Our yearly IndexWatch 2015 for the United Kingdom is ready. For this list we use our SISTRIX Visibility Index score, which shows how visible a domain is in the Google search result pages for the specific country-index. The Visibility Index is therefore well suited to easily compare domains with each other. It is also ideal if you want to measure and evaluate the success of SEO actions taken or if you want to analyse the impact of Google’s algorithm changes on a domain.
For our IndexWatch 2015 winners, we looked at all visibility increases from January 5th, 2015, until January 4th, 2016. We considered at all domains with at least 5 points on the Visibility Index at the start of 2015. Our list is a great tool to quickly assess how a domain has fared during 2015 on Google and shows the hard work the website operators and SEOs put into their domains in the past 12 month.
You will find the complete list at the end of this article. Let’s start with those domains that managed to grab the top5 spots.
The former Facebook CTO, Adam D’Angelo created Quora together with Charlie Cheever because “we thought that Q & A is one of those areas on the internet where there are a lot of sites, but no one had come along and built something that was really good yet.“. Their plan seems to have paid off. The comming years will tell if this business model turns out to be sustainable.
They have very impressive URLs like https://www.quora.com/Can-I-burn-an-audio-CD-on-a-DVD-R-and-have-it-behave-as-a-CD-R-so-I-can-play-it-in-all-cars-and-players which themselves rank for almost 100 Keywords on Google:
Wilkinson Hardware Stores is a British high-street chain which sells homewares and household goods. This is the first domain on our list which benefited from the Update Google Core Algorithm Update (Phantom Update):
The short increase that was achieved before the domain name change was lost right after the change and it took them month to build up the positive trend that still holds today.
When we look closer at the structure, we see that 1/3 of their entire visibility is generated by the directory www.wilko.com/icat/. The rest of the visibility is distributed over the other 425 directories/categories.
The definition on Wikipedia defines Mental Floss as “an American magazine that presents facts and trivia in a humorous way.“ The domain itself is a mix between a popular blog with additional trivia and features as well as news articles.
You will notice that after changing the preferred host from www.Mentalfloss.com to just Mentalfloss.com, the upwards trend (black line channel) went on to be replaced by an even stronger upward trend (dotted line channel) in the middle of 2015. It is quite impressive.
Zomato is a restaurant search and discovery service from New Delhi, India. It was founded in 2008 by Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah and features restaurant information such as scanned menus and photos sourced by local street teams, as well as user reviews and ratings. Especially this mix of user reviews/ratings and local teams seem to have led to the kind of content that Google is looking for.
In 2014, Zomato.com also made the switch from http to https. We think that they might also have cleared up crawling-problems for the different countries at the same time.
Update: Danny Denhard made us aware of the fact that Zomato bought the domain Urbanspoon.com in 2015. All the content on Urbanspoon.com were then redirected to Zomato.com in June 2015, which explains the large Visibility Index jump in the following week.
Another domain who benefited from the Phamtom Update. Wayfair Inc is a U.S.-based e-commerce company that sells furniture. They started their UK operations in 2010.
From the start of 2015 onwards, we see small improvements, which would suggest that they incrementally updated and changed their site instead of having one large re-launch. One example for this would be their splendid Fly-Out Navigation. As a result Google can now better understand the website which is also reflected in the Visibility Index score.
Google Phantom Update
During the week of Mai 5th, 2015, a surprising amount of websites lost between 20% to 60% of their visibility. Google later acknowledged that they went live with a Core Algorithm update, but at the time of the changes, Google decided that a public statement was not necessary. Therefore the SEO community branded this update the Phantom Update. The exact changes that were made to the algorithm are not known.
When we look at only the top100 domains for the UK we have 14 Domains (14%) who showed a positive jump during the Phantom Update. In Spain, for example, we found about 18% of the top100 domains for 2015 to have benefited from the Phantom Update.
Escaping a Panda penalty
Next we have 3 domains that show a nice increase in visibility throughout 2015 after escaping a Panda penalty, in late 2014. This shows that it can be very well worth to keep working on a site, even if it has been penalised.
The Winners 2015
Top 20 in absolute numbers:
Finally I want to show you the list of those 20 domains which managed to increase their total Visiblity Index score the most. Where the previous list looks at the increase in percentage to rank the domains, this one looks at the absolute changes.
Example: Cambridge.org. Here we see a smart new strategy for internal links, which helped the /dictionary/ directory double its visibility throughout 2015.
Next week we will present you with the biggest losers of 2015. Until then I hope you enjoyed our list and I wish you a great week.