Premier League Football SEO Competitor Analysis: Manchester United Vs Manchester City

Man City vs Man United SEO competitor analysis

For many Manchunians, the rivalry between Man City and Man United is a contentious issue. Overall, in terms of football, Manchester United have won more than double the amount of trophies that Manchester City have. But in terms of SEO, how to these two Premier League football teams match-up?

Introduction

We thought it would be fun to compare the SEO performance of two rival football clubs.

In fact, we chose Manchester United and Manchester City because they have been two city rivals since 1881. As we felt the two Premier League teams would be ranking for similar keywords. Therefore, making this an even match!

Initially, Manchester United led this versus when we conducted the search “manchester football club” in an incognito browser window.

And, they come first in the search results too. However, this is simply a Google rundown of their league position and a list of their most recent and upcoming matches.

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city google analysis

Evidently, just underneath, Man United tops the organic search results ahead of Man City too.

google search manchester football club

First, for all those non-footy fans reading this report, here is a brief summary of our contenders in this Man City vs Man United SEO match-up!

Manchester United Football Club

According to their Wikipedia entry: 

“Manchester United Football Club is a professional football club based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England, that competes in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. 

Nicknamed “the Red Devils”, the club was founded as Newton Heath LYR Football Club in 1878, changed its name to Manchester United in 1902 and moved to its current stadium, Old Trafford, in 1910.

Manchester United have won more trophies than any other club in English football.”

Wikipedia

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city webpage

Manchester City Football Club

Again, according to their Wikipedia entry: 

“Manchester City Football Club is an English football club based in Manchester that competes in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. Founded in 1880 as St. Mark’s (West Gorton), it became Ardwick Association Football Club in 1887 and Manchester City in 1894. 

In 2008, Manchester City was purchased by Abu Dhabi United Group for £210 million and received considerable financial investment in both playing staff and club facilities, including the £150 million Etihad Campus in East Manchester.”

Wikipedia

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city webpage

SEO Competitor Report Contents

Overall, our report will cover:

  • Site Health
  • Keyword Overview
  • Competitive Landscape
  • Traffic Sources
  • Traffic Analytics
  • Referring Domains and Backlink Acquisition
  • Organic Keyword Analysis
  • Branded and Non-Branded Keyword Analysis
  • Paid Advertising and Display Advertising Analysis

Site Health

A website’s Site Health score is based on the number of errors and warnings.

Naturally, the higher the score, the fewer problems the website has. And the better the website is optimised for search engines, as well as user satisfaction.

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city 32

Errors

This refers to the number of issues of the highest severity.

Warnings

The number of issues of medium severity.

Notices

Notices are not considered issues but it is recommended that they are fixed.

MANUTD.COM
TOP ISSUES
MANCITY.COM
TOP ISSUES
  • 1 page has too large HTML size
  • 3 couldn’t be crawled at all
  • 1 page has no hreflang and lang attributes
  • 1 page has a slow load speed
  • 2 returned 4XX status codes
  • 1 page doesn’t have a title tag

Winner: Man United

Keyword Overview

Both the keyword “manchester city football club” and “manchester united football club” receive 2,900 monthly searches.

And both keywords have a very hard, nigh impossible keyword difficulty of 91%.

Overall, the Cost Per Click (CPC) for the keyword “manchester united football club” is slightly more expensive than the keyword “manchester city football club” at £0.38 per click.

Winner: Man United

manchester united football club manchester city football club
Man City vs Man United keywords Man City vs Man United keywords

Competitive Landscape

Top 20 Organic Competitors

Interestingly, Skysports.com is the top organic competitor for both manutd.com and mancity.com.

However, Manutd.com ranks 16th in its list of Top 20 organic competitors. With 1.49% of the total market traffic (281.3 million website visitors).

In comparison, Man City ranks 10th in its list of Top 20 organic competitors. With 1.18% of the total market traffic (212 million website visitors).

Despite this, Man City ranks lower than Man United in both lists.

Winner: Man United

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city 27

Domain Overview

To begin, let’s look a little closer at the domains for both sites. 

First, Manutd.com registered on 9 December 1996.

And, Mancity.com registered on 9 October 2000.

Manchester United registered their domain name 4 years before Manchester City registered theirs.

Overall, Manutd.com has a higher domain authority, more referring domains, backlinks, monthly visits and keywords than mancity.com does.

MANCHESTER MANCHESTER CITY MANCHESTER UNITED
DOMAIN AUTHORITY

REFERRING DOMAINS

BACKLINKS

MONTHLY VISITS

KEYWORDS

67

13K

800K

4.8M

276K

72

31.3K

2.7M

10.2M

379K

Winner: Man United

Traffic Sources

Both Man United and Man City receive the bulk of their website visitors from people that enter their website URL directly into a browser’s search bar. Or from browser bookmarks and links outside a browser (like PDFs or Microsoft Word documents). 

Overall, Manutd.com receives 58.05% of their website visitors from “Direct Traffic.”

Whereas, Mancity.com receives 54.07% of their website visitors from “Direct Traffic”.

And the second source of web traffic for both these websites is “Search Traffic.” Which is the result of website visitors landing on their sites from a search engine, such as Google or Bing.

Manutd.com receives 30% of their website visitors from “Search Traffic.”

In comparison, Mancity.com receives 29.66% of their website visitors from “SearchTraffic.”

Despite this small difference, United outperforms City for website visitors from varied traffic sources.

However, Man City does beat Man United in terms of referral traffic. In fact, they receive around double the amount!

Referral traffic is website visitors that visit a website from another website, without first searching for you on Google.

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city 25

Winner: Man United

Traffic Analytics

To conclude, it is easy to see that manutd.com is the clear winner. Mostly because they have far more visits and unique visitors.

However, if we take a closer look we see that 61.50% of manutd.com’s website visitors leave the website relatively quickly. Often without clicking on a single link or visiting a second page.

In comparison, Mancity.com has a much lower bounce rate than manutd.com. As such, their website visitors visit more pages and spend more time on their site.

Of course, it is important to have lots of regular website visitors. But it is more important what happens to that website traffic. For example, a website’s bounce rate should ideally be as low as possible.

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city 24

Winner: Man City

Referring Domains Quality

Overall, Man United has almost three times the amount of referring domains in comparison to Man City.

However, mancity.com has more referring domains with high authority (27.09%).

And Manutd.com also has more low authority referring domains (49.73%).

Winner: Man City

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city 23

Backlink Quality

On the whole. Manutd.com has 2,710,50 backlinks. Which is around triple the number of backlinks that mancity.com has.

However, mancity.com has far more follow backlinks (92.59%). Which means that almost all of their backlinks help with their rankings in search engines.

Winner: Man City

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city 22

Manutd.com Referring Domain & Backlink Acquisition

In June 2013, manutd.com had 2,007 backlinks from 542 referring domains.

And their backlink growth peaked 7 years later in April 2019, when they had 4,317,990 from 28,768 referring domains.

By October 2020, the number of backlinks had decreased by 37.22% to 2,710,450 backlinks.

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city 21

Mancity.com Referring Domain & Backlink Acquisition

In June 2013, mancity.com had just 1 backlink from 1 referring domain.

But their backlink growth peaked 7 years later in February 2020. In fact, during this time they had 3,401,033 from 12,760 referring domains.

By October 2020, the number of backlinks had decreased by 76.79% to 799,506 backlinks.

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city 20

Winner: Man United

Keyword Analysis

For the keyword analysis we will assess the following:

  • Top Organic Keywords
  • Non-Branded Keyword
  • Number of featured snippets
  • Untapped Keyword Opportunities

Top Organic Keywords

Mancity.com has 48,940 keywords. Overall these generate 5,763,928 in organic search traffic.

In comparison, Manutd.com have 51,644 keywords that generate 5,763,928 in organic search traffic.

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city 19

Branded Keywords

Overall, Mancity.com gets the majority of their traffic (91.7%) from branded keywords.

Naturally, the majority branded keyword is: “man city.”

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city 18

In comparison, manutd.com also receives the majority of its traffic (92.7%) from branded keywords. But Man City only just scores a win this time.

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city 17

Winner: Man City

Top 5 Non-Branded Keywords - Manchester United FC

Manutd.com’s top 5 non-branded keywords are:

UNBRANDED KEYWORD SEARCH POSITION
  brandon williams 3
  premier league table 28
  mason greenwood 6
  old trafford stadium 1
  scott mctominay 3

Overall, these 5 keywords account for 0.40% of their website traffic. As well as an estimated total of 2,928,500 monthly searches.

And Manutd.com ranks in the top 3 search positions for 3 out of 5 of their top unbranded keywords.

Top 5 Non-Branded Keywords - Manchester City FC

Mancity.com’s top 5 non-branded keywords are:

UNBRANDED KEYWORD SEARCH POSITION
  match 11
  sterling 5
  de bruyne 3
  d margio wright phillips 1
  kompany testimonial 1

And these 5 keywords account for 0.68% of their website traffic. In addition, they have an estimated total of 554,400 monthly searches.

In addition, Mancity.com also ranks in the top 3 search positions for 3 out of 5 of their top unbranded keywords.

Despite this, the winner is still Man United.

Winner: Man United

Paid Search Traffic and Display Traffic

Mancity.com Estimated Traffic Cost - November 2019 to October 2020

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city 14

Between November 2019 to October 2020, mancity.com invested £118,940 in paid search traffic.

Which is an average of an estimated £9,911 per month.

In fact, their largest monthly spend was in August 2020, when they invested £21,067.

Around a year ago, in November 2019, mancity.com invested £18,648 in paid search traffic.

And, in October 2020, they invested just £1,833 in paid search traffic.

Overall, this was a 90% decrease.

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city 13

Mancity.com Estimated Traffic - November 2019 to October 2020

As a result, this investment in paid traffic equates to a total of 252,310 website traffic.

On average, this is an estimated 21,000 website visits per month.

Overall, their largest monthly spend was in August 2020, when they received 57,676 website visitors.

In November 2019, mancity.com received 38,407 website visits from paid search traffic.

And, in October 2020, they received 3,667 website visits from paid search traffic.

This was also a 90% decrease.

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city 12

Mancity.com Estimated Keywords - November 2019 to October 2020

Between November 2019 to October 2020, mancity.com’s investment of £118,940 in paid search traffic resulted in 960 top 3 search positions.

And they received the most Top 3 search positions in December 2019, when they had 169 search positions.

In November 2019, mancity.com received 123 top 3 keywords from paid search traffic.

And, in October 2020, they had received 41 top 3 keywords from paid search traffic.

This is a 66% decrease.

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city 11

Manutd.com Estimated Traffic Cost - November 2019 to October 2020

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city 10

Between November 2019 to October 2020, manutd.com invested £78,742 in paid search traffic.

And on average, an estimated £6500 per month.

With their largest monthly spend in December 2019, when they invested £41,934.

In November 2019, mancity.com invested £7,685 in paid search traffic.

And, in October 2020, they invested £2,534 in paid search traffic.

Overall, this was a 67% decrease.

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city 9

Manutd.com Estimated Traffic - November 2019 to October 2020

Overall, this investment in paid traffic, resulted in a total 194,237 website traffic.

An average of an estimated 16,000 website visits per month.

Their largest monthly spend was in December 2019, when they received 122,412 website visitors.

In November 2019, manutd.com received 16,778 website visits from paid search traffic.

However, in October 2020, they had 4,875 website visits from paid search traffic.

Unfortunately for Man United, this is a 71% decrease.

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city 8

Manutd.com Estimated Keywords - November 2019 to October 2020

Between November 2019 to October 2020, manutd.com’s investment of £118,940 in paid search traffic resulted in 1,245 top 3 search positions.

As a result, they received the most top 3 search positions in September 2020, when they had 225 search positions.

In November 2019, mancity.com received 210 top 3 keywords from paid search traffic.

However, in October 2020, they received 96 top 3 keywords from paid search traffic.

Overall, this equates to a 54% decrease.

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city 7

Mancity.com Display Advertising

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city 14

In October 2020, Manchester City FC display ads were mainly targeting men. Specifically, men aged 25 to 44 years old.

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city 6

And Manchester City FC placed 270 display ads in 46 countries around the world.

Here are the top 2 countries where they display their ads are:

  • United States (11% of their display ads)
  • United Kingdom (10% of their display ads)

The ad types were almost split equally between image ads (44%) and text ads (47%).

Manutd.com Display Advertising

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city 10

In October 2020, Manchester United FC display ads were mainly targeting men. Specifically, men aged 25 to 34 years old.

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city 5

Overall, Manchester City FC placed 319 display ads in 46 countries around the world.

And the top 2 countries where they display their ads are:

  • United States (5% of their display ads)
  • Japan (5% of their display ads)

And the majority of their display ads were image ads (74%).

Conclusion

Overall, it’s likely that after reading our SEO analysis of these two Premier League teams, you may be wondering:

1. Who is a winner from an SEO Perspective?

While on the pitch there is always a question of who might win when Man City and Man United clash. But in the SEO match there is only one clear winner: Manchester United.

Naturally, they are far bigger and get far more overall traffic to their site. Man United really do dominate Man City. Sorry, City fans!

2. Could Manchester City ever get ahead of Manchester United?

In terms of SEO, Manchester City would have to work much harder. And that’s just to even get close to Manchester United.

Overall, the chances of Manchester City ever reaching the number one search term ‘Manchester football club’ are slim to none.

3. What are the key points for Manchester City to focus on if they want to become the 1st position on Google for ‘Manchester Football Club’?

Evidently, it is clear that player content is extremely valuable.

For example, take Man City player Raheem Sterling. Clearly Sterling is a PR and backlinking machine in his own right. This is due to the attention he gets from the press.

However, Manchester City haven’t managed to work out a way to funnel any of this PR into their own website.

While this might be the right business decision – as to do so could be seen as favouritism. It is a massive SEO and content marketing miss. 

Overall, there seems to be a standard few ways that football clubs gain backlinks:

  • Playing more football, being in more competitions
  • Winning trophies
  • Local news
  • Announcements – Signings, partnerships, new shirt designs etc.
  • Match summaries

Therefore, if Manchester City did want to get ahead online, they need to think outside the box. And this means they need to learn of non-football related content marketing opportunities.

Obviously, we don’t deal with the politics behind these decisions. But remember, we are only looking at this from an SEO perspective.

Either way, it is a good area to explore.

Do more trophies mean more backlinks?

Broadly speaking yes. In fact, let’s look at the backlinks obtained by Manchester City:

And remember, they won the premiership in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city 3

…Do you see a trend?

In comparison, let’s look at Liverpool Football Club, who won in 2019-20.

Seo competitor analysis man u vs man city 4

Evidently, it seems winners really do take all!

However this isn’t an exact science. But clearly, the better you play on the pitch, the more likely you are to gain backlinks. Naturally, as people are far more likely to mention and write about you.

Have any SEO related questions you would like to know about this rivalry? Ask in the comments section below and we will answer them.

Did you find our versus competitor analysis interesting?

Naturally, we did. 

But if you enjoyed our versus report or you found it interesting, we’d love to know. 

In addition, you might also enjoy the other reports in our ‘versus’ series:

Oxford Uni vs Cambridge Uni: Who wins the SEO race?

Legal Services Competition Analysis: Crisp & Co vs Slater and Gordon Lawyers

And don’t forget we also conduct weekly competitor analysis and website analysis reports.

In fact, recent examples include:

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    About Murray Dare

    Murray Dare is a Marketing Consultant, Strategist and Director at Dare Media. Murray helps UK businesses find better ways to connect with their audiences through targeted content marketing strategies. Please follow Murray on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.