25+ SEO and Website Conversion Stats: Why SEO Leads to More Sales on Your Site
In 2020, only 64% of businesses invested time and money in SEO. That leaves over one-third of all companies still out in the cold.
If you still aren’t investing in SEO services (search engine optimization), you’re missing out. And don’t just take our word for it — it’s what the data shows, both for traffic generation and sales revenue.
While almost all companies use paid campaigns on digital platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads, many are still slacking on their SEO campaigns.
But that’s a mistake. Only 4.42% of Google searches lead to ad clicks versus 45.25% of searches that lead to organic result clicks.
That means you’re leaving over 90% of potential search engine traffic on the table if you’re only investing in ads.
In this post, we’ll explore more SEO and website conversions stats that show you why SEO is important, and how to master it in 2021.
What is conversion rate in SEO?
In SEO, the conversion rate refers to the % of visitors generated by SEO activities that complete a specific action, like signing up for an appointment or, most often, buying a product. Essentially, it’s the same as with any paid digital marketing channel or campaign.
Before we start looking at the individual stats, you must understand some basic terms and concepts.
So if you’re not familiar with digital marketing terminology, this list will help you understand all the acronyms that show up later in this post.
- CTR: Click-through rate, the percentage of users who view an ad or search result and click the link.
- Organic: traffic or awareness generated without paying for ads, but instead through valuable content that attracts visitors.
- SERP: the “search engine results page” you see after finishing a search.
- Funnel: the steps a potential customer needs to take to buy a product. It starts with awareness or discovery, followed by research, and finally, the action or purchase.
Note: This article assumes a basic understanding of what SEO is and the goals of that marketing campaign. If you still don’t know the answer to the question “What is SEO?” check out our dedicated guide.
SEO Statistics that show why it’s crucial in 2021
Let’s look at cutting-edge research that shows why SEO is so powerful and necessary in 2021.
Search engines offer a unique opportunity to reach ready-to-buy consumers
More people than ever before are using the internet and search engines when buying products.
Even if we factored out the effect of the COVID-19 crisis, eCommerce would still be a crucial factor for any business in 2021.
- In July 2020, 81% of consumers had searched for a product or service online in the previous 30 days.
- More than 74% of consumers purchased a product online in a 30-day period.
So people aren’t just searching for products on Google and other sites. Many of them go on to buy them directly on the website they reach.
Other studies showcase the power of search engines even more clearly:
- 53% of all trackable website traffic comes from organic search.
- SEO drives over 10x more traffic than organic social media.
- Organic SEO drives 6% of all online revenue, on average.
And in 2021, most of this traffic and revenue comes from a single source; Google.
Google is still king
If you know even the slightest tidbit about SEO, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Google still reigns supreme in 2021. If anything, the search engine controls an even more dominating share of the market.
- In February 2021, Google controlled a 92.05% market share of search engines.
Less than 10% of internet searches happen on other search engines than Google. For all intents and purposes, that’s a monopoly on search.
And that’s a powerful position for any single company to control. Let’s see how this affects the internet habits of most people.
- Google controls 66% of all web traffic referrals (even more if you include YouTube and Gmail).
- The closest competitor is Facebook, which drives only 5.1% of web traffic referrals by comparison.
- And in third place, at 3.9%, is YouTube, another Google entity.
Most people go directly to Google when they’re looking for a website, product, or information. And that’s worth a whole lot of money.
- In 2020, Google earned $146.92 billion in ad revenue.
- In Q4 2020, over 69% of ad revenue came from Google Search ads.
Even when looking for new products they don’t know they’re interested in yet, consumers turn to Google.
- 49% of consumers in 2019 used Google to discover new products.
Without proper SEO, you probably won’t get any organic traffic
SEO provider Ahrefs studied over a billion pages and found that the vast majority of web pages don’t get any organic traffic at all.
- In fact, 90.63% of web pages get 0 organic search traffic from Google.
A web page in itself isn’t automatically visible or findable just because you create it. You need to make sure that it’s easy to find. That’s the whole point of SEO.
You make sure that other sites feature your page, giving Google and consumers an idea that your site contains worthwhile content.
But not every marketer is successful. Far from it, more than half of all pages have no backlinks at all.
- 31% of pages have 0 backlinks from other domains.
And the majority of the traffic goes to the selected few in the top 3 results.
- The top 3 results get the vast majority of all clicks (75.1% combined CTR).
- Results in positions 8–10 only have a 3.06% CTR, on average.
And reaching that pinnacle isn’t easy.
- 91% of new pages in the Google search results take over two months to rank in the top 10.
- The average #1 result in Google has 380% more backlinks than #2 and #3.
SEO is a crucial part of content marketing and vice versa
SEO and content marketing have a symbiotic relationship, where the better each area is, the better results you’ll naturally see from the other.
If you create awesome content, but no one ever sees it, then what’s the point?
- As a result, 75% of marketers single out SEO as the most effective content marketing tactic.
On the other hand, the quality of your content and strategy also impact your SEO.
- In 2020, 75% of SEOs relied on content marketing specifically to build links.
Without high-quality content, how will you convince people to link to your site? Even if they choose to link to your site, you need visitors to stay for as long as possible.
In 2021, SEO and content marketing are two sides of the same coin.
Mobile is the most crucial SEO channel
In 2021, desktop is no longer the most important channel to focus on for search. You must optimize for mobile devices.
- 61% of all Google searches happen on mobile devices.
- 52% of consumers have purchased a product on a mobile device.
Savvy marketers are catching on quickly, using a mobile-first approach, even for SEO.
- In 2020, 17% of marketers singled out mobile optimization as the #1 tactic for improving their site ranking.
It was the most popular choice, outranking speed, internal link optimization, and fixing broken links and site errors.
But SEO isn’t just a tool for driving traffic to your website. It’s also uniquely effective at driving website conversions.
Data that shows why SEO is crucial for maximizing website conversions
The average conversion rate for ecommerce websites from all sources of traffic was 2.12% in February 2021.
But targeted traffic from search engines has the potential to convert at much higher rates than that.
You can target buyers at the bottom of the funnel
The majority of shoppers research their purchases on Google before they decide on a product.
Shoppers specifically search for locations near them, whether an item is in stock, and more.
Essentially, SEO gives you a chance to reach potential customers in the very last stage of the buying cycle. They’ve already decided what product they want. All they need is someone to sell it to them.
This effect is even more noticeable for local businesses.
In 2020, 93% of consumers used the internet to find a local business, with 34% searching every day.
Long tail keywords give you access to potential customers at the bottom of the funnel. For example, someone searches for “Nike Air Zoom Pegasus Black Size 34” right before buying them.
With SEO, you can win this uniquely valuable traffic. What marketer would want to give that up?
As you might have guessed, this type of targeted traffic leads to more conversions than the average push campaign.
Organic search traffic converts at higher rates
Because it’s so targeted, organic search traffic converts at higher rates than other traffic sources.
For leads, SEO-driven traffic converts at up to 14.6%, versus just 1.7% for outbound advertising, like social media ads.
And while both PPC and SEO can drive targeted traffic, ranking organically has an impression of being more reliable. Since you’re not paying for it, it’s like getting a co-sign from Google.
That’s why 70% of marketers agree that SEO is better than PPC at driving sales.
How to get your own SEO data (and use it to get more traffic and conversions)
But global industry-wide averages won’t help you make smarter decisions for your campaigns. To do that, you need data from your own website.
Here’s how you can get started.
Conversion tracking in Google Analytics
In Google Analytics, you can set up goals — basically conversions — in a few simple steps.
- Install the Google Analytics tag on your website.
- Create a goal, for example, by highlighting a specific URL, like a thank-you page. (Read Google’s official guidelines for step-by-step help.)
And then you’re ready, because Google Analytics automatically categorizes organic traffic. Now you have a way to quantify how many sales your SEO and content marketing efforts generate.
Note: For B2B marketers, tracking referred revenue can be a little more tricky. You may need to integrate Analytics data with your CRM.
This data is crucial not just to measure the ROI of your SEO campaigns, but to work to improve your results in the future. Real, measurable metrics are the foundation of conversion rate optimization.
Plus, some of the best predictors for SEO rankings are your average bounce rates and time on site. So also pay attention to these metrics when A/B testing your landing pages.
Track your own search results with Google Search Console or third-party services
Google offers a free tool for monitoring the search ranking of your pages. Google Search Console — previously Webmaster Tools — gives you access to a real-time dashboard.
In the “Performance” tab, you can see all the organic traffic and which keywords sent it. If you’re confused by the data, read our in-depth guide on search queries in the Google Search Console.
You can also see breakdowns for pages, mobile usability, and more. Use this data to test your assumptions on SEO tactics. Make sure that you track the results of all of your campaigns.
You can also try our free SEO tools to help you find better keywords to target and improve your CTRs.
SEO can help you drive organic traffic, which is often more targeted and will naturally convert at higher rates than traffic from other channels.
By targeting consumers right as they’re ready to make their buying decisions, you can skip past the slow process of building a relationship.
Of course, an unoptimized sales or landing page won’t drive ideal results. With our conversion rate optimization services, we can help you get more sales from your organic traffic.