Over the last few years, the importance of search engine optimization has become a hotly contested issue. Some believe that the SEO statistics point to it becoming increasingly outdated. They have a pretty compelling argument for this.
Voice search is making it harder to predict the exact keywords to target. Meanwhile, artificial intelligence is making the search engine algorithms a lot harder to beat. SEO hasn’t been an exact science for a long time now, but this makes things harder.
On the other hand, there are a lot of benefits you won’t see listed among most SEO statistics. The web is a big place, and your site could easily go completely unnoticed without it.
Our research has led us to believe that the truth is somewhere in the middle. SEO is changing, but it’s far from obsolete. We’ve summarized the results of our research here in bite-sized pieces. Why not have a look through and see whether you think SEO is on its last legs? Or do you think that the stats we have will show a different picture?
SEO Stats: Editor’s Choice
- Half of all searches are expected to be voice-based this year.
- More than 9 out of 10 times, people prefer organic results.
- Google handled 87.96% of desktop searches in October 2019.
- Baidu handles 73.8% of all searches in China.
- 46.7% of buyers in the US start their product research on Amazon.
- 6 out of 10 people won’t read more than a piece’s headline.
- Neutral content doesn’t do as well in terms of shares and links.
- Google’s web index comes in at over 100,000,000 gigabytes.
- Posts with images every 100 words or so receive double the number of shares.
- Content marketing generates three times more leads than conventional marketing.
General Search Engine Stats
1. Globally, 59% of people use the internet.
Think of a world without email, social media, Skype, and so on. The internet makes it more convenient for us to perform a large percentage of tasks. Is it any surprise then that nearly one out of two people use it? As per latest internet statistics, the number of of internet users sits at 4.54 billion as of January 2020.
2. 1 out of 6 Americans currently own smart speakers.
This is going to make a huge difference in SEO statistics, Forbes says. It’s becoming more imperative than ever before to ensure that your site is optimized for voice search. Simple keywords are becoming obsolete—you need to incorporate natural questions throughout your content. Currently, 20% of mobile search queries are voice searches, while the voice industry is expected to reach $40 billion by 2022.
3. 52.6% of all internet traffic is driven through mobile devices.
If your site doesn’t display well or if it takes too long to load, the SEO statistics show that folks will leave fast. Additionally, 61% of users do not return to a website that they have had problems accessing. That, in turn, gets you marked down by the search engines.
4. CarGuru.com lost 30% of its traffic apparently through using black hat linking tactics.
(Search Engine Land)
Take this as a cautionary tale. The company is thought to have had a massive 66% of links attributed to black hat sources. As a result, when a recent Google update went through, they lost a significant amount of traffic. Using black hat tactics will always come back to bite you in the end. With that in mind, if you plan on launching a successful SEO campaign, by all means, follow Google’s guidelines, and steer clear of shady optimization techniques.
5. Google handled 87.96% of desktop searches in October 2019.
Google dominates the market when it comes to desktop searches, plain and simple.
6. 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.
When you’re looking for information online, where do you start? A search engine is a logical place to look for something new. Now, it’s true that people doing product research are also likely to start their search on a site like Amazon. But for the majority of searchers, a search engine provides the perfect tool to kick off some research.
7. Bing comes in second place with 5.27% of all search queries handled, according to search engine traffic stats.
You’d be wise to spend some time improving your results on Bing. It might not handle as much bulk as Google, but it’s still a force to be considered. Also, Bing performs relatively well in the United States.
8. Baidu handles 73.8% of all searches in China.
In the case of international SEO statistics, front page news in China is most easily navigated through Baidu. This is China’s favorite search engine, and it handles most searches in the country. See for yourself how the top three countries compare when it comes to search engines.
9. Google’s Dragonfly project proved quite controversial.
Google Dragonfly was a version designed specifically to comply with Chinese censorship laws. However, Google’s initial foray into China lasted just four years. The company pulled out due to concerns over civil liberties being infringed on. This is why the Dragonfly scandal left Google with a lot of explaining to do.
10. High-quality content and links are the best way to rank well on Google.
(Search Engine Land)
Any SEO stats checker knows this. Andrey Lipattsev confirmed it from Google. It’s rare for Google to be so candid about what their ranking factors are. That said, they’ve highlighted the value of high-quality content and links on several occasions. Fortunately, creating great content makes it easier to build links from authority sites.
11. Google processes over 63,000 searches per second.
(Internet Live Stats)
That’s a massive 5.5 billion searches a day, the latest Google stats reveal. When the company started in 1998, they processed just 10,000 queries a day. What a difference a decade or two makes.
12. Google SEO insights show that AI is helping Google improve exponentially.
(Internet Live Stats)
Back in 1999, it took Google at least a month to index around 50 million pages. In 2012, the same amount of data could be analyzed in less than a minute. It’s enough to leave any human feeling a little inadequate.
13. 46.7% of buyers in the United States start their product research on Amazon.
Local SEO statistics from 2018 show that 46.7% of buyers in the United States choose to start their search on Amazon rather than Google. This makes sense for shoppers who intend to make a purchase. On Amazon, they have an extensive range of resources, including reviews and product descriptions. Taking this into account, it is no wonder the online retailer recorded over 2.4 billion website visits last year.
14. The first-spot ranking in a search will net around 34.4% of desktop and 28.72% of mobile traffic.
(Advanced Web Ranking) (AnthonyGaenzle)
By comparison, the fourth-place ranking will net just 7.07% of desktop and 6.89% of mobile traffic. Mobile SEO stats reveal that 81% of the time all of the top three results are mobile-friendly. Being on Google’s first page is no longer enough—you have to hit the top three results, as well as have a mobile-friendly website.
15. Google’s web index comes in at over 100,000,000 gigabytes.
The giant has indexed hundreds of billions of pages. It uses the data within its index to provide better quality search results. More recently, the site has been creating its own knowledge pages—a basic summary of the data available across several sites. When you consider the SEO stats from 2020 this like one, you can see exactly how much competition there is out there.
16. Over 9 out of 10 times, people prefer organic results.
Web users are wary of sponsored results and ads. 94% of us will ignore paid results and focus on the organic results instead. For instance, 93.42% of Shopify’s traffic is organic, which only confirms users’ preference towards organic results. That’s why it’s still essential to work on how well your page ranks.
SEO Facts and Figures for Local Searches
17. Claiming your Google My Business page is the number one thing to do to improve your local ranking.
If you haven’t gotten around to claiming it, do it now. Yes, it’s one more thing to remember on a long list. Industry experts think having a valid and up-to-date listing comprises a quarter of the ranking signals for Google’s local SEO stats. It’s free, and it’s important to Google. It should be to you as well.
18. Even if you’re not using GMB, your competitors probably are.
According to MOZ, 59.6% of businesses have created at least one GMB post. That’s well over half the businesses on Google. If it’s not you, it could be your competitor. Are you missing out on improving your local SEO statistics because you haven’t taken the plunge yet?
19. 50% of the people who do a search for a product or business on their phone visit the store the same day.
(Search Engine Land)
Still think it’s not important to rank well locally? Think again. At least half of those searching on their phones will come through the store that same day, according to these SEO stats. The figure drops to 34% for those using tablets or computers. That’s still nothing to sneeze at, though.
20. Half of the people performing local searches on smartphones need business information.
(Think with Google)
It might be your address or your phone number. It doesn’t matter. There’s a good chance that they’re going to choose the business that comes up in the top spot. Make sure that your business ranks well to cash in on this trend.
21. Internet search statistics show that 46% of all searches through Google are local.
If you rely on walk-in traffic, you’re doing yourself a disservice by ignoring the power of local search. Considering that almost half of all searches conducted are locally based, that’s business that could be walking right past your front door.
22. Facebook posts with pictures receive 2.3 times more interaction compared to posts without pictures.
If you’re posting on Facebook, a great picture that’s relevant to the post is essential. It attracts attention and lets people know at a glance what your post is about. Pure text posts look more intimidating, so they attract less attention.
23. Instagram is the fastest growing social media site.
This is one of the most interesting SEO stats for bloggers promoting their blogs. Instagram shows the strongest year-on-year growth in referral traffic of all social media sites, with IG users sharing 95 million photos and videos on a daily basis. By comparison, Pinterest and Facebook only showed a growth of 9%. YouTube made no significant overall gains, and Twitter lost referral traffic. See for yourself in the chart created by Statista.
Search Terms and Keywords
24. Half of all searches will be voice-based by 2020.
With AI having improved substantially over the last ten years, voice search has become a lot more accurate. Companies that don’t start adjusting their SEO strategy accordingly won’t be in business for long.
25. Google page statistics show that half of all search queries are at least four words long.
And they’re bound to get longer as more people adopt voice search. That’s why we, as marketers, need to start looking into using phrases instead of simple keywords. Give yourself a head-start by thinking about what questions someone looking for your product or service might ask, and incorporate these questions into your site.
26. SEO guru, Neil Patel increased his search traffic by 123% in one year but that only resulted in an increase in income of 12.5%.
Choosing the right keywords is about more than just getting eyes on your site. If your page isn’t converting well, it doesn’t make sense to focus all your efforts on driving traffic to it. Focus on keywords that drive revenue by ensuring your best-converting pages rank. That way, you’ll get the full benefit of all the work you’ve done to build traffic.
27. According to search engine statistics, content marketing generates three times more leads than conventional marketing.
(Content Marketing Institute)
It makes sense. A traditional marketing campaign is finite. When the campaign stops running, the leads stop. With content marketing, however, the content is always out there. That one blog post could bring you leads today, and ten years from now.
28. You can save money through repurposing content intelligently.
Content marketing means producing a lot of content. You can ease the burden a little by repurposing existing content. This includes updating old content, expanding on it, or changing the format. For example, take a blog post, and create a video or podcast with it. You can also make your content more engaging by adding two or more images to it, which is exactly what 54% of bloggers do. The search engine marketing stats show that a good mix of different types of content will boost rankings.
29. The average length of articles in the top spot of Google is around 1900.
(Search Engine Journal)
This shows that longer-form content is a better bet if you want to rank well. So forget those quick 350 or 500-word posts. Google wants high-quality, informative content. Longer-form content is seen as more informative because it goes in depth.
30. Posts with images every 100 words or so receive double the number of shares.
We live in a visual age. People don’t want to be faced with a long, overwhelming block of text. Images break up the text and give people an idea of what the article is about. The SEO stats indicate that you should include images every 75–100 words. However, they must be relevant to the article.
31. 50% of well-shared posts have no links.
There’s no correlation between the number of times an article was shared and how many quality backlinks it has. People have different reasons for sharing than they do for linking to a post. You therefore need to have a separate social media marketing and backlink building strategy to succeed. Also, take note of this when you consider other search engine optimization statistics too.
32. Opinion posts tend to have around 5.66 sites linking to them. This is slightly higher than is the case for “How to” posts with an average of 4.41 links.
Conventional wisdom holds that your content should be as neutral as possible to avoid offense. Opinion pieces, however, usually outperform editorial pieces. People like to create a talking point. Think of your content as a conversation starter. It shouldn’t be offensive, but it could be a little controversial if you prefer. Check your facts and make a case.
33. The ideal length for your post’s title is 60 characters.
(The Washington Post)
Six out of ten people won’t read more than the headline, according to most SEO statistics. That means you have to make every headline count. You need to choose something that will grab their attention and make them want to read the rest of your article. It’s better to steer clear of clever headlines that say nothing about what the content is about. “To Beam or Not to Beam” is cute, but it doesn’t tell you that the article is about installing security beams.
34. The ideal meta description length is less than 155 characters.
The length of this paragraph is ideal for your meta description. Any longer and it might be cut off when displayed in Google. Get to the point fast.
35. A seven-minute read time gets the most engagement.
The SEO stats indicate that you need to go beyond just looking at a post’s word count. Consider how long it takes to read through it as well. If possible, send your content around to a few people and time how long it takes them to finish it. Seven minutes seems like an eternity online. Medium found that it provided the perfect balance between being informative and being too long to muddle through.
36. Infographics are thirty times more likely to be read than text articles.
(Search Engine Journal)
Many statistics on search engines’ ranking criteria show that it matters how long someone stays on your site. The longer, the better. Infographics break information up into manageable pieces and create an interesting visual element as well. You can present the same amount of information but generate more interest with an infographic. It’s also a great way to repurpose content.
One thing that’s clear is there’s still a lot of value in search engine optimization. It’s a dynamic field, so if we want to keep getting it right, we need to stay current on the latest developments, and continually expand our SEO knowledge.
Fortunately, we’ve done a lot of the legwork for you. We sourced our information from industry experts and trusted authorities so that you can rely on this page’s accuracy. Feel free to use it as your own personal resource to help you improve your position in the SERPs and grow your traffic.
Which SEO statistics are of most interest to you? Let us know in the comments below.
List of Sources:
- Smart Insights
- Search Engine Land
- Search Engine Land
- Internet Live Stats
- Advanced Web Ranking
- Smart Insights
- Search Engine Land
- Think with Google
- Neil Patel
- Content Marketing Institute
- Sprout Social
- Search Engine Journal
- The Washington Post
- Search Engine Journal