E-commerce platforms have emerged as the go-to marketplace for consumers, delivering everything from electronics to fashion items right to their doorsteps. Two of the giants in the Nepali e-commerce market are Daraz and Sastodeal.
Despite offering similar products and services, why does Daraz outperform Sastodeal? How is Daraz leading in the e-commerce marketplace in Nepal? How has Daraz significantly improved organic traffic over time?
Let’s dive in,
~ Reverse Engineering Their Overall Strategy
Reverse engineering SEO strategy refers to analyzing websites to understand why they rank highly. My reverse engineering involves revealing their SEO tactics, content strategy, and technical setup to gain insights that can be applied to improve your website’s SEO visibility.
Comparative & Competitive Analysis
Upon comparing the critical data points, Daraz is far ahead of Sastodeal.
Image: Quick Comparative Analysis
There seems to be a major gap in terms of organic traffic. I can safely conclude that the number of well-optimized pages, better technical setup, and content strategy make up for the decent traffic and rise of keywords compared to Sastodeal.
💡Pro Tip: Referring domains roughly translates to the site’s authority, and indexed pages represent required content.
Keyword Assessment / Intent Research:
Searcher behaviour is quite different as compared to other countries. In Nepal, we people are more concerned with price before buying. A possible reason could be:
- Most still don’t rely on online shopping; therefore, they want to compare the prices on different E-commerce platforms. After that, they are in the final stage of purchasing.
Image: Google Trends showing how the keyword “price in nepal” is growing over time
The above Google trends clearly show that the “price in nepal” keyword is gaining popularity over time. This is likely due to the arrival of the E-commerce marketplace, where buyers are more concerned with price first rather than products.
Image: The screenshot indicates how Daraz is leveraging and targeting keyword + “price in nepal” and generating decent organic traffic
You can evaluate closely how Daraz capitalizes the search trends and optimizes the keywords [product_name] + price in nepal. Most traffic-driving pages are related to price in nepal queries rather than generic terms.
For instance, there is a significant difference in SERPs (Search Engine Result Page) between “dslr camera” vs “dslr camera price in nepal”.
Keyword / Content Gap Analysis
My keyword/content gap analysis quickly uncovered the keywords found on Daraz but not in Sastodeal. This is because Sastodeal doesn’t have dedicated pages supporting those keywords, or they do have pages that are poorly optimized. Such keywords can be great for planning and creating new page content or optimizing existing content for better visibility.
Image: Quick Keyword / Content Gap Overview
18,544 keywords that https://www.sastodeal.com/ doesn’t rank for, while Daraz does. These are a heck of a lot of keywords Sastodeal missed, which could be gold for them.
Note: The above keywords are just for reference; some may not be relevant to Sastodeal.
💡Pro Tip: Keyword gap analysis can be great for creating a new page or optimizing the existing page. Essentially, it is a foundation for developing an overall SEO content strategy.
Organic Traffic Growth Comparison
Let’s closely watch the traffic overview between Daraz & Sastodeal.
Image: Performance Overview
Image: Organic Growth Over Time
Over the years, Daraz has gained a significant organic traffic market share. I can confidently say that their major revenue driving is from organic traffic.
Though Sastodeal began in 2011 as one of the leading e-commerce companies in Nepal, Sastodeal is far behind in terms of SEO visibility.
Daraz entered Nepal in 2016 and is ahead of all those e-commerce marketplaces. This is due to their killer SEO strategy and overall content marketing effort.
Image: Performance Overview
Image: Declined growth over time.
Branded Vs Non-Branded Traffic Growth Comparison
Although Daraz is a global brand and an acquisition of Alibaba, its brand reputation undoubtedly plays an enormous role in driving organic traffic. I can observe the site is getting a decent amount of traffic from branded terms equally to non-branded queries. From here, I can conclude how this site prioritizes an optimization strategy regarding on-page, content, technical, UI/UX & more.
Image: Top pages based on non-branded organic traffic
Image: Top pages based on branded organic traffic
Most organic search visitors come to the site with terms related to the branded query. Though these terms might produce sales, these keywords do little to attract new visitors unfamiliar with the brand. Besides branded queries, the site generates organic traffic from keywords like online shopping nepal, nepal online shopping, which are semantically the same. I can observe the site severely lacks on-page and content optimization strategy, hindering the potential ranking for product categories and product pages.
From here, we can assume how this site fails to take advantage of non-branded terms to help attract and accommodate new visitors.
On-Page SEO & Content Optimization Strategy (Rankability)
Well, in this section, I want to uncover on-page and content strategies adopted by Daraz and will answer the following questions:
- Which content types are generating the most organic traffic?
- What is the secret behind getting decent organic traffic for those content types?
Product Details Page (PDP)
A product details page in e-commerce is a dedicated webpage for a specific product offered by an online store. This page is crucial because it’s where customers find all the necessary information about the product, which influences their purchasing decisions.
Image: Well-structured PDP Page
Upon comparing Daraz PDP pages with Sastodeal, here are the elements that kept driving the organic traffic over time:
- Detailed Description
- High-Quality Images and Videos
- Pricing Information
- Customer Reviews and Ratings
- Availability and Shipping Information
- Related Products and Recommendations
- Return Policy and Guarantees
- User Generated FAQs
Image: Poorly structured PDP Page
I don’t think the PDP page is well structured regarding SEO and user experience.
Product Listing Pages (PLP)
Product category pages, AKA Product Listing Pages (PLP)tend to drive the most organic traffic while comparing other content types for e-commerce
Likewise, the product category page lets users explore a virtual store intuitively and the wide range of products they want to browse. People may not search for individual product names but use more general terms. However, the products page might perform for very specific or long-tail keywords. For general or head keywords, I recommend optimizing product category pages. This is how Daraz drives most organic traffic from the content type, i.e., product category pages.
Image: Daraz PLP Page with the most organic traffic
While assessing the top-performing product category pages, Daraz has well-optimized pages in terms of content and interlinking strategy.
Let’s compare one of the product category pages, ranking for the targeted keyword “refrigerator price in nepal” and the page of Sastodeal, which is poorly performing in terms of organic traffic.
Image: Well-optimized meta tags for the targeted keyword
Image: Well-optimized heading structure that helped the page maintain the on-page relevance for targeted keywords
And this shit load of content. I am not always a big fan of optimzing product category pages like a blog post. But rather than informational content, I recommend aligning the content with a commercial copy and highly relevant FAQs about the products that can answer user queries.
Notably, optimizing product category pages with content has been a go-to strategy for e-commerce sites. This is because Googlebot still needs content relevance signals like descriptive content to know what the page is about.
Wait, now what about Sastodeal?
The site is getting organic traffic mostly from branded queries and meagre traffic from the pages that are supposed to bring in e-commerce. I don’t see product pages or categories driving decent organic traffic. It gives me a clue about how the site severely lacks the right keyword selection, on-page and content optimization strategies.
Image: Poorly optimized meta tags for the targeted keyword. There is still confusion about which keyword they are targeting for.
Image: Poorly optimized heading structure
Generic, non-descriptive phrases like sign in, forgot password etc, dilute the on-page relevancy. All header labels should be semantically related to the page content.
💡Pro Tip: To have detailed product listing pages, there should be enough products and organic traffic potential to support the targeted keyword.
Image: Well-optimized brand page
Brand pages are dedicated web pages that showcase a specific brand’s products, story, and unique selling points. These pages are designed to give customers a centralized location to learn about and purchase products from that brand. Optimizing these pages for SEO is crucial to increase visibility and drive sales.
Daraz is doing it right.
Image: Well-optimized Store/Vendor page
In an e-commerce marketplace, a store or vendor page is a dedicated space where a specific seller can display their products, brand information, and other relevant details. This page serves as a mini-website within the larger marketplace, allowing the vendor to establish a unique identity and connect with customers.
Well, Daraz is doing it right.
Blog Post Vs Money Page Ratio
I have always been a big fan of adding supporting blog content as a content marketing strategy, whether it’s an e-commerce site or any other business niche.
Maintain a balance between commercial/transactional intent pages like product and product categories vs informational content like blog posts. When in doubt, have more informational content than commercials on your site. This is important in a digital space where consumers are often skeptical of purely transactional websites that can make a site too sales-focused.
On the other hand, blog content diversifies the marketing strategy, offering different ways to reach and engage potential customers. Different customers are at different stages of the buyer’s journey. While some are ready to purchase (and will look for transactional pages), others are still researching or discovering their needs (and will be more interested in blog content).
Developing a blog content strategy for an e-commerce marketplace like Daraz, Sastodeal involves creating content that enhances user engagement, drives traffic, and supports sales. Here’s an informational content marketing strategy they can adopt to optimize the different content types:
- Product Reviews and Recommendations
- How-To Guides and Tutorials
- Industry Trends and Insights
- Buyer’s Guides
- Guest Posts from Influencers and Experts
- User-Generated Content
- Seasonal and Event-Based Content
- Promotions and Deals
- Comparison Content
Remember, the key is to provide value to your audience consistently. This will help attract new visitors and retain existing customers over time.
Image: Daraz blog section that has been placed in sub-domain
Image: Sastodeal is missing the blog section
💡Pro Tip: A great way to use pages that contain informational content is to support your commercial pages. Interlink your informational pages in small clusters, called silos, and then link all of your informational pages to target commercial pages. As your informational pages rank for keywords and gain impressions, the informational pages will build authority. You can then us that authority to boost your commercial pages, thus increasing your traffic on those pages and, presumably, your revenue.
Technical SEO (Crawlability & Indexability)
Technical SEO refers to optimizing a website’s technical aspects to improve efficient crawlability and indexability. It encompasses various strategies and practices focused on enhancing the website’s infrastructure.
There is no doubt Daraz was fully aware of optimizing for the SEO aspects during site development. The way a website’s content types like product details page, category listing page, product listing page, brand page, and store page are organized and interconnected amazed me.
Image: Simple and intuitive navigation
Users can feel this while navigating the product categories: Women’s Fashion -> Clothing -> Jeans, Shirts & More. The site has a clear and structured navigation system, with categories like Women’s Fashion, Health & Beauty, Men’s Fashion, etc. This helps users and search engines understand and navigate the site easily.
- Women’s Fashion: Broad Category, which is simply a plain text
- Clothing: Category Listing Page (CLP), which includes all sub-categories that fall under the broad category of clothing and products.
- Jeans, Shirts & More: Product Listing Page (PLP), which includes specific products that fall under the sub-categories
A site’s URL structure should be as simple as possible.
This is how Daraz has structured URLs for different content types:
Product Details Page -> https://www.daraz.com.np/products/product-name/
Category Listing Page -> https://www.daraz.com.np/category-listing-name/
Product Listing Page -> https://www.daraz.com.np/product-listing-name/
Brand Page -> https://www.daraz.com.np/product-listing-name/brand-name/
Store Page -> https://www.daraz.com.np/shop/shop-name/
See how Daraz constructed URLs simply and logically that are most intelligible to humans (readable words rather than long ID numbers).
Examples of poorly constructed URLs
So you might be wondering, what’s wrong with the above URLs?
- First, the folder depth is way too far, negatively impacting the crawlability and indexability.
- Second, the URLs are longer, unintelligible and don’t contain a descriptive keyword like Daraz did, which can negatively impact how Google understands the page.
Canonicalization & Duplicate content
How does an e-commerce marketplace like Daraz handle canonicalization and duplicate content issues?
- A product category can have multiple facets or filters that can cause duplicate pages.
- Likewise, a single product can have multiple variations like color, size and more which can cause massive duplicate page issues.
For instance, a product page t-shirt with a 3 color variation with 4 sizes option can have 12 independent pages. If the pages aren’t handled using canonicalization, massive duplicate page issues may negatively impact the SEO visibility and ranking.
To help Google understand which variant is best to show in Search, choose one of the product variant URLs as the canonical URL for the product.
Daraz is pretty great at handling duplicate page content issues and handled smartly using canonicalization techniques.
This is where the canonical tag (aka “rel canonical”) comes into play. It is a way of telling search engines that a specific URL represents the master copy of a page. Using the canonical tag helps to prevent problems caused by identical or “duplicate” content appearing on multiple URLs. Essentially, it tells search engines which version of a URL you want to appear in search results.
Quick Note: It’s important to note that the canonical tag is generally a hint, not an absolute directive, to search engines. While search engines often respect canonical tags, they may ignore them in certain cases if they think a different page is more appropriate.
Google and other search engines use links as the strongest signal when determining the relevancy of pages and finding new pages to crawl.
Image: Interlinking from power page to specific products
Image: Interlinking from PDPs to specific products
The “Related Products” section on an eCommerce website plays a crucial role in SEO. Firstly, it enhances user engagement by keeping visitors on the site longer as they browse through additional items. Secondly, it creates an opportunity for internal linking, which is vital for SEO. By linking related products, the website can spread link equity and help search engines better understand the site’s structure and content relevance. Thirdly, it aids in the discovery of more pages by search engine crawlers, increasing the likelihood of additional pages being indexed.
Breadcrumbs are a navigational feature that enhances user experience and site structure, aiding in understanding a website’s hierarchy.
Image: Well-structured breadcrumbs navigation
Structured data/schema markup is a code that helps search engines understand the page better.
The sitemap of Daraz as found at https://www.daraz.com.np/sitemap.xml, appears to be well-optimized for search engine bots for several reasons like structured format, Gzip Compression, and love the way they have categorized the sitemap for different content types like products, categories, brands and more.
The robots.txt file for daraz.com.np seems well-optimized for search engine bots as it strategically disallows sections of the site that are either not meant for public consumption (like customer profiles, carts, and checkout pages) or are less relevant (like temporary event pages or specific technical directories). This approach helps in directing search engine bots to index the more important and relevant parts of the site, enhancing the crawl budget and the site’s overall SEO performance.
Core Web Vitals & Page Experience
Google’s Core Web Vitals is a set of metrics that evaluate the user experience of a web page, focusing on load time, interactivity, and visual stability. These include Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), which measures loading performance; First Input Delay (FID), which assesses interactivity; and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), which gauges the stability of content as it loads. These factors are crucial for Google’s search rankings, as they aim to ensure a fast, responsive, and stable user experience.
Image: Sastodeal failed on both mobile and desktop CWVs assessment test
Image: Daraz passed on both mobile and desktop CWVs assessment test
While comparing CWVs and the page experience of Daraz, here is my observation:
- Pages have good Core Web Vitals
- Pages served in a secure fashion
- Page content displays well for mobile devices when viewed on them
- Pages lack intrusive interstitials
- Visitors can easily navigate to or locate the main page content
The e-commerce marketplace in Nepal is witnessing significant growth. The country’s digital commerce market is projected to grow by 16.12% from 2024 to 2027, reaching a market volume of US$3.10 billion by 2027. Nepal’s position in the global eCommerce sector is also strengthening, with a forecasted revenue of US$603.1 million by 2023, ranking it ahead of Serbia, and a projected market volume of US$854.2 million by 2027.
Both Daraz & Sastodeal are E-commerce marketplace aggregators with an inventory of thousands of stores and products. Here an eCommerce Aggregator means a platform that brings together resources and products from various brands and sellers in one place (across the same verticals). This makes it easier for consumers to compare and shop for different products.
The SEO growth levers differ from those of an industry that has to create the content itself or is user-generated. For instance, aggregator vs integrators marketplace. Integrators, on the other hand, create and distribute the product directly to the customer. Integrators like Apple control the entire value chain from suppliers to production to distribution. One of the major advantages for marketplace aggregator sites like Daraz over small brands is the product page and other content type scalability, which helps to target more and more keywords over time.
In summary, while Sastodeal shows promising potential in e-commerce, adopting a more aggressive and refined SEO strategy similar to Daraz’s can significantly boost its organic traffic. By learning from Daraz’s successes and implementing these areas of improvement, Sastodeal has the potential to thrive in the e-commerce marketplace.
Let me know if you have any queries or concerns in the comment section below.
Happy Reading 🙂