In June this year for the first time, a majority of all US browser-based searches on Google resulted in zero clicks, meaning no external web property receives a visit from the search.
The news is a sign of Google’s increasing dominance in organic internet searches.
The US research, by Jumpshot, shows that more than half the time, a Google search leads to someone either clicking on nothing (because they found what they needed without leaving the search results) or visiting a web property Google already owns.
Internet guru and inventor of the term ‘permission marketing’ Seth Godin described this a “bad news for fans of the open web.
“If you’re an individual or business that’s hoping to be ‘found’ via a search, this is bad news,” Godin writes.
Google representatives were last month asked by a US Congressional panel, chaired by David Cicilline (of Rhode Island), whether it was true that fewer than half of Google searches resulted in clicks to non-Google websites.
In response, Google said it was working to improve the user search experience.
It also said it makes available tools that enable site owners to opt out of indexing or ‘snippeting’ of their unique content.
Data from 40 million US browser-based searches, on mobile and desktop, showed that 49.76% resulted in ‘zero-clicks’ while 45.25% resulted in searches to the rest of the web. A total of 4.42% were clicks on paid-for ads, which display at the top of search results.
Data on 140m mobile and desktop searches, from April-June this year, shows total of 5.98% were to Google-owned sites while 3.83% resulted in paid-for clicks to the rest of the web.
Google sends approximately 6% of queries and 12% of clicks to its own sites, such as YouTube, Google Maps and its own blogs and other sub-domains.
Other data shows that 94% of all browser-based desktop searches happen on a Google property, while anonymised search engines, such as DuckDuckGo, account for a tiny 0.4% of all searches.