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Essential SEO Statistics You Need to Understand Search in 2016


SEO in 2016 has changed. It should come as no surprise because Google introduces updates at the start of every year. Google even went as far as to update its core algorithms at the start of January without any prior announcements.

If you are an SEO expert or a business, it’s likely left you scrambling around to update your strategy. But you can’t keep up with Google. It’s simply impossible. In this guide, you are going to learn about some of the SEO statistics that you need to keep in mind when understanding search in 2016.

50% of Search Queries Are Four Words or More

Google previously didn’t use long-tail keywords because it lacked the accuracy to bring up relevant search results. That’s changed and now Google can handle long search queries. People have responded to this by using long-tail keywords.

What this should show you about search in 2016 is that if you want laser targeted traffic you need to be using long-tail keywords. It may lead to an overall decrease in traffic, but conversions should go up and bounce rates should go down.

57% of B2B Marketers Say that SEO has the Biggest Impact on Lead Generation

What’s interesting about this B2B statistic is that it contradicts the belief that social media has taken over entirely. When social media became prominent, many businesses made the mistake of disregarding SEO entirely and focusing solely on social media.

That’s not to say that one should be used over the other. They should be used together, but search in 2016 is still an extremely powerful tool.

Search is the Starting Point for 60% of Travelers

You may think that this statistic only applies to the travel industry. This isn’t true because it demonstrates that people are still using search, rather than relying on the roulette wheel of social media to find existing content. For many industries, the focus should continue to be on appealing to Google.

Optimizing should be as important as ever. Your industry still relies on search. And here’s a bonus statistic to reinforce this point. 81% of B2B lead cycles start with search.

90% of Buyers Will Find You When They Want to Buy

Cold calling can still help you to make contact with potential leads, but it takes an estimated 8-12 touch points before the lead will actually decide to buy something. When someone tells you that 90% of buyers will find you when they want to buy something it should tell you one thing. People know what they want and they know how to find it.

They don’t need you to hold their hands throughout the entire process. As long as your site is optimized for the search engines, they will have no problems finding you.

Search is the Number One Driver of Traffic

In fact, it’s not only the number one driver of traffic it’s overwhelmingly so because it beats out social by 300%. Google may have made social media incredibly influential in its search results, but social media is a tool to drive traffic to your website. You are driving people who don’t yet know what they want. Search is about driving laser targeted traffic consisting of people who already know what they want.

Even in 2016, you should be making search the heart of your strategy.

60% of All Organic Clicks Go to the Top Three

Obviously, most people are familiar with the fact that the higher up on the search results you are, the more organic clicks you are going to get. It goes much further than that, though. What this demonstrates is that there must be a focus on ranking high.

Instead of focusing on highly competitive search strings, it’s more sensible for you to target less competitive areas that receive less traffic. It’s better to have 90% of a small pie than 1% of a huge pie dominated by the big players in your niche.

2016 should see more companies heading for small ponds they can dominate in as the big fish.

What Will Happen to SEO in 2016?

There are no doubts that the landscape will continue to change. These general trends are likely to remain the same for the foreseeable future, though. The worst thing you can do is to panic over every little change. SEO experts know that changes require minor tweaks, but the trends only change at a glacial pace.

Stay abreast of the latest changes in SEO, but don’t become obsessed with them.

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