I was reading a month old (or more I guess…) post from search engine land about an interesting topic where experts had talked about what to expect from SEO in 2020 or how SEO will work in 2020. The panel covered influencers like Rand Fishkin, Julie Joyce, Eric Enge, Ann Smarty and more. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. I read all the predictions out of which some sounded very real and legit while others were more of a long shot (inspired by Sci-Fi). I decided to ask the same question to myself so that I can tell my readers about how I believe SEO and search engines will be in 2020.
Note: Before I even start sharing my thoughts, let me tell you that I am no influencer in the industry like the names mentioned above in the post. I am just doing it because I consider this question to be very important and as a struggler in this industry, who is truly passionate about the game, I believe I should be answering this question.
So here is what I think SEO and search engine will be in 2020.
- We would still need Search Engines and Search Engines would need us
Suppose you have just started reading a long book of your interest, what is the first thing that you will see before you actually start reading the book? Index! I believe, so that you can quickly have an idea about the entire content of the book.
Likewise, Internet is huge and it will continue to grow (it might shift from desktop to mobile or even get more advanced) and therefore, in order to find things of your interest, you would still need a tool that would help you sort out and display the exact thing you are looking for. Hence, we will need search engines so that it can help us find the most relevant information within no time.
And search engines will need us.
Search Engine starts with a basic index of the web but with time, it becomes more important and powerful then just a web index, gradually becoming a need of the online businesses.
In order to gain attention of the online audience, spammers started to manipulate SERP rankings and search engines, in a race to kill spam and display legitimate results, update their algorithms, tactics and more. Today, it is very difficult (if not impossible) to manipulate search engine rankings as the search engine has evolved over the last few years.
Cutting long story short, it’s safe to say that in 2020, we would still need search engines and search engines would need us back.
- SEO will continue to be difficult
If you compare SEO techniques in today’s times with those that we had 5 years ago, all you see is the growing difficulty in tactics that are involved in this whole process and it will continue in 2020. Ann Smarty is right when she says, “It was pretty stupid to guarantee rankings in the past — it will be impossible to do so in the future.”
The tactics we used to practice back in those days mainly involved directories, article submissions, forums and more (leave the ethics debate) and all of these worked but today, they are more complicated to handle and can activate the panda animals.
I personally believe that the room for spammers to manipulate SERP rankings will shrink in 2020 and it will be difficult to rank in SERP from the targeted key phrases unless the brand is very well- recognized in the industry.
SEO might be famous for less investment and higher ROI but honestly speaking, later down the years, I can see that this service will require more investment and time to get results out of it.
- Desktop will not vanish but Mobile will be more main stream
Few years ago, all you need was a website in order to take your business online but today, your business is incomplete without having a mobile (or responsive) website. On the other hand, the app industry is also becoming increasingly popular and there are many websites that are investing a huge amount of dollars on apps and app marketing.
Few years from now, one would witness a significant growth in the mobile and app industry while websites would invest more money on app development. Search Engines might also incorporate apps within their search results (may be as a separate section but they somehow will). Back in 2002, Yahoo had launched their app search engine but that was too early. I believe that in 2020, search engines will be more interested in incorporating apps within the search results (may be for mobile only).
In short, from where I see today, businesses will be spending more money on apps and app marketing and search engine will incorporate apps within their search results.
- Google will emphasize more on answering user queries instead of giving website suggestions
You ask some maths question, currency exchange, flights and hotel info and you will see Google tries answering your queries instead of just displaying the website results. Google is already doing it today but I believe that this is just the beginning. In a few years time, Google will try its best to hold traffic on their own website and answer results instead of delivering the traffic to reliable and relevant sources.
However, if and when Google will be doing this, the businesses will start spending more of their money on PPC as well as on other inbound marketing channels.
If you ask me about the five big channels that are growing and where businesses will spend more of their money, they will be:
- Social Media
- Slide Shares
- Videos/Pod Casts
- News and PR websites (not traditional PR websites)
This might change, but at the moment, these channels are growing popular and I believe their popularity would only increase in the coming years.
- Links for the sake of Rankings will die
I still see a huge amount of websites that are hunting for links all the time and this is mainly because they want to rank better in Google and other search engines to redirect most targeted traffic back to the website.
However, I believe that this whole idea of building links for the sake of getting better rankings will die. People will be building links but that will mostly be for PR, branding and attracting people back to the website. This could be a huge setback for those who are busy building links for rankings but if you are building links for the sake of branding and online exposure, then you are probably on the right track.
There is a lot that can be predicted about the SEO industry but I have only mentioned a few important ones that I believe would happen in the times to come. Moreover, I can see many mediocre agencies will crash (if they don’t change quickly) while the qualified agencies will be getting more work than they could possibly imagine.
Search and Online Industry is growing and rapidly changing at the same time, so if you are not comfortable with the change, you probably will die in the years to come.
What do you think where the search industry is heading in the next couple of years or how SEO industry will be in 2020? Let us know as we would want to hear your predictions!