Analysis of 1 Million Backlinks: Lyft (Part 3/10)

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Did you miss the previous part in this backlinks analysis series? No worries, you can catch up right here: Analysis of 1 Million Backlinks: Airbnb (Part 2/10)

Lyft logo

TL;DR – We analyzed 1 million backlinks via 10 random sample sets of 100,000 backlinks across 10 different websites from a variety of business verticals to determine how the link metrics from those backlinks would impact gains or losses in organic search visibility.

A Quick Word About Link Analysis at Scale

If there was just one piece of advice I could give regarding link analysis, it would be this: don’t ever manually review hundreds of thousands of backlinks one by one.

Seriously, don’t do it! You will burn out or fail (likely both) and your client/manager will be very upset with you for not making proper use of your time.

What you should do is look for patterns, trends and commonalities among link metrics for a given set of URLs to identify unnatural links.

Pro Tip: Powerful crawlers and anchor text classifiers like URL profiler can literally save you hundreds of hours of grunt work. We’re in no way, shape or form affiliated with them, but we highly recommend checking them out!

URL Profiler

Here’s a link audit tool stack that I’d recommend:

Upon completing a link audit, you should have a few outputs to work with:

  • Danger List – These are the links that are extremely likely to be unnatural and should be considered for disavowal.
  • Caution List – These are the links that could be unnatural and must be manually audited to determine if they are safe or dangerous.
  • Safe List – These are trustworthy, authoritative links that are most likely to be natural. Getting more of these will help boost organic visibility.
  • Link Schemes – These are large groups of similar links that are coming from the same source and are the most probable cause of site-wide links.
  • Link Opportunities – Some websites (especially popular brands) earn natural, high-quality links without knowing it. An audit will help you discover those sources so you can build relationships and earn more links.
  • Link Equity Consolidation – In almost every case, there are authoritative inbound links pointing to 404 pages on any given website. Those 404 pages should be revived by implementing 301 redirects to a live final destination URL to reclaim the lost link equity.

Free Bonus Download: Get our free SEO guide to learn how you can skyrocket your rankings, even in a competitive niche! Click here to download it for free.

Link Metrics Considered

The link metrics can be segmented into 4 key categories:

  • Diversity
  • Trust
  • Authority
  • Relevance

These are the primary link metrics that will be used to evaluate Lyft’s backlink profile:

  • Majestic Citation Flow – Rates how influential a URL may be based on how many sites are linking to it, based on a 100-point scale.
  • Majestic Trust Flow – Predicts how trustworthy a page is based on the trustworthiness of those sites that are linking to it, based on a 100-point scale.
  • Moz Spam Score – Rates the level of penalization risk associated with a given URL, based on a scale of 0 – 17 where any rating of 11 or higher is likely to be spam.
  • Moz Domain Authority – An overall website rating that is calculated by metrics such as linking domains, number of total links, MozRank, MozTrust; into a single 100-point logarithmic score.
  • AHrefs Referring IP C-Class Diversity – IP Addresses are divided into lettered blocks (AAA.BBB.CCC.DDD). The more referring C Class Duplicates that exist within the link profile indicates the site is likely to be engaging in link networking.
  • AHrefs URL Rating – Prediction score for how well a page is likely to rank in organic search results, based on a 0-100 scale.

Learn More: What Is Link Roundup Link Building: The Practical Guide

Domains Evaluated

We included the following websites in our study:

Analysis of 1 Million Backlinks

Analysis of 1 Million Backlinks: Lyft

Lyft is an on-demand ridesharing/taxi service, available in most major cities across the U.S. with possible global expansion soon. Lyft describes themselves as “your friend with a car, whenever you need one.” Download their mobile app and get a ride from a friendly driver within minutes.

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Non-Branded Opportunities

Before I even got into their backlinks, I was curious to see if Lyft was taking advantage of any non-branded organic traffic.

The ridesharing service industry is one that heavily relies on branding and trust. Think about it: you’re putting your life in a complete stranger’s hands!

Because the industry is so brand-centric, most of the keyword opportunities are branded.

Lyft 5 Top Organic Keywords SEMrush

Lyft’s top 5 organic keywords from SEMrush are branded opportunities.

That said, Lyft has also optimized their homepage for natural language, customer-centric searches like “I need a ride.”

I’d bet there’s a lot of voice searches for a term like this, too.

Lyft 2 I need a ride

They’re also ranking #1 for “free rides” with their coupon landing page. Again, a smart strategy from Lyft.

Lyft 3 free rides

Trump Effect: Impact of Public Relations on SEO

It always grinds my gears when people think of SEO as a “silo” channel. As search engine algorithms focused more on user engagement metrics and less on how many keywords are stuffed into a landing page template, the impact of brand authority, content, social, P.R. and e-mail has become more important than ever before.

From Fortune:

Lyft 6 Fortune Link

From Mashable:Lyft 7 Mashable Link

This could potentially be seen as a “risky” strategy by some P.R. enthusiasts, but it actually turned out to be brand buzz gold for Lyft. They took a firm stand on a controversial trending topic, and it yielded tons of great links from authoritative sites like Mashable and Fortune.

Ahrefs validates a surge of referring domain growth in the past 30 days:

Lyft 8 Referring Domain Growth Ahrefs

And let’s not forget about business results either. Lyft app downloads skyrocketed:

Lyft 9 App store downloads

Source: TechCrunch

Learn More: The Ultimate Guide to Link Building with Content

Key Insights: Lyft’s Link Profile

Lyft 10 Ahrefs overview

  • Sitewide Links from Low-Quality Domains: The top referring domain to is a strange site with no authority or relevance. There are 126,624 dofollow backlinks from a strange site (

Lyft 11 Ahrefs thumbtack link

Source: Ahrefs

Every page on this site is duplicate content (which is an indicator of a spam site):

Lyft 12 Thumbtack Screenshot

  • Link Popularity (David & Goliath): Lyft has done a nice job of building brand authority, and as a result has acquired more links than lower level competitors, such as Via. However, Uber is still the behemoth of the ridesharing service industry, and has simply acquired more links from more referring root domains. Lyft is trailing Uber by approximately 15K referring domains in the battle of link supremacy:

Lyft 13 OSE Comparison

Source: Open Site Explorer

After data sterilization, approximately 33K live links were found:

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Free Bonus Download: Get our free SEO guide to learn how you can skyrocket your rankings, even in a competitive niche! Click here to download it for free.