After reading these SEO statistics, you’ll realize why search engine optimization is still critical and as important as ever despite changes in how we have consumed content over the years.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the practice of making a website more attractive to search engines. Because so many people only consult the first page of search engine results, being on the front page is critical for many businesses. Fall off the front page, and you are missing out on a lot of website hits. As a result, SEO has become a virtual arms race, with huge amounts of money being spent on that all-important first page.
Why SEO is Important
For many consumers, the goal of running searches is to find relevant information on a topic. Whether that’s the latest recipes or a reputable car mechanic, people tend to check search engines early in most information searches. Other than social media, web searches are the most important source of data outside our immediate social circles. Everything from Yelp reviews to branded content are discoverable with proper SEO techniques. Otherwise, they might be hard to find.
1. 53% of website traffic results from organic searches. This is why the foundation of any digital marketing strategy should begin with SEO in mind.
2. Just as importantly, 33% of ecommerce visits are generated through organic searches. This is a pre-coronavirus number which I expect only increased this year with the pandemic.
3. For 94% of searches, users are more focused on organic results than paid ones. Paid Per Click (PPC) can be an extremely profitable type of advertisement, but similar to the trends we see in social media marketing and elsewhere, people are getting better at tuning out advertisements.
4. For 90% of B2B product researchers, the purpose of their search is to choose which products to buy. SEO might just be even more important for B2B marketing as buyers look for information to make the best purchasing decision possible – and lower their own risk of making the wrong choice.
5. Among 80-90% of shoppers, online reviews are consulted before making purchases. This stat proves what we all should know by now.
6. Nowadays, up to 70% of product research is done online, and this is done before sales personnel are contacted. If we want to control the research phase, we need to be discovered in search engines through SEO.
7. According to some studies, over 50% of Internet users find a new product or company as a result of their search. SEO levels the playing field for every company, famous or not, to be found.
8. Websites that show as the first listing on Google searches average a 35% clickthrough rate on mobile, and 34.6% on desktop. Needless to say, getting to that first spot in a search engine rank pays dividends.
9. 67.6% of clicks on the first page of search engine results are enjoyed by the first five organic results. While not as attractive as the first position, those in the 2 to 5 spot will still gain some clicks.
10. Several studies have concluded that around 25% of search engine users consult the second page of results. This was a surprising SEO statistic to me, and while we all want to be on the first page of search engine results, we MUST be on at least the first two pages if we want to see any clickthroughs back to our website.
The Importance of SEO in Marketing
Because the first page of search results are so important, it follows that SEO is a critical part of any marketing efforts. After all, if you don’t get the eyeballs on Google it will be much more difficult to make sales. While search engine results aren’t the only way to reach potential customers, they are one of the more convenient. Combined with social media marketing, organic search drives a massive number of sales across the Web. This is becoming especially prevalent as the role of print and mass media advertising is in decline.
11. Among enterprise-level businesses, at least 45% have an SEO budget of $20,000 or more monthly. Obviously enterprise-level businesses already have a large marketing budget, but it is also a good benchmark to compare your own SEO budgets to.
12. When inbound marketing techniques are considered, 61% of marketers say it is critical to improve their brand’s organic presence and SEO. Inbound marketing is not just about SEO, but clearly it is one of the critical pieces.
14. Among marketers, 70% consider SEO to be more effective than PPC campaigns. This was mentioned earlier, but not only are more people tuning out ads, SEO become a long-term asset which keeps paying dividends while PPC only provides short-term gains, and they come at a cost.
15. SEO leads have a much higher close rate (14.6%) than those resulting from outbound advertising techniques such as print media (1.7%). When someone is searching they are intent on finding something that they might want to purchase.
16. Around 50% of SEO experts surveyed say that they check search rankings for their brands every week. Tools such as Ahrefs and SEMrush let you do this at the click of a mouse. Hopefully you’re one of the 50% who are regularly checking in on their ranking.
The Importance of Google
You know Google is important just by listening to how people recommend that others find information. “Google it” is one of the more common sayings when facts and figures are being debated. Alternately, moms use “Dr. Google” to try and find out if the family physician should be consulted or the kids kept home from school. Students of all levels use Google to find information to complete class assignments. In other words, just by our knowledge of everyday behavior it is evident that Google plays an important part in everyday life. However, statistics also confirm this finding.
17. Google is the king of search, earning more than 75% of worldwide traffic from a computer in 2019. Next in line is Bing, which attracted 9.97% of searches, Baidu (Chinese) got 9.34% and Yahoo only 2.77%.
18. Google-owned devices and websites account for 94% of internet searches as of June 2019.
19. Every second, internet users type more than 74,000 search terms into Google. While a lot of people are reading emails are scrolling through social media, the sheer amount of searches on Google gives every business a chance to be found.
What Works in SEO?
In part because it is so competitive, it’s difficult to get the results needed through SEO techniques. As soon as new algorithm changes are announced, SEO experts rush to find out how to change web text for maximum results. This isn’t surprising considering how much money can be made with correct SEO techniques on websites. However, this also means that things which worked a couple years ago might be obsolete. One example of this is keyword stuffing which, while once useful, now works against you. Another consideration is the extent to which your text matches search intent. Fortunately, statistics still can give us a picture of what works and what doesn’t.
21. When long-tail keyword searches are made, users click through 3-5% more often than when generic terms are used.
22. If a particular brand appears more than once in search engine pages, 50% of visitors will select the branded result. This statistic speaks to two things: Brands that run PPC campaigns where they appear in search results might be helping their organic SEO, and keyword cannibalization may actually have some unintended benefits.
Effective SEO Strategies
With all of these statistics favoring the use of SEO, you’re probably wondering what is most likely to be effective. While hiring an SEO specialist or paying for consultants is a smart move, it’s important to understand some of the basics. These statistics will help you understand what your SEO person is doing and why. It will also help you allocate resources more effectively.
23. According to 72% of marketers, relevant content is the best SEO tool available. Google is in the business of giving people what they want, and that is relevant content to their search query. Quality and relevant content will always win out, and a majority of marketers understand that.
24. At the same time, keeping older content updated is the most efficient method employed by 51% of companies. I mentioned this as well on a recent podcast of mine (187: What If I Told You You Already Had Enough Content to be Successful?), but after you build out your library of content, your SEO work on the content side should shift into the updating of older content to keep your website content fresh and relevant, thus further improving on the long-term SEO benefits of your content.
25. Proper headlines and title tags are the most important factor for SEO, according to 36% of SEO experts. Obviously there is a lot more that goes into SEO, but it goes without saying that it all starts with your content and then technical on page optimization in these key areas.
26. One survey found that 86% of marketers use the data from company PPC campaigns to refine their site’s SEO. Just as you can use social media advertising as an experiment to see who will click on what, your PPC campaigns can give you a lot of insight into the SEO keywords you should as well as might want to re-consider targeting.
27. However, writing for humans is a higher priority for 79% of marketers, with 21% catering to search engine algorithms. This makes sense as Google is simply getting better at finding content that they feel exists only to “dupe” their algorithm. And once someone finds your content, if it is not good or relevant content, they will only leave your site and send bad signals to search engines that will hurt your search engine rankings.
28. Unfortunately, over 40% of SEO experts feel that companies don’t spend enough money on quality, relevant content. If there’s one SEO statistic that summarizes effective SEO strategies, it’s that at the end of the day it all comes down to your content.
The Importance of Backlinks for SEO
As marketers, it is easy for us to think that the quality of an article will naturally drive traffic to our websites. People DO like a good read, right? True, but content quality isn’t the only important factor in SEO, and neither is keyword placement. Rather, as these numbers show, backlinks are also a critical part of sound SEO strategy.
29. Because so many sites lack backlinks, around 91% of all pages don’t get organic traffic resulting from Google searches. Unfortunately, content alone doesn’t guarantee exposure in search engines.
30. In fact, on the internet 55.24% of pages lack any backlinks at all.
32. Google’s public information indicates that nearly 80% of their algorithm counts factors which are not on the page. Case closed: You need to be engaged in backlinking strategies in order to succeed with your SEO!
SEO and Blogging
We bloggers all have one thing in mind: a love of writing. However, one reason we post our thoughts online is that we want people to hear what we have to say. Therefore, it is important that Google can find our blogs and place them high on results pages. Likewise, corporate blogs need to be discoverable in ways that go beyond the casual website browsing.
34. Corporate sites get 97% more backlinks if there’s a blog. Other sites might not link to a product page, but they might link to some resourceful content featured in a blog.
35. Images boost blog post views by about 94% over text-only posts. Yes, this post might not have a lot of images, but it is in my strategy to include more images going forward! How about you?
36. For organic traffic increases of up to 106%, consider republishing updated blog posts. This is a tactic that is vastly underutilized as more companies want to make more and more content when they might be able to achieve more with less!
38. Content creation can cost 46% of corporate marketing budgets. The importance of content for SEO – not to mention content marketing initiatives – means that it is consuming a great deal of marketing budgets. This is another benchmark to compare your own marketing budget with.
Mobile and SEO
Internet usage has changed a lot since the days of clunky desktop computers and dial up modems. In fact, many people are reducing their computer usage in favor of mobile devices. Not only is a phone smaller, but it also has the double use of making phone calls or text while providing access to the internet. This convenience has allowed a lot more people to connect worldwide. It also has implications for both content and SEO.
40. Mobile devices account for 2/3 of all time spent online and are responsible for 52% of website traffic. This number continues to creep up with each year.
41. However, 61% of mobile searches and 33.7% of desktop searches end without the user clicking any links. The difference in mobile and desktop search behavior is an interesting one that requires more research as to the reasons why this is happening. In other words, I wouldn’t discount mobile SEO just because of this one SEO statistic.
42. 87% of smartphone owners use a search engine every day.
43. 60% of smartphone users admit that they find new products and companies through smartphone web searches.
44. These days, half of B2B search engine research is done on smartphones, a number that’s expected to be 70% by the end of 2020.
Those last three SEO statistics should be convincing enough to indicate that just because Internet usage is going mobile, SEO isn’t any less important.
Video and SEO
Another thing we marketers are finding is that video is popular. In fact, a lot of people search out information in video form. When they find something good, videos are likely to be shared with others in various ways. Not only that, but video avoids some of the confusion found in content pieces such as user tutorials. This is something that is also demonstrated in SEO statistics.
45. By including video content on your site rather than plain text, you’ll be 50 times more likely to be found in organic search results. This is a powerful SEO statistic that hints at the synergy between video content and search engines, especially if that video content is housed on the 2nd largest search engine, YouTube.
46. Blog posts that include video get 157% more organic traffic generated through search results. One benefit of having a video inside. a blog post is that it will help your visitors remain on your site longer, sending a positive signal to Google that your content is being deeply consumed.
47. Nearly half of people who use the internet will search for product-related videos before they head to a store.
If you haven’t invested heavily enough in video yet, hopefully these SEO statistics prove its worth.
Of course, there are more types of content available on the Internet than just video and text. Rather, the Internet is full of pictures. These often accompany blog posts, and they predated the use of video on the net by a significant amount of time. Visual search helps people conveniently find things when they prefer to first see a visual.
48. 22.6% of Google searches have image results in addition to text or video.
49. Among Millennial and Gen Z customers, 62% prefer visual search to all other new technologies.
Needless to say when creating content, keep visual search needs in mind by adding relevant visuals with the appropriate alt text.
Just in case you aren’t sure, featured snippets are those boxes at the top of a Google search page that have a little bit of information. The idea is that you can get a quick answer to your question without having to click on any links. It also means that the featured website has a special listing that showcases their content above the first search result.
50. According to Ahrefs, only 12.3% of search engine results contain a Featured Snippet, making this feature more exclusive.
51. 93% of SEO experts say that having a Featured Snippet box can increase visits to the website that is featured.
52. Featured Snippets account for 40.7% of all voice search answers.
Needless to say, SEO strategies need to adapt to the emergence and power of Featured Snippets.
These days, you don’t even have to sit at a computer terminal or type into a smartphone to search the internet. Between assistive technology for the blind, smartphone microphones, and devices such as Amazon Alexa, voice search is becoming more and more common. In fact, this search methodology is becoming common enough that we marketers need to account for the effect it is having on SEO and information generally.
53. Voice-based assistants have been used by 62% of Americans at some point.
54. Among people aged 25-49, 65% of them use voice-enabled devices every day.
57. Experts predict that voice searches will account for 50% of all searches by 2020.
58. 40% of Millennials who listen to lists of results through voice search will make a purchase.
59. Voice searches account for 20% of queries on Android devices or Google’s mobile app.
When creating content going forward, be aware of the increased usage of voice search and see how you might be able to better adapt your content to the needs of those using this emerging technology.
Taken as a whole, it is clear that SEO is an important factor in driving both page views and sales. At the same time, getting good SEO results is getting harder all the time. Between changing technology and the SEO arms race, all marketing professionals need to be diligent in keeping up with current trends.
Which of these SEO statistics was the biggest surprise to you? Drop a comment below and let me know!
Photo by Stephen Phillips on Unsplash