Search engine optimization (SEO) is still a complex topic.
It’s never as simple as optimizing a page for organic traffic.
While that’s the main goal, there are countless ways to go about doing it.
From link building to on-page SEO to content marketing and every method in between.
And from the outside looking in, it can be hard to tell whether the cost will be ROI positive.
Last year, we provided direct insights into just how effective SEO and different SEO tactics can be with a series of SEO statistics.
Since we’re already almost to 2023 (where does the time go?!), we thought it would make sense to update this list.
Some stats have been changed or updated. For others, we’ve simply reinforced their importance for the new year and beyond.
Without further ado, here are the 26 SEO stats you need to know.
Table of Contents
Search Engine Stats (Updated for 2023)
1. 93% of the time, an online session begins by searching keywords on a search engine.
While pay-per-click ads will show up on search results, they obviously aren’t free.
Last year we talked about how SEO can help you capitalize on how the majority of online experiences start. It still holds true: search engines probably aren’t going anywhere for a while.
2. As of 2021, 53% of all website traffic (worldwide) clicks on organic results. (source)
This number is up from the 51% figure that we shared last year.
While paid search and social media are great ways to grow your business, organic search drives the most traffic.
3. As of June 2021, just under 93% of all searches worldwide are conducted on Google (Source)
When getting into search engine optimization, Google should be your main focus.
Google’s market share is dominant and the vast majority of people worldwide use it. Not much has changed in this regard since last year.
While it’s smart to optimize on other search engines, they shouldn’t be your main target.
4. Google alone processes more than 40,000 keyword searches every single second. That’s over 3.5 billion searches in a single day and 1.2 trillion per year!
Organic searches are conducted every second by the thousands.
It’s why SEO is such a big deal. Capitalizing on those keyword searches is a fantastic way to grow your business.
Heading into 2023, this number is now up to over 60,000 searches a second on Google.
5. 16-20% of keywords searched on Google in any given day have never been searched before.
New keyword searches are performed every single day. Which means keyword research is more important than ever.
While head terms like “SEO” are going to be nearly impossible to rank for, there are countless long-tail variations being searched on a daily basis, many of which nobody is optimizing directly for.
In 2023, it’s still going to be important to optimize for long-tail keywords relevant to your product or service.
6. Every year, Google changes its algorithm around 500-600 times.
That equates to nearly two changes every single day. While not all are major updates like Panda and Penguin, they impact search results often.
Staying on top of SEO updates is a full-time job. It can be time-consuming, but if you want the best performance, it’s critical to be in the know.
Consider following popular SEO blogs (like ours :)) where you can learn about SEO changes, new tactics, and more.
Google updated its algorithm many times in 2021, including major changes to mobile rankings and product review pages.
7. Currently, over 60% of the global population has access to the internet, and therefore, uses search engines to find information. (Source)
With more than 60% of the world now using the internet, it’s critical that your business is optimized for search engines.
Without SEO, you’ll be forced to spend your money on ads alone to bring in relevant traffic.
8. In 2018, mobile devices accounted for 52.2% of internet traffic worldwide. In Asia, more than 65% of web traffic is conducted on mobile devices.
Mobile traffic is here to stay, in fact, it’s already outpaced desktop traffic.
This has big implications for SEO.
Simply optimizing your desktop site is not enough anymore. Not when the average user is going to view your site on a smaller screen and a slower connection.
Factors like site speed and usability are now big points of optimization in SEO.
9. As page load time goes from one second to ten seconds, the probability of a bounce increases by 123%. Site speed is a critical factor of dwell time. The faster your site, the lower the bounce rate.
Site speed is extremely important for delighting users who click on your post in the search results.
If your site doesn’t load fast enough, users will leave your site for good, costing you both a lead and sending negative signals to Google that your content and site are not satisfying user problems.
This can negatively impact your SEO.
10. The best practice for page speed is three seconds. But, the average website in every industry takes more than double that to load.
Increasing your site speed will have compounding effects on your SEO.
Search engine optimization is amazing for attracting new potential customers. But if those potential customers can’t even load your page, or leave before it does, your hard work is all for nothing.
Optimizing site speed ensures you give yourself the best chance at attracting and converting potential customers.
Use tools like Google’s Test My Site to improve your speed. Shoot for three seconds or less.
In 2023, it’ll be even more important to have a site that loads quickly.
11. SEO Return on Investment Statistics
Is SEO worth the time and financial investment? Let’s find out with data. Here’s what the latest studies and surveys say on the ROI of SEO.
12. 40% of business revenue on average is generated by organic search. 
Optimizing your organic presence helps you build brand awareness and drive relevant traffic, fueling business growth.
As we move into the new year, SEO should continue to bring in more and more revenue for your business – especially if you have a consistent content marketing strategy.
13. On a given Google search, users are 20x more likely to click the organic search result over a paid ad.
While paid ads can help you show up in the top search results without content and optimization, organic search drives most of the traffic.
PPC ads can provide a great push for extra visibility, but as we end 2021 you should have a solid foundation of organic SEO to build on.
14. 57% of surveyed marketers said that search engine optimization generates more leads and customers for their business than any other marketing tactic.
Marketers love SEO, and for good reason. It’s one of the best ways to attract qualified leads without paying for advertising.
As more and more people access the web to find what they need in 2023, it’s vital to continue to optimize your website for search engine rankings.
15. Brands that post more blog posts each month generate 4.5x more leads.
Content marketing (blogging) and SEO go hand-in-hand.
And companies that spend more time blogging generate higher returns on investment through greater lead generation.
The exact numbers may change, but blogging as a valuable lead generation method isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
16. Companies that prioritize SEO and content marketing are 13x more likely to generate a positive return on investment. 
In a HubSpot survey, marketers who implemented content marketing reported far higher ROIs than those who didn’t.
Takeaway? Content is still king, even as we move further into the 2020s.
17. In a report from Ascend2, 81% of companies studied reported being ROI positive with their SEO strategy. 
According to data, the vast majority who implement SEO strategies produce a positive return on their spending.
Local SEO Statistics
Local SEO is a subset of SEO where your focus is ranking for local searchers and local search terms, like “shoe store near me.” Here are the latest local SEO statistics.
18. Every month, people visit over 1.5 billion business locations related to keywords they searched for on Google. 
Even if you don’t have a physical retail location, you can still optimize for local SEO as a local brand and product.
And even though things are getting better, many parts of the world are still feeling the effects of the pandemic as we progress into 2023.
That means more and more people will be looking for information online, even if they eventually do end up shopping at a brick-and-mortar store.
19. 30% of all mobile searches on Google are location-based.
Mobile searchers are constantly on the go, looking for their next purchase and brand to engage with.
The latest statistics from 2020 and 2021 prove this point will continue to hold true for the next several years.
20. In the last year alone, there has been a 1.3x increase in searches for “where to buy/find/get.”
Mobile, local searches are often very high-intent. This means that people searching for these keywords are ready to purchase, giving your business a chance to attract them for free, without paying a dime on ads.
Now that so many people are staying inside and spending more time researching their purchases, it’s even more important to optimize for high-intent local searches.
21. 76% of users on Google who search for something in their local area will visit that business within one day. 28% of them will purchase something.
Local SEO can be a goldmine for your business. It enables people to easily find your products or services when they search in their local area.
Without it, you are missing out on a huge market.
SEO Content and Ranking Statistics
Content is the life force of SEO – that’s not likely to change any time soon. Without content, it’s brutally difficult to rank for keywords. Here are the latest stats on content and rankings:
22. According to Google’s Andrey Lipattsev, backlinks and content are the most important, impactful ranking factors.
While there are potentially hundreds of factors that can impact your SEO efforts, content and backlinks are the most important.
Creating high-quality, long-form content is critical to targeting your keywords, delighting users, and sending the right signals to Google crawlers.
Backlinks work to increase your domain authority and relevance, which in turn improves your chance at ranking on the first page of a given Google search.
You can only optimize your product pages so much. Content helps you bring in organic traffic by providing value to searchers. The more value you provide, the more customers you can convert.
23. In 2021, over 7 million blog posts were published every day. (Source)
A simple Google search for common topics will net you millions of results:
More blogs exist than ever before, and more people are writing content on a daily basis than we’ve ever seen.
Creating content for your target market works. But making great content that stands out amongst the competition is brutal.
If you are new to blogging, you’ll likely want to hire an outside party to consult on strategy. Generic blog posts won’t work anymore. There are too many published daily, and the quality demands have increased 100x in the last few years alone.
24. The average word count of a first result blog post on the first page of Google is 1,890 words.
While word count isn’t a ranking factor at all, long-form content is often far superior.
It allows you to target more topics, subtopics, and information with one post.
This helps to increase dwell time factors like bounce rate, time on site, and more, all contributing to your SEO success.
Long-form content provides more value by being a “one-stop-shop” of information for customers.
The longer customers stay on your page, the more likely it is to improve your search rankings.
In your next post, be sure to write at least 1,890 words of GOOD (not fluff) content.
25. On average, the top-ranking content on a given search result has the most backlinks of any page ranking for that keyword.
To improve both your content strength and site authority, acquiring backlinks from reputable sources is imperative.
Without high-quality backlinks from diverse sources, your content won’t rank as easily. Beyond total backlinks, you should also aim to get links from as many different websites as possible.
For example, just having 100 links from the same site can be seen as spammy. But having 100 links from 100 different sites is a strong indicator of relevance, quality, and authority.
For some effective link-building strategies, follow our guide here.
26. The first ranking post on a given search engine results page (SERP) will get 32.5% of clicks. 
Ranking first is a guaranteed way to boost your traffic from organic search. But it’s harder than ever before.
Continue to improve your content and outreach for backlinks – this year and every year going forward.
Search engine optimization is a complex and diverse system of tactics, tools, and strategies.
And while the exact numbers may change, one thing that likely won’t: SEO is going to be an important part of your marketing strategy for years to come.
As we move through the holiday season and towards a brand new year, we hope these SEO statistics helped to inform your next decision – whether it be to implement SEO, improve your mobile presence, or generate better content.
Want to learn more about SEO?
Explore our SEO guides below!