For those of who’ve built careers out of winning search engine visibility, the significance of search as a marketing channel needs no introducing. Every single year, Google Trends shows demand for SEO agencies on the up, while simultaneously articles around the web sound the death knell of the SEO industry.
Honestly, we don’t need anymore “SEO is dead,” articles, ok?
There’s no denying the significance of SEO as a marketing channel for any business whose customers are online (almost all of them, right?). But just how big is the SEO opportunity, how important are search engines in the buying journey of today’s consumers and just how much clout does Google have?
We’ve carried out our own survey, crunched some numbers and proudly present our SEO statistics for 2022 and 2023.
SEO Statistics in a Nutshell
So this report is packed full of facts, figures and numbers. But if you’re just looking for a quick fix, we’ve put together the most important findings in summary here:
- 42% of people in the UK use search engines when looking for a product or service
- That’s more than double the number that use social media and more than four times the number that use providers they’ve seen advertising on TV
- There are 207,000 people with SEO in their titles listed on LinkedIn as of July 2022
- Demand for SEO courses increased over 500% between January 2016 and January 2022
- Around a third of those looking for jobs in SEO are looking for management level opportunities
If you want more context, detail and background, read on.
How Many People Use Search Engines When Shopping?
There’s every chance that it was Google (or another search engine of course) that brought you to this very page today. But what about when people are actually in shopping mode. How big a role do search engines play in decision making when consumers are about to part with their hard earned cash?
We polled 2,001 people in the UK in July 2022 to find out.
We asked them (using market research provider, Censuswide):
- Which of the following, if any, do you do when looking for a new product or service? (Tick all that apply)
- Use a search engine (e.g. Google or Bing)
- Use social media outlook for recommendations or providers
- Buy from providers I’ve seen advertise on TV
- Buy from providers heard advertise on the radio
- Go to a directory website (e.g. Yell or similar) to look for providers
- Go directly to a specific retailer’s website (without using a search engine or social media first)
- Ask friends for recommendations
- To a brick and mortar shop (i.e a physical store)
- None of the above
The answers reiterate the importance of multiple channels in your marketing efforts.
The statistics tell us:
- 42% of adults in the UK use a search engine when looking for a new product or service, making this the single most utilised method from our list of options
- This represents more than double the number who use social media and more than quadruple the number who buy from those advertising on TV
- While directory websites might be associated with old fashioned link building in the SEO industry, a not-insignificant 17.8% of consumers will use them to find providers
- More people will rely on search engines than recommendations from their friends when on the hunt for a new product or service
Here are the responses in full.
|Which of the following, if any, do you do when looking for a new product or service?
(Tick all that apply)
|Response||% of People Who Selected this Response|
|Use a search engine (e.g. Google or Bing)||41.83%|
|Ask friends for recommendations||36.93%|
|Go to a brick and mortar shop||24.94%|
|Go directly to a specific retailer/company’s website (without using search engines or social media first)||23.64%|
|Use social media to look for recommendations/providers||20.34%|
|Go to a directory website (e.g. yell.com or similar) to find providers||17.84%|
|Buy from providers I’ve seen advertised on the TV||10.29%|
|Buy from providers I’ve heard advertised on the radio||8.95%|
|None of the above||2.35%|
Search Engines vs Social Media in the Buying Journey
The overall data shows us that more than double the number of UK consumers will use a search engine when hunting out a new product or service as will use social media.
But this really does vary wildly by age group.
As a general rule, younger adults are more likely to engage with social in the buying journey than older ones. Here’s what the statistics say:
|Age Group||% who use search engines when looking for new products and services||% who use social media when looking for new products and services|
|16 – 24||26%||25%|
|24 – 34||40%||29%|
|35 – 44||43%||25%|
|45 – 54||46%||19%|
SEO Careers: How Many People Work in SEO?
While it would be impossible to say for sure how many people work in SEO, Linkedin can give us a little bit of an idea.
A simple search on LinkedIn for all people with “SEO” in their titles returns a remarkable 207,000 people globally and 29,000 in the UK alone.
The demand for SEO courses, qualifications and careers has grown astronomically over recent years.
To gauge the demand, we turned to keyword data. We used kwfinder.com to obtain estimates for the number of people who searched for various keywords around SEO careers and qualifications over time.
We found that, as we’d expect (new year, new you!) January is the peak month for SEO jobs searches in most years (2022 so far the exception).
So if we look just searches in the January of each year from 2016 to 2022:
- Searches globally for “SEO jobs” have risen from 3,600 in January 2016 to 14,800 in January 2023 – an increase of 311%
- At the same time, demand for “SEO courses” has grown from 2,945 searches to 18,100 – a whopping 654% increase
There’s a clear correlation between those looking to learn and those looking for jobs in SEO.
We looked at searches per month for specific SEO job levels too, assessing the numbers for each of the following keywords:
- Entry level SEO jobs
- SEO executive jobs
- SEO manager jobs
- Head of SEO jobs
- SEO director jobs
If we look at global searches in the most recent month of data (January 2023) we can see that across those 5 queries, we saw an estimated 3,260 searches. Here’s how they broke down.
Almost half of the data split between these queries suggested searches are for more junior roles. A third of SEO job hunters are, our numbers suggest, looking for manager level roles, while fewer than 1 in 10 job seekers in the industry are looking for head of or director roles.
And in terms of how those numbers have looked over the years:
If we add up the search volume for all of the queries we assessed for each month of 2016 to 2022, we can see trends annually.
|Entry Level SEO Jobs||1120||1620||1860||2340||3450||4060||6330|
|Trainee SEO Jobs||120||140||130||830||1130||1950||2010|
|SEO Executive jobs||1450||1900||2010||3490||4910||5230||7230|
|SEO Manager Jobs||3040||2870||3670||5950||8150||8990||11400|
|Head of SEO Jobs||480||510||830||1060||1320||1770||2610|
|SEO Director Jobs||270||890||1520||1860||2000||1890||2970|
In 2020, we saw significant surges in demand in search for SEO courses and roles. This is likely linked to the covid pandemic. And, although searches did drop slightly in 2021, they remained notably higher than their pre pandemic 2019 levels and have surged to an all time high in 2022.
SEO Demand Statistics
Using a similar methodology as the above, assessing search volume over time, we can see growth in demand for services over time as well. We’ve assessed search volume for queries like “SEO consultant” and “SEO agency,” (amongst others) over time.
We added up global searches for each month of the year from 2016 to 2022 and found that demand for services has also increased over the last half decade. Much like with jobs and courses, demand surged astronomically throughout the pandemic. Although many of the search terms took a dip in 2021, all 4 of the keywords showed a marked year-on-year increase in 2022.
|Year||seo agency||seo services||seo company||seo consultant|
So, despite the fact you will find no fewer than 44,000 pages in the Google search results for “SEO is dead,” (in quotation marks), demand would suggest otherwise!
7 Other SEO Facts, Figures and Numbers
So, demand for SEO jobs is on the up. Demand for services is on the up. And consumers remain twice as likely to use search engines in their buying journeys. We’ve also collated other statistics from further reports highlighting the importance and significance of search.
- A Brightedge study found that over half of all traffic across the web is driven by organic search
- The same study found search is responsible for driving over 1000% more traffic than social to websites across the internet
- Over 90% of content on the web gets absolutely no traffic from Google at all
- Almost 70% of the queries people type into Google are made up of 4 words or more
- The same study found that over 92% of queries are searched 10 times or fewer per month emphasising the importance of a focus on the long tail
- Google revealed in 2016 that some 30% of all searches made on a mobile have a local element (people looking for service or things near to them)
- Featured snippets get around 35% of total click share. So yes, it’s still worth having them even if the queries for which they show can be a little unpredictable
Search Engine Market Share
According to data from Statcounter, Google’s global market share is over 90%. Here’s the breakdown.
So despite various sources claiming some search engines are closing the gap on Google, this data, along with previous data released by Sparktoro and Jumpshot in 2018, suggests that Google still very much has the monopoly on search – and other “contenders” barely get a look in.
SEO – Alive and Thriving in 2023 and Beyond
For those of us in the industry, it’ll come as no surprise that search and SEO retains its importance. And while the state of play can always be somewhat unpredictable with Google’s ever changing landscape, the role of search engines in consumer buying behaviours is undeniable.
So whether you’re an SEO practitioner, a wider marketing professional or even simply a consumer looking for a product, search engines are a vital part of your day to day life.
Methodology and Caveats
Within this article, we used some existing data sources (credited within). But most of our data here is previously unseen. So we want to tell you a little about how we got it!
Our survey was conducted on our behalf by Censuswide. They put our question to 2,001 people from their own panel. The panel ws demographically representative and is an accurate representation of the general population aged 16 or over within the UK.
We chose Censuswide because the companies complies with the MRS Code of Conduct and ESOMAR principles, which centre around making data collection fair and accurate.
For our keyword volume analysis, we used data from kwfinder.com. Kwfinder.com provides estimates for the number of searches per month in Google for various keywords globally, by country, or specific parts of a country.
Much of kwfinder.com’s data comes from Google’s own Keyword Planner tool. You can find out more about how it gathers its data here.
- There are a few caveats to note in regard to search estimates like these:
- They should be regarded as estimates only used to identify trends and patterns as opposed to taken as exact figures
One search does not necessarily equate to one person searching. One person could make multiple searches for the same query over a month
You can see a copy of our raw survey data here.