2021 SEO stats that you need to know

Search Engine Optimization has become a science in the digital era we live in. Everyone wants a piece of the Google pie and to get their name on those top positions of search results. But there is a vast gap between wanting and accomplishing. And search engines are definitely doing their best to keep us all on our toes. Countless digital marketing agencies are investing time and resources into researching and testing different tactics to help them crack Google’s algorithm and win an advantage over others. And our New York SEO company is no different. We understand the importance of constantly following ongoing updates, trends, and innovative ideas. That is why we have prepared a list of 2021 SEO stats that every business owner should see.

General 2021 SEO stats

1. Google accounted for 72.73% of all desktop/laptop searches during the last 12 months

Search engine market share on desktop/laptop devices in the last 12 months

Google began dominating the global search engine market in 2000, only two years after it was founded. So, for the last two decades, Google has been dictating the rules of SEO with its algorithm. According to Net MarketShare research, it has maintained an average of 72.73% of all searches through desktops/laptops. Although no other search comes even close to that figure, the two worth mentioning would be Bing (with an average of 12.07%) and Baidu (with an average of 10.19%).

2. Google accounted for 87.24% of all mobile searches during the last 12 months

Search engine market share on mobile devices in the last 12 months

Once again, Net MarketShare counters show that Google is even more dominant among smartphone users. The only other search engine worth mentioning here as a distant runner-up would be Baidu with 9.59% of all searches. It’s safe to say that Google search has become a natural reflex for smartphone users, which is reason enough to invest in mobile PPC advertising efforts.

3. Mobile browsing accounts has been accounting for over 50% since 2017

According to Statista metrics, mobile phones generated 54.8% of global website traffic in the first quarter of 2021. Modern consumers are becoming more accustomed to the use of mobile devices when in need of online information. This goes to show just how dominant a role mobile device users play when it comes to digital marketing.

4. 70-80% of users prefer organic search results over sponsored ones

Heatmaps show that the majority of online visitors choose to ignore paid ads and opt for organic results instead. However, there is still a good percentage of those that are attracted to sponsored ads, which is why most businesses choose to combine PPC strategizing with their SEO efforts.

5. Over 90% of online experiences start with search engines

Turning to search engines for answers has become a natural reflex for modern-day consumers. Research shows that a staggering 93% of website visitors start their journey with a search engine. That information alone should convey the importance of getting your company on the top positions of SERP.

6. Every fifth online user explores more than one option on search result pages

As much as we value top search results, we value having multiple options just as much. And so, it is only logical for people to explore more than one of the search results that they get when searching for solutions, especially products/services. In fact, studies show that every fifth online user will explore more than one search result. Some do this to double-check the information they found while others do it to compare different sources/companies.

So, while this does somewhat relieve the pressure of getting that top position on search results, it is still essential to be in the top five results, or at the very least – the first page. The lower down the search result page your website is, the lesser the chances are that someone will be willing to give it a chance.

7. Compared to social media, search engines drive 3x more traffic to content sites

As strong of a foothold as social media has and continues to gain, search engines remain the primary driving force behind most online activities. After all, social media networks are limited in terms of the volume of content a business can provide to users. Therefore, websites are still the most impactful way to deliver your brand message. And with the right web design New York team by your side, you can make every site visit count.

8. The top three results get 60% of clicks

As we’ve mentioned earlier, even though customers prefer to explore more than one option, they still stick to the top rankings. And the fact that the majority of clicks end up going to the top three positions on SERP (not including paid ads) is all a business needs to know. Getting one of those three spots for your website can translate to drastically increasing your website traffic.

9. Roughly half of all online searches are four words or longer.

Although modern users have a tendency to shorten phrases and questions to speed up the search process, there are still people who take the time to type in an entire question in search bars. And that is why we have over half of online searches that are longer than four words. The fact is that we have people who will search for “what were the scores of NFL games last night” instead of simply typing in “NFL scores“. And this is something that SEO specialists need to take into consideration, no matter how vexing it is.

10. There are 239.1 million search engine users in the US

According to official data, the number of online search engine users in the U.S. has reached 239.1 million people in 2020. This accounts for 72.6% of the population. And this is a number that continues to grow annually.

11. The average word count for pages ranked on the first page of search results is over 2,000 words

As more and more companies utilize SEO practices, search engine algorithms expect engaging and useful content that is oriented toward users. However, when you have multiple pages with equal content, you need a new criterion – that is where word count comes into play. Companies that want their pages to compete for top positions on search results pages need to invest in content creation. To be more precise, consider that the average word count for pages on the top 10 positions is not lower than 2,000 words.

12. Google implements changes to its algorithm over 500 times each year

Research shows that Google’s algorithm goes through at least 500 changes per year, making it practically impossible to permanently master SEO. Although most of the changes are minor and don’t have that big of an influence on rankings, there are several major updates per year that make all the difference.

13. One-fifth of all searches on Google are first-time searches

Just as trends keep changing, so do people come up with new search queries. A typical example of this would be the pandemic – dozens of terms that no one considered to search for before COVID-19 began. And in 2020, it was among the most popular search queries on Google. So, there are always new terms and keywords to target for those with the right approach and idea.

2021 SEO stats for marketers

Finger touching a portal from which SEO-related icons are coming out.
SEO is at the very core of digital marketing.

Given how secretive Google is when it comes to its algorithm, SEO specialists spend a lot of time theorizing and testing different ideas, making SEO a blend of science and art. And so, it is all the more important to take into consideration how other marketers perceive SEO:

14. Over 80% of marketers acknowledge a rise in SEO effectiveness

The effectiveness of SEO continues to climb as more and more industries embrace its importance in the world of digital marketing. Out of the 82% percent of marketers that confirm the growing effectiveness of SEO in advertising, half of them marked a significant rise in their campaigns as a direct result of their SEO efforts.

15. Updating old blog posts with fresh content and new images increases traffic by over 100%

At some point, topics tend to dry out and a lot of bloggers struggle with having to dig out new ones while neglecting the value of old ones. By updating old blog posts, you can not only drive up the word count and the images, but you can also offer new and valuable information. This practice has been proven to increase organic traffic by up to 110%.

16. The word BECAUSE can boost the response rate in outreach emails by up to 45%

Studies show that offering an explanation for your actions can sway up to 89% percent of people to let you take that action. Simply by using the word “because” in your emails, you can increase the response rate by up to 45%, because customers will want to respond to your reasoning one way or another.

2021 SEO stats in regards to social media platforms

Smartphone with social media icons floating around it.
Social media networks and SEO do go hand in hand.

17. SEO now plays a role in YouTube advertising

YouTube has become a daily standard for the majority of online users. So, it is only logical that companies and marketers have also turned to using it as a medium to get their message across to potential customers. And so, it has become a highly competitive platform for getting your message across.

Since Google’s algorithm has no way to analyze images or videos yet, it has to rely on alt tags and captions/descriptions. YouTube users should spend more time optimizing the descriptions for their videos, as it will provide them with more chances to get recommended to other users.

18. Trending videos on YouTube average 14 minutes in length

Much as is the case with word count in blog posts and inner pages, modern consumers prefer detailed rich content in videos as well. In fact, studies show that longer YT videos perform better than shorter ones in terms of trending videos. Additionally, longer videos tend to attract more comments since the engagement with users is much higher.

19. Reddit offers an endless source of keywords

Reddit is a goldmine of trending topics and keywords that one can use to boost their SEO efforts. All it takes is to browse through the subreddits of the topic you are interested in and you can definitely find useful keywords that are about to trend.

2021 SEO stats in regards to Site Speed

Website Loading Speed with a laptop and speedometer next to it.
Site loading speed plays a huge role in reducing your bounce rate and increasing traffic.

20. The average loading speed for top-ranked sites is 1.9 seconds

Although Google claims not to care as much when it comes to page loading speed, site visitors do. And since Google listens to online users, it also has to look at the average loading speed for websites when ranking them. Based on that deduction, we can understand why the sites ranked on top pages tend to load pages in under 2 seconds. And this means that technical SEO has to be on point at all times.

21. The average loading speed for mobile sites is 22 seconds

Devastating as this info may sound, it’s still very true. A lot of websites still appear to be struggling with the notion of mobile optimization and responsiveness. However, this will have to change as Google has confirmed that mobile page speed has become a major factor in ranking since 2020.

22. Over 50% of site visitors will bounce if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load

The data here speaks for itself. According to Google, pages that take 10 seconds to load experience a 123% higher bounce rate than pages that take less than 5 seconds to load. And so, it’s safe to confirm that as many as 53% of users abandon sites after 3 seconds.

2021 SEO stats in terms of Strategies

Businesswoman holding a phone with voice search bar on the screen.
Voice searches and image searches are slowly gaining momentum.

23. In the past year, nearly 50 percent of searches were voice- and image-based

As consumers continue searching for ways to shorten the time it takes for them to get answers to online queries, more and more of them appear to be turning to the appeal of voice searches and image searches. At this rate, the traditional keyword-based searches are no longer going to be dominant in a matter of years. So, this might be a good time for companies to start investing in voice search optimization.

24. Top-ranked pages and posts earn up to 15% new backlinks each month

One can never neglect the impact of backlinks when it comes to ranking on SERPs. That is why link earning should be an important aspect of any SEO strategy. And when you do get a position on the first page of Google, you can earn as much as six times more links than those ranked on the second page of search results.

25. Video thumbnails are great for boosting traffic

Everybody is attracted to visually appealing search results that are not ads. That is why SEO specialists seek out snippets but that is also why people in 2021 are looking toward video thumbnails. Pages that include videos invite Google to pull the thumbnail and add it to the search result page. And this simple addition has been known to double search traffic in certain cases.

26. Only 7% of online users bother to explore the third page of search results

You might not be able to land that #1 position on search results, but landing any position on the first two pages of search results is crucial. Barely anybody bothers with going past the second page of search results.

27. 89% of online consumers use SERPs to make their decision to buy

2021 SEO stats show that organic traffic still makes up the main revenue for a vast majority of eCommerce stores and businesses. Hence, SEO still remains the driving force behind retail businesses online.

The desire for progress invites the will to commit

In this article, we mentioned that SEO is a blend of science and art. But more than that, SEO has now become a driving force much like a living organism. It requires nurturing and dedication to offer fruit and feed those that want its potential. And so, keeping up with trends becomes a matter of need, not just desire. If marketers and business owners wish to succeed in the digital world, they need to be prepared to keep up. As we look back at 2020 SEO trends and explore these 2021 SEO stats, it’s important to keep in mind that there is always room for improvement.

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