By 6 years ago in Google SEO

Would you like sitelinks for the keyword “loans”?

Searching for “loans” today brings up Money Supermarket in 1st place. The same as they are for almost every other finance term in the UK.

The difference with the keyword “loans” is that they are so far ahead of everybody else that Google has given them sitelinks. Who said you can’t get an affiliate site to rank in Google?

Even with sitelinks MoneySupermarket is still bidding for 1st, 2nd or 3rd place in the sponsored results which is interesting.

By Patrick Altoft. at 10:45AM on Thursday, 11 Dec 2008

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events. Follow Patrick Altoft on Twitter.

comments

  • http://www.adigaskell.org/blog/ Adi

    To be fair, the MoneySupermarket site does offer value to the customer. I think Google has said a few times that they don’t mind affiliate sites as long as they offer value to the customer. I’m not sure many affiliate sites could really say that. If you put yourself in the searchers shoes, a search for loans is probably wishing to compare loans so it’s not a bad first listing in that context.

  • http://www.blogstorm.co.uk Patrick Altoft

    To be clear, I’m perfectly happy that they are ranking first. MS is the biggest online finance brand in the UK.

  • martaay

    the fact they are bidding for top spots also demonstrates just how much money they make imo as a highly doubt they would be able to afford an unprofitable ppc campaign in the finance sector, don’t think anyone could!

  • http://onlinemedialimited.com OnlineMediaLimited

    Its also to do with the halo affect – everyone knows top positions for PPC AND SEO garners a stronger conversion rate across both.

  • http://oh.gd/ Charles

    Of course, for MoneySupermarket it isn’t all about revenue. There is also their traffic figures they like to keep bumped up nicely to try and keep themselves at #1. Especially as it looks like they are slipping into #2 position behind Mr Money Saving Expert!

  • http://oh.gd/ Charles

    Also, those sitelinks are intriguing. That’s the first time I’ve seen them for a sub-folder off a domain. It has somehow taken a few pages which are sub-page off “loans” and made them into sitelinks, so they are strictly only relevant to that SERP result.

    It’s a very good result. I have to wonder if those links were manually massaged.

  • http://www.pccmanchester.co.uk ppcmanchester

    Agree with all of the above comments. Also for an affiliate it makes sense to blow a lot on PPC just to make sure Google has an incentive to maintain their good organic positions. I know this is going down the conspiracy route, but surely there must be SOME connection. Look at M-expert, they reign back their PPC, and they disappear for “car insurance” all together and now they are number 12 for “credit cards”.

  • Andrew

    Of course, they’re ranking high for terms like this because most of their affiliate links 301 redirect into the main page rather than an affiliate URL, with the branding being served via a cookie. All those non-nofollow links from portal and media sites sure add up. Doesn’t take much of stretch of the imagination to see them as paid links, but Google clearly don’t mind…

  • http://www.internetbusiness.co.uk Brian Turner

    I guess it also helps to have an extremely clever and widespread affiliate campaign. I’m easily given the impression the affiliate links they have across print media sites are passing juice which delivers those powerful rankings. Fair game to them on a clever strategy. :)

  • Rob Platt

    “Patrick Altoft 11/12/2008 at 11:14 am
    To be clear, I’m perfectly happy that they are ranking first. MS is the biggest online finance brand in the UK.”

    PHEW.

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