Google’s Search Generative Experience for Legal Marketing

by Kalin Dudley | January 8, 2024

Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) is all about making Google searches more helpful and efficient. It is intended to provide quick and useful information without users needing to click through multiple websites.

It does this by using AI-generated responses to questions, keywords, and search topics. So, instead of directing users to find what they are looking for by presenting several different websites, Google instead attempts to answer their questions or searches directly from the search results page.

For personal injury law firms, this feature is important because when people search for legal help, they want answers fast. These “zero-click searches” help potential clients find legal help easier and faster, making it simpler for them to connect with the right law firm for their needs.

In this two-part blog, we’ll first discuss the rise of zero-click searches and how they’re changing the way people get search results from Google. Then, we’ll provide steps firms can take to ensure zero-click searches work for them instead of against them.

Zero-Click Searches Are Shaking Things Up

Zero-click searches are changing how people find information online, and this changes search engine marketing. Before, the goal was to get people to click on your website. Now, with zero-click searches, the challenge is to provide valuable and detailed information that Google draws from when people search for specific keywords, phrases, and questions.

Taking advantage of zero-click searches is all about being the source Google trusts enough to show on the search results page. That means firms need to focus on providing accurate and informative answers to people’s questions that show up in those search results.

Understanding Zero-Click Searches

According to a 2022 case study by SEMRush, zero-click searches are more prevalent on mobile devices compared to desktop platforms. On mobile, the search results are often designed to provide quick and direct answers right on the search results page.

On desktop, users are often more likely to click through to websites for more detailed information due to the larger screen size and different browsing behavior. However, the shift towards zero-click searches is noticeable across both platforms as Google continues to prioritize providing immediate answers to user queries directly in the search results.

The Role of Algorithms in Zero-Click Search Results

Advanced search algorithms have evolved to better understand user intent and deliver immediate, concise answers directly on the search engine results page (SERP). This advancement has led to an increase in zero-click results by prominently featuring rich snippets, knowledge panels, and answer boxes.

These elements extract and display relevant information from websites, providing quick answers without the need to click through to a specific webpage. As algorithms prioritize user convenience and faster access to information, they aim to fulfill queries directly on the SERP, contributing to the rise of zero-click results.

Google’s SGE relies heavily on its featured snippets algorithm to write text to help users find the information they’re looking for. It aims to deliver an answer or start a conversation rather than directing users to a specific link or a list of links.

The Mechanics Behind Zero-Click Searches

Rich snippets and knowledge panels play crucial roles in zero-click searches by providing users with immediate and concise information directly on the SERP.

Rich snippets

These are enhanced search results that display additional information beyond the typical title, URL, and meta description. They might include starred reviews, product prices, event dates, recipes, or FAQs, among other information. Rich snippets aim to provide users with quick, relevant answers without having to click through to a website. By showcasing key details, they reduce the need for users to visit a webpage for basic information, thereby contributing to zero-click searches.

Knowledge panels

These are information boxes that appear prominently on the SERP, usually on the right-hand side, containing summarized details about a specific search query’s subject (person, place, event, etc.). Knowledge panels aggregate information from various trusted sources, offering a snapshot of essential details about the search query. Users can often find answers to their queries without clicking through to any website.

Both rich snippets and knowledge panels aim to answer user questions directly on the SERP, minimizing the need for users to click through to a website for basic information. As a result, they contribute significantly to zero-click searches by providing immediate, relevant, and comprehensive answers to user queries right on the search results page.

How Can Rich Snippets and Knowledge Panels Benefit Law Firms?

Zero-click searches will draw from law firm websites with plenty of authoritative and informative content to produce answers for users through rich snippets and knowledge panels. When users want more information, they’ll be likely to visit and trust the website where the information was sourced.

As users become more and more accustomed to zero-click searches and immediate answers, especially with the rise of SGE, simply ranking for a certain keyword may not produce the results it once did. Instead, it will be vitally important to be visible in a zero-click search.

Google’s Search Generative Experience Can Be a Big Advantage for Your Firm

For years, Google ranked websites based on E-A-T, which are standards for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Search Engine Land describes how E-A-T eventually became E-E-A-T, with the second E standing for experience. A website that demonstrated E-E-A-T in its content strategy meant Google recognized it as an informative and authoritative source, which meant a higher ranking in search results. Now, with Google’s SGE, it’s even more important to be recognized as THE personal injury firm for given keyword and practice areas in your community, city, or state.

Embracing the significance of zero-click searches is pivotal for law firms aiming to expand their online presence, as is being aware of the rise of AI in search, including Google’s own SGE. By optimizing content to appear as featured snippets and learning how AI comprehends user intent, law firms can elevate their visibility and authority in search engine results, leading to more and higher-quality converting clients.

What worked ten years ago doesn’t work today; and what worked even a couple of years ago is rapidly becoming less effective, especially with Google’s SGE becoming a bigger focus for the search engine giant. If you have questions about SGE, zero-click searches, and how to maintain your website as a case-driver for your firm, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. It’s our goal to help you and your website succeed.

To learn more about Google’s SGE, continue to Part Two and get a fuller picture of zero-click searches and SGE. This section contains important steps your firm can start taking today to better harness the power of zero-click searches and Google’s SGE.