In a move that’s sure to upset some of the big comparison brands, Google has launched a car insurance comparison service that appears during major keyword searches, right at the top of the organic results.
The new service appears between the traditional adverts and organic search results for popular terms such as car insurance, car insurance comparison and car insurance quotes – and has seen Google’s share of the market for car insurance-related searches soar.
This isn’t the first comparison service launched by Google: it already compares credit cards and bank accounts in a similar system, but the move is nevertheless sure to rattle car insurance comparison sites, which have already suffered a significant loss of organic traffic. Google appears to be using the system of the relatively unknown comparison site BeatThatQuote, which it acquired some 18 months ago in March 2011.
Google has pledged to offer greater privacy and transparency to drivers looking for car cover, saying that none of its featured insurers will sell personal details to third parties. However, Google may use any details provided during the quote to improve its targeting of advertising across the network.
The service compares quotes from around 120 different insurers, which is comparable to major sites such as Confused.com and GoCompare.com, while early research shows that the service is also competitive in its rates.
How this will affect the fortunes of the comparison sites remains to be seen; many will probably have to amend their online marketing campaigns in order to remain visible and competitive. And although Google currently only compare car insurance, bank accounts and credit cards, this major step hints at further development into comparison sites – so watch this space!