Hitwise has released a blog post detailing the consequences of a google blacklist. The UK car insurance site gocompare.com was
Chart showing the demise of gocompare after it lost the #1 position for its top performing keyword in the UK search engine results pages
At this point I have no clear evidence of gocompares sins, but they appear to have been purchasing copious links. View backlinks in Yahoo.
I’m not sure what GoCompare did to spite the google gods, but they gave their competitors an early christmas gift. Other websites in the same sector saw mammoth traffic increases.
GoCompare received only 2.31% of all search term traffic from the term ‘car insurance’ during the week ending 9th February, which is an 87% decrease from week ending 26th Jan when it held the #1 natural position on Google… searches for ‘car insurance’ remained constant during this period.
Traffic from the term to Confused.com (direct competitor) has increased by 77% since the 26th January, while traffic to Comparethemarket.com has tripled over the same period.
At the end of January 2008 GoCompare was the number one site receiving traffic from the term ‘car insurance’, capturing 17.49% of the all search traffic from the term, even more than the branded term ‘go compare’.
chart displaying UK marketshare for car insurance
Read more of the hitwise case study of search engine optimization gone bad and how a Google penalty can sink an unprepared company.