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A Study In Chocolate

Why are your SEO competitors different from your direct competitors?

Sometimes, when using SEARCHLENS, you'll notice that we display websites that you wouldn't consider your direct competition.

Take Hotel Chocolat for example.

As a top British Chocolatier, Hotel Chocolat will want to rank for luxury chocolate-related keyphrases.

It does, and pretty well, in fact. A SEARCHLENS run shows that Hotel Chocolat has a very visible website.

# Domain Visibility Score*
1 1,484,635
2 1,276,465
3 752,000
4 543,056
5 518,189

*Visibility Score = These scores are relative figures that show how visible a website is on SERPs.

Hotel Chocolat ranks high, but not as high as The Independent.

The Independent is not a chocolate business, nor is it one of Hotel Chocolat’s direct competitors.

Then, why is it ranking so high for luxury chocolate keyphrases?

Does it have a chocolate business we should know about?


Let's have a look at their website.

They have high quality articles about, you guessed it, luxury chocolate.

This article, for example, has been shared 608 times on social media.

This means a lot of traffic has been driven to that page.

The article contains many instances of (mouth-watering) chocolate-related keyphrases.

For Example:


La Molina Nocciolato Gianduja hazelnut dark chocolate


Probably the most you'll ever pay for a chocolate bar, but worth it as it's completely addictive.


It was written for readers, not for search engines. The article contains keywords, but they are seamlessly integrated into high-quality copy.

It was, after all, written for a newspaper.

When taking a closer look at The Independent’s most visible chocolate-related pages, we found that this article ranked very high in SERPs.

Keyphrase Rank Estimated Results Result
luxury chocolate brands 1 49,000,000 The 10 Best Luxury chocolates - The Independent
After Eights may have gone out with John Major, but the concept lives on. The mint here is fresh, and the choclate is over 65 per cent cocoa.
luxury chocolate bars 1 5,990,000 The 10 Best luxury chocolate bars - The Independent
Vietnam is not naturally associated with artisan chocolate, but the country's cocoa beans are attracting chocolatiers such as Marous. This bar is ...
buy luxury chocolate 1 591,000,000 The 10 Best luxury chocolate bars - The Independent
1. La Molina Nocciolato Gianduja hazelnut dark chocolate.
best luxury chocolates 1 32,330,000 The 10 Best luxury chocolate bars - The Independent
1. La Molina Nocciolato Gianduja hazelnut dark chocolate.
luxury white chocolate 5 16,500,000 The 10 Best luxury chocolate bars - The Independent
1. La Molina Nocciolato Gianduja hazelnut dark chocolate. ... Even top qualtity white chocolate can taste too sweet, but the aromatic cardamom ...
luxury dark chocolates 5 130,670,000 The 10 Best luxury chocolate bars - The Independent
1. La Molina Nocciolato Gianduja hazelnut dark chocolate.

(This table from SEARCHLENS shows which pages are ranking for these specific keyphrases, and in what position.)

This is another article that helped The Independent rank for chocolate-related keyphrases.


Its topical nature helped it make headlines, and it was also shared over 3000 times on social media. This means it attracted a lot of traffic.

Its popularity meant that the article was picked up and linked to by other websites, helping it obtain:


(These links pass value to the page and help it rank higher in search engines.)

Not to mention that The Independent is a high authority domain, according to Open Site Explorer:


(The higher your domain authority is, the stronger your website is.)

The combination of:

  • High domain authority
  • A healthy backlink profile
  • High traffic
  • High-quality, relevant content…

…makes The Independent Hotel Chocolat’s top SEO competitor.

Websites like this are hard to compete with.

There are many other cases where this can happen.

The BBC, for example, a website containing a lot of content covering myriads of topics, including fashion and clothes.

It ranks quite well for online clothes shopping-related keyphrases, alongside fashion retailers.

# Domain SERP Visibility
1 9,753,700
2 8,547,090
3 3,885,930
4 3,191,779
5 2,915,003
6 2,915,003
7 2,895,391
8 2,768,474
9 2,694,017
10 2,258,430

In another example, Wikipedia, Amazon and YouTube all rank high for bicycle-related keyphrases.

# Domain SERP Visibility
1 565,392
2 438,658
3 420,762
4 302,227
5 220,005
6 173,357
7 123,716
8 117,250
9 111,417
10 105,762

This is because...

Amazon has a large number of product pages related to bicycles.

There are thousands of YouTube videos featuring bicycles.

And Wikipeida, a website with very high traffic, has a page for bicycles.

These insights, gained thanks to SEARCHLENS data, help explain why your SEO competitors sometimes feature seemingly unrelated domains.

Mystery solved.

If you want more SEARCHLENS insight, read our next investigation. We’ll cover how seasonal SEO can affect your rankings.

For more information on SEARCHLENS contact us

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