Though no one knows with full certainty what the world of organic search has in store in the upcoming year, there are hints SEOs are picking up on. Some of these observations are based on topics that keep arising in the SEO space (see BERT), and others can be based on hunches and looking at trends across the market and not just search. Here are my bold predictions for 2020.
Prediction #2: More YMYL Industry Shakeups
I also believe the trend of content quality targeted algorithm updates will continue. There are still many YMYL industries that don’t deliver when it comes to expertise on their pages. It is hard to predict where the next wheel spin by Google will stop, but I would expect at least one serious update in 2020 that will trigger flashbacks of the “Medic” update and will upset many site owners that were not proactively improving their sites in the past 2 years. I would keep my ear to the ground when it comes to major algorithmic updates. This leads to my final prediction tied to industry-specific updates.
Prediction #3: The End of Fake News
With the upcoming 2020 election, I expect some type of action against misinformation. With some heat coming in the direction of Google from presidential candidates, some type of response would make sense. As Google’s dominance of the US market persists, laws must begin catching up. Elections have already proven to be a litmus test of how we poorly police online activity in 2016. While Twitter was savvy enough to end user ability to promote political activity on its platform, other platforms continue receiving political ad spend. And whilst Google made a half-hearted attempt to display its concern for targeted political ads, it will be under the magnifying glass in the upcoming election from both sides of the political spectrum. Their ability to swing elections could lead to the beginning of a review of their US monopoly.
Prediction #4: More 0 Click Results
The SERPs will likely see continued testing and possibly new features that make search for specific answers more seamless. Like recent “mortgage calculator” addition, many other new features are probably in the works. With tons of schema to leverage, we might see something pretty cool (depending on how you look at it). As mentioned by Rand Fishkin in his latest SMX East presentation, the number of 0-click results is on the rise. While for some it will spell disaster and lost traffic, others will find opportunity in the exposure. However, with KPIs always being on the forefront when clients are renewing (or ending) engagements with SEO agencies, the conversations may need to shift as the already difficult challenge of measuring results could get even more complicated.
Prediction #5: User Data Property Rights
A conversation about user data ownership rights will begin to pick up steam. With the topic heavily pushed by a presidential hopeful, Yang, data as a property right could be something the US legal system will be addressing soon. After many egregious acts already surfacing (e.g. Facebook location tracking without user permission), people around the world will begin caring about their privacy and start to understand the real value behind their personal data. 2020 will include more talk of alternative search engines but will not put a dent in the market dominance by Google. As much as we all love the idea of DuckDuckGo not tracking you, only a select few will break old habits and change their preferred search engine within their browsers. However, savvy users just might give alternative search engines a try before going back to Google for all their search needs.
I hope my thoughts on 2020 got you thinking about things other industry experts aren’t discussing. Though it was tempting to do go the Search Engine Journal route and put BERT on the top of my list, my goal was to try identifying issues in their infancy that no one else is paying attention to. Keep your eyes peeled and ears open because 2020 may just be the year when SEOs will need start thinking about the bigger picture instead of staying hyper-focused on the latest algorithm update.