Despite their own guideline, which states that no site can dominate a fixed position in the sponsored search results, Google now has their own products in some lucrative industries. We noticed this with credit card comparison some time ago when its credit card comparison engine was implemented on 30th April. However, this month’s development in the car insurance market seems to be yet more detrimental to competitors and could well signal the beginning of the end for firms such as Go Compare or Compare The Market.
These moves by Google have been made possible by their purchase of Beat That Quote back in spring 2011 for £38 million. They developed these comparison services and have enable Google to invent their own adverts and reap the dividends. Similarly to the credit card comparison service, Google implemented a car insurance search engine to the top of the results pages directly below the leading PPC on 10th September.
Many in the SEO industry may well be pointing out that this sort of conduct contradicts the search engine’s ethos of site’s not dominating a fixed position in the sponsored search. When searching for ‘car insurance’, this is what a searcher will currently be presented with. Whilst their own advert admittedly comes after the two best paid results, it totally usurps the organic results begging the question as to whether this is fair on other sites in the market. Indeed, Google themselves decided that this sort of practice is unfair so why have they implemented such a tactic? This said, the Google comparison search functionality does come with benefits for users that can’t be matched by profit conscious companies.
For example, Google promises to combat excess figures, no frills services that could exclude benefits such as courtesy cars and will under no circumstances sell on any customer details. With Google’s visibility in the car insurance industry is already 75% indicating that they will soon be getting the lion’s share of this market very soon and this may well be far from the end of their endeavours in such sectors.