This post was originally published on Search Engine Journal
Have you seen the potential of SEO but are struggling to convince your boss or colleagues?
You are not alone. SEO can often be viewed as a difficult, techy oddity, and not something that every company needs. Small-scale businesses often think they won’t benefit from spending money on online marketing.
To help you explain the potential of SEO and justify your request for increased spending, I’ve compiled this list of 10 statistics that I find particularly compelling:
1 – There are over two billion people online
A study by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) discovered that the number of internet users across the globe has now exceeded two billion.
In 2010 alone, more than 226 million people came online for the first time. Market researcher IDC predicts that by 2015, an astounding 2.7 billion people worldwide will be online.
That’s about 40% of the world’s population, which is a lot of potential customers.
2 – 38 million of them are in the UK
If your business doesn’t want to target international business, then your boss may not care about the rapidly growing number of internet users in the developing world. But even so, the numbers for the UK market are compelling.
Research from the Office for National Statistics shows that 38 million UK adults used the web last year. Of those, more than 30 million accessed the internet at least once a day.
You’d pay a lot of money to have a shop on a street that had that kind of footfall!
3 – 31 million are actively shopping online
The ONS study found that 31 million people purchased goods or services online in the 12 months to August 2010.
What’s more, the higher their income, the more likely they are to use the web. The research body found that 98% of people with an income exceeding £41,600 used the internet. That compares to just 69% of adults with an income of less than £10,399.
So, many of your potential customers are using the internet to shop – and the wealthier they are, the more likely they are to do so.
4 – These customers spend hours online
On average, an online adult in the UK spends 22 hours and 15 minutes on the internet each month, according to the UK Online Measurement Company (UKOM).
That’s an increase of 65% compared to just three years ago. Interestingly, 22.7% of that time is spent accessing social networks and blogs, showing just how important a social marketing campaign is alongside your SEO efforts.
5 – People spend billions online
Despite the economic woes, spending online continues to grow. In August 2011 alone, UK shoppers spent £5.2 billion on the web, according to the IMRG/Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.
That’s 14% more than in the same month, the previous year.
6 – 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine
So, people are spending a lot of time and money online. But does that necessarily mean that you need SEO?
The answer is a resounding ‘yes’. A study by Forrester from 2006 found that 93% of all internet traffic comes from a search engine. You cannot afford to be missing out on that many potential visitors.
7 – Google dominates all
Although you should rank for all search engines, it makes sense to prioritise Google.
Google received more than 92% of search engine traffic in 2010, according to Statcounter.com. The runner up, Bing, gained just 3.17% of search engine traffic.
Such a compelling statistic also shows that it’s a good idea to funnel paid search spending towards Google.
8 – Customers click on top-ranking links
If you operate in a niche market then you are potentially already appearing on the first page of the search results for the major keywords.
This might make you think that it’s not worth investing in SEO to drive you to the very top of the results pages.
But you’d be wrong. A study by Optify showed that the top ranking website has an average click-through rate of 37%, while 60% of the clicks go to the top three results.
9 – Britons are online on the go
If you want to target customers on the move, you might be advertising on buses and in free papers. But market research agency IDC has predicted that soon more users will access the web through their mobile phones than through computers.
And according to the Office for National Statistics, 71% of 16 to 24-year-olds are accessing the internet using their handsets, so clearly you should be advertising to them online.
Who needs a poster on the bus?
10 – 41% of businesses are winning customers using social media
A successful SEO campaign works hand in hand with a social media strategy – and it’s never been more important to be targeting customers socially.
Research by workplace provider Regus shows that 41% of UK firms are successfully winning customers through their social networking efforts. Not only that, but 48% use social platforms to engage with their existing customers.
Your SEO spending will boost your social marketing – winning you business through two different channels.