SEO – Is it enough in 2020?

How SEO effectiveness has changed

As far as the “holy grail” goes, SEO and the related page rankings (SERPS) have been considered by many to be in that vein.  If you can conquer SEO, you can get tons of search traffic, build a significant customer base and be a business success in any niche.  Your online income can be heavily influenced by SEO, search traffic and the resulting page rankings.

According to a recent survey, in 2020, search engine optimization (SEO) is considered the most effective digital marketing tactic for 49% of respondents, while social media and blog posting (47%) moves down a notch.


(Source: Ascend2 - 2020 Digital Marketing Plans)

And the goals of digital marketing programs that include SEO and other tactics continue to include things like more leads, more customers (sales), higher customer engagement and so on as shown below.

SEO + Social


For 2020, one of the more effective ways to get more traffic to your site will be through a combination of SEO and social media.  In May 2020, 56% of online shoppers said they started their search for the things they want to buy on either search engines (48%) or social media sites (8%).  Not surprisingly, 63% of shoppers start their process on Amazon.  But social gives a nice boost to your SEO work, helping you generate more shopper-based traffic.

WundermanThompson Where Online Shoppers Start Their Search May2020

SEO is dead?

One of the most important trends related to SEO and search engines is the presence and actual growth of “no click” traffic. In fact in June of last year, these zero-click searches amounted to just over half — 50.3% — of all Google searches in the USA.  Importantly then you need a second tool or tactic to attract the right audience and those who will click through your content or your offering.

Long Live SEO

In fact, these zero-click search results are more prevalent in some market niches than others.  As defined by Searchmetrics, the Health market is especially prone to zero-clicks followed by Media (advertising, etc.).  What this means for those of you who work in these markets or industries, is that you have to refine your SEO strategy. Perhaps your focus should be on sharing information, or helping potential customers find what they need, not necessarily what you have.  Still, though, around 30% of desktop searches on Google USA resulted in organic or search-related click-through in these two markets (28% Health and 33% Media).

Searchmetrics Google No Click Searches by Industry Jun2020

Even more importantly, it’s worth noting that for Travel (OTA represents Online Travel Agencies), zero-click desktop searches were only 27% and for E-commerce (online shopping, etc.), zero-click searches were less than half, at 48%.  For e-commerce, organic clicks remained at a level similar to Media and Health.  For Travel, organic clicks equaled nearly half of all Google desktop search volume.

One theory on why this is happening is the recent rise in Mobile search.  On his blog post about Google searches (click this link), Rand Fishkin explains that mobile searching often winds up without a click or click-through. In fact, Google and its search engine may actually be driving the search results to generate “zero clicks” because they get to keep the users, and/or they can redirect those people looking for information to a Google-owned website.

Nevertheless, even with Mobile searches, all of the results generate between 25% to 30% click-through.  But important to note, that percentage has declined from over 40% at the beginning of 2016 (see chart from Rand’s blog post below).

Chart of Google Mobile Search CTR

What to do?

If a traditional view of SEO seems to be eroding, what should you do to get more traffic to your site? One fairly obvious solution from the data and all the charts would be to use a Paid Click-Through model. For example, Google and other vendors have robust pay-per-click businesses which you can effectively use to get more traffic.

More importantly, there are a few other things you can do with your SEO and your social marketing tactics:

  • Find a way to get value from the zero-click searches (this could take many forms and we’ll discuss in a different article)
  • Get your content located on and your SEO optimized on Google properties (these today include YouTube, Maps, Images, AMP, and more)
  • Look for and use keywords in your current SEO work that have higher click-through histories and/or opportunities
  • Pray that current investigations into anti-competitive behaviors yield some results (while more prayer is good, this may not be a good short-term strategy)

In sum:

SEO is still very important.  But think about SEO not only in terms of your own website and online properties, but also for YouTube, Maps and other Google-owned properties. One of the more challenging parts of SEO will be to find a way to get value from all of the zero-click results.

Additional resources:

These are digital resources or programs we have fully investigated and used ourselves to advance our SEO work and traffic development.

How to grow your traffic from SEO-optimized social media















For a program dedicated to helping you with SEO, your website(s) and online income  you should check out Wealthy Affiliate.  The program has hours of training, hundreds of experts, and a ton of people willing to help you any time.


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