Organic search drives 53% of all site traffic, according to new study

website traffic pie chart

A new study by BrightEdge has found that organic search delivers an average of 53.3% of all traffic to websites, far more than any other channel.

Despite the recent changes to Google’s search results page that seemed to give more prominence to paid ads, and the rise of “zero-click results”, a new study from SEO software platform BrightEdge has revealed that organic search traffic is still king when it comes to delivering visitors to a website.

When combined with paid search, the overall search channel is responsible for almost 70% of all trackable website traffic.

Organic traffic has grown over the past five years

In the five years BrightEdge has been conducting this research, the percentage of traffic from organic search has actually increased. In 2014, organic search was responsible for 51% of site traffic according to their research. This year that figure has risen to 53%.

BrightEdge said thy generated the data in May 2019 from “thousands of domains and tens of billions of sessions”.

Their report breaks down traffic to sites in a variety of key verticals – Retail and eCommerce, Media and Entertainment, B2B, Technology, and Travel and Hospitality. Here’s where the traffic comes from for sites in each vertical:

percentage of traffic to websites
Source: BrightEdge.com

According to BrightEdge’s data, organic search accounts for 64.1% of traffic to B2B websites. Retail and eCommerce websites are less reliant on organic search traffic, which accounts for just 41% of their total traffic.

Organic search also drives revenue

In terms of revenue organic search is also the largest channel, with a 44.6% share of revenue-driving traffic. However, the difference in revenue between organic search and other traffic channels is less significant. BrightEdge suggests this is because “organic search plays a major role in the initial discovery process where people explore solutions to a need. People may be more likely to use other channels when they have a better understanding of the problems, solutions, and providers available”.

Technology websites see the biggest contribution to revenue from organic search (58.8%), whereas Media and Entertainment websites have the least (34.7%).

website revenue by traffic source
Source: BrightEdge.com

It’s clear from BrightEdge’s data that the common warning that “SEO is dead” is still very premature. Although the data is far from fallible, and many marketers will dispute the social traffic numbers, it is still clear that organic search traffic remains the primary traffic and revenue source for websites.

As BrightEdge’s report says:

“Despite several seismic shifts in consumer behavior, the rise of mobile search, and the dramatic changes to the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) layouts, including Local 3-Pack, Knowledge Graphs, Videos, and Quick Answers, which push more organic searches below the fold, Organic Search is the channel that delivers the most traffic to web sites by a wide margin.”