28 SEO Statistics and How to Use Them for Ranking Websites in 2021
SEO is intimidating to a lot of people, especially new marketers who are trying to figure out how to use it to rank their content. Google releases frequent updates to keep the data up-to-date and make sure it is not being corrupted or influenced by underhanded practices.
Those who have been using SEO for years will tell you that to stay on top of all the changes and rank effectively in 2021, you need to be aware of all the updates and how they affect ranking and the best practices for increasing organic traffic. Google has its own algorithm and it changes all the time so you need to stay informed and know how these things work.
What worked for some people years ago doesn’t work now. Keyword stuffing and sites with little to no original content were things that worked a few years ago but will get your websites penalized now.
Unfortunately, some still try to make this work today by repeating keywords 2 – 3 times per paragraph, which if you’ve ever read content like this, you’ll recognize as poorly written content. It’s overkill and unnecessary as good, high-quality content can rank well on its own.
Taking some clues from Google itself, the statistics gathered by sites like Ahrefs blog and Backlinko gives us some insight into what is working to increase organic search results. Some of these SEO statistics are listed here to give you an idea of what they mean and how you can use them to your advantage when it comes to content marketing campaigns.
There is some powerful SEO information here for those that can study these figures and put them into practice in their own marketing strategies. These statistics offer valuable information that you can use to skyrocket your marketing efforts to drive more traffic to your content (articles, blogs, or webpages).
Statistics for Search Traffic
● Nearly 70% of all internet traffic involves using a search engine. (BrightEdge)
● Of the three major search engines, Google was used for search 75%, then Bing (at 9.97%) and Yahoo comes in last (2.77%) for desktop/laptop searches. (NetMarketShare)
- Organic search accounts for 53% of all website traffic. (BrightEdge)
- Google controls a large chunk of internet traffic with Google Search, Google Images, and Google Maps accounting for 93% of all global internet traffic. (Sparktoro)
- Optimized content gets 1000 x more traffic than content shared on social media. (BrightEdge)
- 70% of Internet searches contained four words or more. (Ahrefs)
Deciphering the Data
What does this data mean for you as a marketer? These figures indicate that Google is the most used search engine, controls a large portion of internet traffic, and people using it for search are using long-tailed keywords with 4 or more words. Large corporations, marketers, retailers, and small businesses spend billions of dollars per year on SEO and marketing campaigns because it works.
Content that is optimized for search (using long-tail keywords, related keywords, optimized images, and valuable information that the reader is searching for) brings in more organic search traffic than content posted on social media sites. Yes, content posted on social media has the opportunity to go “viral” but this is often short-lived and not sustainable for the long run (meaning if it is not Evergreen content it will disappear to the back pages of search after the momentum has died down).
Which search engine is the most popular?
Google is used more often in search than Bing and Yahoo. It makes sense that if Google is the biggest player in the search results game, playing by their rules and structuring your content the way they like will bring good results and lots of traffic. Yahoo and Bing will still bring in traffic but Google ranks better. Google likes high-quality informative content that offers value to the reader. When it finds content that it considers valuable it often promotes it higher in search results naturally.
SEO Statistics to Consider for Ranking in 2021
Search Engine Traffic
1. Google was the main search engine used for 75% of all desktop searches in 2019.
Google’s search console shows the terms that are being used in search. It is a great source of information. Type any trending topic, celebrity, or location into the search bar and Google will show you the terms being searched on that particular subject. At the bottom of the page you can see related terms for even more research. Then you can see what people are searching and use related keywords to help them find you.
The best part is that this is real-time information, up-to-date and current so you can stay on top of any changes that may happen during the next few months.
2. Consumers perform 70% of their product research online.
Consumers use search engines daily to research products and services they are considering or want to buy. They use generic or common search terms when they are searching for information and specific keywords when they are ready to buy. Buyers are a lot more prepared than they used to be with so much information available on the World Wide Web.
3. Google Gets Searched 1.2 Trillion Times Per Year
Someone somewhere in the world is searching Google every second, or approximately 3.5 billion searches every day. This is why SEO is so effective for bringing in web traffic.
4. 75% of Google searches don’t go past the first page of results.
The majority of searchers don’t go past the first page of search results. 75% stick to the first page and the remaining 25% go to the second or third page. When performing internet research the top 5 results are the ones clicked on most often. It is extremely important to try and rank within the top 10 results on the first page. Since 80% of searchers ignore paid results, making SEO a priority gives you the chance to rank well in organic search.
5. YouTube is the second largest search engine.
YouTube is a search engine, if you didn’t already know. A user-friendly interface combined with popular video content, makes YouTube the second largest search engine. YouTube’s search volume tops that of Yahoo, Bing, and Ask.com. Content posted to YouTube ranks well because Google owns YouTube. Use every opportunity to rank your content.
Remember that SEO isn’t only for trying to rank on the first page of search. It is more important for your site or your content to be found in search – and to know which terms they found you for. You’ll find related search terms in the sidebar of YouTube’s search results.
6. Google uses over 200 factors in their algorithm for ranking websites.
Google’s ranking algorithm remains a mystery to marketers and SEO experts equally. There is speculation of course, and Google officials like Matt Cutts offer little hints at some of the things that go into ranking websites.
SEO Factors for Content
7. Content that offers value and link building are two very important factors used by Google to rank your website in search.
(Source: Search Engine Watch)
According to Google, backlinks are one of their top three ranking factors. The more pages you have linking to your content or site, the better. They should be high-quality links from reputable authority sites.
Quality content has always been a factor in a site’s ranking, so we can pretty much expect that to remain the same.
8. The most effective SEO tactic is on-page content development, say 57% of marketing experts.
(Source: Content Marketing Institute)
When it comes to SEO, more than 50% of marketing professionals agree that content is king, especially valuable content.
On-page content is more than just information and keywords, it answers questions, solves a problem, or refers the reader to sites where more information on the subject can be found. This is why the average length of blog posts keep getting longer every year. Which brings us to the next point…?
9. The average length of an article in the top search position in Google is 2,000 words or more.
How in-depth should good content be? It should be long enough to cover all the basics and answer any questions your audience may have which is often the reason for their search. In the old days, it was preferable to keep content short due to short attention spans and to make content scannable by most viewers. But evidence shows that users are searching and reading longer content to gain more information or understanding about a topic.
10. Updating and republishing old blog posts help increase organic traffic by as much as 106%. Adding new content and images boosts its value.
Updating and refreshing existing content keeps it increasing in value and brings in more search traffic. You can give new life to old content and get more out of it.
11. The main reason for a page not receiving organic search traffic is the absence of backlinks. 90% of all pages contain little to no backlinks.
A study looking at two million websites was performed by Ahrefs in 2018. The results were that while length of content was important, backlinks seem to be a higher factor in ranking position.
12. 55.24% of pages have 0 backlinks, and 30% have less than 3 backlinks.
Backlinks are an important ranking factor. This refers to high-quality, relevant backlinks from authority sites. The more links a site has, the more traffic it is likely to get from Google and other search engines. This means that marketers can outrank their competition by focusing on publishing quality content and obtaining more backlinks from reputable sites.
13. 4 important ranking factors for a website include amount of visits, time they stayed on the page, number of pages visited, and bounce rate.
Technical SEO is important too. Long-form content and backlinks are important factors that keep visitors engaged and keep them on your site longer. Good content is number one, but another way to keep visitors on your site is to make it easy for them to find related content. Your site navigation should be set up so visitors can find what they’re looking for and link to related content within your website.
14. Is headline/title tag the most important element for on-page SEO? 36% of SEO experts say yes.
Should you spend more time crafting a good headline, than writing the content? You could spend hours writing an epic account of how to go about fixing tile floors, but if your headline isn’t engaging readers may not give it a second look.
Headlines not only tell search engines what the article is about but it is possible that it may show up in a featured snippet, across social media feeds, and through backlinks. Many SEO experts agree that your headline is an important lament and you should take your time and make it compelling.
15. Long-tail keywords are searched 3% to 5% more than 1 – 2 word searches.
(Source: Smart Insights)
More people use 4 or more words when searching for a topic. The more words you use, the more specific and related your results will be. When you use fewer words your results will be broad and to narrow them down you need to be more specific. For example, if you type “SEO” into search you will get pages and pages of results on all types of content pertaining to SEO. Nobody has time to read through all those pages to find the information they want so they add more words to bring up relevant information that may answer their questions in one or two pages. SEO strategies, SEO statistics, and On-page SEO are all related but refer to different aspects of SEO.
If you want to rank for the keyword “SEO strategy,” for example, your long-tail keywords might look like this:
- What is an SEO strategy
- How to create an effective SEO strategy
- What are the benefits of an SEO strategy?
16. SEO is way more effective than PPC, say 70% of marketers.
In the past, PPC was an effective method of advertising. It still is effective in marketing but SEO is seeing more organic search results. Increased traffic, leads and sales are coming in from effective SEO strategies. PPC or Google Ads is a good strategy for short-term benefits and results due to costs and maintenance, while search engine optimization is free and covers long-term results.
17. Google’s advertising solutions help more than 1.3 million businesses worldwide.
SEO is effective at bringing traffic to a website but paid advertising works too and should be used in combination with good SEO strategies.
18. 61% of marketers are making inbound marketing a priority by improving SEO and growing their online presence.
(Source: HubSpot State of Inbound)
It is time to take SEO seriously and start improving your rankings because your competitors are probably in that 61%. Committing to growing your online presence and improving your ranking with SEO strategies will help your business get found and bring you visitors.
19. Search terms like “best xx,” “where to buy,” “near me,” and “right now” are used 200% more often by searchers than in years past.
If your business sells goods and services to local residents make sure your local SEO is updated and your site is mobile-friendly. Make sure your site is optimized for mobile searches and that your business is listed in Google as a local business. Most local businesses don’t advertise with content or other methods and rely heavily on mobile searches.
20. 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles of their location.
As mentioned above, “near me” searches result in more visits to local businesses. People are more interested in obtaining goods or services close to them which makes local SEO all that more relevant.
21. 22.6% of all search queries on Google are for images.
Platforms like Pinterest and Instagram have made visual content more popular. Consumers are searching for pinnable images and infographics to post on the boards and to share.
22. Consumers search for 62% more visual content than text.
Visual-content platforms have made posting images more popular than writing articles or blog posts. You can tell a story or make a statement using a photo. Images are the new keywords.
23. Voice search answers came from a featured snippet on 62% of searches.
A featured snippet is the little box of text that appears at the top of search results when you type a question into Google. They have been used since 2014 and come up often for voice searches. When crafting your article summaries, keep this in mind because your content may one day be displayed as a featured snippet.
24. 97% of consumers research a company via the internet.
Consumers have access to more information than ever. It is vital to have the information out there so your customers can find you and learn about you and what your company does. Make sure your About Us page tells the story of your company’s humble beginnings as well as its accomplishments.
Mobile SEO Statistics
25. 58% of all Google searches are performed on a smartphone or tablet.
Mobile traffic is becoming the popular method of searching as more people are on the go.
26. Mobile user experience is important to Google as an indexing tool.
Google implemented best practices for mobile-first indexing.
27. 87% of smartphone owners search the internet by phone daily.
28. A large percentage of mobile device users (69%) say that they are more likely to buy from a website that addresses their questions easily.
Websites that answer users questions or respond to inquiries are more likely to land a sale.
Ways to Implement these statistics into your SEO Strategy in 2020
- Make Google your friend. Write high-quality engaging content.
- Write for humans first, and search engines second. Use html, optimize your images, and add long-tail keywords searchers are using.
- Focus on writing good content and obtaining backlinks to your content.
- Update your content frequently by adding new content, graphs, charts, or images to keep it fresh. Image searches are a large percentage of web traffic so make sure to optimize the images in your content as well.
- Google loves YouTube and ranks content posted there high in search. Post video content with links back to your blog or webpage.
- On-page SEO is important – quality content, html, headers, bullet points, and images
- Off-page SEO is more important for ranking position. Make friends with others in your industry and contribute guest posts, comment on their content, or join groups where you can post links to your pages. This is important: do not spam any site or groups.
- Local SEO is important so make sure to complete your Google My Business listing.
- Mobile traffic counts for a large percentage of searches so make sure your site is mobile-friendly.
- Use long-tail keywords in your content because they get a higher number of searches.
- Optimize images in your content and on-site to get found when someone performs an image search. Visual content gets a high number of searches. Instagram posts, Facebook images, and Pinterest pins are good ways to use your images and link them back to your site.
Google changes its algorithm 500 – 600 times each year so it is important to stay on top of SEO and work to create engaging, high-quality content that your audience will want to read. Keeping visitors on the page is as important as getting them there. Implement the strategies above for increased traffic and long-term success.