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New Research Confirms Need for SEO: 81% of Internet Users Used Search Engines in 2008

January 28th, 2009 | | Basic SEO Tips

If 2009 is the year you decided to get started with SEO, your timing couldn’t have been better. The latest research is in and it turns out, we were right all along—search engines are an online powerhouse, with internet users relying on them for more than just the occasional search.

The latest news from eMarketer confirms exactly what we’ve been telling you for months now—search engines are vital to your business because they’re an everyday part of an internet user’s routine. Just in case we didn’t convince you, this collection of research should do the trick. Let’s run through the top stats and add a little SEO perspective:
eMarketer, January 27, 2009

81% of internet users worldwide used a search engine to find information in 2008.

When your clients and customers go online looking for information about your business (hours, prices, products, address, etc.) they are going straight to search engines to look for that information. What this means for your business? You need to be using SEO to make sure those customers are finding your site quickly and easily, and not being diverted to the websites of your competitors. Take a look at Eric’s post, How to Use Keywords Effectively For Your SEO Strategy, for tips on how to make sure your taking full advantage of your site’s potential with SEO.

63% of internet users worldwide used a search engine to research product or service before buying.

People are turning to search engines at a critical decision-making point in the buying process, and you’re missing out on a lot of potential new business if researchers can’t find you. Buyers are utilizing search engines to compare prices, brands, products, and gather the little bits of information that help make their final purchase decisions. Even if you’re making all of this information available to potential clients through your website, if they can’t find this information through the major search engines, your may just be wasting your time. Remember, you don’t have to sell online to use SEO to market effectively online.

21% of internet users used a search engine as their homepage.

Yes, search engines are that important. Many of us use them even if we don’t need to—you know those searches I’m talking about. You saw a URL in a print ad or on television, you remember it and you could type it, but it’s so much easier just to type a couple quick keywords or a company name into a search engine and click on that first link. Well, if you’re not effectively using SEO, you might not be that first link in the search results, and where does that leave you?

So, if the economy has your company reviewing your SEO budget or you’re still doing your research to determine if SEO is right for you, bookmark this page and keep these numbers handy. With search engines used as the home base of the web for most internet users, you need to be ready to justify and defend your SEO budget to protect your success online.

And, if you come across some interesting and relevant SEO-related research and would like to share it with us and SEO Boy readers, leave a comment and let us know! We’re always looking for new sources and resources of online expertise.

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