While Chelsea Football Club currently lead the English Premier League, the Manchester United web site is winning when it comes to visibility in Google UK searches, according to new research. And the two clubs’ positions are reversed when it comes to visibility on social networks, with Chelsea leading the way, thanks in part to more people sharing links to the Chelsea web site on the Google+ social network.
The findings come from a study by search and social analytics software company, Searchmetrics, which analysed the online visibility of the 20 Premier League teams’ web sites.
The study, which uses an SEO Visibility score that Searchmetrics has developed to measure how prominently and frequently web sites rank in Google UK search results, found that Man United’s www.manutd.com web site beats all its rivals with a score of 44,954. Arsenal are runners up with 42,784, followed by Liverpool, who belie their poor league form with a strong score of 32,176. Chelsea are only fourth (30,547) with current Premier League champions, Manchester City, sixth with an SEO Visibility of just 14,974.
Queens Park Rangers’ (QPR’s) woeful start to the football season is mirrored online, as they currently prop up the Premier League in terms of visibility in Google searches as well as results on the pitch. QPR and West Bromwich Albion both scored less than 1,000 on SEO visibility.
Visibility on social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest) is measured by Searchmetrics using a Social Visibility score based on how often content from a web site is shared, liked, tweeted etc on social sites. The company’s findings show that Chelsea are currently in the lead in terms of Social Visibility, with a score of 50,363,039, compared to Man Utd’s 32,605,712. Much of Chelsea’s lead is down to creating a strong presence on the Google+ social network, which is responsible for 68 per cent of Chelsea’s social shares. In contrast nearly 99% of Man United’s social visibility comes from Facebook shares and likes.
Wigan Athletic, Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion occupy the social visibility relegation places at the bottom of the table.
Marcus Tober, founder and CTO of Searchmetrics explained: “When it comes to the web, in many ways Premier League football clubs act like media businesses. They try to attract visitors and fans to their official sites where they can engage with them and potentially sell tickets, hospitality packages and merchandise. They compete with newspaper publishers, broadcasters and online media, making visibility in search engines and social media a vital part of their online marketing.
“Our study shows, some clubs are doing really well with their search engine optimisation (SEO) and social networking strategies, but others are falling behind. This could potentially affect revenues and who knows – possibly even their ability to bring in money for players and hence performance on the pitch.”
“Social media is the perfect forum for clubs to engage with fans and what’s interesting is how some clubs, such as Chelsea and Liverpool have embraced newer networks such as Google+. This not only spreads their content further, but many SEO specialists believe Google+ activity plays a role in determining Google’s search engine rankings,” concluded Tober.
* League Position correct 22 October 2012