Seven top SEO trends for 2020

As we look ahead to the next 12 months, SearchEngineLand is particularly interested in the burgeoning market for keywords and how these terms are used and developed. And trends abound. We keep your eye on them as they grow, and we point you in the right direction.

1. Merged VB list is back

Even though the number of domains that are part of our popular VB list — software and technologies (including distribution and services) — has declined over the past few years, the underlying nature of the the Internet keeps expanding, as it is vital to make all user-generated content — from blogs to Facebook posts to tweets — searchable. The transition away from domains (as opposed to landing pages) to “cyberspace” is continuing, and as that happens, there will be more activity in this area. And that’s a very good thing for businesses.

2. No. 1 Domain Name will be something scary

While we know that the most common search terms on the VB list — Shakespeare, Coachella, Travis Scott — will always be dominant, how things shake out in the future will depend on the specific domain names — for example, regardless of whether Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) can use the exclamation mark (“ICE”) that is currently so popular, it won’t be, because it is facing a court challenge. And remember: Google.com is a suffix, not a URL. So will erobo.com be M&A collateral?

3. Baby, it’s getting … richer

This meme has been around for a while now — Google’s search program is insanely lucrative, the company has aspirations for more diverse revenue streams, and it can’t possibly charge enough for ads. So Google will keep hiking the AdWords or Enhanced Campaign maximum bid, and that’s going to set off the inevitable backlash, as advertisers start paying more to increase their reach, and bargain-hunters balk.

4. Google will take some time

In a worst-case scenario, Google’s search program — even if it hadn’t been built from Google.com’s archive of 26.7 billion search results — would no longer have served up any results. That may seem a far-fetched possibility, but it’s the one that I’ve seen used to justify the company’s ambitions, as if it were an article of faith.

5. Confluence is here to stay

Again, Google has amassed one of the largest libraries of search results in the world, and the most attention we get from it is that Google.com / Search offers a bar graph of the latest search results. There is a method in that madness, of course. But we don’t pay much attention to it, and we may never do.

6. Yes, that’s right, it’s high time we counted to 10

Go ahead and call me cynical, but I would say it would be high time we got over the habit of calling things games, even if we’re talking about search engine optimization.

7. But, Google, isn’t that exactly what you’re giving us?

The dictionary definition of SEO is “the art of using search engine optimization techniques to improve the ranking of online search results.” If I understand it correctly, Google is promising to add some more understanding to this word, which is in essence just a marketing slogan, with nothing new on offer. And we can hope it doesn’t take this long for the company to realize that the culture at Google is one of laziness, aggression, and power.

At the end of the day, the best advice for these seven trends is to double down on what you know and do it better. Remember: You should probably just do it.

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