The digital landscape that we live in changes rapidly and means that dated technologies and practices gradually fall to the wayside. SEO has been a mainstay of traffic generation since the late 90s, but for the last few years, many marketeers have been keen to holler “SEO IS DEAD!”. The reasons behind this viewpoint include a move away from manipulating rankings, the rise of social media optimization and concentrating on rich content instead. However, I feel that this “SEO IS DEAD!” soundbite is more of a shock tactic to send a few ripples through the industry. It’s an easy accusation to pin on SEO, so I did the sensible thing and looked at the facts.
I’m going to show you why SEO in NOT dead based on:
- Our own website’s stats
- The traffic stats of 3 major industries
I loaded up SimilarWeb PRO and decided that SimilarWeb was as good a place as any to analyze the effect of SEO. First off, SimilarWeb receives, on average, just over 900,000 views a month. This is a big figure to look at and should provide plenty of insights once I break it down and analyze how all this traffic is reaching us.
Most of our traffic comes via direct routes, followed by referrals and then, importantly, you can see that we receive just under 15% from search engines.
Out of 830,000 search visits we received, a huge 97% originated from organic sources. These types of stats tell us a lot about the importance of SEO. In this case, it highlights that SEO really, really matters as it’s bringing huge amounts of traffic to our platforms.
Although these stats are encouraging, I began to wonder if maybe organic search was on the decline. SimilarWeb PRO, though, showed it was actually the opposite! In fact, the amount of organic search traffic has doubled between January 2014 and June 2014 – another sign that SEO is alive and well.
Global Traffic For All Industries
The future of SEO looked promising after analyzing SimilarWeb, but what about the wider internet? I decided to do an industry analysis of traffic for all categories online for June 2014. There were nearly 305 billion visits globally in June 2014, so it would be interesting to see the sources responsible for such a huge number.
Direct traffic was the most popular source, but flying the flag for SEO was search sources making up 28.75% of all traffic on the net.
Out of nearly 86 billion visits from search engines, over 98% of these came from organic sources. This news is really exciting for the SEO game as it shows they’re responsible for huge amounts of traffic from all categories around the world.
Organic Search Traffic – Breakdown per Industry
SEO for Global traffic, therefore, is certainly healthy, but how successful was SEO in individual industries? Using SimilarWeb PRO, I broke this global traffic down into three very different industries to investigate.
Arts & Entertainment Industry
First up was ‘Arts and Entertainment’ with 13.6 billion visits in June 2014.
Search traffic was the second traffic channel, coming very close to direct traffic:
Breaking this data down further showed me that SEO was the main driving force behind this traffic with almost all of it coming via organic searches. SEO obviously shows no signs of dying off in this industry.
News & Media Industry
Next, I took a quick look at the stats for ‘News and Media’ who racked up 26.8 billion visits via search engines in June 2014. Again, this is a huge figure and one that should give us a great idea about SEOs success.
In this industry as well, search comes second with almost 25% of the traffic share:
Out of these 25%, SEO is responsible for close to 100%. Again, SEO seems to be thriving with no sign of paid search mounting a comeback.
Online Shopping Industry
Finally, I decided to look at ‘Shopping’. This is a huge online industry with 17.6 billion global views. Would it, though, follow the same trends as ‘Arts and Entertainment’ and ‘News and Media’ in regards to its organic search share?
In this industry, search is actually taking the lead, leaving all other sources, including direct, well behind, with 40% of this industry’s traffic:
Although the market share was slightly smaller than the other two industries, organic search is responsible for 94% of all search traffic. This delivers another blow to the view that SEO is dead.
Is SEO Dead?
It seems that people are very keen to proclaim SEO as being dead. However, I’ve struggled to find little evidence that SEO is dying out. These 3 industry examples, together with our own website’s stats, are only few out of many others that demonstrate how significant SEO is still. I do agree that SEO has evolved, but from here to claiming SEO is dead is a whole different story. Given the stats that I’ve been able to uncover, I suspect that SEO shouldn’t be making preparations for its funeral just yet. And this isn’t a phenomenon that’s limited to individual countries or industries, it’s all over. SEO, therefore, remains an important area to concentrate resources in and can drive huge amounts of traffic online.