Daraz is probably the most well-known e-commerce brand within Pakistan at the moment. Hence we felt it would be useful to do an analysis of them with respect to SEO.
It should be noted that there are reportedly over 200 factors which Google takes into account while deciding the ranking of a particular website for a specific keyword. While there exist guesses as to what these 200+ factors are, there is no official record of all them factors.
However, some of the primary factors we are going to take into account are:
- Number of backlinks/RDs
- Quality of backlinks/RDs
- Anchor Text Optimization and Branded Terms
Let’s take each of these one by one.
Number of Backlinks/RDs
While there are various tools to know the total number of backlinks, Ahrefs has the biggest database of backlinks.
According to Ahrefs, Daraz has 3.38 million backlinks. Now this may seem like a lot but there are 2 things one has to consider:
- We have to focus on the number of Referring Domains or RDs (i.e. unique backlinks) rather than the total number of backlinks.
- The quality of those referring domains is important too (which is what we will talk about in the next section).
When this article was being written, the number of RDs of Daraz was 1.62K (or 1,600). This is in sharp contrast to the 3.38 million backlinks.
In fact, for every one RD, Daraz has a whopping 2086 backlinks which seems too much and it can lead to some potential issues. In this regard, a previous and more detailed backlink analysis I had done on Daraz had showed me they have had tons of site-wide links from their partner sites like Kaymu, Jovago and Lamudi.
Now the jury is out there on whether this would be a good practice or not. But I think it’s probably okay since linking to these partner sites is of relevance and as long as such links are of relevance it shouldn’t be much of an issue.
More on the issue of site-wide backlinks from Matt Cutts himself in this video back when he was the head of Google’s web spam team.
Quality of Backlinks/RDs
Gone are the days when quantity of backlinks was more important than the quality of them; and when one could rank a site by building a lot of unnatural, low-quality, spammy backlinks. This isn’t true anymore – in most of major industries and geographical regions at least. And Google is catching up on implementing stronger quality measures in areas it has neglected so far.
However, Daraz may have nothing to worry about for a good few years unless and until:
- Google begins implementing better ranking criteria for Pakistan
- Another competitor comes up with a better SEO strategy, thereby outperforming Daraz
Now while 1.62K RDs doesn’t seem like a bad number, checking the quality of each of these RD tells us a different story altogether.
A good method of analyzing the quality of link portfolio of any website is to check how good is its TF:CF (trust flow to citation flow) ratio.
TF – It is about how good is the quality of sites linking to your site.
CF – It is about how many sites are linking to your site.
Ideally, most SEO experts suggest that the Trust Flow should be at least half of Citation Flow. So for instance:
- If a site has TF = 5 and CF = 10, then it has a healthy link profile. If the TF is over 5 and the CF is 10 then that’s even better. There actually exist sites whose TF is equal to their CF and that’s excellent.
- However if a site has TF = 5 and a CF = 15, then that means its TF is less than even the half of CF, hence implying that the site needs to improve the quality of its referring domains, and it may also need to disavow its worst links.
- An example of a good site linking to your site would be an authority news website which has quality content on it.
- An example of a bad website linking to your website would be a spammy/scammy bad looking website with low quality content.
Now let’s see how Daraz’s link portfolio looks like.
As we can see, Daraz’s TF is quite lower than the half of its CF.
Now as I said before, it may not become a problem for Daraz soon. However, as soon as a better competitor comes along, Daraz may witness its SEO rankings and organic traffic in Pakistan decreasing manifold.
It should be noted, that your competitors can do negative SEO to harm your website by building lot of bad quality backlinks to it.
Here is good detailed guide on the subject of what bad links actually are and how one can disavow them (so that Google and/or Bing) won’t take them into consideration while analyzing your website’s strengthen or lack thereof. As a general rule,
- you should never be paying for links
- strategies like large scale link creation through blog comments, forum posts etc do not work anymore
- your content should provide value to the readers and should not be stuffed with keywords. Similarly most of your backlinks should not have commercial keywords as anchor texts. So if your website sells runner shoes, getting a guest post from a blog ran by a marathon runner and using the anchor text ‘runner shoes’ in that guest post would probably not be a good idea. However if you create a detailed guide on how to pick the right runner shoes and put it at your site and then link to that guide using the anchor text ‘picking the best runner shoes’ that would be a smart approach (in most niches at least).
This brings us to our next talking point.
Anchor Text Optimization and Branded Terms
We have already mentioned what type of anchor texts you ought to use for the most part.
One thing working pretty well for Daraz is the number of searches for relevant branded terms.
As we can see above, there are some searches for branded terms like Daraz and its various variants (including the misspelled examples). Now this is nothing ground-breaking as yet (at least in term of search volume, since many Pakistanis use Facebook for browsing product pages rather than going to Google), but it is a healthy sign nevertheless. As the number of Pakistanis using the internet and Google increases, we should see a larger number of people searching for branded terms via Google.
Now if we look at the terms used as anchor texts by Daraz, we see that there exist some positive results (for Daraz; not their competitors).
The above snapshot shows that various branded terms like daraz.pk, daraz, www.daraz.pk etc account for 46% of anchor texts – and that’s just within the top 10 anchor phrases. So this is a pretty good result. This means that among the top 10 anchor phrases used, 46% of the referring domains are using branded terms to link to Daraz.
This is good news for Daraz and shows that their efforts to build a brand within Pakistan are pretty impressive.
This is also important to our discussion on SEO strength of Daraz as well, because Google has been favoring brands when it comes to whom ranks well in search results since a good few years. This kind of brownie points for brands will continue to count more often as we go forward.
To better understand what branding in terms of Google SERPs (search engine result pages) mean, let’s use an example.
- Let’s assume that website A is about runner shoes with the URL www.low-cost-shoes.com and most of its anchor texts are for something like ‘cheap shoes’, ‘runner shoes etc
- Website B is Zappos and it has tried to build a brand (which, in this context, is basically about people searching for ‘Zappos’ on google rather than ‘runner shoes’)
When Google sees that people are searching for Zappos and that Zappos is also getting good publicity from good quality websites with the anchor text being ‘Zappos’ and its various variants, it starts to see Zappos as a brand that it should treat more seriously.
As you can see, Zappos is ranked number 1 for the term ‘shoes’ which has over 673,000 monthly searches and that’s in Google US alone. Now, let’s look at the anchor phrases used by referring domains while linking to Zappos.
As one can see, among the top 10 anchor phrases for Zappos, branded terms (such as zappos, zappos.com etc) are used on 45% of referring domains.
So what does this have to do with Daraz and any of it’s competitors? It goes on to show that it is super important to build your website as a brand.
To sum up our discussion in a table that shows Daraz’s SEO health:
|SEO Factors||Is Daraz.pk Doing Well?|
|Number of Res||Yes|
|Quality of Res||No (some more work required)|
|Anchor Text Optimization||Yes|
|Branded Terms||Yes (but this work should continue)|
Some other important factors which we may cover in a later article include:
- Backlinking strategies for 2017 and beyond
- Frequency of content creation
- Quality of content marketing, digital PR
- Onsite SEO health
- Site Speed
- Site’s performance on mobile devices
- Number and quality of social reviews (reviews available on Facebook, Google and other portals about Daraz)
- UI/UX factors impacting the site
- While we don’t have access to Google Analytics and Google Search Console of Daraz, access to these enable one to analyze more factors such as any penalties, bounce rate and others
What do you think of this SEO analysis? Which other website do you want us to do a similar SEO audit of?