SEO insights on the verticals vs classifieds war
Recently there has been a little fight on Linkedin between Dubizzle, Property Finder and Bayut, because of the visits estimations shown in Similarweb. Would be nice to have more data to compare than just traffic, but we know that’s very difficult to get.
So I’d like to give another perspective focused on search rankings, since we know that search engines are one of the main traffic sources for every property portal worldwide. Whoever rules Google, has an important battle of the war won ;)
Let’s check the SEO visibility for four different keyword sets: City level, area level, development level and rent. These are the results:
Just to understand well the figures above, SEO visibility is a metric that tells us what percentage of all possible organic clicks a website is getting for a given keyword.
I applied that to a keyword set defined by myself, divided in four groups: City level keywords are those like “apartments for sale in dubai”, area level ones “buy villas in arabian ranches”, development level ones “apartments in burj khalifa” and rent is mix of the above but including “rent”.
I like dividing them in groups because usually the conversion rate is different based on how detailed the search is. Someone who is just looking for “apartments in dubai” is often earlier in the buying process that someone who searches for “2 bed apartment in horizon tower marina” and therefore, less keen to convert. And also think that for brokerages, sales are usually more important than rentals because of the higher return, so I leave rent isolated.
Starting with city level keywords, we can see Dubizzle with the highest visibility percentage, closely followed behind by Property Finder and Bayut about half. These keywords have individually very high volume of traffic, although they might attract more foreign traffic than local.
For area level keywords we can see how Property Finder rules the search engines with sufficiency. Not just ranking very high for many of them but also with double results, which gives them such a high visibility. We have Bayut second, followed by Dubizzle third. This is a good example:
For development level keywords Dubizzle comes back again as the winner with Property Finder and Bayut behind. These keywords are important because of what I’ve said before, they come from people that already know what they want, more keen to convert.
Finally for the rent keywords we can say it’s quite balanced among all the players. I remember Just Property used to rank on top thanks to the inherited authority from Just Rentals, but that advantage seems already lost.
Bear in mind that any ranking analysis is based on a limited keyword set, while the keywords used by people are just limitless. So when we analyze the ranking ability of a site, another interesting KPI to check is the authority. This is what we have:
Google says there is no such thing called “authority”, but it is known that there is a high correlation between the 3rd party metrics from MoZ and aHrefs and the actual rankings.
Looking to those, we get that Dubizzle has the strongest domain, then comes Property Finder and third Bayut. But we must also consider the “topical authority”: In Google’s eyes, being a website focused only in property can give extra points over being a general classifieds site.
There is a good battle on search engines to be the first ranking site mainly between Property Finder and Dubizzle, with Bayut behind also fighting to gain presence.
Anyway, notice that search rankings and authority are just a reference. Traffic volume, traffic quality, visitor’s location, conversion rate, leads volume, leads quality… Many factors influence the performance of a property portal. But in the end ROI is what matters, so only brokerages can tell which one works best based on the transactions closed.
All things considered, I’d say Property Finder is still the market leader in Dubai regardless of traffic estimations. But they are not alone, Dubizzle is a hard to beat competitor and Bayut is there too, surely getting traffic from property searches and they both have resources to put a good fight. We’ll see how it goes in 2019!