13 SEO Trends and Predictions for 2020

Written by Fraser McCulloch.

I have curated SEO trends and made predictions for 2020 and beyond.

Then outlined strategies and actions you can take.

Zero Click Searches

Zero Click Searches now equates to around 48% of all searches.

Put simply, Google solved nearly 1 in 2 searches without the need for a click.

According to this research there’s 150 billion plus searches in Q1 2019; so there’s still a 75 billion search potential each quarter.

You need to identify which of those searches are most relevant and easiest to acquire clicks from in order to grow your organic traffic.

zero click searches combat with these 4 strategies
zero click searches target long tail topics traffic
zero click searches target keywords and topics with high CPS
zero click searches target keywords with few SERPS features
zero click searches solution find old content that gets traffic

Google Keyword Planner will continue to be useless for keyword research

Google Keyword Planner, a tool for advertising and PPC research, will continue to be absolutely useless for organic keyword research.

Firstly, Google show an annual average figure.

If you work in retail, you know most of your business is done from October to December.

So if you do your keyword research in April with this tool, you’re going to get data that’s inflated.

To further compound the issue, Google group similar keywords together into buckets.

So Google will show the search volume for “SEO and “Search Engine Optimisation” being the same.

Where they clearly aren’t; see image below.

Then to make matters even worse, the majority of free keyword research tools scrape their data from Google Keyword Planner.

See how Keyword Planner, Keywords Everywhere and Ubersuggest report the same search volume for SEO and search engine optimization.

Whereas Ahrefs report entirely different volumes.

Making most free keyword research tools including Ubersuggest useless for effective keyword research.

SEO Budget

In Brian Dean’s SEO survey he found that small businesses spend on average $497 a month on SEO services.

$497 a month won’t get you much SEO servicing.

Then according to Ahrefs seo pricing study, $100 to $150 an hour is the most popular rate for an SEO.

According to my maths that gets you 5 hours of SEO a month.

So is it any wonder that 44% of business owners leave their SEO provider dissatisfied with business results ?

And 50% of SEO clients said they needed more training to benefit from what SEO can offer.

SEO Calculator

If you really want to work out your SEO budget then it should be based on your business goals.

So I’ve made this SEO calculator for you to calculate the amount of traffic you need to reach your goal profitably.

It’s set up for businesses and people who charge clients on a monthly basis such as a subscription, retainers, training etc

Talking about calculators, do your keyword research and put a fecking useful calculator on your website.

I guarantee 99% of people reading this article don’t have a calculator anywhere on their website.

Nor have they researched what kind of calculator potential customers are looking for.

And, in addition, a useful web based calculator is likely to earn your website links you so yearn for.

Here are 1388 of the easiest to rank calculator ideas that could drive traffic and potential customers to you.

Google Analytics

When I look at the organic clicks to my landing pages in Google Analytics, I don’t see clicks for the last couple of days.

So I have to change the date range back 3 days.

In 2020, I predict Google will show you even less of your organic clicks in your Google Analytics reports.

You won’t see clicks for the last 7 days I reckon.

But don’t let that deter you from leveraging the SEO benefits of Google Analytics.

In these seo training courses you can use Google Analytics to upgrade pages and improve traffic, better convert traffic and reduce bounce rates.

Content Decay – 50% of your content will be out of date

Most of the content on your website is outdated and no longer fit for earning clicks for organic searches.

Jump into your WordPress posts and sort your posts by date.

49% of my articles are over 12 months old.

I thought my content was really up to date.

But time seems to go really fast where you are older.

Do a site audit and determine if these decaying pages still earn traffic and links.

Upgrade them with better and more relevant content, delete or redirect them.

You will be punished for interrupting the user

Push notification alerts annoy the fuck out of me.

I swear to emphasis my anger at this useless piece of marketing crap.

I have to move my mouse and click in the browser bar just so I can read your content.

Then I either get a pop up message or a welcome matt offering me something in exchange for my email address.

If you do this you have a complete disregard for the user and I hope Google smacks your website really hard.

Ps: at certain times on this website I have a sticky bar at the top and foot of the page on mobile devices and a little box on the corner of the page on desktop devices.

Sometimes there’s a pop up box when you go to leave the page but at no point during your journey of my website do I interrupt you. 

Guest Posting

Fuck it, let’s just pay for guest posts to get links.

Guest posting as a link building strategy works, right !

But guest posts are going to get even more expensive as website owners get more desperate for links.

You’re going to have to write better, longer and my useful posts to be accepted as a guest by more authoritative websites.

I reckon one of the big players who “sell’ guest posts is going to get spanked by Google in 2020.

If I can figure out where to buy guest posts you bet an army of Google engineers can find out.

Voice search will not make any difference to your organic traffic

Search Engine Land found that 20% of mobile searches are voice searches.

My clients or I don’t sell recipes, directions, music, lyrics, the time, train tickets, bus tickets, flights so I think we shall be unaffected by voice search.

And most of the people reading this article will be unaffected in the next 5 years.

If you really wanted to you could explore keyword research for voice search.

I did some research on people who ended their search query with “please”.

I’m not sure if these are people being terribly polite on their device or actually speaking into Siri or Alexa.

AI Content Creation will take off

Elon Musk said in a Joe Rogan interview that we humans are already cyborgs; half man, half machine.

But the length of time it takes to type something in Google, retrieve that information, absorb it, understand it and do something useful with it takes too long.

When it comes to the creation process, we take too long.

I started this article 3 months ago and I’m still not finished researching or writing it.

Very soon, machines will be able to research what people search for, understand the intent and produce content to serve that intent.

In return, faster rankings and traffic.

However it won’t be cheap.

But I’m sure big companies will pay for this service to save time and money instead of using human marketers.

Clicks > search volume

Many novices who do keyword research focus on search volume.

Instead they should be focused on clicks when they’ve found a relevant keyword or topic.

Let’s say your a web designer looking to target people looking to price a website.

You find 2 keywords or topics.

There are 2800 searches for “how much does a website cost

And there are 1200 searches for “website cost calculator

You can only pick one; which one do you pick ?

Most would choose “how much does a website cost” because the search volume is nearly double.

However you only have half the data.

25% more people click on a search result for “website calculator” than “how much does a website cost”.

Even though the search volume is nearly half.

Plus “website cost calculator” is much easier to rank on page 1 with a keyword difficulty of 14 versus 40.

Topics > keywords

I mentioned in another post about topics there are 1151 different ways that men search for “shoes to wear with shorts”.

It’s not because men are clueless about fashion, it’s just that all our brains think and act differently.

You search “best shoes to wear with shorts” and the guy in the USA searches “best loafers to wear with shorts.”

They are both looking for the same answer.

You don’t create one web page for the first search query and another page for the second query.

If you’ve done your research you’d create one page to rank for all 1151 keywords for this topic.

Web personalisation will explode

98% of people who visit websites and don’t buy or subscribe.

And then most never return to your website; check out these new versus returning visitors statistics.

You need to treat new visitors differently from returning visitors.

Most of your website visitors will be new to your website and you know fuck all about them.

Don’t ask them for marriage the first time you meet them.

Ask them a few friendly questions to begin with.

I got invited to a golf match last week with 2 team mates I’d never met before.

I didn’t start telling them about my digital marketing services or if they have any questions about my pricing.

If I did they’d think I was a complete dick.

Instead I asked them where they usually played their golf.

They asked me where I played.

I asked them their handicap.

They asked me my handicap.

Have you played this golf course before ?

So in website terms, you might start a conversation a little like this :

  • What brings you here today ?
  • Ah you’re here to learn something.
  • What you are you here to learn ?
  • Oh you’re interested in learning more about improving your golf short game.
  • Here’s our golf short guide improvement guide.
  • Pop in your name and email and we’ll send it over.

Then you can go dating in a series of  follow up emails.

And if you’ve already got people on your mailing list, learn more about them instead of blasting out an email offer.

Ask more questions about them; and don’t make them subscribe again when offering them something valuable.

What’s the point of SEO if you interrupt and repel users?

SEO is only one part of the mix.

Once you’ve got them to your website and they’re reading or looking at the answer to their search query then personalisation can take them to the next step.

More desperate ‘link to me’ emails from strangers

You will get even more “did you read my last 3 emails please link to me” for nothing in return emails.

Ask yourself how many times out of 100 you’ve actually linked to someone else’s content because of outreach.

I was using this really cool social tool called Quuu Promote.

They put my content in front of people with influence; thus earning page views, shares and even some links.

Quuu Promote were on the right path for SEO link building but that wasn’t their vision.

I’m fairly certain someone in the SEO world will reverse engineer their system but specifically to help clients connect their content with link influencers and creators.

Who will invent …

Who will invent a solution that will :

  • researches an industry.
  • pulls together the structure of a website.
  • writes and publish the content to a website.
  • pulls together a link building and outreach strategy with contact details

A bit far fetched ?

If there’s AI web design companies then why not take the content creation and promotion a step further.

There are companies out there with big data on search, clicks, backlinks and content, why not ?

Google and out of date pages

You’d be amazed at the outdated content that continues to rank on page one of Google.

For example, there are 200 web pages that are 3 to 8 years old with the same or less domain rating as mine that get over 100 organic visits per month.

Look at this screenshot for 1 of 75 billion searches per quarter.

So your mission is to:

  • research content that is outdated,
  • still gets traffic,
  • doesn’t have many link to their page
  • and produce a better, more useful and more up to date resource.

Google My Business paid for service

Google will start charging companies to manage and leverage their Google My Business account.

I honestly think it would be a great paid for service.

With the current free GMB service, they notify me before a post expires and prompt me to post if I’ve not done so recently.

Most businesses completely overlook Google My Business and Google Posts.

At the moment Google provide the service free of charge in the hope the business owner will piss some funds into Adwords.

But GMB and Google Posts are awesome and easy to use from your phone.

Add posts, add offers, add photos, add reviews and share.

If Google worked with digital agencies and gave them a share of the monthly revenue then you’d see local businesses rewarded for being proactive.


Hopefully I’ve curated some of the most important SEO trends and provided you with solutions for each.