Study: nearly 60% of Google searches end with zero clicks

The majority of Google searches end without users actually clicking on results and exploring whatever they were looking for further, a new study has shown.

The data, showing that 58.5% of Google searches in the US and 59.7% in the European Union result in zero clicks, comes from a new study published by Rand Fishkin, SparkToro’s CEO and co-founder, on his blog.

This is, of course, important because clicks impact Google Search rankings, crucial to businesses and publishers. Now, it turns out that only a minority of users actually click on a link and visit a specific website to learn more.

Besides, nearly 30% of all clicks in the US go to Google-owned properties such as YouTube, Google Images, or Google Maps, according to the report. Finally, for every 1,000 Google searches, 360 clicks in the US go to the open web while in the EU that number is 374.

It’s not exactly known how many Google searches are conducted per day but the rough calculations by multiple websites say the number is around 8.5 billion.

Zero-click searches are defined as those that end without clicking on any of the results presented. It includes searches that end with the searcher satisfied, frustrated, or changing their search to perform a new one.

Again, the large number of zero-clicks and the fact that two-thirds of all searches stay inside the Google ecosystem is a huge issue for both those concerned about Google’s alleged monopoly power and the websites that receive less traffic that can then be monetized, Fishkin says.

“Google continues to send less and less of its ever-growing search pie to the open web, writes Fishkin. “Google’s in no risk of losing market share, total searches, or searches per searcher. On all of these metrics they are, in fact, stronger than ever.”

With regards to the AI Overviews, Google’s new search feature that has already been rolled back after multiple inaccuracies appeared, the study found no visible impact to Google Search stats.

Still, according to experts, Google is clearly shifting toward becoming an answer engine rather than a search engine – and that’s only useful to Google itself.

In March, Google introduced updates to Search, tuning its ranking system to reduce “unhelpful and unoriginal content” and penalizing “third-party content produced primarily for ranking purposes.”

However, many smaller online businesses have been left considering layoffs and even site closures after Google's massive upgrade caused catastrophic drops in traffic.