Adding it all up, organic and paid search clicks across search engines can easily supply half of more of a company’s website visits.
To capitalize on that potential, marketers need to understand how people search (and how that is changing); what they are searching for; how they respond to search results; and how to optimize their websites based on that knowledge.
While it’s vital to keep up with the latest developments in SEO, optimizing for search still revolves around three core areas:
Technical SEO: While solid technical SEO won’t guarantee top rankings, poor practices are definitely likely to hurt. To make your site as search engine-friendly as possible from the technical standpoint, use a tool like Google Search Console to identify and correct issues like broken outbound links, 404 page-not-found errors, and HTML errors such as missing or duplicate meta tags. Upload an XML sitemap. And given the increasing share of searches being performed on mobile devices, make certain your site loads fast and renders well on smartphones and tablets.
Content: High-quality content provides the best possible answer to specific questions or search intent, and is well-crafted for human readers (not “keyword-stuffed”). Avoid “thin content”—make pages and posts a minimum of 300 words. 600-700 words is better. And even longer content (1,000-plus words) generally attracts more links and shares. Use section headings, bullets, and relevant graphics to break up long blocks of text.
Backlinks: Gone are the days of “link building” when simply dropping a link on hundreds of spammy directory sites could elevate a site in search. Generating a strong backlink profile today is about earning links, through strong content, active social sharing, email promotion, PR, strategic guest posting, and effective influencer marketing.
You can also enhance SEO effectiveness by using the right marketing technology, whether you prefer to use special-purpose SEO tools for functions like keyword research and backlink analysis or all-in-one SEO tool suites that combine several core functions into a single platform.
Here are 17 good-to-know SEO and SEM facts and statistics to help support your optimization efforts.
SEO generates leads.
- 93 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine. And 81 percent of people perform some type of online research before making a large purchase. (Junto)
- SEO leads, coming from either blogs or other inbound channels, have a 14.6 percent close rate, while outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7 percent close rate. (NewsCred on SlideShare)
- 59 percent of B2B marketers say SEO has the biggest impact on their lead generation goals. (Digital Marketing Stream)
- 72 percent of online marketers describe content creation as their most effective SEO tactic. (Junto)
Search is moving beyond the desktop.
- The majority of all searches are now performed on mobile devices. Organic search visits on phones rose by 15 percent for all search engines last year. 43 percent of organic searches were performed on phones and 10 percent on tablets. (The Marketing Scope)
- According to research from Jumpshot and Moz, 88.5 percent of all U.S. searches occur on Google.com, Google Images, Google Maps, or Google News. (Moz)
- Voice search on virtual assistants like GoogleNow, Siri and Cortana now account for 10 percent of overall search volume globally. (LSA Insider)
Attracting search visits is about more than ranking highly.
- True, the top three search results on the first page of Google get more than 50 percent of clicks. (CMSWire)
- However-—more than a third (34 percent) of searches on Google don’t result in a click at all, either because the results don’t match the searcher’s expectations or Google provides the answer directly in a knowledge graph box. (Moz)
- Ever click on a search result, not find what you’re looking for, click back to the search results, then click another link? You’re not alone (by any means!). 21 percent of searches lead to more than one click on Google’s results. (Moz)
- Images get 3 percent of all Google search clicks. Almost 2 percent of clicks go to YouTube videos. (Moz)
- Searches related to “how to” on YouTube grew 70 percent from 2014 to 2015. (Medium)
Location matters (sometimes).
- 46 percent of all searches on Google are local. (GO-Globe)
- 78 percent of location-based mobile searches result in an offline purchase. And 18 percent of location-based mobile searches result in a sale within one day. (Junto)
- 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. (Junto)
Don’t forget paid search.
- Of distinct search queries in Google, 3.4 percent resulted in a click on an AdWords (paid) ad. (Moz)
- Google AdWords spending increased by 19 percent in 2016, and rose by 21 percent in 2017. In addition, click volume grew by 20 percent. (The Marketing Scope)
Search is likely to remain among the top sources driving website traffic, but it is changing. High-quality content will continue to be the essential core, but it will increasingly need to be developed with voice and long search queries in mind. It will also need to be styled and produced in different formats (e.g., images and video) for easy consumption on mobile devices.