The tech world has seen some epic rivalries throughout the years. Think Apple vs Microsoft.
About 40 years ago, these two tech giants were coming for each other's throats. And, they were definitely not subtle about it!
One such rivalry brewing in India is between Zomato & Swiggy in the food delivery space. Both startups are wildly popular, but they have always been in a race to one-up each other.
- Zomato made ~$260 million dollars in revenue in 2021, while Swiggy made ~$490 million dollars.
- On New Year's eve, both of them broke records, where Zomato reached 2.5M orders in a single day & Swiggy crossed 2M orders!
- When Swiggy launched its 10-min grocery delivery startup, Instamart, Zomato had to get into the fun by buying BlinkIt for almost a billion dollars!
Now, I must admit, this rivalry is more fun than vicious, unlike Apple vs Microsoft. But now, they have also brought their competitive streak to the search engine — Google!
Although these startups are similar in operation, their approach when it comes to SEO is very different. I, of course, couldn't help but probe into their individual strategies to see what works and what doesn't. So, let's get into it!
SEO Wars — How are Zomato & Swiggy doing?
Before we get into their strategies, let's first look at some numbers!
- Over 63% of Zomato's traffic comes from "Search" according to Alexa. So, SEO is definitely an important channel.
- Zomato gets 33.7M organic traffic every month according to Ahrefs!
- Although, not all of these visits come from Indian users, where Zomato majorly operates. But, based on location, India still accounts for ~50% of Zomato's traffic, i.e. 16.4M monthly visits.
- Overall, Zomato ranks for 6M keywords. Among them, ~99% are non-branded keywords, i.e. queries that don't include "zomato" in the phrase.
- It has 11.2M backlinks and a website rating (DR) of 89 out of 100, which surely helps it rank at the top!
- Swiggy gets 5.9M monthly organic traffic & ranks for over 552K keywords. In the case of Swiggy, almost all the traffic comes from India, unlike Zomato.
- Out of the 552K keywords, ~70% keywords are non-branded.
- It has 357K backlinks and a website rating (DR) of 79 out of 100!
Zomato's approach to master Google's search!
So, like we always do, let's first look at Zomato's top sub-folders. Just from a cursory glance, you'll see quite a few location-based subfolders.
For example, we have
➝ zomato.com/ncr — 1.79M monthly visitors
➝ zomato.com/mumbai — 1.36M monthly visitors
➝ zomato.com/banglore — 1.06M monthly visitors
➝ zomato.com/kolkata — 539K monthly visitors
➝ zomato.com/chennai — 526K monthly visitors
Zomato uses these subfolders to organize the restaurants on their platform according to different cities.
So, basically, a KFC in Mumbai & Bangalore will come under the /mumbai & /bangalore subfolder respectively.
There is a good reason for having these subfolders. But, before we get into it, we will first have to understand how this hierarchy is structured.
To explain this, let's continue with the example of the Mumbai subfolder & KFC as the restaurant.
- Firstly we have the main subfolder ➝ zomato.com/mumbai
- Within this folder, we have a subdirectory with the URL structure ➝ zomato.com/mumbai/restaurants.
- This landing page contains all the restaurants operating in Mumbai, plus different food categories.
- Then, you have a very dedicated sub-sub-page that lists all the KFCs in Mumbai.
- Now, when you click on one of these KFCs at a particular location, you are directed to that particular KFC locations page.
- So, the final URL structure for all restaurant pages looks something like this:
URL structure ➝ zomato.com/mumbai/restaurant/kfc
Example ➝ /mumbai/kfc-lower-parel
Final URL structure ➝ zomato.com/[city-name]/[restaurant-name]-[location-name]
But, what's the reason behind having this structure?
Well, the idea is to organize all the pages on the site so they naturally rank for their location. Plus, with these location pages, you also automatically location-specific keywords.
So Zomato has separate pages for queries like "KFC Mumbai", "KFC Lower Parel" etc., all neatly organized.
And, of course, each preceding stage in the hierarchy links to the next stage & vice versa! So, the authority juice flows to all the different pages & all the pages also are indexed by Google!
But, that's not it. Zomato goes a step further to target all the possible niche restaurant keywords with different search intents.
Confused? Well, you see Zomato gets 50% of its traffic from outside India, particularly the United States. Now, you are probably wondering, how exactly is that possible. Well, you see Zomato operates like a simple restaurant review site for these countries.
And, of course, this approach also helps Zomato in India!
I'll be covering all this & Swiggy's SEO strategy and compare them both to derive valuable insights for you in Part 2 of this article. So, stay tuned!