could well be a new and potentially untapped opportunity for affiliates to get in front of as early adoption is key to continued success in these days of digital disruption.

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