With the sophistication of search algorithms in the last decade, the SEO industry has come a long way. We know a lot more about what works to get websites to rank in search engines. Simultaneously many SEO tactics have become obsolete. So what’s the state of SEO in 2021?
Here are the top SEO statistics and facts to help you frame a solid strategy and dominate search rankings this year:
Recommended reading: SEO Writing
Table of Contents
Stats About Google
And that’s the reason you’ll find most search statistics revolving around Google. Baidu, Bing, and other search engines tend to get passing by mention — if at all.
2. The search giant relies on a “whole series of algorithms” with numerous factors in its ranking systems. On its how search algorithms work page, the company shares these broad categories for sharing its key factors:
3. “Why” question-based queries dominated the year 2020.
In their 2020 Google Year in Search article, the company says, “why is toilet paper sold out” could be the most representative search question of 2020 from a marketer’s perspective.
But every brand’s marketer isn’t getting the Google love!
4. In an Ahrefs study, 90.63% of pages were found to get no search traffic from Google.
Why should you care about leveraging Google at all when there’s Tiktok, Clubhouse, Instagram, and so many other platforms? The next section might convince you.
Recommended reading: Top Content Marketing Tips To Increase Your Bottom Line
Intriguing SEO Statistics And Facts
Let’s establish the effectiveness of SEO with some key facts and figures around how consumers use Google and search engines.
1. 51% of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product when conducting a search on their phones.
2. According to Google, 27% of the entire world population is voice searching on mobile devices. Globally, out of 3.50 billion smartphone users, over 1.1 billion smartphone users will use voice technology once a week – at least.
3. Google processes over 40k search queries every single second — that’s over 3.5 billion searches a day.
For local businesses, the search giant is a great brand awareness channel.
4. People using Google for local search queries visit 1.5 billion locations every month as a result. That works out to be 32.8% of all internet users visiting a local business.
If you’re a content creator (or any website trying to build a search presence), you would be saddened to find that Google is eating up the real estate of brands and publishers.
5. Based on Jumpshot data from early 2017, 1.8% of clicks from distinct Google searches result in a click on a Google property. That could mean either: YouTube, Google Maps, Gmail, Google Books, the Google Play Store on mobile, and the like. No wonder SEO has become even more competitive with Google competing with websites.
If you think you can do fine being on the second or third pages of Google. Well:
6. Only .78% of searchers clicked on a result on the second page in a Backlinko study of 5M search results.
As they say, the second page of Google is the best place to hide a dead body.
Here’s a breakdown of the average CTR based on the position:
Backlinks And Keywords Stats
Links from other websites count as a “vote” for your site and are among the top three ranking factors as per the company. Indeed, Google’s algorithms have long relied on them to rank web pages, yet they have been the Achilles heel for many creators and brands.
Keywords, on the other hand, have matured in the role they play in an SEO strategy. Here are some top link stats and facts about keywords you need to know:
1. Ahrefs found that over 66% of pages have no links. But more links meant more organic traffic. It’s no wonder then that over 90% of pages get no organic traffic from Google either.
2. Further, close to three-quarters of domains were found to have reciprocal links — meaning two websites linked to each other. Ahrefs conducted this study on websites with at least 10k organic visits/month.
Whether you link to someone and get the love back (which I don’t recommend in a transactional one-off manner) or leverage other link building tactics, focusing on building links is important.
3. .16% of the most popular keywords are responsible for 60.67% of all searches.
But the opportunity for brands lies in the long-tail.
Because they tend to be specific phrases with clearer intent.
4. The Jumpshot data we referred found that approximately 8% of searches are phrased as a question.
Mobile Search Statistics
The era of ten blue links is way past us now. The real estate on the smaller screen is even more limited. But mobile accounts for 58% of all Google searches as per Hitwise. Here are mobile search stats you need to formulate your mobile SEO strategies:
1. Search Metrics found that Google shows an average of only 8.5 organic mobile search results on page 1.
2. 26.9% is the average organic CTR of the first Google mobile search result.
3. Jumpshot data from 2017 also found the following about Google mobile searches:
- 40.9% of searches result in an organic click,
- 2% in a paid click and,
- 57.1% in no click at all.
Here’s a comparison chart between mobile vs. desktop search clicks:
The above graph also illustrates the ample opportunities in SEO when compared with paid search campaigns.
4. SEO has approximately twenty times (~20x) more traffic opportunities than PPC (on both mobile and desktop).
5. Of all the mobile searches, 30% are location-related and 28% of searches for something nearby also result in a purchase.
If that’s not sufficient, here are more local search figures that make a strong case for a Google presence of your local business
Local SEO Statistics
Reviews, citations, backlinks, on page SEO, or what else works in local search results? Let’s begin looking at the importance of local SEO for businesses, followed by an overview of the top ranking factors.
1. Bright Local found that 93% of consumers used the internet to find a local business last year.
2. 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2020. And 94% say that positive reviews make them more likely to use a business.
Wonder what consumers look for in reviews?
Of course, Covid-19 health and safety measures have now become important.
3. But the most important review factors are:
- Star rating,
4. In a Whitespark survey of local search professionals, Google My Business listing, reviews, on-page, and links were rated as the top ranking factors for 2020.
Citations specifically have seen a continuous decline in importance:
Next up, let’s explore the importance of videos and YouTube from a search engine perspective.
YouTube And Video SEO Stats
The Jumpshot data from 2017 we to referred earlier found that 1.8% of clicks on Google search go to YouTube. As the internet gets more visual, Google has also been integrating more videos in its results. Indeed over a decade old study found that posts with videos get 3x more inbound links than a plain text post. Here are a few more YouTube SEO and video stats in this section:
1. A Social Media Examiner survey found that YouTube video is the number one video channel used by marketers.
2. A Backlinko analysis of 1.3 million YouTube videos found that the number of comments, view count, number of shares, and number of likes had a strong correlation with higher YouTube rankings.
3. Pew Research found that YouTube recommendations tend to point towards progressively longer content:
But with the introduction of YouTube shorts last year, the video platform has opened up more and more towards short-form videos.
4. Consider integrating videos in your existing ranking articles as that can lead to increased time on page and more subscribers:
Voice Search Statistics
Do you know that 48% of consumers are using voice assistants for general web searches?
Here are other voice search figures you need to know:
1. People use their voice assistants in the living room, bedroom, and kitchen.
2. A 2018 Backlinko study of 10k Google home results found that websites with strong link authority tend to rank well in voice search. In terms of the Ahrefs proprietary Domain Rating metrics, it came to a mean of 76.8 (out of 100).
3. The average voice search result contains only 29 words and is at a reading level of ninth grade. But the length of a voice search result page comes to 2312 words.
4. About 75% of voice search results come from one of the top three desktop ranking pages for a given query.
Final Thoughts (And Infographic…)
Use the search engine optimization stats in this article to inform your SEO strategy. Understand that these are average numbers and following best practices is not essential — especially to stand out in a crowded and competitive channel such as search. Layer the understanding of your audience and business goals on the top to find what works for you!
Here’s an infographic designed by Graphic Rhythm visually depicting the SEO landscape in 2021: