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SEO Statistics for 2024 That Actually Matter

Need to support your digital marketing decisions? These search engine optimization statistics help showcase why SEO is such a critical marketing channel.

Nov 27, 2023

13 m read

Have you gone in search of SEO statistics only to find the data is old or unreliable? I know I’ve seen plenty of repackaged SEO stats masquerading as 2024 SEO statistics. I get it — gathering data and creating a thoughtful analysis takes time and money. But that’s no excuse for presenting 2018 data as if it’s new! In my research, I found data as old as 2016 presented as new. Let’s be clear: Today’s SEO and 2016’s SEO are markedly different. The technology we use and how we use it has evolved. Relying on outdated SEO statistics can lead to inaccurate benchmarking, unbalanced goal setting, and outdated strategies. As search intent and trends evolve, it’s crucial for the data to progress as well!

Here’s my promise to you: I’ve vetted each of the stats presented here and provided you with the source so you can verify the information before you share or act on it. I’ve even included the date so you can judge its relevance for yourself. You might notice there are fewer stats on this post than in comparable SEO stat posts. That’s because I’ve culled out non-actionable or inaccurate stats so you don’t have to wade through filler. 

Check out the categories on the left to jump to the stats that interest you most!

SEO Statistics

Backlink Stats

Link building is a crucial off-page SEO tactic. Google uses backlinks as a way to understand how other websites are talking about you and help validate how much of an expert you are in your given space. Not only do backlinks serve as a recommendation or vote approval, but they also drive referral traffic to your website.

  1. A study published on Backlinko found that the number of unique referring domains linking to a page was the factor that had the highest correlation to rankings in Google (Backlinko, 2020). 
  2. The top result in Google has an average of 3.8 times more backlinks and 3.2 times more referring domains than results in positions 2-10 (Backlinko, 2020). 
  3. Generally speaking, the more backlinks a page has, the more organic traffic it gets from Google (Ahrefs, 2020).
  4. More than 66% of pages have zero backlinks pointing to them (Ahrefs, 2020).
Text stat reading "More than 66% of pages have zero backlinks pointing to them (Ahrefs, 2020)"
Source: Ahrefs, 2020
  1. An Ahrefs study found that 43.7% of top-ranking pages in Google contain reciprocal links (Ahrefs, 2020)

Core Web Vitals Statistics

Worried about page speed and user experience? While valid concerns, this stat may surprise you:

Only 33% of websites pass the Core Web Vitals threshold (Ahrefs, 2022).

SEO stat reading "Only 33% of websites pass the Core Web Vitals threshold (Ahrefs, 2022)."
Source: Ahrefs, 2022

Ahrefs looked at data points from two dates: 1/1/2021 and 9/1/2021 to visualize improvement in core web vitals and differences between desktop core web vitals and mobile core web vitals. They found the sites they were measuring improved by about 10% on both desktop and mobile (2021). 

However, it’s interesting to note that more websites meet core web vital thresholds on a desktop than on a mobile device. About 30% of sites passed CWV on desktop in January compared to just 19% on mobile. In September, about 41% of sites passed on a desktop and about 29% on a mobile device (2021).

SEO statistics bar graph showing: About 30% of sites passed CWV on desktop in January compared to just 19% on mobile. In September, about 41% of sites passed on a desktop and about 29% on a mobile device(2021).
Source: Ahrefs, 2021

Remember, while page experience and core web vitals are an important Google ranking factor, they aren’t the most important. Continue to focus on the primary tenets of SEO while improving your page experience to see results.

Keyword Search Statistics

Keywords are the foundation of a good SEO strategy. Trying to find the right keywords to target is both art and science. These four keyword stats may leave you thinking it’s magic, though.

  1. 15% of all Google searches have never been searched before (Google, Feb 2022). 
  2. 94.74% of keywords get 10 monthly searches or fewer (Ahrefs, 2021).
  3. Looking for high-volume keywords? Only 0.0008% of keywords receive more than 100,000 monthly searches (Ahrefs, 2021). Of course, finding the perfect keywords doesn’t mean focusing on volume. Follow these steps to fine-tune your keyword research.
  4. Google Search Console is an invaluable tool for monitoring SEO performance. However, Google Search Console doesn’t show 46.08% of clicks, which can make it hard to assess what keywords are driving traffic (Ahrefs, 2022). Make sure to use additional tools to track rankings and organic growth!
SEO Stat pie chart showing: Only 0.0008% of keywords receive more than 100,000 monthly searches (Ahrefs, 2021)
Source: Ahrefs, 2022

SERP Statistics

SEO aims to improve a site’s performance in search engine results pages (SERPs). When your site appears more prominently in search results, you increase the chances that your target audience will find you and click through to your site. The following stats help showcase why SEO and search visibility are so critical.

  1. In 2022, there were 5.9 million Google searches a minute (Domo, via Statista, 2022).
  2. In a 2020 study, Ahrefs shared that 90.63% of websites get no traffic from Google searches (Ahrefs, 2020). 
SEO statistic reads: 90.63% of websites get zero traffic from Google searches (Ahrefs, 2020). 
Source: Ahrefs, 2020
  1. In 2020, 64.82% of Google searches were zero-click searches. That means searchers input their query and then didn’t click on a result — either because the SERP answered the question with a SERP Feature like a handy featured snippet or a knowledge panel, or the results weren’t what they were looking for (SparkToro, 2021). Out of the remaining 35.18%, 33.59% resulted in clicks on organic search results and 1.59% in paid search results (SparkToro, 2021). 
seo stat showing click habits within Google searches
Source: SparkToro, 2021

Crazy, right? Thankfully, SparkToro dug in a little deeper and looked at mobile and desktop searches:

  1. Searches run on a desktop are more likely to result in a click. 50.75% of these searches result in an organic click; 2.78% of them result in a paid click. 46.48% of desktop searches end with no clicks (SparkToro, 2021).
seo stats pie chart showing what people click during desktop searches
Source: SparkToro, 2021
  1. 77.22% of mobile searches are zero-click searches. 21.99% of mobile searches result in an organic click and 0.79% result in a paid click (SparkToro, 2021).
seo stats pie chart showing what people click during mobile searches
Source: SparkToro, 2021

Title Tag Stats

The page title, which is coded in a title tag, is the title used in search engine results. A descriptive page title featuring the keyword can increase click-throughs and highlight the relevance of your content. Check out our title tags recommendations here.

  1. 7.4% of pages ranking in the top ten don’t have title tags (Ahrefs, 2021). 
  2. While Google claims to only rewrite title tags 13% of the time, Ahrefs estimates that Google rewrites around 33% of the title tags for pages ranking in the top 10 (Ahrefs, 2021). 
seo google statistics: Google rewrites title tags for 33% of the top 10 ranking pages
Source: Ahrefs, 2021
  1. When it chooses to rewrite a title tag, Google uses the H1 about 51% of the time (Ahrefs, 2021).
  2. Optimal title tag length is between 40 and 60 characters. Not only will a long title tag be truncated in SERPs, but Google is 57% more likely to rewrite tags that exceed the character limit (Ahrefs, 2021). The best bet is to create a title tag that includes your primary keyword and is 60 characters or less. 

Meta Description Stats

While meta descriptions aren’t a ranking factor, they can increase click-through rates, so we always recommend customers create unique meta descriptions for each of their pages. Think of these as a 30-second elevator pitch. You want these to be as compelling as possible so that searchers are drawn to click onto your site.

  1. Almost 41% of top-ten pages have meta descriptions that are too long (Ahrefs, 2020). Google truncates these in SERPs.
  2. 25% of the top ten pages didn’t specify a meta description (Ahrefs, 2020). 
search engine optimization statistics text: 25% of top ten search results lack a meta description
Source: Ahrefs, 2020
  1. It’s estimated that Google rewrites meta descriptions almost 63% of the time (Ahrefs, 2020).

So, if Google is probably going to change your meta description, should you bother writing one? Of course you should! Follow our recommendations here.

SERP Features

SERP features like image packs, featured snippets, and people also ask boxes appear prominently for many keywords. 

  1. Over half of searches trigger a related questions or related searches SERP feature (Similarweb, 2022). Many also have other associated SERP features. 
  2. Semrush tracks SERP feature occurrence through Semrush Sensor. Check it out to see which SERP features are showing up in the top 20 spots for the keywords they check. As of writing, almost 72% of SERPs had sitelinks, 63% had People Also Ask boxes, half had reviews, 45% had an image pack, and almost 26% had video. Only 2.68% of searches had no SERP features.

Click-Through Rate SEO Statistics

Showing up in SERPs is important, but it doesn’t matter unless people are actually clicking through to your pages. Here’s what you need to know about this critical SEO metric:

  1. The top result on Google has an average click-through rate of 27.6% (Backlinko, 2022).
bar graph showing click-through rates for first page of search re
Source: Backlinko, 2022
  1. The top three Google results get 54.4% of organic SERP clicks (Backlinko, 2022).
The top three Google results get 54.4% of organic SERP clicks
Source: Backlinko, Oct. 2022
  1. Less than 1% of Google searchers click on a link on page two (Backlinko, Oct. 2022).
  2. Improving your SERP position can improve your click-through rate, though the biggest improvements are in the top three (Backlinko, Oct. 2022). Moving up from the second spot on page one to the top spot may result in 74.5% more clicks.

Digital Marketing Statistics

Many marketers fail to see the value of SEO as a distinct marketing channel. The following digital marketing stats help show why it’s such a valuable channel for connecting with customers.

  1. 31.1% of internet users aged 16 to 64 discover new brands, products, and services via search engines (Reportal, 2022).
search engine stats: bar graph showing how people discover brands with search leading the way
Source: Reportal, 2022
  1. More than half of internet users research a brand or product online before making a purchase (Reportal, 2022).
  2. 48.5% of internet users worldwide turn to search engines to research products before making a purchase (Reportal, 2022).
bar graph seo statistic showing how people research brands
Source: Reportal, 2022
  1. 34.4% of US internet users aged 16 to 64 use ad blockers (Reportal, 2022). 
  2. 42.6% of US internet users aged 16 to 64 decline cookies at least some of the time (Reportal, 2022).

Ecommerce Stats

Search plays an outsize role in ecommerce. Make sure you engage an ecommerce SEO services to get your brand and products in front of your target audience.

  1. No one wants to pull up to a store, excited about the perfect item, and then find that it’s out of stock. In 2021, 53% of US holiday shoppers checked online to make sure their item was in stock before making the drive to a store (Google, 2022).
  2. 38% of US shoppers said they used Google to learn about new items (Google, 2022).
  3. 58.2% of internet users aged 16 to 24 make an online purchase every week (Reportal, 2022).
ecommerce stat: 58.2% of internet users aged 16 to 24 make an online purchase every week
Source: Reportal, 2022
  1. 28.9% of internet users aged 16 to 24 order groceries online weekly (Reportal, 2022).
  2. Free delivery is the most compelling online purchase driver, followed by discounts. 49.3% of internet users aged 16 to 64 say free delivery is the factor that most encourages them to complete an order (Reportal, 2022). 

Search Engine Use

Often, when SEOs talk about optimization, they talk about Google. Here’s why.

  1. When US respondents were asked what search engine they’d used in the past 4 months, it’s no surprise that 87% had used Google. However, that wasn’t the only search engine many people used. 28% had used Yahoo!, 20% searched on Bing, and 14% opted for DuckDuckGo (Statista, Nov 2022).

Does that mean you should start focusing on Yahoo ranking factors or running Bing ads? While it depends on where your target audience is, for the most part, focusing on Google remains the safest bet.

  1. Statcounter — which looks at search usage worldwide — reports that Google’s market share is 92.57%. Bing is a very distant second at 3.04%, followed by Yahoo at 1.24% (Jan 2023). This stat changes monthly, so be sure to click through to their website. 
pie chart showing search engine use percentages
Source: Statcounter, Jan. 2023
  1. Google also has the largest browser market share. Chrome is the world’s most popular web browser with 61% of market share. Safari snags the second spot at almost 25% (Similarweb, 2022). 

Search Statistics

Mobile Search Stats

Google crawls and indexes the mobile version of a site via the smartphone agent. Why is that? Because the majority of searches are coming from mobile devices. 

  1. Almost 66% of the world’s web traffic comes from mobile devices. In the US, about 60% of web traffic is from a mobile device (SimilarWeb, 2022). Not only does this mean that a mobile-friendly website is a must, but it also means we need to think about how people find us through mobile search.
mobile seo stat: Almost 66% of the world’s web traffic comes from mobile devices.
Source: SimilarWeb, 2022

So where should businesses focus their attention? Google, of course.

  1. Google dominates mobile search. As of November 2022, 92.93% of mobile searches occur on Google. Yahoo!, DuckDuckGo, and Bing make up 2.32%, 2.28%, and 2.16% respectively (Statcounter, 2022).
pie chart showing search engine stats for mobile search
Source: Statcounter, 2022

Local Search Stats

We tend to think of the internet as a way to connect the world, but it also makes it easier to navigate our communities. Features like Google Business Profiles and reviews have made local SEO a necessity for businesses.

  1. “Shopping near me” searches in Google Maps more than doubled year after year (Google, 2022). If you have a brick-and-mortar store, is your local SEO set up so that you’ll show up in those future searches?
  2. In the past year, 99% of Americans have searched for information about a local business online (Brightlocal, 2022).
local seo stat: 99% of Americans have searched for information about a local business online
Source: Brightlocal, 2022
  1. An estimated 78% of US consumers look for info on local businesses weekly, with 21% searching daily. 35% use it multiple times a week to seek out local business. Only 1% of survey respondents don’t look for local businesses online (Brightlocal, 2022). 
bar chart showing frequency of local searches
Source: Brightlocal, 2022
  1. Reviews have grown in importance over the years, especially for local businesses. 98% of consumers read reviews for local businesses (Brightlocal, 2022

But where are they looking?

  1. Consumers are increasingly turning to Google reviews. 81% of respondents check Google reviews, up from 63% in 2020 (Brightlocal 2022). Make sure your review schema is implemented correctly to take advantage of this!
  2. Yelp also saw increased use, with 53% of consumers checking it out in 2021 versus just 32% in 2020  (Brightlocal 2022). Of course, the pandemic may have impacted its use, with fewer people looking for restaurants, gyms, and salons.
  3. Facebook saw a dip in use over the same timeframe: In 2020, 54% of respondents said they checked Facebook reviews. That number dropped to 48% in 2021 (Brightlocal 2022).

Voice Search Stats

A few years ago, people heralded voice search and smart speakers as the next frontier of search. Have those predictions been borne out? 

Here’s what the stats say right now:

  1. As of August 2021, 48% of homes have a smart speaker (ComScore, 2021). That’s 140% more homes than in August 2019.
  2. Most of those smart speakers — 94.3 million — are Amazon’s, while 56.7 million are Google smart speakers (ComScore, 2021).
  3. Insider Intelligence (2022) estimates that 142 million people in the US will have used a voice assistant in 2022. That’s 42.1% of the population. They project that 125.2 million people will have also used the voice assistant on their smartphones in 2022.
  4. 88.1% of people who use a voice assistant will do so through their smartphone (Insider Intelligence, 2022). 

So what are people doing with those smart devices? 

ComScore’s 2021 study names the top 5 smart device activities:

  • 31.4% of users ask general questions
  • 26.7% want weather, traffic, travel or sports updates
  • 24.5% stream music
  • 21.8% rely on alarm or timer features
  • 19.1% use home automation features
bar graph for voice search stats: how do people use voice assistants
Source: ComScore, 2021

Smart speakers can simplify online ordering. While shopping isn’t in the top five of smart speaker activities, many users still use their devices to make purchases. According to the same ComScore 2021 report:

  • 8.9 million people purchased health and beauty products, 
  • 8.8 million opted for electronics, and 
  • 8.5 million people put in an order for household supplies like paper towels, dish detergent, and glass cleaners. 

If you have an ecommerce website, make sure to optimize your product pages for voice search to increase your chances of showing up the next time someone summons Alexa.

Visual Search Stats

Alt text is an important component of on-page SEO. Not only do they make it possible for screen readers and search crawlers to “read” your images, they also increase your chances of showing up in visual search results.

  1. 30% of US internet users aged 30 or younger have used visual search to find a product they want to buy or learn more about (Insider Intelligence, 2022).
visual search stat: 30% of US internet users aged 30 or younger have used visual search to find a product they want to buy or learn more about
Source: Insider Intelligence, 2022
  1. 21.3% of US internet users aged 16 to 64 use image recognition software on their smartphones every month (Reportal, 2022).

Time Online

Why focus on search optimization over, say, billboards or TV advertising? Because for most brands, that’s where your target audience is.

The start of the pandemic in 2020 led to people increasing their online time.

  1. According to Warc’s 2021 study, users spent:
  • About 28% more time shopping online.
  • 30% more time on social media.
  • Almost 40% more time streaming videos.
  • Almost 80% more time gaming.
  1. Now, as 2024 begins, 63.5% of the worldwide population is online (Data Reportal, 2022), and the average adult user spends 6 hours and 37 minutes online every day. 
  2. Younger internet users spend more time online (Data Reportal, 2022). 
time spent online by age and sex
Source: Data Reportal, 2022
  1. 55.7% of the time spent online is on a mobile device (Data Reportal, 2022).
  2. The top 10 reasons internet users aged 16-64 use the internet are to:
    • Find Information
    • Communicate With Friends & Family
    • Stay On Top of the News
    • Stream Shows & Movies
    • Research How To Do Things
    • Seek Inspiration & Ideas
    • Research Brands
    • Listen to Music
    • Fill Spare Time
    • Study
bar chart showing what internet users do online
Source: Data Reportal, 2022
  1. The top 10 types of websites and apps for internet users aged 16 to 64 are:
    • Chat & Messaging
    • Social Networks
    • Search Engines 
    • Shopping or Auctions
    • Maps & Location-Based Services
    • Email
    • Music
    • News
    • Weather
    • Entertainment
top 10 types of websites and apps for internet users aged 16 to 64
Source: Data Reportal, 2022

Capitalize on Your Knowledge

Now that you have more insight into SEO statistics, make the most of it by using the info to help you further connect with your target audience. Use our SEO checklist to improve your website’s search visibility and increase your organic traffic.

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