No-Click Google Searches

Keach Hagey, Rob Copeland, and Sam Schechner, Wall Street Journal:

Google’s competitors are pressing antitrust enforcers to look far and wide at the company’s practices. Perhaps the most common complaint against Google around the world in recent years is that it uses its search engine to privilege its own content at the expense of its competitors’.

For example, it created new design features like the “knowledge graph,” which populates the boxes that appear at the top of search, often answering a query without requiring the user to click through to another website. In March, 62% of Google searches on mobile were “no-click” searches, according to research firm Jumpshot. Google has argued that if consumers don’t find the rearranged content useful, they won’t click on it.

Via Michael Tsai, who also links to a tweet from Kyle Howells showing a Google search on his iPad that displayed only an information box, with an additional tap required to see further search results.

The proportion of people who, Jumpshot claims, do not click or tap on a search result on mobile is unsurprising to me. Google’s mobile search results page often displays a knowledge panel that occupies the entire height of the viewport. This may be enough to answer the query; however, it’s frequently inaccurate, and there’s little indication that different results are available which may better answer the searcher’s question.

See Also: Bad products selected by Amazon showing the inherent power of recommendations; inaccurate Featured Snippets; how Featured Snippets killed Celebrity Net Worth; and, recently, the wholesale copying of lyrics from Genius.