three Key Search Developments To Watch For In 2021

Let's face it: we are all ready to leave 2020 behind. However, making predictions for 2021 also seems like a tempting fate. What can we expect for the next year? I don't know – but it would be nice to be able to go to a restaurant and not have to surf the sidewalk in a drafty makeshift yurt.

But back to the topic. If I put on my forecaster's hat, I'd bet we won't see any breakthrough disruptions in Search this year. However, we will see changes that are already planned and in place increase and become more critical to the success of SEO. The old methods that still worked will be out of date, and if you don't apply new best practices, your search efforts will undoubtedly be hampered more than ever.

Here are some search trends to watch out for in 2021.

Zero-click search

It's known as a zero click search, but it can also be called a zero-sum search as one player wins and everyone else loses.

Zero-click search is a search that has Google showing an answer at the top of Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) so that users no longer have to click on a website. A single site is presented that provides an authoritative answer.

Why does it matter? Isn't it the point of SEO to get people to click your website for more information? Why should Google even record your content in such a way that it doesn't attract visitors to your website?

Well, it's important for two reasons: First, it has decimated search engine traffic for many websites. This is not good. Second, it has opened up the possibility for small businesses to get traffic if they aren't the first result listed in the SERP for a given query. Even with an answer on the SERP itself, a lot of people will still be clicking through context. They will click to read more from the website in the featured snippet, not the top page in search engine results.

In addition, these featured snippets serve as free advertising for your company. You build brand awareness and even better do it for free using your industry knowledge to create useful content.

Google Passage Ranking

While Google announced the new passage ranking back in October, it is to be introduced in 2021. As with zero-click search, the goal here is to help users find the exact information they need.

The idea is that one page deals exclusively with the topic you are looking for and yet is not as valuable as a page with a completely different topic. If you're looking to install a dimmer switch, the best instructions page may also have instructions from an electrician for a number of other DIY electrical projects. Instead of deciding that this page is of little relevance because it covers a broader range of topics, it tends to be found higher up in the SERPs.

It is predicted that this change will primarily be aimed at long tail searches, so the traffic may not be high. However, these searches can help with conversions.

Core web vitals

Core Web Vitals is probably one of the biggest updates we can expect in 2021. All the things that Google has told you for years and that are really important for the user experience will now be official ranking signals. (But it's not a big deal because you're already doing it, is it?)

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