Semrush Annual State of Search Highlights: Top Trends and Key Takeaways

May 2, 2023image

At Semrush, we’re on a mission to guide you through the ever-changing landscape of online searching, so you can get back to the business of growing your business.

We’ve leveraged all of our tools and reports to compile The State of Search 2023—a dataset that includes domain and traffic analytics, the Semrush Sensor database, and more to bucket 2022’s biggest fact-based trends.

Here’s a preview of our findings:

As you’ll see, search trends followed global events. There were predictable spikes in March following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and drop offs that correlate with price increases and job layoffs in the latter half of 2022.

To add more to the online search soup, Google introduced new improvements and updates to its SERPs that changed the way people search and shop.

How did all this affect search trends overall? And how should you adjust your own marketing strategy? Let’s get into some more of the highlights.

State of Search Overall

We analyzed total traffic trends in 2022 based on the top 50,000 domains in the US from the Semrush .Trends Rank. Our data revealed the amount of traffic websites received directly from search engines was slightly lower last year than it was the previous year. In the beginning of 2022, search traffic contributed to only 16% of overall traffic, compared to the same period in 2021 when search traffic accounted for about 21% of overall traffic. By the end of 2022, search traffic increased slightly to 18%.

These percentages are just from our dataset. Other websites, like Wikipedia, saw nearly 76% of their traffic from search in December 2022, while YouTube only received 7.5%.

Key Takeaway: Search traffic dropped as businesses and people emerged from the pandemic, but your search traffic percentage will still depend on your business goals, nature, and search strategy.


Leading Search Categories

How did search look in specific industries last year? Let’s take a look:

  • 2022 was a big year for Electronics and Media
  • Fashion and Apparel nearly took a swan dive after July 2022
  • Restaurants and Food Delivery and Beauty and Cosmetics saw year-over-year growth
  • Online Education, Travel, and Service and Technology all fell slightly from their 2021 search numbers

Key Takeaway: Most industries saw growth in 2022 or regained their search traffic levels at the beginning of the year. Also, some dips and climbs are a result of global events or economic changes that are out of your control.


State of Images

Shifting gears to visual media, big tech companies seem to be leaning toward using more imagery, especially video, and the trend is catching on.

  • Google Search is becoming more visual, with images taking the top SERP spot
  • Images saw a 42% increase on desktop searches
  • Carousel images and video also saw a strong increase

Key Takeaway: Invest in more images—memes, photos, charts, and long and short videos—to supplement your SEO strategy.

State of Mobile

Since Electronics were having a good search year, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that 2022 was also a good growth year for mobile searches. Our report found:

  • Stronger growth for video searches over images
  • Popular Products searches saw a 17% gain over last year
  • Popular Product searches now make up 25% of all mobile searches

Key Takeaway: Google is updating its SERP features algorithm to boost commerce and organic search on mobile. Boost your product pages with strong keywords to reach your mobile users.


Download the Full Report for More Stats and Discoveries

Check out the full report below for a wide range of info on all things search. We analyzed keyword stats, how well new domains rank with some of the online veterans, Google’s CTRs, the frequency of its SERP updates, and how that might affect how people find you and your products.

The 2022 State of Search report gives a 360-view of today’s online traffic trends to help you grade your website’s performance. How does your site compare to the overall market trends? Do you see a chance to reach new users? How does your site perform on mobile searches?

Read the full report

Read the free report to tweak, bolster, or completely reinvent your SEO strategy.

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