As of January 2021, there were over 4.60 billion active internet users worldwide – nearly 60% of the global population. This number is only growing and, with it, so is the importance of understanding search engine optimization, or SEO.
SEO is a major factor in what ranks in search engine results. If you don’t understand and leverage SEO, you could be missing out on reaching your audience, regardless of how great you, your product, or your services are. Over 90% of pages on the web do not receive any organic traffic from search engines, and this comes down largely to where you rank in results.
With over 50% of website traffic coming from organic search, and over 95% of people going online to learn more about businesses, showing up on page 1 of search results can have a significant impact on the reach and reputation of a brand, business, or public figure. Understanding, developing, and carrying out an effective SEO strategy can not only be beneficial, but is necessary in our digital world.
Here, we compiled the 107 most important SEO statistics in 2021 to get you up-to-date on the latest trends, developments, and factors to consider when it comes to building your presence online.
SEO is all about where you show up in search results. Knowing what you’re working with is a great place to start.
- 68% of user experiences online begin with a search engine.
- As of January 2021, Google Chrome is the world’s most popular web browser, with a global market share of 63.21%.
- Google is also the world’s most popular search engine, maintaining an impressive 92.47% market share as of June 2021.
- There are billions of Google searches being conducted every day, and nearly 2 billion active websites online.
- What you see in search results depends on what you search. 0.16% of the most popular keywords are responsible for 60.67% of all searches.
- 92.42% of keywords get ten monthly searches or fewer.
- A majority of searches (over 70%) with a monthly search volume of more than 10,000 searches consist of only one or two words.
- That said, nearly 70% of searches in general contain four or more words.
- Up to a quarter of search queries are phrased as questions.
- The average top-ranking page for a particular keyword or search query also ranks in the top 10 search results for nearly 1,000 other relevant keywords.
- Google takes over 200 factors into account when it comes to where things rank in search results, and showing up organically is worth it. Although Google ads and paid results occupy prominent positions on the Google results page, over 90% of users report skipping over these in favor of organic results.
- It’s not enough to just show up – where you rank in search results matters. The top three results in Google account for over 75% of clicks, with the top spot securing 31% of clicks on its own.
- Clicks drop as you move down page 1 of search results, with position #10 only receiving an average of 3% of clicks.
- It gets even worse once you get to page 2. Only 0.78% of users (yes, less than 1%) click on page 2 results.
- Thankfully, results shift, and moving up a single position in Google results can increase relative CTR by 30.8%; however, this is not an even distribution, so some increases have more value than others.
- Although freshness is one of Google’s ranking factors, nearly 60% of the pages ranking on page 1 of Google are 3 or more years old.
Although many of the factors that impact where your site ranks have to do with engagement signals and off-page SEO, there are still steps you can take to optimize your owned assets.
- The most important ranking factor to determine where a page ranks in results is direct website visits. On-page SEO factors are amongst the least important ranking factors by many.
- But don’t let that discourage you. Content length, loading speed, and site structure can all have a significant impact on user experience, which Google has prioritized more and more in recent updates.
- Pay attention to your loading speed. 50% of website visits are abandoned – i.e. users bounce – if the site takes more than three seconds to load, and bounce rates increase by over 100% if your website takes just 2 seconds extra to load.
- Over 25% of the top-ranking pages don’t have a meta description.
- That said, never underestimate meta descriptions. Unique meta descriptions for each page can increase CTR by as much as 5.8%, as well as increase ranking potential for target keywords.
- Although meta descriptions can help you tell search engines and users what your page is about, they may not display exactly how you expect in search results. While a meta description occasionally populates as the snippet in Google results, Google rewrites snippets – thus, not displaying meta descriptions – 70% of the time.
- Google prefers secure sites (sites that use https), so keep your site secure. After all, 81 of the top 100 sites on the web use https as their default.
- Over 55% of pages don’t have a single backlink. The more backlinks a page has, the more authority and traffic a website will receive, boosting the site in search results.
- Though backlinks aren’t on-page, a backlink strategy is vital to improve the strength of your site. The top-ranking results in Google have 3.8 times more backlinks than those that rank below them.
Content and Media
Quality content and media are foundational to a strong SEO strategy, and can help you improve your ranking in search results, provide value and insight to your audience, and establish your brand voice.
- Content marketing gets three times more leads than paid search advertising.
- Businesses that publish regularly on their blogs get 350% more traffic than those that don’t keep up with their blogs.
- Additionally, businesses that update and republish old blog posts with new content and images can increase traffic by over 100%.
- But when it comes to quality over quantity when creating content, go for quality. Otherwise, you can get lost in the sea of blog posts online. In the first quarter of 2021, over five million blog posts were posted per day on WordPress sites alone.
- You don’t have to only post content on your site for it to help you out. Consumers spend roughly 2.5 minutes reading sponsored articles (or articles from businesses featured on other sites) on average, which is right around the same amount of time they spend reading editorial – or non-sponsored – pieces.
- Sponsored content can go a long way when making an impression. Research has shown that consumers remember branded content twice as long as they remember a traditional advertisement.
- According to Backlinko’s Google ranking signals study, the top 10 results for most keywords have an average word count of roughly 1,450 words.
- But with SEO content, the rule of thumb is: the longer, the better (again, without sacrificing quality or substance). Pieces between 2,000 and 3,000 words consistently outrank 1,000-word pieces, and the average content length of the #1 article in search results contains roughly 2,500 words.
- Written content, while valuable, is not the end-all-be-all. Video is the #1 performing form of media.
- Need proof? Video content is over 50 times more likely to rank organically on page 1 in Google than written content.
- This is due, at least in part, to the engagement it receives, as videos have a 41% higher click-through rate (CTR) than plain text results.
- When it comes to video-sharing, YouTube is king. YouTube is the second most visited site online, with 2 billion monthly visitors.
- 88% of the videos ranking in the top 10 results on Google rank on YouTube for the same search.
- Quality isn’t just about what’s in the video, but how it looks – over 68% of YouTube results on page 1 are HD.
- For businesses, YouTube content can prove invaluable. In a study shared by Google, 90% of users reported they discover new brands or products on YouTube.
- Don’t forget your keyword! 90% of the top ranking videos on YouTube include at least a part of the target keyword in the video’s title
- As with written content, you want to create video content that interests users. An analysis of over 1 million YouTube videos found that the number of comments, views, and shares have a strong correlation with higher YouTube rankings.
- Closed captions on your videos can also have a significant impact, increasing comments by up to 4%. What’s more, captions increase the accessibility of your video content.
- Images are not to be forgotten. Google Images accounts for over 20% of search queries, and images are returned for nearly 30% of search queries on Google.
- Roughly 70% of consumers report that the quality of a product image factors into whether or not they will purchase that product.
- Images can help written content perform better as well. Content with optimized images can increase user engagement by up to 90%, and updating old posts with new images can increase organic traffic by over 105%.
- When you include images, people are also more likely to remember what they read – content with a relevant featured image can increase recall up to 65%.
Since the Mobilegeddon update in 2015, mobile search has only grown in importance when it comes to SEO. There are more and more mobile users signing on every day, and search is changing to accomodate them.
- Of the 4.66 billion active internet users worldwide, 4.32 billion (or nearly 93%) access the internet via mobile devices.
- The number of unique smartphone users worldwide is anticipated to grow to 7.5 billion by 2026.
- Currently, the number of smartphones in use is growing at a rate of 7% per year, with an average of more than 1 million new smartphones coming into use every day.
- In 2021, mobile has accounted for nearly 55% of all website traffic worldwide. This number is projected to increase as the number of mobile device users increases.
- This is key to SEO, as mobile users interact with search engines and results differently than desktop users. While the #1 result in Google receives nearly 30% of mobile user clicks – as opposed to only 19% of desktop user clicks – there is a greater drop off in clicks between results #1 and #2 from mobile users, with the second position only receiving 9% of clicks. This means that, for mobile users, position #1 is three times more valuable than position #2.
- 3.92 billion social media users access social media on their mobile devices. This is 99% of all social media users.
- People are using their devices more and more when it comes to shopping online, with 40% of users reporting they prefer to use their phones for the entire shopping process.
- According to Google, smartphone users have a higher buyer intent than desktop users, and searches for product reviews have increased by over 30% over the last two years.
- In 2021 alone, mobile devices are projected to influence more than $1.4 trillion in sales.
- With so many mobile users, mobile experience is more important than ever. Over 50% of users report that they are less likely to engage with a company again after a poor mobile experience, and users who have had a poor mobile experience are over 60% less likely to purchase from that brand in the future.
- But a positive experience can work in your favor. Nearly 80% of users report that they are more likely to revisit and/or share a mobile site if it is easy to use.
- 61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact local businesses that have websites optimized for mobile users.
Nearly its own world, social media can have an impact on your overall SEO efforts, and can increase brand awareness and recognition, audience engagement, and further define your brand.
- SEO drives over 1000% more traffic than organic social media.
- But social media still serves a purpose. Since 2017, the number of social media users worldwide has grown from nearly 2.9 billion to 3.6 billion in 2020 (over a 25% increase!), and is projected to grow to 3.78 billion by the end of 2021.
- That projection has already been passed – to date, there are 4.48 billion users on social media worldwide. That’s nearly 57% of the population.
- In the United States, these percentages are even greater: 81% of Americans have at least one social media account.
- The most popular social media platforms as of January 2021 are Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, and Instagram.
- Facebook is the most popular social media platform with 2.8 billion users – over 36% of the world’s population.
- Instagram just makes it into the top 5 most popular social media platforms with 1.22 billion users worldwide.
- 81% of Instagram users report using the platform to research products and businesses.
- 50% of Instagram users have visited a website to make a purchase after seeing a product or service on the platform.
- Linkedin has nearly 740 million members in over 200 countries worldwide.
- As of January 2021, Twitter had 353 million users worldwide.
Local search make up a significant portion of search queries, and for businesses that serve a certain population or region, or have brick and mortar establishments, leveraging local SEO is a must.
- 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information
- 97% of people learn more about local companies online than from any other resource.
- “Near me,” “where to buy,” and “close by” type searches are growing exponentially. “Near me” mobile queries have grown by over 200% in the past two years.
- The average business’s Google My Business listing is viewed over 1,200 times each month.
Not so long ago, people only wrote reviews when they were extremely satisfied – or extremely dissatisfied. But times are changing, and the importance of online reviews is growing.
- Reviews make up 10% of criteria for how Google displays results.
- 87% of customers report reading online reviews for local businesses. This is a 6% increase from 2019, and a 20% increase from 2010.
- Consumers aren’t only reading reviews – they’re taking them to heart. Nearly 80% of consumers report trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family.
- Less than 50% of consumers report that they would frequent a business with an average rating of less than four stars, and as stars go down, these numbers do too – only 19% of prospective customers would consider a business with fewer than 3 stars.
- That said, there’s a sweet spot – purchasing likelihood peaks at ratings between 4 and 4.7 stars, and actually decreases as ratings approach 5 stars.
- Quantity matters when it comes to reviews. Consumers want a business to have 40 online reviews before they believe its average star rating.
- The average consumer reads 10 reviews before feeling able to trust a business.
- Product pages that feature customer reviews convert 58% more visitors than those without.
- The likelihood of a product being purchased is 270% greater with just 5 reviews over a product with no reviews.
- To get more reviews or improve your rating, just ask! 72% of customers report leaving a review for a business when asked.
- When someone leaves a review, they expect a response. In fact, 20% of consumers expect to receive a response within one day of posting a review.
- But if you do respond, go about it the right way. 70% of users report that they would be put off if a business responded to a review with a canned or recycled response.
- How you respond won’t only affect who you’re responding to. 96% of consumers report reading a business’s responses to other reviews when researching the business themselves.
- The most recent reviews carry the most weight. 73% of consumers stating that they only pay attention to reviews written in the last month, with half of online users only taking reviews as recent as the past two weeks into account.
- One review site isn’t going to cut it. 72% of consumers report that it is important for a business to be present on multiple review sites.
SEO is always changing, evolving, and redefining best practices. Here are some of the newest trends when it comes to search engine optimization.
- More people are using voice search when looking something up. Google has reported that over 25% of the global population uses voice search on mobile devices.
- In households with smart speakers, this number is closer to 50%.
- By 2025, the percentage of American households predicted to own a smart speaker is 75%.
- The average word count of a voice search result page is 2,312 words.
- Image search is on the rise. This may be due in part to younger users – over 60% of Gen Z and Millennials prefer visual searching over other new technologies.
- Zero-click searches – or searches where the user does not click past the search results page – are becoming more common as well. In fact, in 2020, over 60% of searches resulted in no clicks.
- This is affecting mobile search, too, with 34.4% of mobile searches resulting in no-clicks.
- This is due, in part, to the rise of featured snippets, which show up for over 12% of all searches.
- Over 30% of featured snippets come from the #1 organic result, but snippets are often pulled from any prominent results.
- The pandemic introduced a new set of considerations for businesses. 67% of consumers said they would not use a business if reviews said that COVID-19 health and safety measures were not in place, and 17% of consumers said they had written negative reviews for businesses that did not have these measures in place.
- Conversely, 22% of consumers reported that they wrote customer reviews to support local businesses struggling due to the pandemic.
You reputation is made up of what is out there about you and how people perceive you. A strong SEO strategy can help you present yourself as well as you can online so you can control your own narrative.
- On average, it takes 5 to 7 impressions for people to remember a brand, so you want to make sure to put yourself out there and be visible online.
- Presenting a brand consistently across all platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%. This includes all owned assets – website, social media profiles, etc.
- 89% of shoppers report that they stay loyal to brands that share their values.
- On a more negative note, 90% of consumers report not frequenting a business with a bad reputation.
- If you’ve got some negative news, you’ll want to take action. 86% of Americans report that they get their news on their smartphone, tablet, or computer. This outranks television at 68% and radio at roughly 50%, and far outranks print publications, with only 32% of Americans reporting that these publications are how they get their news.
- Businesses that have just one negative result ranking on page 1 of search results – or even a result with a headline that appears negative – risk losing up to 22% of prospective customers. As the number of negative results increases, so does the likelihood of greater losses – businesses with four or more negative articles can experience a loss of up to 70% of prospective customers.
- Negative news has been reported to be three times more impactful than positive news.
If you want to learn more about SEO, reputation, or how to best present yourself online, reach out to Status Labs for a free consultation.