SEO is constantly evolving. With every new update to search algorithms, the game changes. Marketers have to constantly adapt their SEO strategy based on new best optimization practices and changing search trends.
To help you to keep pace, we’ve compiled 37 SEO statistics that every marketer needs to know. The stats listed below will inform your strategy and help you to climb to the top of the SERPs as we head into 2021.
Let’s start by taking a look at the most important SEO statistics you need to know.
Continuing a trend, we’ve been seeing for a few years now, long-form content continues to dominate the SERPs. A typical post ranking on the first page of Google is 1,447 words long, according to recent research from Backlinko:
The takeaway: avoid thin content and make sure you’re taking the time to cover a topic in-depth in your blog posts
Featured snippets are nothing new – they’ve been around since 2014 – but they’ve grown more and more important over the years. In 2020, they’re more relevant to your SEO strategy than ever.
According to a recent study by Ahrefs, 12.29% of all search terms now bring up featured snippets:
And they’re even more important for voice search. According to a study by Backlinko, a whopping 40.7% of all voice search answers come from featured snippets.
The latest information we have on Google’s 2020 BERT update was that the algorithm was being used in 10% of all English search queries in the US.
In case you missed the memo, BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) was an update to Google’s search model that aims to improve their understanding of search queries that use natural/conversational language.
It allows Google to better interpret the nuance and context of the query, and therefore deliver more well-matched search results. It was called the ‘biggest update in 5 years’. (Source: Search Engine Land)
No surprises there. The pandemic has dominated headlines this year so, naturally, it’s also dominated search. The other top 5 most popular Google searches were ‘Election results’, ‘Kobe Bryant’, ‘Zoom’, and ‘IPL’. Many SEOs were quick off the mark to cash in on this surge by targeting coronavirus-related keyword search queries in their strategy. (Source: Google Trends)
In similar news, travel-related search queries bounced back in the third quarter of 2020 following an initial dip brought about by COVID-19-related travel restrictions. This is good news for businesses in the travel industry. (Source: Advanced Web Ranking)
Per Comscore. To tap into voice search, aim to write content that answers the questions your customers are asking without getting hung up on specific keywords.
The top-ranking content on the search engine results page continues to amass the vast majority of clicks. With over two-thirds of searchers clicking on one of the top 5 organic results, SEOs really need to be aiming high. If you’re not visible above the fold, you’re not getting the traffic you deserve. (Source: Marketing Land)
If you thought there were no keyword gaps left, think again. New juicy keywords that your competitors haven’t already gone after are coming up all the time. This is clear, given that 15% of all search queries are brand new to Google. (Source: Search Engine Land)
Now let’s dive into some statistics that tell us more about the search engines most consumers are using to find answers to their queries.
No surprises here then. As expected, Google is still the world’s favorite search engine. It dominates the market with over two-thirds of the market share as of October 2020.
Bing came in second at 13.85%, closely followed by Chinese search engine Baidu at 12.78%. Yahoo trailed behind the pack with a disappointing 1.76%. Note that this isn’t counting video search platforms like YouTube.
The upshot for marketers is clear: focus on Google. (Source: Net Market Share)
According to Internet Live Stats, there were 88,099 searches per second on the day this post was written. This figure might not be an exact average – Google doesn’t officially share exact numbers – but it’s a pretty good estimate.
In the time it’s taken you to read this, there’s likely already been over a million searches. That should give you some idea of the huge scope there is for SEO in 2020.
Google might dominate for general web searches, but Amazon takes the win when it comes to product searches specifically. The shopping platform giant has been slowly increasing its dominance in the product search space, and it now generates more product searches per year than Google. (Source: WebFX)
Here are some of the most important statistics for SEO marketers to know.
As this stat from HubSpot shows, SEO is still king when it comes to inbound marketing. More marketers are focused on improving their organic search rankings than any other inbound marketing tactic.
SEO is a long-term strategy that generates more leads at a lower cost than paid search – and it doesn’t require you to continually invest in ads. It’s no surprise, then, that marketers are seeing better results from their SEO campaigns than PPC. (Source: Databox)
Despite the fact that the majority of marketers think SEO delivers better results than PPC, the truth is that both approaches have a place in your marketing strategy. The best results come from taking a strategic, unified approach and integrating both SEO and PPC in your campaigns.
That’s why 86.5% of SEOs feed keyword/conversion data from their PPC efforts into their SEO campaigns. You can also use PPC to test your keyword strategy before implementing long-term SEO efforts.
That’s vastly greater than outbound-sourced leads, which have a measly close rate of just 1.7. (Source: HubSpot)
Wondering how much of your marketing budget to allocate to SEO efforts? Here are some statistics about the cost of SEO to help you figure it out.
According to data from Ahrefs, $100-$150 is the most popular pricing tier amongst SEOs in the US who charge hourly rates (35.29%), and around 20% of SEOs charge $75-$100 per hour.
The same data from Ahrefs suggest that around 25% of all SEO projects are priced somewhere in this range.
Building your website authority isn’t cheap. If you plan on purchasing link placements, expect to pay around $361.44 per link. The higher the DA of the site, the higher the cost. (Source: Ahrefs)
Ahref’s also showed that guest posting is another popular link building strategy. Amongst sites that charge for guest posts, the average cost is $77.80.
Keyword research is still a big part of SEO marketing efforts. Here are some statistics to inform your keyword strategy.
The idea that shorter search queries have higher search volumes is a myth. Most internet users search for longer phrases of 4+ words. One- and two-word search terms are actually comparatively less common.
These highly specific, unpopular search terms make up around 39% of the total search demand. (Source: Ahrefs)
One clear trend marking 2020 was the surge in search volume for DIY beauty how-tos as consumers were forced to adapt to lockdown measures across the globe.
Other how-to terms that saw a notable increase were ‘How to make a facemask’, ‘How to donate to Black Lives Matter’, and ‘How to be an ally’. (Source: Google Trends)
Getting your content to rank is the ultimate goal of SEO. Here are some statistics that shed light on what it takes to rank in 2020/21.
This is according to the SEMrush ranking factors study 2.0. Other factors that topped the list were time on site, pages per session, bounce rate, and referring domains.
This suggests that Google is placing increasing importance on how users interact with your site. The more engaged they are with your content, and the longer they spend on your site, the more likely you are to rank.
Surprisingly, the same SEMrush study found that keywords were relatively unimportant in ranking position, despite the fact that keyword optimization is one of the most widely adopted SEO techniques.
Including the keyword in anchor, body, title, and meta description, as well as keyword density, were all found to be relatively unimportant.
If you want to get really specific, it’s actually 49% for pages ranking in position 1 for low-volume keywords, and 51% for those ranking for high-volume keywords. Lower bounce rates are thought to be a key ranking factor on Google. (Source: Backlinko)
The same Backlinko source shows that link authority continues to be an important ranking signal for Google. The more backlinks that point to your page, the better chance you stand of landing the top spot.
Loading speeds have become an increasingly important ranking factor over the years. If you want to land in the top page results, make sure you’re optimizing your site for rapid loading. 1.65 seconds is a useful benchmark to aim for according to the same Backlinko source.
Nobody said SEO was easy. The statistics below highlight some of the key challenges facing SEOs.
This shocking statistic shows just how difficult SEO is to get right. Most of the content businesses spend valuable time and money creating ends up buried in the SERPs thanks to poor SEO.
This is one of the main reasons many pages fail to rank. A different study from Backlinko (as per statistic 26) put the figure even higher, at a whopping 95%. Of those that do have backlinks, 26.29% have less than 3 different referring domains.
SEO is a long-term strategy – it doesn’t generate instant results like PPC campaigns. As this statistic shows, getting your posts to rank doesn’t happen overnight. (Source: Ahrefs)
When we think of SEO, we usually think about Google. We often forget that YouTube is the second biggest search engine on the internet. Here are some YouTube SEO statistics to inform your video SEO strategy.
That’s more than Bing, Yahoo!, AOL, and Ask combined. (Source: Mushroom Networks)
According to Perficient, the vast majority of videos ranking on Google also rank in YouTube’s top 10 results for the same search query.
68.2% of the first-page results on YouTube are in HD resolution (1080p or 720p). Lower resolution videos are less likely to rank, so make sure you’re uploading in HD (Source: Backlinko)
This is from the same study by Backlinko. YouTube’s algorithm seems to place a lot of emphasis on viewer engagement. The upshot: the more likes, comments, and shares a video has, the higher the likelihood it has of ranking.
According to the same Backlinko study the average YouTube video is 14 minutes, 50 seconds to be exact. Longer videos seem to outrank shorter videos due to the fact that watch time is one of the most important YouTube ranking factors.
70% of all videos watched on YouTube are driven by YouTube’s recommendation algorithm. This suggests that optimizing your video to appear in the sidebar, homepage, and other recommendation feeds on YouTube is more important than ranking for specific search terms. (Source: Cnet)
As the above statistics illustrate, SEO continues to be an effective inbound marketing strategy. However, if you want to compete, it’s important for marketers to continue to adapt their strategy alongside evolving consumer search trends and algorithmic updates.
Focus on conversational, long-tail voice search queries, factor snippets into your strategy, continue to devote time and resources to building your website authority and earning backlinks, and don’t overlook video SEO as part of your inbound marketing efforts.
And of course, as always, the most important thing is to make sure you’re creating great content. Good luck!