The impact of a Google penalty
A Hitwise report on Go Compare
One thing we are often asked is what would the result be of a penalty or ban by Google. The answer is often ‘it depends’. Is it a penalty or ban, and how long or deep is the penalty or ban?
Recently Go Compare suffered from a reduction in rankings on Google for some key search terms and for their brand name as well. Hitwise have an interesting study on the effect this has had not only for their traffic but on the inevitable upswing for their competitors.
A couple of key points to come out of this report are that the term ‘car insurance’ was actually, according to Hitwise, driving more traffic to the site than their brand name while they were the number one ranked site on Google for the term ‘car insurance’.
Another point was that as they dropped off the front page for a number of terms their traffic dropped by 87%. And their competitors increased by up to three times as much!
The author of the report also notes that comparison sites rely on search engines to drive up to a third of upstream traffic to their sites.
So what do Go Compare do now? Well they should have contacted Google and made a reinclusion request explaining where they went wrong. Assuming all is OK their site should be back ranking fairly soon.
It is worth noting that while we are seeing some convergence in ranking methodology by all key search engines such as Yahoo!, MSN and Ask Go Compare is still ranked and listed on all of these.