Evidence Twitter influence UK financial SERPs

Posted by bowdeni in SEO Added March 17, 2011

Historically Google has used links as a proxy to determine the most relevant and authoritative websites to return to a user’s search query. Late 2010 Google and Bing confirmed that they do indeed now use social signals as a ranking factor,  but only now are those in the SEO community starting to identify case studies where social signals are having a clear influence on search results.

A new case study can be added, Money Supermarket. Between 10th January and 16th of January Money Supermarket held a free prize draw. Users had to retweet a message (see below) containing a link to the car insurance product page, to provide them with a chance of winning a years free car insurance.

Money Supermarket Tweet

I believe this generated around ~2,500 RTs over the 7 days. The impact it had on Money Supermarket’s ranking for the search query ‘car insurance’ is most interesting.

Between September 21st and 11th January Money Supermarket  had an average of 6th for the search query ‘car insurance’. During this time, their best position was 4th,  held for just a couple of days while their lowest rank was 9th. Just two days after the competition ended, Money Supermarket started ranking 1st.

Rankings Graph

This 1st place ranking was held until 14th March, when Money Supermarket dropped back down to 3rd. How does Money Supermarket react to this drop? Another Twitter competition! Running from the 14th to 20th March. Money Supermarket are now ranking 2nd, and I’ll update this post after the competition has ended.

As always correlation doesn’t not necessarily imply causation. There may have been other signals having an influential role but certainly this case study adds further evidence to the importance of  social signals.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 You can leave a response, or trackback.

7 Responses

  • Brandon says:

    Did the Web site generate any links from the contest? A quick velocity of inbound of links could have this effect couldn’t it?

  • CasebyCase says:

    Great info Ian, thanks (so that’s your No4 2011 prediction hosed then!) – it feel it’s a risky one-way street tactic though, once you stop the social rocket fuel are you then going to drop more quickly than otherwise

  • bowdeni says:

    Thanks for the comments…

    @Brandon I’m sure Money Supermarket’s outreach team would have pushed the competition, and given the coverage it got… generated some links. It will be good to wait a couple of months and look at the type of links it generated. They would be unlikely to be pointing to the car insurance product page though.

    @CasebyCase Ha ha I was hoping was going to draw attention to that prediction. I’m still pleased with the other predictions however.

  • Fascinating, I am seeing some similar results although to optimised landing pages for competitions then 301′ing after the campaign.

    Might be worth looking into the deeplinks to pages straight away.

    Cheers Ian, look forward to hearing more.

  • JC says:

    Very interesting, what/where did you pull the ranking data from?

  • bowdeni says:

    @JC I captured the data daily using Advanced Web Ranking. I do so for the majority of key insurance and banking terms.

  • What I find interesting, is the fact that the rankings generally drop after a few days of the tweets dying down.

    I am suspecting that Google might be factoring in tweets as part of their QDF algorithm… So if a topic/site is trending on twitter, Google reacts by placing the site in top positions and once the topic dies down, the site gets placed back where it should be ranking naturally…

    Just a thought :)



Leave a Reply