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Customer Story How Sitebulb helped Zoopla to diagnose SEO issues at scale easily and affordably

How Sitebulb helped Zoopla to diagnose SEO issues at scale easily and affordably

With Robyn Lodge, SEO Manager
How Sitebulb helped Zoopla to diagnose SEO issues at scale easily and affordably

The Client

Zoopla is one of the most widely recognized and loved consumer brands for property in the UK. Over 60m visitors a month use Zoopla to access comprehensive data and information on every property in the UK, and to be connected to over 500,000 homes for sale and rent. As a result, the website has millions of pages, with content constantly being added, improved and removed. We spoke with Robyn Lodge, SEO Manager, about the team’s use of Sitebulb Cloud to crawl and diagnose technical SEO issues at scale, easily and affordably.

The Challenge

Managing SEO for such a large and complex property website presents various challenges, the most obvious being scale. 

The workaround employed by some larger sites is to crawl a website section by section, but this wasn’t going to work for us. If you’re crawling limited areas of the site, you’re not seeing how everything works together as a whole and potentially missing opportunities. There might be subtle nuances you can only see if you have a full site crawl and I like to have all the data available. 

We were using an enterprise cloud crawler (rather than a desktop crawler) to crawl millions of URLs, which was comprehensive but very expensive. 

We tried two more tools after that. One which required us to pay extra for account management support, which we really didn’t need, and another which didn’t have much flexibility in analyzing and extracting the data. So our need for an easy to use but affordable cloud crawler remained. 

The Solution

Following a recommendation from Women in Tech SEO founder and friend, Areej AbuAli, Zoopla started using Sitebulb in June 2023, signing up to the largest plan: Up to 10 million URLs per audit and up to 20 million URLs per month. This offered our team the following solutions:

Ability to crawl at scale

With Sitebulb Cloud, Zoopla can crawl at scale without any difficulty. Our SEO team runs a full crawl of 10 million URLs on a monthly basis, as well as smaller weekly and daily sample audits. From here, my team members and I can: 

  • Identify problems at scale using the tabs and categories
  • Dig deeper to investigate specific issues at the URL level
  • Easily export the data to include in dev tickets 

Intuitive interface

Something I love about Sitebulb is its intuitive interface. The whole team, of varying levels of experience with crawling tools, were able to quickly start extracting value from Sitebulb due to the tool’s ease of use, Hints, categorization and prioritization. 

With every audit, Sitebulb automatically does part of the analysis for you and gives us ideas of what issues to investigate further. In this way, Sitebulb presents a lot of data into something much more usable, giving direction of where to go next. Not only that, but the ability to add and remove columns to customize the data view made the team’s life much easier.

Hints & Prioritization

Meaningful support

Finally, Zoopla’s SEO team can access helpful support! I love that at Sitebulb, support is handled by the founders and builders of the tool, not account managers that know little about tech SEO. The team is really responsive and we’ve always received a timely response - via message, email, or virtual meeting. 

“Sitebulb is an easy to use, non-complicated crawler that allows us to crawl at scale for an affordable price AND get meaningful support, rather than unnecessary account management. Because the interface is so intuitive, it’s super easy for the whole team to use, even new team members.” 

The Results

Sitebulb has had a big impact on the team’s success. Some examples of this are:

Seeing exactly what Googlebot sees

Zoopla can fully understand how Googlebot’s crawling the site now because Sitebulb mimics what Google’s doing. If Search Console throws out an issue, the team can go into Sitebulb and into the latest crawl data to see if these issues are actually appearing on the site. In this way, we now use a Sitebulb audit as a database of indexability. With every issue now, I can easily answer the question, “How worried should I be about this?”

You can crawl and render JavaScript just like Google with Sitebulb!

Auditing XML sitemaps

The fact that we can add unlimited projects means we can really hone in on focus areas of the site. For instance, we wanted to look solely at XML Sitemaps, so we set up a project that just analyzed those and provided us with analysis and Hints for improvements that proved enormously useful. Being able to present the data from our crawls to engineers allowed us to investigate issues further and ticket up solutions. 

Auditing XML Sitemaps

Identifying issues at scale

Now, Zoopla can easily identify issues en masse that might be stopping the site from performing as well as it could. For example, a full Sitebulb crawl recently highlighted duplicate title tags and H1s, which were easily translated into tickets and fixed. We also identified a large number of new URLs being unintentionally generated, which we were able to block immediately as a short-term solution, whilst engineers created a long-term solution. Sitebulb's tabs have also enabled us to discover and review issues with internal linking, noindex logic and many other things.

Single page analysis

I like Sitebulb's single page analysis tool, which we use when we're not running a JavaScript crawl of the site but want to look at what's happening with JavaScript on a particular URL. It allows us to deep-dive into specific pages on an ad hoc basis:

SPA Zoopla

This has enabled us to catch and fix important discrepancies with content and internal links showing with and without JavaScript.

Response vs Render

Overall, Sitebulb Cloud has had a really big impact for us. We have better visibility of how Google is crawling the site and specific issues it will be encountering, which we can translate into dev tickets to action. Sitebulb Cloud is an integral part of our tech stack now and feeds into lots of technical improvements we make on the website.

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