Who's building SEO success in the UK property market
Richard Lawrence Technical Director
4 min read
Thursday, 20th January 2022
Are you trying to buy a house? It's hard right now!
We’re not sure if you noticed, but moving house has been a pretty difficult task ever since *that* began in March 2020.
After an initial slowdown, stamp duty taxes were lifted to get the market moving and house prices started to boom. Despite the end of the stamp duty holiday and a bit of a drop for the most expensive properties, demand from first time buyers and second home hoppers has remained high well into 2021 - continuing to set records for average house prices.
So, with this being the case, we thought it was worth a peek into who’s in the best position to capitalise in the organic search results.
What we did
We took the top 1,000 non-brand phrases relating to houses for sale in areas all around the UK. We then gathered the top 20 rankings on Google UK (mobile) for each phrase, and scored the top 20 rankings for each according to general visibility and estimated amount of organic traffic each ranking receives.
Using this data, we ranked the top-performing websites for each of the two scores. Finally, we used our in-house tool 7Metrics to gain an overview as to why the top performers were doing well.
The Results: Who’s performing the best in property?
*See the Glossary for a full explanation of the scores
Rightmove has almost achieved perfect visibility, ranking 1st for all but a small number of the search queries we looked at. Zoopla very often ranks 2nd, leading to a very high visibility score but that one place difference often has a significant impact on the amount of traffic a site attracts.
OnTheMarket has only been around since 2015 (compared to 2008 for Zoopla, 2000 for Rightmove and 2012 for Purplebricks) but has settled into 3rd spot in the property industry, now potentially attracting almost double the traffic of PrimeLocation for the top 1,000 area phrases via organic search.
Created in partnership with SEMrush, 7Metrics combines SEMrush data with other sources such as CrUX and Wayback Machine to return seven metrics (shocker, we know) that give a high level view of SEO health for competing websites, helping explain who is performing well and why. The glossary below contains more information about each metric, for those of you who like that kind of thing...
Rightmove’s success is built on link quality & volume
Rightmove is far ahead for both domain authority and number of linking domains. As a result, these can be concluded as the core factors for its impressive performance, despite not being the stand out winner for key URL volume or Core Web Vitals. One thing’s for sure: RightMove is making the right moves (sorry, it was right there).
Deep & internal linking helps OnTheMarket over-perform
OnTheMarket attracts the 3rd highest non-brand traffic volume, despite having the 4th highest domain authority score. Part of the reason seems to be owing to the number of key URLs detected on the site, influenced by internal linking and external links pointing to pages other than the homepage. So, if your website is in need of a renovation job, taking inspiration from OnTheMarket will do a great job of increasing its value.
Purplebricks is at risk of falling further behind
Purplebricks is already relatively far behind in terms of quantity and quality of links, and its performance for Core Web Vitals could mean this deficit is amplified. Our advice? The form implementation on the category pages in particular needs to be tweaked in order to create a well-performing layout.
- Visibility score: each ranking from 1-20 is assigned a score of 20 points for 1st place, down to 1 point for 20th. This is then calculated as a percentage of the score that would be achieved if the site ranked 1st for everything.
- Estimated organic traffic: we uses the search volume and an estimated click through rate to estimate traffic. The score is then the percentage of traffic that would be obtained if the site ranked 1st for everything.
- Domain authority: a measure of quality and quantity of links. (SEMrush)
- No. of linking domains: number of domains with at least one link to the website. (SEMrush)
- Monthly core brand traffic: amount of organic search traffic via the main search terms relating to the brand. (SEMrush)
- Monthly non-brand traffic: all other organic search traffic to the website. (SEMrush)
- No. of keywords attracting traffic: all keywords sending organic search traffic to the website. (SEMrush)
- No. of key URLs detected: the more (and better) external and internal links a URL has, the more likely it is to be picked up by this crawling system. This metric is the total number of URLs picked up for the website within a specified time window. (Wayback Machine & proprietary tech)
- % of visits that pass 1 Core Web Vital: field data for the origin domain - the percentage of users that have a fast experience for the poorest performing Core Web Vital. (CrUX)
Interested? 7Metrics is an inhouse tool here at Rise at Seven, but we are currently in the process of turning it into a toolbar for everyone to use. If you’re interested, feel free to get in touch and we will let you know when it’s ready.