Can you believe it’s that time of year already? We’re counting down the days until we ring in the new year and officially enter the year 2020. I remember when that sounded so ridiculously futuristic and now it’s less than 2 months away!
While looking ahead to the new year, I asked some fellow digital marketers what they think 2020 holds for SEO and online marketing in general, and was super excited to get so many responses from across the world.
A huge thank you to everyone who contributed to this post and shared their invaluable insights.
So without further ado, here are 24 SEO predictions for 2020 and beyond.
SEO Predictions For 2020
SEO Prediction For 2020 – #1
E.A.T framework will continue to work as a big picture strategy.
E – Expertise
A – Authority
T – Trustworthy
When you execute an SEO strategy by positioning your website based on EAT, you will generally do well regardless of what algorithms Google release.
Stan Tan, digital marketing manager at Selby’s (www.selbys.net)
SEO Prediction For 2020 – #2
Despite the dilution of the ranking factor of links when Google decided it would get ‘hint’s about website niche authority from ‘nofollow’ links, back links to a website will remain singularly important for small-medium sized businesses moving in to 2020. Out of all the ranking factors that Google has adjusted and changed over the years, ‘follow’ backlinks are a factor that has varied the least.
While content is a great way to build authority, smaller businesses who can focus on link building through guest posting on niche blogs that allow for keyword rich anchor text and ‘follow’ links will find that these efforts move the ranking needle up more than any other effort. And the corresponding traffic increases that follow will show it’s worth.
Link building is hard, and time consuming, but for the relatively resource-light smaller business focusing eff orts on gaining a few high-quality links a month will find that they are rewarded the most for this.
Kyle Douglas, SEO Manager at Revium (https://revum.com.au )
SEO Prediction For 2020 – #3
In 2020 I think we are going to see a large shift in the way that we perceive and do SEO. It will be less about whether a link is dofollow or nofollow, and more about pillars such as search intent, the technical onsite of a website, and brand mentions/reputation as a flow-on from EAT.
Metrics like DA, DR, AS will largely remain as indicators to be used alongside other factors, but people will take a more holistic view on what does and doesn’t constitute a good backlink by the niche and credibility behind the author, rather than just the website.
Harry Sanders, Head of Search at Studio Hawk (https://www.studiohawk.com.au/)
SEO Prediction For 2020 – #4
I think the next big thing for local small businesses will be direct lead generation and appointment booking through google and partners,
Already, they are starting to offer links to book an appointment from certain categories of MyBusiness profiles, For others, such as restaurants, or other services, you can book directly using google if you are using certain booking management services.
I would expect they will continue to roll this out to more and more businesses, eg dentists, doctors, plumbers (book a call out to your house), gym personal trainer sessions etc. This will allow them to data collect fees, satisfaction etc afterwards also and continue to make reviews a big part of SEO, but I would expect these other data points to affect local pack rankings over time.
We already provide online booking but health care providers are not currently eligible for direct booking through google.
Frank Farrelly, Darlinghurst Dental (http://darlinghurstdental.com.au/)
SEO Prediction For 2020 – #5
Google has been talking about E-A-T for a couple of years, but we are finally seeing a big shift in the search rankings for pages that either DO or DO NOT have high E-A-T.
That’s a trend that’s going to continue into 2020 and well beyond. SEO’s now need to give a lot more thought to credibility and trust, not just of the site, but also of the author.
Google wants to know that the author actually has credentials or experience in the field that they are writing about. In some cases, experience isn’t enough, you’ll need to be a bonafide expert if you want to rank (YMYL topics).
2019 was all about E-A-T, will 2020 be about A-T-E? (bad SEO nerd joke)
Marty Spargo, SEO is Life (https://seoislife.com)
SEO Prediction For 2020 – #6
SEO will continue its evolution into 2020 by thrusting mobile, voice and local search more and more into the searchers consciousness. The affinity between content creators and techno savvy consumers will become more cemented as small businesses strive to adapt to customer demands and trends.
SMEs can’t afford to be static in their space. Their SEO evolution needs to at least keep pace or, ideally, exceed the thirst for instant gratification that modern day consumers demand. Hyper local search is expected to deliver results that could essentially change merely by walking a few hundred yards. Locational and geographical intent bias needs to be at the forefront of content creation, even at the most granular level.
With all that being said, the beauty and potential frustration of SEO is that it could flip on its head at any time. The takeaway is to remain fluid and flexible to embrace chance. The cornerstone to the success of any business (of any size!)
Paul Walsh, Content Creation Specialist (https://tiendadigital.co.uk/)
SEO Prediction For 2020 – #7
Voice search will continue to grow in popularity, with predictions that it will make up 60% of total Google searches by mid-2020.
What does this mean for websites?
For small to medium businesses, this means making your content conversational. Sentences shouldn’t be too long, and language needs to be easy to read for your audience.
Voice search queries are longer than text search queries, and read in a conversational manner. They usually contain keywords such as “who”, “what”, “where”, “when” and “how”.
Google prefers question-and-answer type content when answering voice search queries. Think about the types of questions your clients and customers ask you, and use these to guide you when writing website content.
Voice search queries are popular when searching for local businesses. Searchers may ask for the trading hours of a business, or where the nearest business is to them. For this reason, it’s vital that businesses include their physical address, phone number and trading hours on their website.
Natalie Alleblas, SEO Sleuth (www.natalleblas.com)
SEO Prediction For 2020 – #8
In the last few years, Google have been increasingly active in encouraging webmasters to use structured data on their websites. For example, to mark up news articles or product pages in order for rich snippets to be displayed within the search results.
They have already hinted before that it may become a ranking factor at some stage, with a typically vague estimation of when. We wouldn’t be surprised to see structured data play a bigger role in the web soon, as it’s in the best interests of the search engines to provide users with the best experience possible.
Structured data, when implemented correctly, can help with this greatly. In return, it would certainly be reasonable to reward websites using structured data with some kind of ranking boost!
Ben Henderson, Agency51 (https://www.agency51.com/)
SEO Prediction For 2020 – #9
In 2020, most SEOs will know how to optimise a website to improve their organic traffic.
They’ll know how to find the right keywords, how to improve their website speed, how to fix technical SEO issues etc.
In that case, what will give a website the edge over its competitors if they’ve all been optimised in the same way?
Link building. If you take two websites with top notch on-page SEO, the website with the most backlinks coming from high quality websites will be the winner.
There’s a big focus on technical SEO right now. But in 2020, SEOs who know how to reach out to the right people to build backlinks from relevant websites with high domain authority will come out on top of the rankings on Google and Bing.
Optimising your website for mobile, voice search, videos will be very important, of course. But good old, underrated link building will still make a big difference.
Gregory Golinski, Head of SEO (YourParkingSpace.co.uk)
SEO Prediction For 2020 – #10
I think the number one SEO trend to look out for in 2020 for small and medium businesses is the increasing presence of rich snippets in the SERPs.
It’s clear that Google are trying harder and harder to answer certain questions, queries and searches directly within the results page through their implementation of rich snippets and this will only increase the more they try and perfect their search algorithm for the ultimate user experience.
Playing their game by implementing schema and answering user queries clearly and concisely on your pages will give you the best chance of being granted a rich snippet and securing those extra clicks.
Louis Watton, Marketing Executive for Shiply (https://www.shiply.com/courier-service )
SEO Prediction For 2020 – #11
SEO has tacitly meant “Google SEO” almost since it’s inception, but SEO has already started to shift towards other search engines, such as YouTube, Amazon, and Pinterest. In 2020, the lines between SEO, social media marketing, and internet marketing in general will continue to blur at an increasing rate, along with the demand for SEO experts and tools that prioritize other search engines. Google’s ranking algorithm will also continue to put more weight on factors like engagement, entity prominence outside of Google, and a more nuanced view of topical relevancy.
Meanwhile, the market for basic SEO tools will become increasingly saturated until basic SEO becomes a commodity, creating an even greater demand for talent and tools that take a broader, more holistic approach to SEO.
The net effect is that businesses that take a broader approach to their online marketing and SEO will have an even bigger advantage than e ver before over the businesses that focus on gaming SEO ranking signals.
Joe Goldstein, Contractor Calls (https://contractorcalls.com/)
SEO Prediction For 2020 – #12
SEO in 2020 will still resemble SEO in 2019.
So there’s no need to drastically adjust your ranking strategies. However, there are changes on the horizon that are worth an investment of time and energy.
What previously worked will still work BUT with the caveat that it will not use your time efficiently.
So if you’ve worked in SEO for any number of years, this sentence may come as a shock, so please sit down, but – Content Marketing is dead.
And if not, it’s on its last legs.
The digital space is too saturated to expect the content you create will break through and generate organic links and traffic. Unless your brand name is strong enough to carry you over the line, SMEs should be wary of using Content Marketing and expecting results in the SERPs.
If you want to move the needle, focus your energy instead on Content Upgrading.
Content Upgrading is going through your existing content, seeing what’s ranking, and improving it to increase those rankings. This is a tactic few SEOs are currently using, but will deliver results faster and with more efficiency than Content Marketing.
In 2020, Content Marketing will be replaced by Content Upgrading.
That’s not to say you can’t still rank with content that is authentic, thorough and created to speak to the pain points of your audience. But it will no longer be one of the gold standards of SEO.
The time you once would have invested in content marketing will be more effectively spent on Content Upgrading.
What value can you add to your existing content? Are there new stats or facts to add? Can you source expert commentary?
Answering these questions will help you rank well in a way that is faster and more effective than traditional content marketing.
So if you want to improve your rankings in 2020, start with your existing content.
Alexander Porter, SEO Manager at Search It Local (https://www.searchitlocal.com.au/)
SEO Prediction For 2020 – #13
Our SEO tip for 2020 is to focus more on UX for desktop and mobile users. Dwell time and UX is an important factor for ranking on the first page along with appropriate backlinks.
We have to make sure content is optimized and that it’s engaging with users. The page should load quickly and the UI should look nice. This will help with SEO in 2020. For Link Building, we go for higher authoritative and related sites. There just isn’t one thing to do. We have to focus equally both on on page SEO and off page SEO.
Oz Chowdhury, Powerphrase (https://powerphrase.com/)
SEO Prediction For 2020 – #14
Animal Emergency Service is focusing on SEO as our number one priority for this and next year. With four after-hours emergency hospitals in QLD housing some of the most well-renowned emergency vets in the country, our customer journey is very short – as our clients weren’t expecting their pets to fall injured or become ill.
The emphasis we place on SEO is therefore critical – Google is our number one source for potential clients, most unaware of where their nearest emergency vet hospital is.
Our predictions for 2020 surround building strong pillar pages based on keyword research. Our top tip is to work with software that supports your ideal outcomes (for us building pillar pages in a logical, easy way) – we use and recommend HubSpot and their ‘Planning & Strategy’ SEO module.
Laine Brown, Marketing & PR Manager at Animal Emergency Service (www.animalemergencyservice.com.au)
SEO Prediction For 2020 – #15
Many small businesses are concerned with how to increase business through online awareness and search rankings, but internet marketing tactics can seem overwhelming. With a little time and effort, developing a strategy to drive more leads through SEO can help you can gain a competitive advantage for your business and ultimately result in increased traffic and sales. Here are a couple of easy tips we suggest for increasing SEO:
Link building is the foundational element of increasing SEO, and now it is manifesting through images and video. Using Pinterest and YouTube to post images and videos related to your business present amazing opportunities to both share quality content and simultaneously reap SEO rewards.
Pinterest is the second-largest referrer of traffic to websites, which means that only Facebook refers more site visits. On this platform, when you link an image back to your website it counts as a backlink, and that link can be measured in the Google Search console.
The key here is that every time the image is re-pinned (shared), the link duplicates. Google created an artificial intelligence platform in 2015 called RankBrain, which is very accurate at recognizing images. This means that a picture that is relevant to your business can create hundreds of backlinks, which is huge for SEO and rankings.
Speaking of artificial intelligence, many people are not aware that every English word spoken on YouTube is understood and measured by Google’s RankBrain. If you want to expand your understanding of SEO, creating video content and posting on YouTube can be a substantial resource. Here are a few key points for utilizing YouTube videos to increase your rankings: always include annotations that link back to your website, edit the closed captions, include a link to your website in the description, embed the video into a blog on your website and share it on social media, share the blog with your email lists, and always ask viewers to subscribe and like your videos. Follow these steps and you will be ahead of 95% of local business owners who are intimidated by the price of video and the time commitment.
Kellen Kautzman, Send It Rising (https://senditrising.com)
SEO Prediction For 2020 – #16
SEO will continue to push an emphasis on branding authority. This will pose ongoing issues for small to medium businesses that don’t have the equity to compete with larger retailers or e-commerce platforms.
Leveraging other channels for brand awareness with directly impact the effectiveness of a business’ SEO efforts. This means moving away from a traditional silo approach of digital marketing and combining facets to strength and overall brand appearance that aligns across multiple channels.
Investment in social media marketing, email content marketing as well as company citations across the web will help build brand authority. This in turn will provide more incentive for search engines to rank appropriate head terms for your products or services as there is a level of increased trust in your brand.
Don’t forget you can build brand authority outside of digital channels with traditional marketing initiatives. This in turn we will increase users searching for your website on the web, further popularizing your enterprise in the eyes of search engines.
Finally, while working on your brand, target long tail keyword where there is little to no competition. Continued organic traffic to your website will reinforce your site’s ability to a useful resource.
Matt Bassos , SEO Lead at Vuly Play (https://www.vulyplay.com/en-AU)
SEO Prediction For 2020 – #17
Think about your competition. What are they doing? What are they missing? Can you take advantage of this blank spot in their attempts and spike your SEO to the top by meeting this absent demand? The answer is maybe.
Find who your competition is by doing a quick search. My recommendation would be to either do this incognito or by using a public computer. This will help eliminate personal bias based on your previous browsing history.
When you’ve got a shortlist (not including the inevitable Google Ads at the top), start your research. Get familiar with what they’re doing – and figure out what they’re not. After that, you can start building your own SEO strategy to shoot your site to the top.
Morgan Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer for LetMeBank.com (https://letmebank.com/)
SEO Prediction For 2020 – #18
There’s a clear trend which shows that Google favours the websites people can trust.
This means that the content should be written by the experts who are really knowledgeable about the topic; that there should a clear indication of who is behind the business: physical address, the ‘About Us’. This all ties into the E-A-T (expertise, authority and trust) Google cares about.
So in 2020, make sure that you write content not for the sake of writing it to target particular keywords but because you really want to give your users the answers they’re searching for. It’s becoming a crucial part of SEO.
Kristina Azarenko, MarketingSyrup (https://marketingsyrup.com/)
SEO Prediction For 2020 – #19
Don’t judge a link by its cover. When analysing yours and your competitors links, do your best to understand how much authority, power, niche relevancy and traction the content on it gets. Sometimes you can overlook a link that has a poor DA but could potentially have numerous other benefits toward your site and the goals for that period. Find more programs for link analysis, look at more than domain authority.
I believe 2020 will lean more heavily toward experience and on page optimisation. Google rely on AI to analyse your content, we need to be testing our experience with CRO to ensure we are offering the best experience to the end user. CRO shouldn’t end with your own website either, watch your competitors, figure out what they are testing and why. This will help you stay ahead of the curve, see trends early and adapt.
Milan Narayan, Head of Digital at Adoni Media (https://www.adonimedia.com.au/teammember/milan-narayan/)
SEO Prediction For 2020 – #20
My predictions for SEO in 2020 will be that:
- Web site conversion will be big, as only 2% of web sites convert.
2. Chatbots will be an aid to web site conversions and sales.
3. Live on-site search with analytics and the ability to redirect search based on search terms.
4. Lead generating forms and cost estimate forms will be big.
5. Suggested selling, cart and browser abandonment will be big.
Darren Osborne, Bison IT (https://www.bisonit.com.au)
SEO Prediction For 2020 – #21
My SEO prediction for 2020 is that content length (and creating “skyscraper” type content) will become less and less popular and/or effective as Google starts to prioritise the content which most closely fulfills the users search intent.
I believe that the BERT update, Google’s use of neural networks and natural language processing will have a huge impact on SEO, and thus, how SEO’s and publishers create content to target specific search queries.
Blake Smith, SEO Consultant at Blake Smith (https://blakesmithy.com/)
SEO Prediction For 2020 – #22
From all the predictions for 2020, my prediction is that Voice Search will definitely be something both small and big businesses will have to think about. Not only me, but more and more people use voice to search for various things each day.
For example, I use Alexa on a daily basis, but there are many other options, such as Google’s voice search, where you can search for things by asking questions or saying phrases, instead of typing in keywords.
The prediction is that 50% of all searches will be voice searches, but this number might even be higher!
I already began my preparations by doing a few things:
– First, I started using more conversational and longer terms for my site’s keywords.
– The same thing for the landing pages, they need to be more conversational as well, both for the UX and SEO reasons.
– I made it my habit to test more and I will definitely focus on using more long-tail terms in 2020.
Besides these, I started using some new tools that allow us to find queries which users generally search for, such as:
You should definitely check them out!
Bettina Clark, Prospected (http://prospected.com/)
SEO Prediction For 2020 – #23
In the SEO world, there is an acronym that gets more and more attention E-A-T – expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
Google no longer wants to rank only “good” content. Now, they have concerns that a piece of content that ranks is inaccurate and can possibly hurt the potential searcher.
In the SEO world, you see sites in the financial space or health space having more issues with Google algorithm updates because their information may be inaccurate and Google is looking for sites to prove their expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
In the next year or two, we are expecting that they will crack down on many other industries.
Everyone these days can manipulate link building and other SEO signals, but it is very hard to fake things like expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
If you are going to rank a site, everyone these days can manipulate SEO signals, but it is hard to manipulate things like expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
There are a few tactics that may boost rankings in the long run. Guest posting can help with the increase in brand recognition over time. Speaking at conferences is also a good option. If you don’t have a lot of experiences, apply to a lot of events and eventually, some will approve of you. Having a few awards helps too and the same goes for publishing e-books.
Nedelina Payaneva, Asian Absolute (https://asianabsolute.co.uk/)
SEO Prediction For 2020 – #24
You might be wondering if I have any of my own SEO predictions for 2020 and beyond.
I think most ideas have been covered already but I’d reiterate that voice search is going to continue to grow and with that, we need to constantly think about what content is on our websites and how it could potentially answer those long-tail queries that so often come from voice searches.
Because of this content is still going to be important, but the focus should be more on quality rather than just pushing out things that aren’t adding any value to your website or your customer journey.
In addition, I think people will be going back to basics to make sure their on-page optimisation is up to date and reflecting the current state of their website. So often a website will be optimised and then not checked for months or even years. So much can change in the search landscape that it’s a good idea to revisit that work on a regular basis (at least every 6-12 months) even if you aren’t paying for monthly SEO.
Ready to get started on your SEO journey? Get in touch with me today and let’s chat!