GoCompare whopped by Google’s bad link big stick

Really good post on the Hitwise blog following up on GoCompare’s natural search visibility for the term “car insurance” plunge after being hammered by Google’s inward link moral authority. Great graph on the change in proportion on natural “free” traffic to paid traffic from PPC. That’s gotta hurt!

Insurance, as we digital marketers know, is one of the most competitive industries online, (should show you the proportion of insurance spam I get on this blog!) with profits being made generally on the 2nd or 3rd year of a policy, affiliate commissions have been squeezed over the last few years. Can any player in the insurance arena take the risk of getting into Google’s blacklist?

With natural search continuing to be provide the backbone of digital marketing activity, playing fast and loose with the Big G and it’s seriousness about linking is to be avoided.

Agencies and Paid Links

Links from a bad neighbourhood is a sure way to destroy a site’s ranking. Getting paid links (I have no idea if this is what happened to GoCompare) from 3rd party offshore organisations has been used by many SEO agencies. Highly profitable for the agency (i’ve heard of examples of at least 50% pure cream on 6 month campaigns with agency work limited to sending over a few anchor text variations to some link farm sweatshop in Asia.) and in the past it worked with these campaigns getting great results with linking shoring up some pretty pedestrian SEO campaigns.

Allelulia – that’s over!

Now we’re into a much more interesting times. The risks of bad neighbourhood liking is a reality which in-house marketers are picking up on. (Cue epiphany moments, shafts of sunlight and heavenly choruses).

Linking will always remain a challenge but, to state the bleedin’ obvious, the creation of valuable content (not hit and run link baiting) and utlising web2.0, and indeed 3.0, platforms responsibly will sort the men out from the boyos!

Bet Gocompare think so.