Characterising Web Site Link Structure

Shi Zhou, Ingemar Cox, Vaclav Petricek

The topological structures of the Internet and the Web have received considerable attention. However, there has been little research on the topological properties of individual web sites. In this paper, we consider whether web sites (as opposed to the entire Web) exhibit structural similarities. To do so, we exhaustively crawled 18 web sites as diverse as governmental departments, commercial companies and university departments in different countries. These web sites consisted of as little as a few thousand pages to millions of pages. Statistical analysis of these 18 sites revealed that the internal link structure of the web sites are significantly different when measured with first and second-order topological properties, i.e. properties based on the connectivity of an individual or a pairs of nodes. However, examination of a third-order topological property that consider the connectivity between three nodes that form a triangle, revealed a strong correspondence across web sites, suggestive of an invariant. Comparison with the Web, the AS Internet, and a citation network, showed that this third-order property is not shared across other types of networks. Nor is the property exhibited in generative network models such as that of Barabasi and Albert.

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