The Internet is 25 Years Old and Websites Still Matter
There’s been a lot of talk recently about how websites are dead. That consumers prefer messaging apps, social media and other delivery channels and the dominance of Google has made branded websites almost obsolete. We couldn’t disagree more. As of December 2018, there were 4.1 billion Internet users in the world, up from the 3.9 billion Internet users in mid-2018 and about 3.7 billion Internet users in late 2017. At the same time, as of December 2018, there were approximately 1.94 billion websites in the world and as of April 9, 2019, the Indexed Web contains at least 5.23 billion pages. If these statistics aren’t staggering enough, consider that 380 new websites are created every minute, over 4 million blog posts are published on the Internet every day, over 500 million tweets are sent every day, and over 5 billion Google searches are made every day.
You could make the argument that Google has replaced websites, and I wouldn’t disagree. 64% of marketers agree that Google is becoming the new “homepage” for local businesses. This concept, coined by Mike Blumenthal, takes into account the business information, contact information, answers to questions, photos, virtual tours, microblog posts, reviews and more that can be accessed directly through Google’s Knowledge Graph. Without ever having to click through to the brand’s domain, the consumer may find exactly what they need.
While that’s all true and Google’s zero-click SERPs, paid SERPs, and lead generation features are here to stay, as long as “free” local results exist (what many refer to as the 3-packs, given the dominance of mobile search), Google still relies on the most relevant website it can find for information, which could be (and should be) yours. And since organic SERPs remain a substantial source of clicks and leads, not having the strongest possible website is akin to giving business to your competition.
As long as users search for information online, regardless of the device or method, the Internet will still rely on content that publishers create, whether on their website, social media or elsewhere. The world’s first website was published on August 6, 1991 by British physicist Tim Berners-Lee. 28 years later, we believe the website will undergo changes in the years to come, as it has since Tim Berners-Lee’s time; however, it is very much alive.