The SEO landscape is continually changing, with search engines like Google updating algorithms on a constant basis—sometimes even as often as three times a day. They generally do this to re-evaluate their methods to provide the best results for their users.
Major updates, meanwhile, are done to implement machine learning to adapt to their ranking algorithm. It is first tested in a limited environment, then rolled out to the live index once deemed satisfactory. Significant changes take some time to settle. That’s why every big update comes with fluctuations in SEO rankings, which SEO specialists have called the Google Dance.
But why does Google feel the need to update relentlessly? The most common reason is it’s their way of detecting and hindering unfair SEO marketers that manipulate their search engine rankings using unfavorable techniques. It’s no secret that some businesses use Black Hat SEO techniques to trick search engines, so Google needs to make it so that only legitimate SEO strategies that improve the user experience have a positive effect on rankings.
It may take you some time before you can see results from White Hat techniques, but doing legitimate work assures you that your site won’t get flagged and penalized by Google, and that rankings last.
With the almost endless algorithm updates, companies have to discover new best SEO practices. Specialists have to be always prepared to face changes and reconsider their strategies and workflow for successful SEO.
SEO Trends and Statistics to Shape Your Strategy
As mentioned, nothing is constant when it comes to search engine optimization. Over the years, many updates have been implemented, which usually results in different SEO trends popping up. Look into these SEO statistics to understand the trends that will dominate the future of search and SEO.
I. General Search and SEO
93% of online experiences begin on search engines.
70–80% of users ignore paid search results and click on organic results instead.
Organic results are deemed 5.66 times better than paid ads by users because of the sense that companies on the top spot bought their way into the position without actually being the best option.
51% of online traffic comes from organic search.
75% of users do not scroll past the first page of SERP.
32.5% is the average traffic share of the first organic search result.
91.5% is the average traffic share for sites on first page of SERPs.
The average page speed of a top ranking site is 1900 ms, 17% faster compared to sites that rank 10th.
81% of consumers do online research before making a large purchase.
61% of consumers research a product online before purchasing.
47% of consumers view 3–5 pieces of content from a company before talking to a sales person.
75% of SEO is done off-page, and 25% is on-page.
57% of B2B marketers say that SEO generates more leads than any other marketing initiative.
72% of marketers say that relevancy is the main factor for improving SEO.
Over 40% of revenue is captured by organic search.
Leads from search engines have a 14.6% close rate—a huge increase from the 1.7% close rate of outbound leads.
Bounce rates increase by 50% when a website takes an additional 2 seconds to load.
Conversion rates drop by 12% for every extra second that it takes for a website to load.
Voice search currently accounts for 10% of overall searches.
At least 50% of all searches will be voice and image-based by 2020.
The SEO industry is worth approximately $80 billion. In 2018, businesses spent $72.02 billion in 2018 in SEO, with the number expected to jump to $79.27 billion by 2020. One-third of the spending is from large companies, while start-ups and local SMBs spend the rest.
Search engine market share by the device used:
- Google: 94.26% desktop, 89.63% mobile
- Yahoo: 1.42% desktop, 2.83% mobile
- Baidu: 1.31% desktop, .62% mobile
- Yandex: .47% desktop, 1.1% mobile
- Bing: 1.17% desktop, 3.98% mobile
- Others: 1.37% desktop, 1.84% mobile
“What is Bitcoin?” and “What is racketeering?” were the most popular “What is” searches in 2018.
“How to vote” and “How to register to vote” were the most popular “How to” searches in 2018.
II. Google Search
It’s no secret that Google is the undisputed king of search engines today, that’s why SEO specialists carry out campaigns that aim to keep Google and its users happy. Here are some numbers that prove this:
5.8 billion search queries are processed from different parts of the world.
Of 5.8 billion, 15% are new queries that have never been searched before. This shows that there are always new keyword combinations worth exploring for SEO specialists.
71,780 Google queries are made per second.
3.5 billion Google searches are made daily.
More than 2 trillion Google searches are made annually.
The volume of Google searches increases by 10% every year.
86% of users look up the location of a business on Google Maps.
Google captures 90% of searches made on desktops.
Over 1 billion people use Google to look something up monthly.
Google has indexed around 100,000,000 GB worth of web pages.
44% of all website referral traffic is from Google.
8% of Google searches are questions.
An average Google search session lasts just under a minute.
The average first-page result on Google consists of 1,890 words.
The first result for Google’s desktop search results has a 34.36% CTR.
Organic results with 3–4 words in the title drive higher CTRs than those with only 1–2 words
Mobile Google searchers click on organic results 41% of the time.
Desktop Google searchers click on organic results 62% of the time.
80% of Google’s users ignore its ads.
If there’s a video on a site’s landing page, it’s 53% more likely to show up on Google’s first page.
Google search queries share percentage by length:
- One word: 21.71%
- Two words: 23.98%
- Three words: 19.60%
- Four words: 13.89%
- Five words: 8.70%
- Six words or more: 12.12%
“__ to avoid” search queries have increased by 150%.
“Is __ worth it?” search queries have increased by 80%.
III. Mobile SEO
In 2015, Google updated its algorithm to accommodate searches done on a mobile device and to prioritize mobile-friendly sites better. This way, a website that ranks well when looked up on a desktop but has a poor mobile site will not appear on mobile search results. With smartphone use becoming the norm today, it’s no wonder that mobile SEO has accumulated the following numbers since its inception:
Americans spent 3 hours and 35 minutes a day on their phones in 2018.
52% of global internet traffic are from mobile.
Google captures 95% of mobile search in the US.
60% of Google searches are done on mobile; five years ago, the figure was only 34%.
87% of smartphone users look up something at least once a day.
1/3 of smartphone searches are done before a store visit.
66% of ecommerce transactions take place on mobile.
40% of ecommerce sales made during the 2018 holiday season came from smartphones.
40% of visitors will leave a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
50% of “near me” Google searches on mobiles result in a store visit.
42% of brand interactions via mobile involve Google search.
51% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a mobile-friendly website.
Around a third of mobile Google searches are related to location.
IV. Local SEO
In 2014, the first version of Google’s Pigeon update was launched. This gave a platform for local businesses to compete for search rankings on a local level. Google boosted the rankings of businesses in close proximity to the searcher for added relevance.
97% of consumers learn more about a local company via the internet.
46% of Google inquiries are related to local information.
70% of consumers will go to a store after learning information online.
72% of consumers will visit a store within 5 miles of their location after doing a local search.
92% of users click on businesses on the first page of SERPs.
82% of mobile shoppers use the keyword “near me”; “nearby” and “closest” dropped by 23% in use.
28% of the searches for something local will result in a purchase.
1/3 of mobile searches are related to a location.
18% of local searches on mobile convert.
61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact a local business with a mobile-friendly webpage.
78% of location-based mobile searches result in offline purchases.
18% of local searches result in a sale within a day.
34% of “near me” searches done on desktop and tablets result in store visits.
$1.4 trillion in local sales are expected from mobile devices by 2021.
73% of consumers trust business after reading positive reviews.
56% of local businesses have not yet claimed their Google My Business listing.
82% have not yet claimed their Bing listing.
Percentage of local ranking factors
- 29% – Link signals
- 24% – On-page signals
- 11% – Behavioral signals
- 9% – Personalization
- 7% – Review signals
- 6% – Citation signals
- 4% – Social signals
V. Link building
A mainstay in SEO campaigns and tactics, the rules of link building have also changed over the years with each update of the algorithm. In link building, the number of links is irrelevant—it is the quality of links that are more crucial.
35% of companies spend $1,000 or less monthly for link building.
53% of clients dedicate a quarter or less of their SEO budget for link building.
65% of marketers say that link building is the hardest SEO tactic to do.
41% claim that link building is the greatest challenge in SEO.
VI. Social Media
Social media is not only big on the consumers’ side but even to Google and marketers. Today, there must be clear links between social media accounts and websites to lead one to the other. This network of social signals can have a significant impact on a business’ organic search results.
74% of companies and 82% of agencies say that social media somewhat or highly integrated.
40% of consumers prefer to support businesses that are engaging in social media.
58% of marketers have seen improved search engine rankings after using social media for at least a year.
71% of customers will likely recommend a brand if they’ve had a good social media service experience with it.
VII. Content Marketing Stats
Quality and relevant content can have a profound impact on marketing campaigns, making it one of the key pillars of SEO.
72% of marketers believe that relevant content creation is the most effective SEO strategy.
81% of businesses think their blogs are essential tools.
Producing a blog can give businesses 434% more search engine-indexed pages than not having one.
Better content can drive traffic by up to 2,000%.
Updating and republishing old blog posts can increase organic traffic by 111.37%.
VIII. Video Marketing Statistics
Google is now also promoting video content into its search algorithms as a valuable resource for users.
85% of US internet traffic will surround video this 2019.
Video content is 50 times more likely to drive organic results than text.
A video thumbnail in search results can double search traffic.
CTRs for video emails are 96% higher than those without.
20% of users will read the text on a page, while 80% will watch a video.
Evolving Alongside SEO
There is one fact that you can take away from these SEO statistics: search engine marketing is an excellent way to grow your brand. With consumers going online more and via new device types, it’s a mistake not to cater to these changes. Don’t be left out of the trend.
However, it is also a fact that technology evolves. For Google and other search engines, that means keeping up with the times and protecting their algorithm from SEO practitioners who may be trying to manipulate the system in a way that worsens a searcher’s experience.
SEO may offer your business tremendous opportunities, but specialists should be wary of going over the line. Keep up-to-date with the latest trends; be adaptive and not reactive to avoid penalties. It’s as easy as keeping your website compliant with Google’s standards.
You can do this by churning out content that is the type that people will find informative, and even like and share. In addition, keep your links healthy by checking and make sure your landing pages are working, and that other pages that link to your site are ideally from your niche. Find and fix any unnatural backlinks that you may find.
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