SEO in the Premier League

Juan Gonzalez
Juan Gonzalez
7. April 2016
Juan Gonzalez
Juan Gonzalez
I studied Regional Studies of Latin American at the University of Cologne - Germany, majoring in "Business Informatics“. I also studied Business Administration and currently I’m doing a Master in International Business Administration. I feel a fascination with SEO and the people who make it possible.

Football, it is simply impossible to not talk about the most popular sport in the world, when you are in its homeland. Today, we will take a closer look at the domains for the Premier League clubs.

google-uk premierleague

These domains have a natural affinity for being great sources for evaluations, because supply is a controlled variable and demand is very easy to understand. It is highly unlikely that the “Gooners” will start publishing news on “the Spurs” on their website (supply). It is also not very likely that a “the Reds” fan will change his club affiliation and go over to the “Red Devils” (demand).

These near given facts allow us to take a look at and analyse some important SEO concepts as well as put them into perspective: Where are the limitations of external links? Do you really need a huge number of links or keywords to be visible? Do you really need legions of indexed pages to be successful? And, what about Social Signals (in case someone still believes that they might have any power over Google’s rankings)?

Domain visibility and the absolute number of keyword rankings

The football club with the largest visibility on Google.co.uk is Manchester United with a visibility score of 5.1 – which is 146 times the score of the last club on our list, West Bromwich Albion (with a score of 0.036). The visibility history for Manchester shows us a nice sidewards trend which, in this case, likely comes about because Manchester is simply the “Top of the Pops” when it comes to Premier League clubs. There simply is not much room to increase visibility, while there is always the threat of making a mistake and losing some.

visibility-index-manutd_com

The second best club-domain is Arsenal London with a visibility score of 3.75 and Liverpool close at their heels with 3.21. The fourth and fifth place are taken by the Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, with scores of 2.04 and 1.233, respectively. If you want to check out the entire chart, just scroll to the end of this article.

Next, I want to compare the four clubs with the highest visibility to each other. You can run a quick comparison in the Toolbox by simply typing the domains into the search bar, separated by a comma: manutd.com,arsenal.com,liverpoolfc.com,chelseafc.com

visindex-comparison-searchbar

premiere-league-comparison-seo

Number of Keywords

If we compare the number of keywords between the domains, we notice that a larger number of ranking keywords does not guarantee the largest visibility. Manchester United has neither the most keywords in total, nor the most keywords with Top10 rankings, but they still manage to outgun the other domains when it comes to their visibility.

Indexed Pages

The indexed pages of a domain do not necessarily have a direct and positive impact on the visibility of a page. If we look at the example below, we notice that Aston Villa FC has nearly five times the amount of pages indexed as their rivals from the Stoke City FC, but their visibility is nearly 20% less than that of “the Potters”.

indexed-pages-aston-villa-stoke-city

If we want to check out the efficiency of a pages indexing strategy, we can take a look at the total amount of indexed pages and put it in relation to the visibility score for the domain. The efficiency of Wikipedia, for example, is about 0.10 points of visibility per 1,000 indexed documents.

Stoke City has an efficiency factor of 0.07, while Aston Villa’s factor is 0.01. “The Potters” are thereby 7 times more efficient than “the Villians”.

The second most efficient Premier League club are “the Blues” (FC Chelsea) with a score of 0.06.

On the other end of the spectrum we have the AFC Sunderland with 0.005 and the Everton FC with 0.001 – in other words, respectively, they are 14 and 70 times less efficient than Stoke City.

Links

If we consider links to be citations, we would now know which English club is being talked about the most. The club with the most total links is Arsenal with about 755,000. Next are Manchester United with 685,000, Manchester City with 523,000, Chelsea with 426,000 and, coming in fifth, is Liverpool with 398,000 links.

premiere-league-comparison-links

This is the place where we put the linkpower into perspective. If we compared Tottenham with Manchester City, we can see that both clubs have nearly the same visibility (1,229 for Manchester City and 1,233 for Tottenham), while Manchester has nearly four times the amount of links as Tottenham.

There are set number of platforms that regularly talk about Football. This is why it is a good idea to take a look at more than the pure amount of links and check out where they are coming from – for this, we look at the number of linking domains.

The clear winners of such an evaluation are Manchester United (with links from 11,667 different domains), Arsenal (9,092 domains) and Chelsea (7,637 domains). Liverpool may get close to the total number of links for Chelsea, but these links all come from only 2,807 domains.

Social Signals

If we take a look at the social interactions within the most important social network, Facebook, next, we notice that the Gooners have the most passionate fans, with more than 62 million interactions. They are followed by the Blues with more than 23 million interactions, the Red Devils with nearly 11 million interactions, the Citizens with 4.8 million and the Reds with about 4 million interactions. This said, the Reds still manage to have a 36% higher visibility than the Blues and 61% more than the Citizens.

premiere-league-comparison-social

It seems that the Swans are the least communicative on social networks with about 6,000 Facebook interactions, to this day.

AdWords and Banners

During our evaluation we noticed that only five clubs invested in AdWords and six clubs used the Display Network. Manchester United runs about 32 AdWords for their shop and uses 64 banners with different content. We can then compare this to Arsenal, where they run about the same number of AdWords (28) but noticeably less display Ads (only 5). Both Chelsea and Manchester City caught our eye with 57 and 46 banners, respectively.

banner-ads-manchester-united

Conclusion

For a tree to grow, it needs light, water and earth. Only if these three factors are combined correctly, will the tree thrive. If the tree gets enough water and light but is standing in barren earth, then it will not grow. SEO is not much different. I will use the current leader on the Premier League board for my conclusion.

google-trends-leicester_uk

Leicester City only managed to return to the Premier League in 2014, after ten years of absence. For them to currently sit at the very top of the charts and have a chance at the Premier League title is somewhat of a small sensation. This has led to quite a bit of national as well as international media attention. Still, if we look at our chart, Leicester comes in at position 15 of the 20 Premier League clubs.

Here, the domain did not show any noticeable changes. The values for Leicester are very close to those of Watford, who come in at position 14.

visibility-watford-leicester

The visibility, the amount of indexed pages and the number of ranking keywords, all of them are nearly identical. Leicester City is only able to surpass Watford in their social signals. These, however, has no influence on the visibility of the domain.

When it comes to SEO, just as with our tree, there is no guarantee that the surplus of one element will make the domain grow. Leicester City, as well as Manchester United, are getting links from domains with a lot of authority. This does not change the visibility score for these domains, as the available supply and demand that the websites can create has been reached.

On Google (the marketplace), the users (consumers) will meet the supply (you and your competitors). You can try and get as many pages for your domain indexed as you want, as long as there is no demand by the users, these pages will not create any visibility for you. The same is true if your competitors offerings are better than yours. In this case it does not matter how many thousand external links or how much attention you can get.

In the end, I want to leave you with a thought. If we take a look at the design of the Manchester United homepage, we will notice what seems to be a reversed “form follows function” approach to web design. Just try to read the history of the Old Trafford, the page is not the most user friendly of pages.

I hope you enjoy it!

I would like to dedicate this post to all football fans, but especially the Gooner Dan Sharp.

Full chart of the Premier League clubs

Pos.DomainVisibility KeywordsURLsLinks/ Domain-PopFacebook
1manutd.com5.11,941373,000685,770/ 11,66710,79 M
2arsenal.com3.751,964262,000755,467/ 9,09262,45 M
3liverpoolfc.com3.212,774364,000398,490/ 2,8074,05 M
4chelseafc.com2.041,06836,300426,023/ 7,63723,49 M
5tottenhamhotspur.com1.2331,29753,000138,992/ 3,4551,50 M
6mcfc.co.uk1.2291,36592,800523,673/ 5,2604,87 M
7evertonfc.com0.77861594,000188,183/ 3.953368,352
8whufc.com0.7442730,100107.603/ 2,91943,089
9stokecityfc.com0.523407,48033,660/ 1,3438,353
10avfc.co.uk0.4376535,60093,689/ 2,081179,109
11saintsfc.co.uk0.4237111,50054,284/ 2,082101,918
12nufc.co.uk0.3033723,20090,018/ 2,837473,130
13canaries.co.uk0.273148,18034,838/ 1,31543,424
14watfordfc.com0.252297,70029,161/ 1,19413,301
15lcfc.com0.202707.40036,685/ 96515,299
16cpfc.co.uk0.132306,14026,552/ 1,530612,741
17afcb.co.uk0.102138,93012.191/ 75889,400
18safc.com0.0933618,80076,386/ 2,46451,129
19swanseacity.net0.0382107,29030.276/ 1,2855,896
20wba.co.uk0.0361906,96030,946/ 1,626157,500
Related posts
Comments
Comments will be closed 30 days after the post was published.