Editor’s note: This is a chapter from Search Engine Journal’s guide, SEO 101: Learn the Basics of Search Engine Optimization.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential because organic search is arguably the most valuable marketing channel there is.
Every company that operates online needs SEO. Period.
Small. Medium. Large.
Startup. Local business. Global brand.
Whenever someone is using a search engine to find information that’s relevant to your product, service, or website, you need to be there.
Yet, there remains a constant struggle, even in 2017, to justify the value of SEO.
Why? In part, the undeniable proof of SEO’s value is scattered across a handful of websites.
This post brings together all the data you need to know about organic traffic, industry spending and value, search behavior, Google, and more.
Here are more than 60 mind-blowing statistics you need to know about search engine optimization.
Organic Traffic Statistics
- 32.5 percent: The average traffic share the first Google organic search result gets. (Chitika)
- 91.5 percent: The average traffic share generated by the sites listed on the first Google search results page. (Chitika)
- 1,890 words: The average content length of a Google first page result. (Backlinko)
- 51 percent of all website traffic comes from organic search, 10 percent from paid search, 5 percent for social, and 34 percent from all other sources. (BrightEdge)
- Over 40 percent of revenue is captured by organic traffic. (BrightEdge)
- 73 billion: The estimated number of phone calls that will be generated from mobile search alone by the end of 2018. (Acquisio)
- 8.5: The average number of organic mobile search results that Google shows on page 1. It previously consisted of 10 “blue links” in its search results. (SearchMetrics)
- 8.59: The average number of organic desktop search results that Google shows on page 1. (SearchMetrics)
Industry/Business Spending Statistics
- $65 billion: The amount that companies spent on SEO in 2016. (Borrell Associates)
- $72.02 billion: The estimated amount brands and agencies in the United States will shell out for SEO services in 2018. The amount is forecasted to rise up to $79.27 billion by 2020. (Borrell Associates)
- >$5,000: The monthly amount majority of businesses are spending on SEO. (Moz)
- 77.8 percent of US search ad revenues for 2017 is expected to be earned by Google. (eMarketer)
Local Search Behavior Statistics
- 80 percent of Google search interest in “near me” came from mobile in Q4 2014. (Think with Google)
- 4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find local information. (Google/Ipsos MediaCT/Purchased)
- 18 percent of local smartphone searches led to a purchase within a day. (Google/Ipsos MediaCT/Purchased)
- 88 percent of users search on a smartphone, while 84 percent search on a computer/tablet. (Google/Ipsos MediaCT/Purchased)
- 54 percent of smartphone users search for business hours, 53 percent search for directions to a local store. (Google/Ipsos MediaCT/Purchased)
- 4 in 5 consumers want ads customized to their city, zip code, or immediate surroundings. (Google/Ipsos MediaCT/Purchased)
- >70 percent of consumers say it’s important to have directions and a call button in ads. (Google/Ipsos MediaCT/Purchased)
- 2.1X: The increase in mobile searches for “stores open now” or “food open now” in the past year. (Think with Google)
- 1.3: The number of times mobile searches for “where to buy/find/get” increased in the past year. (Think with Google)
- 65 percent of people use their phone in their I-want-to-buy moments. (Think with Google)
- 76 percent of people who search on their smartphones for something nearby visit a business within a day and 28 percent of those searches for something nearby result in a purchase. (Think with Google)
User Search Behavior Statistics
- 51.3 percent of internet users worldwide operate mobile and tablet devices, while 48.7 percent use desktops.(StatCounter)
- 15 percent of the millions of active US web users performed at least one or more searches in a day, 45 percent performed at least one query in a week, and 68 percent performed one or more queries that month. (Jumpshot/Moz)
- 79 percent of people took a relevant action on their phone prior to making a purchase. (Think with Google)
- 39 percent of purchasers were influenced by a relevant search. (Think with Google)
- 3: The average number of words a typical searcher uses in their search query. (Jumpshot/Moz)
- ~8 percent of search queries are phrased as questions. (Jumpshot/Moz)
- 8 percent of queries on Google result in the searcher changing their search terms without clicking any results. (Jumpshot/Moz)
- 21 percent of searches lead to more than one click on Google’s results. (Jumpshot/Moz)
- 8 percent of Google queries result in pogo-sticking (i.e. the searcher clicks a result, then bounces back to the search results page and chooses a different result). (Jumpshot/Moz)
Link Building Statistics
- Over 1,000 words: The average length of long form content that receives more shares and links than shorter form content. (Buzzsumo/Moz)
- 41 percent of large companies consider link building as the most difficult SEO tactic. (Ascend2/Conductor)
- 130 trillion: How many webpages Google is aware of as of 2016. (Google via Search Engine Land)
- ~2 trillion: The estimated number of searches Google is handling per year worldwide. That breaks down to 63,000 searches per second; 3.8 million searches per minute; 228 million searches per hour; 5.5 billion searches per day; and 167 billion searches per month. (Search Engine Land)
- 1 billion+: How many people use Google search every month. (Google via Business Insider)
- 40-60 billion: The estimated number of searches happening on Google in the U.S. each month. (Jumpshot/Moz)
- 1,600+: How many improvements to search Google launched in 2016. (Google)
- 81.12 percent: The total search engine market share that Google currently holds. (Net Market Share)
- 15 percent: The percentage of daily queries Google sees that have never been searched for previously. (Google)
- Under 1 minute: The all-in time of the average Google search session (from the time of the initial query to the loading of the search results page and the selection of any results, plus any back button clicks to those SERPs and selection of new results.) (Jumpshot/Moz)
- 30 percent of all mobile searches are related to location. (Think with Google)
- 66 percent of distinct search queries resulted in one or more clicks on Google’s results, while 34 percent of searches get no clicks at all. (Jumpshot/Moz)
- 3.4 percent of distinct search queries in Google resulted in a click on an AdWords (paid) ad. (Jumpshot/Moz)
- 0.9 percent of Google.com search results get a click on Google Maps. (Jumpshot/Moz)
- ~0.5 percent of clicks on Google search results go to links in the Knowledge Graph. (Jumpshot/Moz)
- 3 percent of clicks on Google search results go to image blocks. (Jumpshot/Moz)
- ~0.23 percent of clicks on Google search results go to Twitter block results. (Jumpshot/Moz)
- 1.8 percent of clicks on Google search results go to YouTube. (Jumpshot/Moz)
- 0.16 percent of clicks on Google search results go to personalized Gmail/Google Mail results. (Jumpshot/Moz)
- 0.55 percent of clicks on Google search results go to Google Shopping results. (Jumpshot/Moz)
- 11.8 percent of clicks from distinct Google searches result in a click on a Google property, i.e. YouTube, Google Maps, Gmail, Google Books, the Google Play Store on mobile, and Google+. (Jumpshot/Moz)
- ~25 percent of all searches are distributed across the top 1MM queries, with the top 10MM queries accounting for about 45 percent and the top 1BB queries accounting for close to 90 percent. (Jumpshot/Moz)
- 25 percent of all search volume happens outside the top 100 million keywords. (Jumpshot/Moz)
- 40.9 percent of Google searches done on mobile devices result in an organic click, 2 percent in a paid click, and 57.1 percent in no click at all. (Jumpshot/Moz)
- 62.2 percent of Google searches done on desktop devices result in an organic click, 2.8 percent in a paid click, and 35 percent in no click. (Jumpshot/Moz)
SEO & Other Marketing Channels
- ~20: The number of times SEO has more traffic opportunity than PPC on both mobile and desktop. (Jumpshot/Moz)
- 45 percent of all companies say content marketing is ‘highly integrated’ with their SEO strategy. (Econsultancy)
Featured Image Credit: Paulo Bobita