24 Eye-Popping SEO Statistics

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SEO isn’t exactly the most understood medium in online marketing. For one thing, people aren’t too sure what SEOs do exactly. Then there is talk about how SEO is converging with social media, content marketing, usability, and more.

It’s not exactly the most well regarded marketing channel either:

Every now and then, you’ll hear from the jaded webmasters who have invested in SEO a few times and wasted their money. After that, you’ll hear about discussions about black hat and white hat SEO. As a webmaster, you don’t have time to worry about all this chatter.

That’s understandable. You need to get the important things done.

To start things off, you should get your minimum viable SEO right and then move onto building your site.

You can turn to the more advanced SEO tactics to really help make some strides with your traffic. And take the word ‘advanced’ with a grain of salt, it’s not that bad once you get into the flow.

Keep the following statistics in mind as a reminder that investing more into your SEO efforts later will pay off handsomely:


  1. Content marketing rocks. Marketing Sherpa reports distribution lead to a 2,000% increase in blog traffic and a 40% increase in revenue.
  2. 70% of the links search users click on are organic.
  3. 70-80% of users ignore the paid ads, focusing on the organic results.
  4. 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results.
  5. GroupM states “when consumers were exposed to both search and social media influenced by a brand that overall search CTR went up by 94 percent.”
  6. Search and e-mail are the top two internet activities.
  7. Companies that blog have 434% more indexed pages. And companies with more indexed pages get far more leads.
  8. Inbound leads cost 61% lower than outbound leads. An example of an inbound lead might be from search engine optimization. An outbound lead might be from a cold call.
  9. 81% of businesses consider their blogs to be an important asset to their businesses.
  10. A study by Outbrain shows that search is the #1 driver of traffic to content sites, beating social media by more than 300%
  11. SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate.
  12. For Google, a study from Slingshot SEO shows 18% of organic clicks go to the #1 position, 10% of organic clicks go to the #2 position, and 7% of organic clicks go to the #3 position.
  13. In that same study, tests for Bing show the following: 9.7% of organic clicks go to #1, 5.5% of organic clicks go to #2, and 2.7% of organic clicks go to #3.
  14. 79% of search engine users say they always/frequently click on the natural search results. In contrast, 80% of search engine users say they occasionally/rarely/never click on the sponsored search results. Here’s a look at what the natural (blue) and sponsored search results (red) look like:


  1. Google owns 65-70% of the search engine market share.
  2. 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.
  3. MarketingCharts reports that over 39% of customers come from search
  4. The search engine industry is estimated to be worth more than $16 billion.
  5. There are over 100 billion global searches being conducted each month.
  6. 88.1% of US internet users ages 14+ will browse or research products online in 2012.
  7. Search directly drove 25% of all online U.s. device purchases in 2010.
  8. 82.6% of internet users use search.




Spotlight Image Credit: tlorna / Shutterstocl

Eric Siu
Eric Siu is the User Growth Lead at Treehouse, an online technology school that teaches coding, web design, how to build startups, and more. Feel free to follow him on Twitter: @ericosiu on Google+:+Eric Siu
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  • http://www.linkedin.com/company/brick-marketing---boston-seo-firm Nick Stamoulis

    “70-80% of users ignore the paid ads, focusing on the organic results.”

    That’s quite the number! Searchers are smart, they know the difference between organic and paid listings and they know there is a game to get to the top of Google. Ranking first doesn’t automatically mean you “win” at SEO either.

    • http://www.giglogo.com Karla Campos

      I fit right in that stat, I definitely ignore the ads without even trying : )

      • http://Websightseo.com David Spanierman

        Inbound leads have always had a better conversion rate. Comes with the turf. Years ago Hubspot pointed that out and it still holds true today.

    • http://www.evergreensearch.com Eric Siu

      well said!

    • http://twitter.com/mikegracen Mike Gracen

      Actually, my experience has been that searchers are clueless when it comes to this… with at least half of them having zero idea that the top listings on a SERP are paid listings. Most seem to care less as well… if they see what they searched for, they click.

  • http://www.convonix.com Shreyas

    I think the reason SEO is still not considered as a “viable” marketing medium is because webmasters have very less patience, and expect that they will start ranking well on Google, if they have just the basics in place. However the point which you have made about the increase in blog traffic & 40% increase in revenue, should be an eye-opener. Websites nowadays, cannot thrive by just offering a listing of their services. They need to have an adequate amount of content too, to guide the user properly & make him stay on the website. Also, having additional self-written about your service offering on your website, also adds a credibility factor, as the user is educated right from the awareness to the conversion phase.

    • http://www.evergreensearch.com Eric Siu

      Hey Shreyas,
      As soon as more people start to realize that SEO/social media are more like a marathon and not a sprint, they’ll realize that SEO is a viable long term solution. Great points on trust factors and content!

    • http://www.smorex.com ande43

      If a blog or comment to a blog is relevant to my interests AND the writer provides a link to content, I find myself always following the link and many times, my journey ends with a satisfactory ending.

      Comments are a rich source of information, like finding answers to an everyday question, a diagram for an appliance, a useful code snippet in PHP, another expert on a topic and so on.

      Advertisers should engage in these dialogs and provide not just a display ad but rich content, advertorials, events, etc as part of the dialog.

  • http://www.agentiaweb.ro AgentiaWeb

    “70-80% of users ignore the paid ads, focusing on the organic results.”
    In Romania, for example, not all the users know the difference between organic and paid listings, that’s way this rate can be customized for each country. 50% click on paid ads.

    • http://www.evergreensearch.com Eric Siu

      Hey AgentiaWeb,
      You’re on the money – the numbers can be different across diff countries/regions.

      • http://theoneandonlyb.wordpress.com Byron Martin

        Yip – I think a lot of people dont know the difference between paid and organic results , Especially around the world. I’ve also found that if Google don’t have a major server in your country the adwords keywords tool aren’t that accurate either.

        Great comment , As Eric said: “Your’e on the money”

        Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.blastam.com David McCormick

    As with all things it’s about whether the efforts and resources being devoted are being focused on the right things and in the right way. It’s all about quality of effort. Effective SEO is tailored to the client, not a list of bullet points that is the same for every site.

    Thanks for gathering this info Eric; lots of good stuff here. It’s funny how much hype there is around the downfall of SEO and that social media is what really matters. Point number 10 above about search driving more than 300% more traffic than social media shows that the need for high quality SEO is very much alive and well.

  • http://www.halwerner.com Copywriter Hal Werner

    Under Search #7, I think you meant to put 25%, not 255.
    “Search directly drove 255 of all online U.s. device purchases in 2010.”

    • http://www.evergreensearch.com Eric Siu

      Good catch Hal. Thanks!

  • http://www.squareonemd.co.uk Elliott the web design guy

    Interesting reading and stats..!

  • http://www.evergreensearch.com Eric Siu

    Hey David,
    Thanks for the nice comments. At the end of the day, social media/SEO/content strategy/usability/etc/etc all go hand in hand with each other so we should be looking at everything with a holistic viewpoint right?

  • http://www.blocman.co.uk BlocMan

    Good article. Very few people would use Facebook or Twitter to begin research on a product or service.
    We have searched the web so often before these new tools came on the market that it’s naturally the way to search.
    Will this change for the current generation of kids who were born in the times of Facebook.

  • http://seoandy.com SEO Andy Manchester

    Superb write up, these stats are known in the industry but i think more website owners should get to know them!

    • http://www.evergreensearch.com Eric Siu

      I agree – there should be a ‘required reading’ manual for every website owner ūüôā

  • http://www.webmeliorate.com John

    Good article. Every SEO consultant should know these statistics.

  • http://seohallmark.com Naveen


    You’re absolutely right that there tremendous growth in mobile internet users and I heard some were that most of them are using internet on their mobile for searching local businesses.

  • http://www.bloggingbite.com BloggingBite.com

    “82.6% of internet users use search.”
    just 82? I believed it should be more then 90%?

  • http://www.mikegroves.co.uk Mike Groves

    Great article, but one question on the paid ads. Does the example screenshot show 2 ads for the same search for case-mate? I’ve seen this a few times with 2 ads for Amazon – anybody else seeing this happen?

  • http://www.smorex.com ande43

    You state that search and email are “…the top two internet activities.”

    What is more useful is the amount of total internet time consumed by a user (e.g. per day) devoted to the above.

    I suspect that search activity is frequent but consuming small percentage of time compared to email and much smaller compared to viewing content on web, mobile and social sites.for

    Therefore, ad CPM revenue during search from paid ads is only as good when related to what you search; otherwise, you don’t have a lot of viewing time from the user

  • http://familytimecleaning.com/ carpet cleaning tampa

    Eric, that is a awesome list and I actually copied it and saved it to reference if you don’t mind. I do all my own SEO and this is a truly helpful blog post my friend. It seems there is a never ending stream of new and useful information when it comes to SEO. Thanks so much!

  • http://www.smorex.com ande43

    These statistics are dramatic enough that the author should update the post and provide a link to ALL statements to support his numbers; otherwise I could add a few of my own, such as:

    1. Social Media referral traffic will increase direct traffic to a website by a factor of 3 or more (www,smorex.com)
    2. Referral traffic will move page rank up to the first page of organic search listings (ditto)
    3 .Facebook CTR has decreased to .003 percent in the last 3 months (Comscore)
    4. Pre roll ads on CNN videos has increased bounce rates by 40% (Social Media Daily)

    Otherwise, good job.

  • http://www.property-tax-calculator.com/ Jones Jeff @ Property Tax Calculator

    This is really nice that “70-80% of users ignore the paid ads, focusing on the organic results.” Most important point of your post that mobile internet user are increasing “113.9 million in 2012, up from 97.3 million in 2011” so, but obvious searches will also increase by mobile internet so,we have more focus on mobile related search for our website performance.

  • http://www.seotrafficsearch.com Neha

    I wouldn’t call it a “secret” but definitely a few people who engage in search engine optimization or building for the web think carefully about this issue or build a strategy to successfully embrace it.

    Search rankings rely on the relevant content that earns high quality, editorially given links from good sources (with good anchor text). That much is obvious, but how to get this is not. The sites that have success are those that create an incentive for a web-content-creating audience.

    When you create your site, don’t just think about the value of the content to users and searchers. Think about the value to a select group of users who own websites and can create links – bloggers, small business owners, press + media, etc. If you can’t make an incentive for this “link-likely” audience, you’ll lose out to competitors who do. Earning good links is hard. Website builders who think about who will link to them and why have an unfair advantage over their competition.

  • http://www.sarkarinaukri4u.com/ Naukri

    I agree that 70-80% of users ignore the paid ads, focusing on the organic results. Good article these stats are known in the industry but i think more website owners should get to know them! Also every SEO consultant should know these statistics.

  • http://www.writingservicesonline.com Marcelina Hardy

    This all makes sense and no one should really be surprised. If you put yourself in your customers’ shoes, you’ll be able to really know what they want from the Internet, and then you can give them that. Internet users go to search engines to find information. A paid ad doesn’t entice people enough because they know it’s just advertising. When people find the information they want and need in an organic search though, they don’t feel as though they are being pressured to buy something; instead, it’s on their own terms. It works because people like to be in control. ūüėČ

  • http://www.seowiz.nl Eric Groene

    I love all the 14 facts on SEO you talk about in your article. Especially where is clearly visible that social media and search are complement to each other, and boosting up the CTR with 94% because of it.

  • http://northeastcooling.com Mitch

    Great post! I agree, long tern SEO & social media are the way to go. I also think google+ local & reviews will be a bigger factor in the future.

  • http://www.fashionbunny.eu firaatje

    Awesome post! Never invest money in seo techniques because they don’t work anyway.

  • Deepak Singh

    Good to see this post but i want to know which type of blog should i use one of them is blogspot and other is wordpress both are free so kindly tell me which one is good for better result and lastly i also want to know about how will my blog be visible in search engine.

  • http://topsongsindia.blogspot.in/ nitesh agrawal

    @ Deepak Singh both are nice if masked properly with basic on page seo and to visible in search engine you will just need some back-links from higher pr sites..

  • http://www.semsationalmarketing.com Alex

    At the end of the day, I believe business owners just don’t understand the value of a complete online marketing plan. They all go hand in hand, SEO, PPC, Blogs, Social Media, etc…they all play a part and help each other out. That should be the focus, there is no one answer solution. Some say, it’s all about social media, some say it’s all about blogging, and others say it’s all about paid search. They all work in relation to each other. If you want to increase lead generation and build a strong online presence you need to be active in all aspects of online marketing.