Link Segmentation Analysis
This piece reflects work completed during my time at Zoopla, tasked with a desperate business need to understand better our backlink profile. Please note that all data featured is publically available.
by Harry Austen
Published Mar. 01, 2021 GMT
This analysis, completed for Zoopla, the UK property portal, studies the company and it’s competitors’ backlink profiles to understand the industry landscape and inform its next link-building campaign. As noted above, this data is publically available and therefore freely available for anyone to request provided relevant tooling.
The historical data was requested over a year ago and is not likely to be an accurate representation of where Zoopla currently sits in the market.
Grouped into 12 distinct categories, via the use of text analysis (which also featured in the Keyword Attribution Model piece), Zoopla and its competitors’ backlinks have been analysed to help remove the guesswork from future business and marketing efforts in regards to link-building.
Property 1 – property sites, estate agents, businesses that apply solely to property; Blog 2 – personal, advice and review blogs; News & Current Affairs 3 – publications that predominantly cover news and events of any kind (e.g. sports news, financial news); Financial & Business Services 4 – sites that discuss or offer financial and business services/management; Consumer Goods & Services 5 – consumer-facing businesses (property businesses consolidated in Property); Technology & Media 6 – agencies or sites that offer technology-based tools or services, multimedia organizations; Education 7 – schools, universities, student and teacher blogs (e.g. .edu); Gov 7 – government or state-owned domains (e.g. .gov); Directory 8 – service and goods directories, resources for finding a business; Travel, Transport & Leisure 9– holiday services, travel guides, advice and map-based blogs; Energy & Environment 10 – environmental organizations, energy providers and services; Void (not included below) – domains to be added to our disavow list (general spam) or excluded from future reporting (e.g. forum sites, estate agents that link to us in their footer)
First, I will review the current state of LRDs for both competitors, Rightmove and OnTheMarket, and then dive deeper into comparisons across the market.
Rightmove Keyword Profile
This graphic is interactive. Please hover over the bars to reveal Rightmove’s LRD data points.
- As expected, the largest chunk of Rightmove’s backlink profile is property-related, with 2,847 LRDs. This group makes up 45% of their backlink profile.
- Similarly to Zoopla, most of the property domains that point to Rightmove are low in authority, with 2.1k (75%) having a DA of 30 or less. Only 8% of domains fit within the ‘High’ DA group (equal to or higher than 60), which is fitting with our hypothesis that the property industry is congested with spam.
- The next largest is blogs, with 951 LRDs. Much like Zoopla, the split of authority is healthy in the group, with 32% making up low-value, 38% making up mid and 30% making up high-authority. The group equates to 15% of total LRDs.
- A close third, News and Current Affairs make up the next biggest chunk of Rightmove’s LRDs, with 881 (14%). This is a group that Rightmove is certainly over-performing in, with the majority of publications (588; 66%) being high in authority.
- The number of LRDs per group preceding the news category starts to see a decline, those are: Technology & Media (414), Financial & Business Services (286), Education (224), Consumer Goods & Services (203), Gov (168), Travel, Transport & Leisure (116), Directory (108), Energy & Environment (4).
OnTheMarket LRD Profile
This graphic is interactive. Please hover over the bars to reveal OnTheMarket’s LRD data points.
- The clear stand out from OnTheMarket is the high volume of property LRDs, which is their best performing group.
- The property category makes up an astonishing 75% of their backlink profile. In total, of the 893 LRDs that make up the group, 86% (771) are low-value domains (below 30 DA). Although the amount of spam in the group is expected, this certainly isn’t a healthy ratio.
- By comparison, Zoopla and Rightmove’s low-value property domains make up around 75% of their respective group.
- While equally high, it is important to note that the two sites have other domains to, hypothetically speaking, fall back on. The next biggest group that sits in OTM’s backlink profile contains 818 fewer LRDs.
- Compared to Zoopla (678) and Rightmove (881), OTM’s number of News LRDs is a drop in the ocean (75). This is a great example of why the two have more brand awareness – OTM does not get the same coverage as Zoopla or Rightmove.
Top-Level Industry Link Landscape
This graphic is interactive. Please hover over the bars to reveal the top-level LRD data points.
- The largest deficit in terms of the volume of LRDs is property with 1.2k LRDs.
- This group is also OnTheMarket’s strongest group, but are still 615 behind us. Rightmove have 2.2k different LRDs to Zoopla. However, only 431 of those fit within the Mid or High DA group. This means that the remaining 1.7k (80%) are low-value (below or equal to 30). A fairly large chunk appears to be companies/agents working in partnership with Rightmove. With that being said, there are still certainly authoritative prospects that are still up for grabs, which we will be adding to our future prospect list.
- The next largest deficit is the blog category, where we are 262 behind Rightmove. This group is hard to gage, seeing as there are so many iterations (personal, corporate, general blog, etc.).
- The blogs that link to Rightmove (and don’t to Zoopla) have a healthy split in DA, with 272 being low, 325 mid and 234 being high in authority.
- By the looks of things, a big portion of Rightmove’s links in this group has come naturally and from a variety of different blogs (not just property-related).
- News & Current Affairs is another group that we are being outperformed in (-240 LRDs), which was to be expected. The gaps in this group are mostly mixed between mid and high-DA sites, with notably more ‘global’ publications.
This article is a member of The Engine Room. This section of the blog comprises programming and other technically challenging criteria in one place.
Harry Austen is a Data & Search Analyst. He has worked with the likes of Disney, The Olympics and Zoopla. @austenharry