Search engines use your site structure to find, crawl, and rank content on your website. Here’s how you can build an SEO-friendly website structure that Google (and your users) love.
Marketing | Nov 30
Elise Dopson on July 30, 2019 (last modified on June 3, 2020) • 18 minute read
You can then do some testing on each of those components to make improvements, fix things that may be broken, and build something incredible.
The same concept applies to SEO–only in this case, the “machine” is one of the biggest websites (and companies) on the planet, Google, and the “components” is your business’ website.
Unfortunately, Google is a secretive machine. They don’t publicly state the components that websites need to be a success, which leads to a lot of trial and error… Not to mention several SEO myths that could ruin your site instead of skyrocketing it.
The one thing you can’t lie about? Data.
So, whether you’re a complete novice or an SEO pro, these SEO statistics will help you achieve those page #1 rankings you’re dreaming of.
Click to jump to a specific section:
…or continue scrolling to browse all of the SEO statistics you’ll need to know in 2019 (and beyond.)
*Editor’s note: Track your SEO performance with our Google Analytics SEO dashboard. You’ll be able to keep an eye on the important metrics we’ll share in this post–such as your top landing pages, click-through rate, and number of sessions:
Before we dive in with the good stuff, it’s important to know why SEO is important.
Spoiler alert: It’s not just because “Google is huge.”
…Although according to Internet Live Stats, there are over 74,000 individual search terms being typed into Google every second.
That equates to over 6.3 billion every single day–some of which are bound to be from people who are looking for the products or services you’re offering.
Once people type their search query into Google, they’ll see a list of URLs that best-suit their keyword. These pages are called Search Engine Results Pages (or SERPS, for short.)
The activity happening on these pages is interesting.
Advanced Web Ranking discovered that 67% of all clicks go to the first five organic results:
The majority of searchers are bypassing the paid Google Ads results (along with those on page 2 or beyond), and selecting one of the first five URLs shown for their query.
…After that SEO statistic, it’ll come as no surprise to learn that 70% of the marketers we surveyed think SEO is more effective at driving sales than PPC:
While marketers think SEO is more effective than PPC, there’s no rule stating you can’t do both.
In fact, 86% of the marketers we surveyed said they’re actively using data from their PPC campaigns to support their SEO strategy:
That data could look like anything from average keyword CPC (to judge how tricky it’d be to rank organically for the phrase), to keyword bounce rate (to judge whether people searching for that keyword are interested in the content you already have about it).
When you’re purchasing a domain name or building a website, you’ll have the option to create your URL with one of these prefixes:
There’s been a long-standing debate as to whether your choice affects the likelihood of your website performing well in search–but after Google announced their preference of HTTPS, it’s been a recommendation given by SEO experts.
In fact, it’s so important, that 93% of traffic arriving on websites owned by Google is based on HTTPS websites (although they’re working on reaching 100%.)
Studies have shown that there are over 200 things that Google considers when ranking a website in search.
Our experts think the title tag–the title of your page displayed in the SERPs–is one of the most important, shortly followed by the headers and body content of the page.
Despite title tags being voted as the most important on-page factor, research by Backlinko found that there’s a small correlation between including the keyword in a title tag and higher rankings:
The bottom line: While it is important to have a well-optimized title tag, it’s not always crucial for your page’s keyword to be front and center.
Content marketing is a huge part of SEO. Without it, Google wouldn’t understand where to rank you in the SERPs–and your target customers wouldn’t have a reason to visit your website.
That’s why almost three-quarters of our experts think content is the most important factor for having an SEO-friendly website:
You’ve committed to creating content to get in Google and your audience’s good books.
…But who should you be writing for? Each has their benefits.
Our survey found 79% of marketers say writing for people is their main priority, whereas 21% focus on writing for search engines or algorithms:
Despite there being millions of opportunities to rank in Google’s SERPs, and companies investing thousands of dollars into content for SEO, just over 9% gets organic traffic from search.
Ahrefs’ study found the majority (90%) of pages get zero organic traffic, and just 0.3% get more than 1,000 monthly visitors:
So, what does ranking content have in common?
The length of content on a specific page can have an impact. According to our survey, the majority of SEO experts think that should fall within the 1,000-1,500-word range:
Side note: While it’s good to reach this “optimal length,” only write as much as you need to. Stuffing your content with garbage just to hit the 1,000-word minimum could do more harm than good. Google wants high-quality content.
I know the feeling: Being stuck at your desk trying to think of a piece of content that will land you those keyword rankings–only to fall short, and write down ideas you aren’t confident in.
(Databox’s Director of Marketing, John Bonini, even said he thought he’d “never think of an idea ever again” during a dry spell.)
When this happens, 36% of SEOs turn to keyword analysis:
Keyword analysis includes searching for popular search terms that your audience are typing into Google, and checking whether there’s enough demand for you to create content around it.
You’ve spent hours finding a list of keywords that would make superb pieces of content.
…How do you know whether you’ve chosen the right one?
(After all, spending hours writing a piece of content for a keyword with zero search volume wouldn’t be a success. If there’s nobody searching for it, there will be nobody arriving on your website from Google.)
That’s why our experts think keyword relevance is the most important factor when choosing a phrase to target:
Keywords can be broken down into two main categories.
Short-tail keywords are direct and to-the-point. People searching for them usually have an intent to buy, which is shown in queries like “women’s shoes” or “
Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are longer in length and tend to have a smaller monthly search volume. They look like:
It’s important to think of this when planning your SEO strategy. Why? Because half of all search queries are four words or longer–and blog content is the perfect way to target them.
You’ve settled on a bunch of keywords that you’re excited to create content for. But if you’ve got 1,000 keyword variations, you might want to streamline your list without sacrificing your targeting.
The experts we surveyed think each blog post should target 2-5 keywords:
The keywords you lump into a single blog post should be relevant. It won’t make sense to target “SEO statistics” and “title tag optimization” on the same page because you want each URL to be uber specific.
There are two types of links you can create on a page–both of which are proven to have ranking power:
42% of the SEO experts we’ve surveyed say they spend an equal amount of time building both types of link:
When our SEO experts do spend time building internal links, the majority aim for between 2-5 internal links per page:
By this point, you’ve understood the fact that content is crucial for SEO. Without it, you’ll have a tough (and near enough impossible) job to rank for your target keywords.
…But it’s not just any type of content you’ll need.
Google wants to show the highest quality pieces of content for a search term, and they’ll only rank the best.
That being said, over 40% of the SEO experts we surveyed think companies under-invest in the quality and relevance of their content:
In a nutshell: That means the majority of companies are creating content for contents’ sake.
(Maybe that’s why so little content gets organic traffic…)
The Featured Snippet section is the box displaying an except of a page in the SERPs itself. Here’s an example for the keyword “how to start a blog”:
Fancy landing yourself a spot? It might be trickier than you think.
Research by Ahrefs has found that just 12.3% of all search queries have a Featured Snippet box. Find whether your has by typing it into Google pre-content writing.
What happens if the keyword you want to target does have a Featured Snippet box? Even if your competitors are nesting there, there’s no reason why you can’t use basic SEO techniques to take their spot.
Doing so can have incredible results; 93% of our experts said claiming the Featured Snippet box drives more clicks and visits to a website:
Who said content had to take the form of written words?
Brightcove put this to the test, and included videos on a handful of their URLs to test whether it had any SEO impact.
The result: A 157% increase in search engine traffic.
(Those YouTube videos you’ve uploaded could do the trick. Simply grab the URL and paste it into your blog post to increase average time on page–and your rankings.)
Once you’ve optimized each individual page on your website, your job isn’t done. You’ll also need to take a site-wide look at your site and determine whether a larger issue could cause your rankings to plummet.
One of those issues is page speed.
The BBC found they lost an additional 10% of users for every additional second their site took to load.
Google wouldn’t want to push their searchers towards a slow website, so it’ll come as no surprise to see that pages with a faster loading speed rank higher in the SERPs:
Check whether yours fits the bill using Google’s Page Speed Insights tool. It’ll tell you how fast your page loads on desktop and mobile, and recommend some fixes that can shorten the time your website takes to load.
As marketers, we’re always looking for a strategy that kills multiple birds with one stone. It’s always good to save time and prioritize tasks that tick multiple boxes, right?
Two of those tasks is SEO and social media–which is why 91% of our SEO experts optimize their brand’s social media profiles for SEO:
The vast majority of website owners optimize their social media profiles. Plus, “best practices” always tell us to promote content using social media.
…But just 66% of marketers see a correlation between social shares and their search rankings:
Once your content begins to rank for your target keyword, you don’t need to check your Google Analytics dashboard like a crazy person to determine whether it was a success.
When you’re creating an SEO strategy, your goal isn’t just to show on the first page for desktop searches.
You’ll need to think about mobile, too–especially when mobile accounted for more than half of all web traffic in 2018. That number’s set to rise:
Judging by the fact there are more mobile than desktop users, mobile SEO should be a bigger branch of your overall strategy.
Why? Because it’s not just usage that tilts in favor of mobile. SEO does, too.
In fact, Google’s own research proves there are more Google searches on mobile than desktop.
The easiest way to cater to these mobile searchers is to follow Google’s mobile-first approach. Build your website design specifically for mobile users–and desktop second.
It goes against all of the previous design tips you’ve heard, but if Google has actively said they index websites based on their mobile user experience, it’s a must.
If you have a local brick and mortar store, people won’t find your business as a fluke as they drive by. They’re using local searches (such as “bike store near me”) to find businesses nearby–a tactic you can use to drive more in-store visitors.
Those visitors are increasing in volume, too.
Data released at the Local Search conference said that almost half (46%) of all Google searches are local:
So, what do those local searchers do when they’ve viewed a local SERP?
Research has found that a huge percentage visit a store within five miles.
(Think of how many people live within a five mile radius of your store. If your website is optimized for local search, you could bring 72% of them into your store.)
Because so many local searchers visit a store, it’s no surprise that sales occur.
But here’s where things get surprising: 18% of local smartphone searches lead to a purchase within a day–compared to just 7% of non-local searches.
There’s a preference towards on-the-go local searches, meaning it’s not just people who live within your local area that want to find businesses like you.
It’s people on their smartphone who are in the area for a short period of time (such as a conference or vacation) who want to find and purchase something from local shops… Like yours.
That on-the-go mentality means 88% of consumer-local business searches either call or visit a business they’ve found via their smartphone within 24 hours.
Google My Business features like click-to-call make this possible. Take advantage by creating a listing, entering your contact information, and regularly uploading content.
*Editor’s note: Keep track of your listing–including your total number of views and how many phone calls you’re receiving–with our Google My Business Insights dashboard:
There’s no doubt that mobile and local SEO are taking over.
But a new, emerging SEO trend is voice search: The act of speaking into a search engine to find results (as opposed to typing your query.)
In fact, it’s a trend so popular that by 2020, almost a third of all searches will be done without a screen–using tools like Siri, the Amazon Echo or the Google Home.
Once those voice searches listen to a list of results that match their query, 40% of them (if they’re millennials) will make a purchase.
It’s a crutch an increasing number of people are using, purely because voice search saves time. Users don’t need to sieve through thousands of results on a SERP; a voice assistant device can simply relay the one most relevant.
Earlier, we touched on the fact that our experts think the title tag of a page is arguably the most important on-page SEO factor.
Here’s where things get complicated: Research has found that just 1.71% of voice search SERPs have the exact match keyword in their title tag:
What does that mean? Well, if you’re optimizing for voice searchers, it’s not critical to push the page’s keyword towards the front of your title tag.
Instead, rephrase your title tag to a question that your voice searcher might be looking for. For example: “What are the SEO statistics I need to know for 2019?” could be the title of this post.
Search engines are complex machines. Sure, they’re manned (and built) by humans, but they often have a mind of their own.
That’s why the majority of SEO experts use tools to help them.
Our survey found that Google Search Console–a suite built by Google that tracks rankings, click-through rates and impressions–is the most popular SEO tool:
Why is Google Search Console so popular?
Along with the data being pulled from the source they’re trying to impress (Google), our experts think it’s the easiest SEO tool to use:
Did you know that last year, the average company was expected to allocate 41% of their overall marketing budget to online activities like SEO, content marketing, and advertising?
If that wasn’t surprising enough, the total budget is expected to grow to 45% by 2020.
Online is becoming more popular than ever.
And with users flocking to search engines to find products to purchase, consume content, and be entertained, there’s no reason why SEO shouldn’t take a huge proportion of your budget, too.
So, do you fancy getting started with SEO?
We asked a handful of SEO pros where they’d recommend starting first if a marketer wanted to learn SEO from scratch. They thought keyword optimization and technical SEO were priorities:
As you can see, SEO is a huge opportunity for your business to find and engage people who are actively looking for the products or services you provide.
Missing out doesn’t just mean you’ll fall to the unexplored depths of page 50.
It means you’ll never have a sustainable, long-term way to generate customers.
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